What Dr Suess can teach us about Search Engine Optimisation

Dr Suess is an SEO expert

Who remembers escaping into the imaginary, nonsensical world of Dr Suess when they were young? As a child, I spent much of my time in my imagination- and one of my favourite book series that encouraged this was the Dr Suess classics- like Green Eggs and Ham, and The Cat in the Hat.

You’re probably wondering what on earth Dr Suess has to do with search engine optimisation (SEO). Bear with me.

His first, now classic children’s book, The Cat in the Hat, contains only 236 words. However because of the high repetition of keywords (although sometimes nonsensical), Suess achieved very high recall and recognition rates in young and old readers alike.

Here’s where the link to search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in. This example is a great metaphor for online copywriting (for search engine optimisation)- particularly when the objective is to achieve relevant, organic ranking in search engines, based on a specific palette of keywords.

Achieving effective search engine optimisation (SEO) is, in part, the judicious selection of keywords- then expertly crafting the copy to produce high-ranking results in search engine rankings.

With this in mind, it’s important to realise that copywriting for web content is not a set-and-forget strategy. Rather, it requires considerable up-front planning and strategic thought, prudent selection of keywords, and expert copywriting and narrative skills.

For effective search engine optimisation (SEO) copy, the objective of the copywriter should be to construct content that is keyword rich and attractive to search engines, that maintains a natural flow, and yet engages the reader’s interest… just like Dr Suess.

Contributor:

Michael Field, Director at Michael Field Pty Ltd.

About michaelfieldcom

Michael Field is an independent strategy consultant with two decades of experience in strategy, marketing, strategic planning, market research, competitive analysis, needs based segmentation, e-commerce and innovation. His consultancy specialises in providing strategic advice to medium sized B2B and NF organisations. Michael has served as a Non Executive Director (NED) of Save the Children Victoria, is a former Save the Children New South Wales council member and former guest lecturer in marketing, small business promotional marketing and professional communication at ECU in Western Australia. He is the founder of the LinkedIn group Next Director for aspiring and emerging company directors serving more than 4,500 company directors globally. Specialties: - Strategy advice for medium-sized B2B, NFP and member services organisations - Strategic marketing - Market research and analysis - Competitive analysis - Market segmentation - Needs-based segmentation - Development of the value proposition - Marketing and business plans - e-commerce and online strategy development - Social Media - Keynote speaking - Technology and innovation - Ideas and inspiration

7 thoughts on “What Dr Suess can teach us about Search Engine Optimisation

  1. Love the analogy, Michael. And thank you for highlighting the skill it takes to produce compelling copy that works.

    If you’ve decided to write web copy yourself, I highly recommend you begin by forgetting about the keywords. Write your copy naturally.

    Why? Because when you write naturally, you’ll incorporate just the right amount of keywords both your reader and the search engines like. Any more (which we tend to add when we’re writing with keywords in mind), and you’ll look spammy.

    Only once you’ve written your piece should you go back and revisit your keywords and their positioning (such as in headings and at the beginning of paragraphs).

  2. Hi Amanda,

    Our first online arm-wrestle! I have to disagree with the suggestion of ‘forgetting about keywords’. However I completely support your suggestion of ‘writing naturally’. Is it possible the two can co-exist?

    I am thinking of a particular website for a restaurant (who I won’t name) where the copy focussed on the ambience and decor of the restaurant. It was beautifully written, evocative copy – but hardly mentioned what should have been the hero – the food!

    Reading through the copy, it read more like the flowery language of a glossy real estate advertisement. It made for a great read but I doubt it would rank in SEO terms.

    Can we meet half way and say ‘judicious selection of keywords written naturally’?

  3. Hi Garry,

    Good SEO advice is worth the investment. However, self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ may not be the best option when seeking advice.

    A quality SEO advisor will have spent hundred of hours learning everything there is to know about SEO and is likely to have invested further time in applying their knowledge specifically to your business.

    They can save you an enormous amount of time and hopefully will pay for themselves in new sales opportunities.

    That being said, it can be difficult to determine the difference between a true specialist and the self-proclaimed ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’.

    I am working on a post that will be published shortly about how to spot the difference.

  4. Them’s fighting words, M!

    No need to meet halfway. What you’re saying is absolutely spot on – IF you’re a professional copywriter.

    My advice was for people who are doing it themselves – and to forget about keywords at the beginning of the process. (As much as I feel you should spend more on copy over design, sometimes, reality bites and you can’t afford either.) Without experience, it hinders your flow. Only once you have everything down should you consider your keywords.

    From your comment, it seems the restaurant’s underlying problem is their online strategy, and not so much the copy. If they’d perfected their strategy, then naturally written copy – copy written to achieve their website goals – would have been far more successful. Of course, the only way to determine this is with testing.

    So while keywords are a crucial element of compelling SEO copy, it’s still only one element. How you approach and tackle your keywords is very much dependent on your writing experience.

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