Proofreading is absolutely fundamental to quality content creation and should always be top of the checklist before publication. Content Lab greatly emphasises editing and reviewing copy to ensure watertight grammar, faultless spelling, accurate information, adherence to client objectives, and several other important characteristics. Our team takes pride in delivering top-notch content, which is impossible to guarantee without an exhaustive proofreading stage.
Digital marketing experts know the critical importance of editing copy before publication, but this part of the process can easily slip through the net. For example, time or personnel-stretched businesses could choose to omit proofreading before sending or publishing copy. This may have serious consequences, reducing your organisation’s trustworthiness, authority, and expertise.
Mastering the art of proofreading is essential to copywriters and digital marketing experts. Fortunately, learning the ins and outs isn’t particularly difficult. Throughout this iteration of the Content Lab blog, we’ll help you gain a deeper understanding of what to look out for and common pitfalls to avoid.
Our experts have comprehensive experience across the copywriting and SEO marketing industries, particularly regarding the iGaming niche. As a result, we’re perfectly placed to help. Content Lab offers a full proofreading service alongside dynamic content creation, translation, and other services. Don’t hesitate to get in contact to see how we can help you enhance your digital footprint and SEO ranking.
But first, keep reading for analysis explaining why proofreading is so important, an essential checklist to consider during implementation, easy mistakes to avoid, and other information. Afterwards, the art of proofreading will be far clearer!
What is Proofreading & Why Is It Important?
At its simplest, proofreading involves reviewing content to check for grammatical or spelling errors, general flow, correct information, and various other characteristics. All professional writing is usually subject to some kind of editing process, but the particulars are different depending on the type of content. For example, proofreading a novel manuscript is different to proofreading a sales email, as the content must satisfy different objectives.
Online digital marketing copywriting exists in its own domain, especially with Google’s shifting algorithms and focus on genuinely valuable content. Businesses must take far more care to avoid common pitfalls like keyword stuffing nowadays. Establishing E-E-A-T throughout all content is also crucial, and this is another area where proofreading can pay serious dividends. Check out our previous blog post on improving E-E-A-T for more information on this SEO pillar.
The first step during the proofreading process is reading the copy and checking its accuracy and whether it hits the required objectives. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. After identifying any areas of concern, proofreaders must also make edits to aid flow and concision. Additionally, they must check for correct internal and external linking alongside various other attributes.
Proofreading is mainly important for overall content quality and SEO, but a streamlined approach can also help other areas within your business. For example, an editing team can save time in the long run, freeing writers to put more time and emphasis into crafting exceptional content.
Proofreading 101: An Essential Checklist
Content Lab is determined to provide our clients with the best SEO writing possible. Proofreading is essential to satisfying our goals and creating copy that ticks all of Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. Check below for a round-up of the most important characteristics our editing team considers during the proofreading stage:
Spelling is the most basic proofreading check. Proofreaders must verify all spellings are correct and pertain to the correct language (i.e. US or UK English). Publishing digital content with spelling mistakes is a surefire way to harm your business and SEO prospects. It displays an amateurish approach to writing and will significantly reduce site authority and expertise. Fortunately, Microsoft Word and Google Docs have in-built spellcheckers, so this is usually easy to check. However, be careful with proper nouns and industry-specific names or phrases that may require more attention.
Checking for smooth and faultless grammar is arguably the most important proofreading aspect. As Forbes and many other high-profile business publications argue, bad grammar can completely derail any digital marketing campaign, regardless of its positives. This starts with appropriate punctuation usage, correct tenses, and other basic grammatical concepts. But proofreaders must also examine content for repeated use of the passive voice and excessive wordiness. If you want to sound like you have authority and expertise on a given subject, leading with impeccable grammar is the best way to go. As we’ll see later in this blog post, tools like Grammarly can massively help.
Proofreaders must always verify whether the correct structure has been used. Many clients will ask for specific headings and paragraphs. While it’s the writer’s duty to satisfy these desires, things can sometimes slip through the net. Editors are there as a safety blanket, helping to spot any discrepancies between the client’s brief and the content. In times when a specific structure hasn’t been asked for, proofreaders should examine the chosen headings and paragraphs to guarantee it makes sense and flows well.
Plagiarism is an easy way to destroy your SEO ranking completely, so you must be careful. Determined and competent writers would never turn to plagiarising, but unfortunately, it can happen. At Content Lab, we run a no-nonsense policy towards plagiarism, immediately cutting off a relationship if it has been suspected. Our proofreaders are invaluable here, running content through plagiarism-checking software like Duplichecker to ensure all content is 100% original. You can find some tips to avoid accidental plagiarism here.
We’ll go into more detail regarding AI-generated content in the next section. However, it’s worth mentioning that checking for AI-assisted writing is an increasingly important proofreading stage. Google will severely punish AI-generated content and spam, so Content Lab steadfastly pursues completely human content. Our proofreaders run checks to flag any AI-generated writing so we can confirm its authenticity.
iGaming content must always feature entirely accurate and up-to-date information. We explained this in further detail in a previous blog post regarding “Your Money, Your Life” content. As iGaming specialists, we are responsible for keeping people safe from predatory gambling advertising or other marketing tactics. A critical part of this is guaranteeing all information throughout our copy is correct. As a result, proofreaders must verify things like casino welcome bonuses or online slot statistics before publishing any content.
