SEO: Are You Writing for Search Engines or Readers?

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To me writing is intimate. It is a connection between my readers and myself. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing about, I need to gain trust and keep it. It’s a relationship which needs to be nurtured, even if it’s on a webpage which markets a product or a service.

If I do something which annoys my wife, I run the risk of an argument. If I consistently annoy her, I’ll hear about it. Unfortunately, my readers can’t vent their frustration with me. They just stop reading my work.

What Your Reader Wants
Good copy offers meaningful information to the reader and is well written. It has more concern for the person who reads your writing than for the search engine they use to find it. Your reader does not care about keyword variations, keyword density or adding modifiers. They care about finding what they are looking for as easily and efficiently as possible.

They need us, the online copywriters to understand what we write so they too can grasp it and find the solution they need.

Google Understands
Google evolves daily with high tech algorithms which get better every week. They don’t rely on traditional search results but are continually looking to improve the service they provide to their users. They understand if they lead their users to crap writing, they too will have relationship issues.

The growing number of search features which improve usability are significant additions to the experience Google offers its users. This ability helps them generate billions of dollars each quarter. What drives this revenue is their advertising network. But this cash cow depends on Google being the go-to search engine for the internet.

In today’s culture, Google has become synonymous with search. This recognition drives their traffic (3.5 billion searches a day) and advertising revenue. There are plenty of alternatives, but Google is the best. The proof is in their numbers with over two trillion searches each year.

Its role in the lives of people on this planet is founded on Google’s dedication to ensuring it gives the best direction to search queries anywhere and at any time. For this reason, they don’t need writers to write specifically for them. They serve their users not themselves and would prefer we help their users as well.

What Is Good Content?
What does Google consider good copy? We understand its ranking symbols and algorithms help their users find the right content to satisfy their search requests. But how do they distinguish good copy from bad?

Their answer may lie in their 164-page Search Quality Evaluator. Although they point out these guidelines do not directly determine their ranking dynamic, they admit it offers useful data for creating great content. It also informs us what they consider bad content as well.

Here are some highlights of what Google deems essential about content:

  • Your page should define its purpose
  • Content should reveal its expertise and trustworthiness easily
  • Amount of and quality of information provided
  • Information about the creator of the material (bios and website credibility)
  • Links to help research information and sources provided

Well-researched and well-written content with a defined purpose is critical, but so is relevancy for visibility in search engines. Relevancy is the most important factor for content searchability on the internet. If your content doesn’t answer the question of the search query, it won’t be the right piece for landing.

These triggers are not resulting from exact-match phrases or keyword usage, but good content which answers the right questions from the public. The best way to provide this copy is through good, informative writing.

Guidelines for Good Content
Not everyone is a good writer. Good writing is an art which takes time to sharpen and refine. If you write well today, you know how to write for people. Don’t change this approach by letting the search engines worry you.

Copywriters who are rushing to publish content to give websites notoriety without purpose are missing the mark.

Here are some good habits to ensure quality content:

  • Focus your writing on the audience you are trying to attract. Make your piece a stage where you can perform for them; then look for the applause of engagement, much like a musician or an actor.
  • Research your subject matter thoroughly. Know the whole story before you start writing. Outline with introduction, body, and conclusion. Make it easy to browse with sub-headers.
  • Write well by using correct grammar and punctuation. Keep it on topic and provide sources when necessary.
  • Use a byline when applicable. Google wants to know where the content is coming from and the authority and reputation of the person representing the piece.
  • Educate your readers through informative, thorough pages which has purpose and substance. Once you gain trust in what they read, they will reward you with loyalty.
  • Cite your sources when you can. Data and stats mean nothing if you can’t back them up with reliable sources.

As writers, we have been honing our craft for readership. Search engine algorithms are not people, but they play an important role in getting our copy to them. Google and other online companies have spent millions of man hours and dollars perfecting their ability to provide the best answers to their users. Understanding what they look for will go a long way to make you an exceptional SEO writer.

 

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