How to Proofreading: Tips & Steps for Professional Proofreading

How to Proofreading
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Proofreading is an essential part and skill of writing. How to proofreading is a whole art and science that a copywriter needs to study.

Whether you are an academic, a researcher, a social media manager, or an SEO copywriter, writing and publishing are crucial aspects of your everyday life. And as you may already know, any article submitted for publication has to undergo a comprehensive proofreading process.

This blog post covers the main components of proofreading, along with tips on how to do it successfully while saving time.

What is Proofreading?

Proofreading is the very final step of the writing and editing process, where you correct any last-minute typographical errors, punctuation errors, and minor spelling mistakes, plus formatting and consistency problems.

Proofreading vs Editing

Editing and proofreading constitute different steps in the whole revision process of your text. Proofreading pays attention to inconsistencies and minor grammatical errors, while editing has to do with significant changes to the language and structure used, as well as the content included.

Before being proofread, a manuscript frequently goes through multiple steps of editing. Some typical stages in the editing process are shown in the table below.Famous Proofreading Quote by Oscar Wilde

The four stages of editing and proofreading

  • Stage 1: Content editing process
    Revising an early draft, frequently changing the content, and rearranging, adding, or removing sections as a whole.
  • Stage 2: Line editing process
    To improve the text’s flow, this may entail altering some words, phrases, and sentences and rearranging certain paragraphs. Language should also be revised to best convey your narrative, concepts, or arguments.
  • Stage 3: Copy editing process
    Reviewing each sentence to guarantee proper grammar, on-point syntax, and stylistic coherence.
    Copy editors don’t make changes to the content of a text, but they can work with the author to make certain improvements for clarity purposes.
  • Stage 4: Proofreading
    The time has finally come! At this stage, we catch mistakes, such as spelling errors, incorrect punctuation, or stylistic inconsistencies.

Need I spend time on every stage?

It all depends on the type, context, and word count. Theoretically, you don’t have to stick to the exact same four steps, but a good piece of writing will almost certainly have to sustain revision, editing, and proofreading of this or a similar kind.

8 Proofreading tips and tricks

Anyone who writes should have a foundational understanding of proofreading. There is a variety of methods you can employ to effectively proofread common texts like company reports, blogs, or articles before sharing them.
SEO Professional Proofreaders' Checklist

1) Revise, and revise again

Make sure you have thoroughly edited and corrected your work before moving on to the last stage of proofreading.

Spending time to double-check and correct tiny errors is pointless if you plan to subsequently delete entire sections or alter paragraphs. Once you’ve finished the final draft and are satisfied with it, only then move on to proofreading.

2) Take a break from looking at your computer screen

It gets tougher and tougher to catch errors when you’ve been focusing on the same text for hours at a time. Move away from your computer for at least half an hour before proofreading so you can examine it in a new headspace.

At SEO Copywriting Agency, the final proofreading is always made by a fellow copywriter with a pair of fresh eyes. This way, we get to the final stage quicker and deliver an error-free result to our clients.

If staring at a screen for too long irritates your eyes, another tip would be to use a printed page. Although a lifesaver, Google Docs can sometimes make even the most professional proofreader or editor miss certain typos.

3) Use online tools and a spell checker (but do not rely on them)

Of course, it is expected that you run a spell check, but do not count on any system to spot every single mistake.  Spell checkers catch common errors like grammar mistakes, punctuation mistakes, and misspelled words.

Additionally, you can use the ‘Find and Replace feature to correct the same error if you have repeated it throughout the entire text. That could be either a certain word, an inconsistently capitalized term or when swapped between UK and US English.

4) Read aloud

Sometimes hearing what you read makes mistakes simpler to spot. Additionally, reading aloud can keep you concentrated.

5) Approach the text in sections

Don’t read it from beginning to end. Start with headlines, then go on to tables and figures. Read the sections of the paper out of sequence. The last step should be to read the entire paper.

6) Proofread for one error at a time

Specific and commonly made errors like spelling and punctuation issues should occasionally be checked independently.

It may sound peculiar, but reading backward is proven to be helpful in spotting spelling errors since it makes you focus on each word separately.

7) Know your citation style and language

Should your text be written in British or American English? This is something you should know from early on.

