Break a Rule to Get Web Traffic

One of the rules of business writing is to use consistent language to describe something. For example, steps in a process should be called steps–not actions, phases, or points–throughout the document. Likewise, a series of tips contains tips–not suggestions, instructions, guidelines, strategies, or bits of advice.

The reason for consistency is to keep readers on track. If your readers are following your steps, shifting to the phrase "action steps" makes them wonder whether the earlier steps weren’t also action steps. Are you offering a new kind of step now?

But if you want to get more traffic to your site, varying your choice of words makes sense. Here’s an example: People looking for advice on the rules of business writing are likely to arrive at this very blog post if they use any of the search words I used in the first paragraph: rules, business writing, language, tips, suggestions, instructions, guidelines, strategies, advice, readers, or steps. And now that I have used the words again, they are even more likely to arrive here.

When it comes to searching the Internet, variety is the spice of life–or of your site. Use different words to describe the same thing, and searchers will be more likely to find you and what you have to offer.

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