Confessions of an SEO Copywriter (You don’t need a lot of copy)

One of our very own SEW experts, Tim Ash is featured on the cover of the summer edition of Online Strategy Magazine. In it, he talks about the short attention span of web users and how too much copy or flashy graphics can detract from conversion goals.

These are things Tim has learned as a landing page consultant. And in your gut, you know he’s right. You skim web pages. You abandon pages that are difficult to navigate easily. You don’t feel like reading a dissertation about a new pair of shoes. Do they look good? Yes. Where’s the “Add to Cart” button?

You might think it strange for a copywriter and blogger such as myself to even talk about the idea that there can be such a thing as too much copy. After all, we copywriters often charge by the word. More words = more money. (Even when we charge by the hour, longer copy means more hours = more $.)

But I have a confession to make. I know you have a short attention span. I know you’re probably skimming this post right now. Many of you comment without reading the entire post you’re commenting on.

I know that I need to bust out 125-250 words to attract the Googlebot while making copy work with the design and also use my magical psychological powers to compel you to click the purchase button.

I like to use bullet points (when clients allow, which is sadly not often enough) and get straight to the point because I assume that readers are smart and don’t need every nuanced point explained to them.

Of course, you know what they say about assuming.

That’s why landing page testing is so crucial. Don’t just assume your assumptions are correct. Test them. Develop pages designed around best practices and then test, test, TEST!

Despite all of the above, there are still some niches where a good deal of copy is necessary. Generally, the higher the price or the commitment involved in a purchasing decision, the more education a consumer will want. They get their desired information through copy. But even then, there could be niches where a busy businessman simply wants someone to call them. He’d rather chat it out and then decide. That’s when short copy and a contact form might be needed instead.

The only way you’ll know for sure is through landing page testing. I can’t emphasize this enough. Yes, analytics are good. Yes, keeping an eye on your campaigns are good. But you won’t know if you could squeeze even more money out your ad campaigns until you test.

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