Although not applicable to all types of texts (like blogging), checking your citation formatting with an online citation generator sounds like a good idea.

8) Notice mistakes that you commonly make and learn from them

Pay close attention to the mistakes that repeatedly appear throughout the text. This can help you recognize and avoid them in the future and save some much-needed time and energy. Additionally, you will get to improve your proofreading technique and overall writing skills.

What to watch out for when proofreading

The hardest aspect that requires lots of proofreading skills is knowing what to look for. Typos will certainly be clear, but punctuation and grammatical errors can be more difficult to spot. The most frequent mistakes to watch out for are listed below.

  • Spelling mistakes and correct word choice

    The most common ones include: homophones (etc. their, they’re), definite and indefinite articles (etc. the, a, an), and prepositions (etc. on, in, at)

  • Punctuation errors

    The most common ones include: the punctuation mark; more specifically commas, apostrophes, and hyphenσ

  • Style and language

    The most common ones include the UK and US use of English, the wrong capitalization of words

How long does proofreading take?

This depends on a variety of factors and can definitely differ on occasion. Practically speaking, you should aim to give yourself plenty of time for editing and proofreading, if you are under a strict deadline, it’s crucial to select a service that can complete your assignment on time.

Usually speaking, a skilled editor would typically finish between 10,000 and 15,000 words for combined proofreading and copy editing in 24 hours.

Here at SEO Copywriting Agency, we aim to deliver a full written, edited, and proofread text within our predetermined and scheduled deadline with the client. Plus, our eager team of experts can prioritize and expedite a procedure based on our customers’ special needs.

Proofreading and SEO

Proofreading an SEO-optimized text can be trickier at times. Besides the tips and tricks mentioned above, SEO Copywriting Agency proposes following the checklist below to make your proofreading journey as effortless as possible.

1) Make sure that the text is clear, concise, and complete

2) Check the keyword density and ensure the focus and supportive keywords are used throughout the text and headings.

3) Maintain your text aligned, including the symmetry of paragraphs, and never forget about heading numbering.

The structure of your blog post should look something like this

he structure of your blog post should look like this after proofreading

4) Check if the text sticks to the predetermined goal and persona

5) See if the meta-description and meta-titles are optimized

6) Confirm that the word count is kept to the recommended extend

7) Make sure there is a convincing and snappy CTA at the bottom

8) Ensure there is appropriate linking (internal linking, external linking, and backlinking), and click on all of them to verify that none is a broken link.

(Learn more about Internal linking on our analytical guide)

Bonus tip: This process should take no more than one hour (but this always depends on the word count of the text you are assigned with).

How to choose proofreading services?

Like everything else in the online world, proofreading services come in a wide variety. So if you decide to invest in one, make sure you do your research before selecting. You can check a few items, including:

a) Reviews
b) Customer Services
c) Qualifications

How can you check the quality and reliability of the service?

Between automated, freelance, and companies that specialize in proofreading, feel free to use what is right for you as an individual or company.

SEO Copywriting Agency ensures your text is SEO-optimized and error-free, offering writing, editing services, and beyond.

If you are ready to put all of the aforementioned advice into practice but unsure where to begin, don’t waste any more time and speak with our team of professional editors and writers.

Increase your website sales quickly & efficiently, and watch your company expand.

Look through our SEO Growth Services, then select the one that most closely reflects your goals. You may rely on us to develop an all-encompassing SEO strategy that surpasses your needs and expectations.

FAQs on Proofreading & Editing


Does SEO Copywriting Agency offer professional proofreading & editing services?

It does! Our team of experts is ready to take on any editing and proofreading task. With a background in SEO and copywriting, we can optimize your texts and help you reach your goals in an efficient and non-time-consuming way.

Does it seriously harm my website if I upload a text with grammatical errors?

It does not have a particularly harmful effect on the website itself, but it can give your company a negative connotation to your brand’s credibility and professionalism, which is definitely not something you would want.

What are the must-have proofreading skills?

The skills that will turn you into a professional proofreader are simple yet so important.

  1. Concentration when reading a text is key.
  2. Creativity and an open-mind while reading someone else’s words.
  3. Engagement and dedication to the end goal.
  4. Critical thinking to make minimal corrections without implementing a different meaning to a sentence.

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