Writing Assignment: Use A Word To Death

by Randy Murray on July 6, 2012

Too often SEO, Search Engine Optimization, makes copy virtually unreadable for humans. I do a lot of work in business copy writing and I’ve seen that those who simply flood copy with keywords have no intention of trying to communicate. They’re only trying to rank well on Google. Even though Google tells us that they ignore that type of thing.

Keywords are not for computerized spiders. Keywords need to be a part of natural language.

The best SEO is writing focused on readability. Yes, you can use keywords, but don’t overuse them. The repetition of a word makes it lose its meaning. Overused words begin to sound strange and wrong. Say the word “color” as many times as you can for thirty seconds. It quickly becomes unpronounceable, weird, and somehow, alien.

The same thing happens when you overuse a word in your writing. You lose control of it and its meaning if you use it too frequently. And simply pulling out the thesaurus and using a long list of synonyms is no better. If you find that you need to use the same word or phrase over and over you may need to step back, let your copy rest, and try a fresh draft later.

For today’s assignment we’ll explore the problems of overusing a word or term. Pick a word from this list, then write a page of copy about the role of newspapers in today’s society, using the word you’ve picked at least twenty times. Bonus points for using it at least once per sentence.


When you’ve completed your draft, read it out loud. Listen to hear if your use of language sounds natural. For extra bonus points, rewrite your copy, strike the repetitions and try to make your piece more natural, readable, and clear.

Click here to view and complete previous writing assignments.

And buy a copy of the Writing Assignments book!

The Writing Assignment: Use A Word To Death by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: