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Speak as you are spoken to

One of the great things about writing web pages which are optimised for certain search terms, or “keywords”, is that it makes you think a little harder about the actual words you use. The benefit of this is that it may prevent you from lapsing into jargon, or – just as bad – marketingspeak.

Jargon is technical terminology which some readers may not understand. Marketingspeak is woolly catch-all terminology which nobody ever uses in the real world. We all know about the dangers in these, and none of us ever use them, do we?

Except we all do, even if it’s only accidentally. I’m sure we’ve all used acronyms, for example, without explaining what they stand for. Sure, you might think “any prospect who matters” will know exactly what an LVDT is, or a CMM, or COPD, or OLEDs. But there may be markets where they call them different things, or your web pages might end up being perused by less technical (but still important) buyers or senior management. And don’t forget people come into your site at the lowest level, so don’t assume they’ll have been through the general product page describing what GNSS is before they get to the technical spec page which uses it without explanation.

Marketingspeak is even easier to use carelessly. If you can’t listen to the way your customers describe things, and use their terminology, then at least listen to how your sales team express themselves verbally. No matter how completely you can provide something to meet your customers’ needs, they’re not looking for a “complete systems solution”. Nobody talks like that, only weirdos would type it into Google, and only idiots would waste money advertising against such searches.

It’s amazing how well some people can identify the search terms that prospects might use when looking for products like the ones they sell, and then fail to use those terms in their marketing copy. Don’t think: “I never do that” just because you already know what a mistake it would be. Allocate ten minutes at the end of everything you write to go through it and ask: “Did I use any terms which people don’t widely use because they’re either too specific to be understood, or too broad to have any meaning?”

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