The SEO Power of Concise Writing

A good copywriter is one who can get their point across briefly and effectively.

Copywriters focus on three areas: purpose, brevity, and effectiveness.

Making sure every word that you have counts, using simple words to explain difficult concepts, and organizing your points effectively are all key to creating effective sales copy.

The length of your copy should be as long as it needs to be to convey your message, and no longer.

Brevity in Copywriting

Brevity in copywriting refers to using exact and concise wording to convey your message.

Think, short, specific, and to the point.

Brevity SEO writing uses the fewest words possible to deliver an idea clearly.

Are Shorter Sentences Good For SEO?

Shorter sentences are great for SEO because of the following reasons:

  • Reduces the number of hops in sentence structure to parse
  • Easier to digest shorter sentences
  • Data shows more time on-site when content is written in shorter sentences
  • Keeps the reader more engaged

How can I make my writing more concise?

Here are some tips on how to make your writing more concise:

  • Eliminate unnecessary redundant expressions or phrases
  • Shorten wordy phrases
  • Use clear and concise language
  • Eliminate filler words such as “that”, “of”, or “up”
  • Avoid starting sentences with “there is”, “there are”, or “it is”
  • Write in active voice
  • Eliminate extra nouns

Reduce Dependency Hops

Reading a sentence and determining if a question is answered depends on Google’s NLP parsers not getting hung up as they “crawl” through a sentence.

If a sentence’s structure is overly complicated, Google may fail to create clear links between words or may require it to take too many hops to build that relationship.

The goal here is to reduce the total number of hops to get from the subject from the question to the answer.

Example Sentence 1

“The safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165° Fahrenheit.”

Reduce Dependency NLP Hops

Map the journey from chicken to temperature to the answer:

chicken <-> for <-> temperature <-> is <-> Fahrenheit <-> degree <-> 165

We can get from chicken to a numerical value in 6 hops with a clear journey and relationship between the two.

Example Sentence 2

“The most precise way of telling if the chicken is done is to reach a perfect internal temperature of 165 degrees for dark meat.”

Reducing NLP Syntax Sentence Structure Hops

Mapping it out:

chicken <-> done <-> telling <-> of <-> way <-> is <-> reach <-> temperature <-> of <-> degrees <-> 165

This sentence has 10 hops between the noun of the question and the numerical answer. The increased complexity may lower confidence in the answer or get the NLP hung up on understanding a sentence entirely. These types of embellishments are common for writers but can hinder content performance.

To optimize text for NLP, you want to reduce these hops and create a more explicit journey between the question and the answer by using simplified grammar and clear writing.

Popular Questions

Why is Concise Writing So Important With RankBrain?

One of the main issues that Google, Yahoo, and other search engines are still trying to overcome is building enough context around the content being written to offer relevant search results.

RankBrain’s primary focus is to quickly examine content on a page and offer results accurately, even when a user enters a never-before-seen or otherwise unusual query. Through machine learning, users’ unique search requests are continually used to better understand future search strings.

What is Concise Writing?

Concise writing is using the most effective words to deliver your answer in a minimal amount of words.

Writers often fill sentences with weak or unnecessary words that can be deleted or replaced.

Words and phrases should be deliberately chosen for the work they are doing or if they don’t accomplish this should be deleted.

Using Hemingway App To Help With Brevity SEO

Using the Hemingway app is a great way to assist you in writing more concise content.

The app highlights lengthy, complex sentences and common errors.

If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red.

Remove Adverbs

Adverbs and weakening phrases are helpfully shown in blue. Get rid of them and pick words with force, perhaps.

The adverbs above “helpfully” and “perhaps” could both be omitted and the sentence would still make perfect sense.

The light blue highlighted words highlight any adverbs you could remove.

Simpler Alternative

You can utilize a shorter word in place of a purple one.

The term “utilize” says an easier alternative is to replace with “use”.

The purple colour highlighted words show all the simpler alternatives you can integrate.

Sentences are Hard to Read

The app highlights lengthy, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow sentence, shorten or split it.

The example sentence above is lengthy and deemed hard to read by Hemingway.

The yellow highlighted words advise breaking up the content into multiple sentences.

Sentences are Very Hard to Read

If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red.

The example sentence above is very lengthy and deemed very hard to understand in Hemingway.

The red highlighted words advise breaking up the content into multiple sentences or making the answer more concise.

Don’t Beat Around the Bush

A common NLP problem is “beating around the bush” when it comes to answering a question. It’s not that these answered are “wrong,” but they don’t give Google a precise determination of the answer.

Let’s look at the query: “how often to wash hair.”

Example Text 1

It seems as though we’re all divided when it comes to how often we should be washing our hair. Some people swear that washing less frequently makes their hair healthier, while others insist that double-shampooing is actually the way to go.

But how does your haircare routine stack up against the rest of America? A recent survey conducted by Lookfantastic set out to measure just that. It turns out that 49% of women polled admitted to washing their hair every damn day, which means that we, as a nation, are totally split 50/50.

If you’re not sure how often you should be washing your hair, it’s always a good idea to check in with your stylist the next time you’re at the salon.

Can you find the precise answer in there? How confident is Google that the answer appears in that text?

Example Text 2

If your skin and hair are anywhere from normal (not super oily and not super dry) to dry, you probably only need to wash it once or twice a week, according to a Columbia University health column. If you have a greasy scalp, you probably need to wash your hair more often.

This second example provides a much clearer answer to the question. Identifying a lack of clarity in content is an important step when auditing content for NLP. If Google is unable to parse a definite answer, their confidence in search task completion and relevance goes down.

Summary

The SEO industry has become obsessed with word count and forgot to write for the user.

You should look to answer a specific query in the minimum amount of words possible that gives a clear and effective answer.

Content Should Be As Short As Possible, But As Long As Neccessary

The writer’s goal should be How to Captivate an Audience by Writing Less.

Less is more and if you can relay the same message in a lower quantity of words you should look to do so.

RankBrain can spatially determine the context of words based on their distance and placement against other words and sentences.

Padding an article for the sake of increase the number of words on the page can distance the meaning of the article from this principle.

What Others Say

I asked many great on-page SEO experts and copywriters for their thoughts on The SEO Power of Concise Writing.

Michelle Key

Eliminate wordiness from your SEO copywriting using tools like Hemingway App.

Wordiness is the enemy of keywords. Clean, tight copywriting makes the keywords the star, while thin, wordy content buries them behind a minimum word count.

Having enough content to support a page and satisfy Google is important, but you should add more words by adding more information, not using unnecessarily long phrasings.

Good SEO copywriting eliminates needlessly long phrasing like “such as” or “and so on.”

If you still need to cut it down, try rearranging some sentences so that they use basic subject-verb-object construction.

Don’t lose any keywords or entities in the process though.

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