“I don’t write for search engines. I write for people.”
Said by copywriters all over the web—in forums, blogs, and social media posts.
Fellow writers, that is not something to be proud of. Because here’s the thing: people use search engines.
Why would you not want your content to be found?
Deliberately choosing to NOT cater to search engines is the easy way out. I’m convinced that writers do this because they don’t know HOW to cater search engines, and are intimidated to try. It’s much simpler to get a little haughty about the subject and feel purposefully in the dark.
Trust me, I’ve been guilty of this.
I’ve written my share of online content that lacked direction and failed every SEO checklist on the web. But that was back in the day.
Now, I know that not writing for search engines is a little idiotic, because search engines are used by people.
Good SEO copywriting helps search engines out with quality control
Here’s the thing: Google is on top for a reason. It’s the best place to go when you’re looking for anything. How many times a day do you Google something? I’m not sure of my own average, but between work and personal life, it would have to be at least 10 times a day. Probably more like 30, since I’m one of the lazy people who doesn’t write .com on the end of anything and instead clicks through to the site I already knew I was going for.
If you’ve ever run a Google Adwords campaign, then you know what a quality score is. The quality score is a mix of many metrics, but let’s focus on two of them right now: keyword relevancy and on-page experience.
When a quality score really sucks, Google stops displaying the ad.
Many people outside of advertising are surprised to hear that. They assume Google will take anyone’s money any time of the day.
But if Google did that, then their search platform would go to shit.
People would click through to spammy, low-quality sites that loaded incredibly slowly or did something far, far worse.
If Google only concerned themselves with making money off ads in the short run, then they would no longer be able to serve their true customers (namely, the entire world) in the long run.
Searchers would have a bad experience with ads, and would either no longer click on any of them or would take their searches elsewhere.
The same holds true for organic results, in a way. If Google doesn’t give people what they want, they’ll leave.
If Google can’t make sense of your content and doesn’t trust your site, it won’t serve your posts or pages to their searchers.
So, by using SEO best practices, you’re putting yourself on Google’s good side and helping them…
- Maintain the quality of the search platform
- Deliver the right content to the right people
Ultimately, you win too.
Of course, things will change
“Writing for search engines” still has a bad connotation.
When I first started offering content marketing as a service, I was given misspelled keywords—on purpose. And that was less than two years ago.
Newsflash: purposefully using misspelled and ungrammatical sentences to capture search traffic is no longer recommended, and I’m not sure it ever was.
As Google gets smarter, seo copywriters get to up their own quality control.
You don’t need to worry about keyword density or keyword stuffing. So if “writing for search engines” makes you sneer, you probably need to brush up on what matters to Google today. Tactics that once worked will now work against you.
Smart copywriters write for search engines in every way they can, including image search. Again: why wouldn’t you want people to find your in-text images? Putting the right keyphrases in images, headlines, headings, and URLs is still a must for getting your content found.
It will all be worth it
I get really excited when I get a client to page 1 of the Google search engine results page for a given keyphrase.
Each and every relevant keyphrase that you position for is a victory.
Sometimes these keyphrases are highly targeted and payoff big. Sometimes they are relevant to a target audience who may or may not ever circle back to the website again. But considering that converting someone typically takes multiple touchpoints (particularly with SaaS) then every piece of content read by the right audience makes up part of the win.
Is your blog actually bringing in customers? Let’s talk about targeted content for your site.