As a copy editor, one of the most important rules we learn is agreement. Agreement refers to the grammatical match between two or more words or phrases in a sentence. This includes matching the subject and verb in a sentence, as well as ensuring that pronouns agree with their antecedents.

However, there are times when it may be necessary to ignore agreement in order to improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of a piece of content.

For example, keywords are an important aspect of SEO. Keywords are the words or phrases that internet users may use when searching for information on a particular topic. Including relevant keywords in a piece of content can improve its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Sometimes, the most relevant keywords for a piece of content may not agree grammatically with the rest of the sentence. In these instances, it may be necessary to ignore agreement in order to include the keyword.

For example, consider the sentence “The team of scientists is conducting research.” If the relevant keyword is “scientific research,” the sentence would need to be changed to “The team of scientists are conducting scientific research.” While “are” does not agree with “team,” the inclusion of the keyword “scientific research” improves the SEO of the content.

Another instance where it may be necessary to ignore agreement is in the use of singular they. Singular they is the use of “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. While it may not agree with traditional grammar rules, it is becoming more widely accepted in modern language usage.

Using singular they can improve the inclusivity and SEO of a piece of content, especially when targeting a diverse audience. For example, consider the sentence “If someone wants to improve their writing, they should read more.” While “someone” is singular, the use of “their” with singular they includes all genders and improves the overall inclusivity of the content.

In conclusion, while agreement is an important aspect of grammar, there may be instances where ignoring it can improve the SEO and inclusivity of a piece of content. As copy editors, we must remain mindful of both grammar rules and the needs of our audience.