Although they are no longer the be-all and end-all, keywords are still essential to successful SEO implementation. We’ll go into more detail regarding potential pitfalls to look out for here later in this article. However, as a general proofreading step, editors must ensure that the copy contains all the keywords listed in the client brief. Additionally, in some cases, they must check whether SEO tools, such as SurferSEO or On-Page, have been used and whether the writer has hit the required score.
Tone & Style
Tone and style can be difficult areas for proofreaders, as it’s more subjective than other stages. Primarily, content must echo the client’s tone of voice and general industry style. Content Lab works with several international iGaming and sports betting organisations, so we have honed our focus on tone and style to deliver content in a range of voices. For example, some clients may want a professional and direct tone, while others may ask for a slightly more informal and conversational style.
Verifying whether content hits the required word count and doesn’t go too far above is another crucial proofreading aspect. This isn’t particularly difficult, as Google Docs and Microsoft Word have easily accessible word counters. However, proofreaders may need to trim certain parts or add copy to satisfy the desired word count. Generally speaking, 5-10% above or below is acceptable, although you must always ultimately use common sense.
If the client has asked for meta titles and descriptions, proofreaders must ensure these have been provided. They must be engaging and feature CTAs where appropriate while satisfying anything extra the client has asked for. Getting the correct character count is especially important here and can be a fiddly part of the writing process, so editors must look out for this in particular. Typically, meta titles can be 55-60 characters and descriptions no more than 160.
External & Internal Linking
External and internal linking play a vital role in successful SEO implementation. Clients often ask for various links to on-site pages (such as our blog section) or external links to high-profile sources. Proofreaders must first ensure these links are included with the relevant anchor text. Additionally, if the writer has used their own external links, these must be audited to ensure they direct to high-authority websites. Otherwise, it can punish your SEO ranking.
There can sometimes be additional variables to consider during the proofreading process. For example, some clients may ask for royalty-free images, which must be verified before sending off the copy. A good rule of thumb for proofreaders is to consult the brief before reading the copy. This gives a great foundational overview of what is expected, so any particular variables can be immediately noticed.
Proofreading & SEO: Important Things to Remember
Proofreading for SEO writing throws up a few extra important considerations compared to other forms of content. Editors must pay special attention to variables, such as AI checks, keywords, and SEO tools. We’ll go into more detail below:
Checking for AI-generated writing is a vital proofreading step outlined in the last section. However, as we explored in a previous blog post, Google’s attitude towards AI writing is quickly evolving. The search engine is gradually loosening its stance on AI content if the copy is accurate, up-to-date, and valuable.
Content Lab still operates with a no-AI policy, but many businesses may want to leverage this new technology to help create content faster. This makes the proofreading stage even more important, as editors must tweak the content to satisfy SEO goals. Search Engine Land explores how to demonstrate E-E-A-T in AI-generated content, which is certainly worth reading if this is a route you want to go to. Nevertheless, we still don’t think anything can beat knowledgeable human writers, so be careful.
Keywords: Are They Correct & Does the Copy Avoid Stuffing?
Including all the correct keywords is one thing, but the best proofreaders go above and beyond when reviewing copy. Keyword stuffing is a common pitfall for SEO writers nowadays and vital to consider during editing.
Ultimately, SEO content must still be engaging and mainly emphasise readability rather than simply featuring as many keywords as possible. As a proofreader, understanding this is crucial. After verifying whether all the right long-tail and short-tail terms have been used appropriately, run secondary checks to ensure they haven’t been stuffed or included unnaturally.
Has The Writer Satisfied SEO Tools?
Content Lab works with several SEO tools, including On-Page and SurferSEO, to guarantee the best content for clients looking to boost their SERP rankings. This forms an important part of the proofreading process, as editors must check whether the SEO tools have been considered during the writing process.
We aim to hit as high a score as possible without diluting concision or resorting to keyword stuffing. This is impossible without a careful examination by our proofreaders, who supplement our writers where needed to hit the top scores possible.
Fantastic Proofreading Tools to Consider
Achieving your digital marketing goals is much harder without knowing where to seek help. Content Lab has already explored some of the best influencers and organisations to follow in the SEO space. Within the proofreading context, the following tools can also help massively:
Grammarly is a powerful grammar and spelling checker that gives insightful recommendations and highlights obvious errors. The tool has millions of active users. You can use it to help create all kinds of content and use the settings to echo various styles and TOVs.
Surfer SEO is a leading SEO writing tool helping to find the best keywords to deliver optimised content. Although its main use is for writers, the tool can also be brilliant for proofreaders to establish whether the right keywords have been used.
Duplichecker is mainly used as a plagiarism detection tool, although it has several other capabilities. This is one of the most used proofreading aids and is a vital step to avoid duplicate content.
Content Lab: Proofreading Experts
The art of proofreading is multilayered and requires careful application of several stages to be done correctly. Throughout this blog post, we’ve outlined the process, highlighting all areas to consider. Content Lab are experts in digital marketing, so if you need proofreading or content creation services, don’t hesitate to get in contact.
See You Soon
That’s it for this iteration of the Content Lab blog. Check our website for more insightful explorations into SEO and digital marketing areas. We’ll see you next time!Marko Marincic