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Marketing / Business writing

Keywords vs. carewords

Keywords are great for SEO, but how do you make customers stay on your page once they’re there? That’s where carewords can help.

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When I discuss a brief for writing copy for a new business website I’m often asked if I can write with SEO keywords. But for some reason, I’m never asked whether I can also write the words your customers actually care about. 

And that’s a shame. 

Because it’s highly likely that the main goal of your website is not to pay Google for click-throughs or achieve a search ranking, but to persuade your customers to buy the things you sell. Or, at the very least, contact you so you can persuade them to buy the thing you sell. 

SEO keywords might bring people to your site, but what makes them stick around to do the things you want them to do – whether it’s increase sales, add subscribers, promote your brand or clinch the deal – are ‘carewords’. 

"Carewords are the words that help your customers perform tasks on your site – or simply confirm they’re in the right place when they land there."

‘Carewords’ is not just a buzzword. It describes a genuine movement among SEO specialists towards valuing words that help a web user find the information they need and, more importantly, achieve your goals in winning new business. 

Carewords are the words that help your customers perform tasks on your site – or simply confirm they’re in the right place when they land there. They’re the words that tap into your visitor’s emotional needs. They emphasise the true benefits of your product and service. 

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Carewords are quite different to keywords. Your next customer may be searching for ‘Wedding Photographer Sydney’ but when they get to your website they’re looking for phrases such as ‘portfolio’ or ‘relaxed ideas’ or ‘natural style’ to quickly get a sense of what you’re like and the services you offer. And then they just want to find your contact details. 

Imagine you’re thinking about buying a new car. Do you search for ‘low fuel consumption’ or ‘reliable warranty’? It’s more likely you search for a specific brand and dealers near your home or work. But when you get to that website, you want to know exactly what’s on offer. Test drive hours, special deals, customer service and any extras. What makes that dealer stand out on a street full of car yards? 

Sometimes carewords might be signposts for navigation, or they might be benefits or customer insights. They need to be bold, prominent and easily scanned. 

So, how do you work out what they are? Unfortunately, there are no handy Google apps or tools to help you come up with the winning words. The best way to find your carewords is put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What are they looking for? What’s important to them? How can you make it easier for them to find the information they need? 

Find some balance between your keywords and carewords, and your website won’t look like it’s been written for the Google spider, but rather for real human being – your customer. 

Do you think carewords should be part of your content strategy? How have you worked out what they are? 

Sara Howard

is the Principal and senior writer at Writers Australia. She loves nothing more than pulling apart corporate waffle to find the hidden gem of an idea – and then bringing it to life so it resonates with customers, staff, donors or the general public. Connect with Sara on Twitter and LinkedIn

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