I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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Use real keywords

Keywords are used to help search engines relate your web pages to terms people use in the search engines.

So if you sell books, you want search engines to find you when people look for a book shop they can access so you could use keywords like books, reading, store, fiction and non-fiction. Keywords like bike, engineer, beautician and plumber would be less useful (unless you specialised in books about those things!)

I think it’s really important to use real keywords, too. By that I mean words that real people will use to find your goods or services, not jargon or unusual alternatives of words.

Terms like motor insurance, pertusiss and downhaul are actually accurate but used by professionals – most people refer to car insurance, whooping cough and (sail) rope so they are the real keywords.

Worse are words used in a different context, such as benefit. Most of us think of benefit as an advantage whereas the insurance and super industries use benefit as the money you may be entitled to; would you ever type ‘super benefit’ in a search engine to find out about superannuation?

So when preparing your website copy and metadata (meaning the text you can add to a webpage for search engines to use), make sure you focus on words your customers will use rather than words people in your industry use. Sometimes, your customers do know the jargon, but don’t just assume it.

Use real advantages…

When marketing, it is important to point out how your business (or product or service) is superior or different to others – in other words, why should people come to you?

This difference is often known as a unique selling point (USP) or a point of difference, and there are many ways to make use of it.

However, it is also important to show you are different by avoiding being the same. What do I mean by that? Well, if everyone in your industry talks about their compact products, don’t use the word compact – try space saving, small, minimalist or mini for instance.

Additionally, it’s not a good idea to use over-used words such as quality, value, fast and safe (see what Drew McLellan and others say on this in Drew’s recent blog post – he gives some good alternatives and the discussion is interesting.)

In writing as in business, being original and providing interesting content is likely to make more of an impact than being the same as everyone else. And making an impact may be just what you need to get customers to you rather than your competitors.

But when you are stating those great differences and reasons to use you, remember to be honest and only state real advantages rather than making up something your customers want to read.