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Content for Content’s Sake: Writing For Humans Not SEO
SEO / 16 Dec 2021
Marketers often depict Google’s algorithm as an ambivalent, all-seeing, all-knowing AI intent on harming search engine rankings. But any SEO copywriter worth their salt knows this isn’t the case.
Take the David Attenborough of the SEO world, Neil Patel. His advice and ours, by extension, is always to remember that ‘Google’s goal is to satisfy humans… the version of you that uses Google on a daily basis‘.
Google’s overarching goal is, always has been, and always will be, to enhance its users’ experience, which led it to update its algorithm a whopping 3000 times in 2019.
No one (except maybe our Neil) can hope to keep abreast of all those changes, so before catastrophising about the next update, or the one after that, stay calm, maintain focus, and carry on.
What Does Attractive Content Look Like?
Humans value originality and creativity. Search engines like certainty, structure, and a clear path to follow.
At a glance, these approaches appear at odds. However, on closer inspection, key elements work together to achieve the best of both worlds.
Content That’s Well Designed and Easy to Read
There’s nothing worse than clicking onto a promising webpage, only to be assaulted by garish colours, bad design and poor readability. That’s a one-way ticket to the back button.
Content That Paints a Picture
Humans brains are lazy. Neuroscience tells us that our brains take shortcuts to conserve energy. Google leverages this fact in the content that it chooses to show its users.
Google’s algorithm prioritises well-rounded content that provides maximum value to a user. Content that paints a complete picture and answers all the likely questions they might have on a topic, preventing the frustration of searching for the answer via multiple sources.
Content That Adds Value
There’s plenty of duller-than-dishwater, regurgitated content out there.
Google looks for content with panache.
It likes content that offers a new perspective on a topic, deep, thoughtful insights, and adds value to what exists already rather than restating what’s already out there.
Content You Want to Share
Google prioritises content that makes you shout YES when you read it. It’s the content that you’d forward to a friend, share on socials, or bookmark for a rainy day.
So use that as a yardstick for all that you produce.
Ask yourself, is this something my ideal client would value enough to forward to a friend?
If the answer is no, there’s more work to do.
User Experience is Key
Monitoring and maintaining your site’s health is as important as ensuring top-notch content. Things like load speeds, mobile optimisation, and broken links can all affect your page performance.
In today’s society of instant gratification, no one is going to hang around for a site that’s performing poorly – no matter the value of the content within it.
Once you’ve handled the basics, it’s time to think content from a user experience point of view. The sweet spot for engaging content that ranks is where clarity meets creativity.
Optimise your content for your ideal client. Readability and usability are crucial to reap instant rewards.
Use Helpful Headings
No one likes a wall of text. It’s intimidating, offputting and causes readers to disengage.
Headings and subheadings tell Google (and humans) what to expect from your content. They’re skimmable and time-saving, guiding a reader’s attention down the page, keeping them there for longer. They also make your content more consumable for people in a hurry, leaving them able to skip to the information they need.
Add Informative Meta-Descriptions
Use your meta-description wisely (the snippet of text that appears under your page title on a search engine results page). Summarise the main point of your blog or article in a sentence or two. Include a keyword and a call to action where they naturally fit but don’t stuff them in unnecessarily. Make sure your description is less than 160 characters. Any longer than this, and Google cuts it off mid-sentence.
Use Keywords Sparingly (Where They Naturally Fit)
Google and other search engines are far more sophisticated than they used to be.
You can no longer get away with stuffing keywords into your copy at every given opportunity – and that’s a good thing.
It demonstrates that search engines, like humans, value quality over quantity. Over-reliance on keywords makes writing unpleasant to read by disrupting its flow and readability.
The Sky Doesn’t Fall Every Time There’s an Update
We’ll leave you with one last quote from Google to reassure you that all isn’t lost whenever the algorithm changes.
‘Search engines like Google do not understand content the way human beings do. Instead, we look for signals we can gather about content and understand how those correlate with how humans assess relevance.’
With the right structure and approach, your content’s rankings will improve as Google evolves – in no time at all.
Want to Talk White Label SEO?
With hundreds of algorithm changes each year, SEO is a whole can of worms for a digital marketing agency.
White label SEO is our specialism, so we’ll happily do the hard work for you, leaving you free to focus on the big picture and slap your margin on top.
Let’s talk about how we can work together. Book your discovery call today.
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