As a copy editor, you may have heard the old rule that contractions are not appropriate in formal writing. However, in today`s digital age, where SEO (search engine optimization) is essential for online visibility, using contractions can actually be beneficial. Contractions can help make your writing more conversational, engaging, and easier to read. But how many contractions are too many? And how do you strike the right balance between formal and conversational writing?
First, it`s important to understand what contractions are and how they work. Contractions are a shortened form of two words, formed by combining them with an apostrophe. Examples include “can`t” (cannot), “shouldn`t” (should not), “won`t” (will not), and so on. Contractions are commonly used in spoken English and informal writing, but they can also be used in formal writing depending on the context and audience.
When it comes to SEO and online content, using contractions can help improve readability and engagement. According to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group, users prefer content that is easy to scan and read, and using contractions can help achieve this. Contractions also help to make your writing more conversational and approachable, which can help build trust and rapport with your readers.
However, it`s important to use contractions in moderation and with purpose. Using too many contractions can make your writing seem too informal or even sloppy, which can hurt your credibility and authority. It can also distract from your main message and cause confusion for your readers.
So how do you strike the right balance when using contractions in your writing? Here are a few tips:
1. Know your audience: Before deciding whether to use contractions, consider who your audience is and what tone and style is appropriate for them. For example, if you`re writing for a professional or academic audience, it`s best to use fewer contractions and stick to a more formal tone. On the other hand, if you`re writing for a consumer audience or a blog post, using more contractions can help make your writing more engaging and approachable.
2. Use contractions for common phrases: Some contractions are used so frequently that they sound natural and are expected in certain contexts. For example, “can`t” and “won`t” are common contractions that can be used in most types of writing without sounding too informal.
3. Avoid using contractions for emphasis: While contractions can help make your writing more conversational, using them for emphasis or to add emphasis can come across as unprofessional or even juvenile. For example, “I ain`t got no time” sounds much less professional than “I don`t have any time.”
4. Proofread and edit carefully: As with any type of writing, it`s important to proofread and edit your work carefully to ensure that you`ve used contractions appropriately. Read your writing out loud to see how it sounds, or have someone else read it and provide feedback. Make sure that your use of contractions is consistent throughout your writing, and that you`ve used them in a way that`s appropriate for your audience and purpose.
Overall, using contractions can be a valuable tool for improving the readability and engagement of your writing. However, it`s important to use them in moderation and with purpose, and to always consider your audience and context when deciding whether or not to use them. With these tips, you can strike the right balance between formal and conversational writing, and improve the effectiveness of your SEO content.