It seems like every day someone comes out with a new blog telling you how to write optimal SEO content. Each blog has a different list of things to do, steps to take, and advice to give. How do you know who to trust? Which rules do you follow?
The answer: none of them. That makes sense, right? Take all the rules of SEO and throw them out the window. It’s okay. Just let it sink in for a minute. Breathe… and breathe… There. All better? Well maybe by the end of this article you’ll be right as rain.
Why Practice SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the practice of making your content more favorable in the eyes of almighty Google. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Find a keyword that people are searching for related to your product and use it in your copy.
- Have other articles back-link to your page as reference.
- Write copy between 800-1200 words in length.
Doing any of the above—and about 1000 other things—can make Google think that your copy deserves to be at the top of page one. But why bother? Google, along with other search engines like Yahoo and Bing (yes, people actually use Bing), change their algorithms all the time. They add new criteria and take old ones away almost monthly, but many of the core principles stay the same. This is why it’s a good idea to have some knowledge of basic SEO concepts.
What You Need to Know about SEO
But in all honesty, this can only get you so far. A basic knowledge of SEO is pretty much all you need when writing copy for a new webpage or blog post. Why? Because you shouldn’t be writing for robots; you should be writing for human beings. Say it with me: “I will not write for robots. I will write for humans.”
Back in the good old days, you used to be able to run tricks on the search bots. This was called “Black Hatting”. One way of doing this was taking your page and stuffing it full of keywords. You’ve probably read copy like this before. “Ice cream is great because ice cream tastes like ice cream and is cold, like ice cream.”
Search bots would have seen this and said ‘Hey, this is great. Look at all the times they use the word ‘Ice cream’! Lets put them as the #1 result for ‘Ice Cream’ searches because they obviously know what they’re talking about.
After a while, the people at Google (who are much smarter than I am) started realizing that their search results were being adversely affected by people playing tricks on their robots. They quickly started putting these pages at the bottom of the list.
Black hatting doesn’t just have to do with keyword stuffing, though. It can refer to any number of practices taking advantage of SEO bots. That’s where all these different rules and ‘Optimal SEO Practice’ blogs come from.
When Google changes their algorithm, new blogs come out of the woodworks from all corners of the internet giving you different advice on your SEO practices. Some say you should only use a keyword twice; others say three times is the optimal use of a keyword. Some people say that 300 words is the max for a blog post while others say 1200 works best.
Ignore this. Ignore it. Throw it out the window. Is it gone? Good. Write for people. Not for robots. When you write content that is captivating, fun, and easy to read, people will click on it, share it online, and tell their friends about it. This is all you need to know. The more people share and talk about your content, the more reach it will have. Worry about this more than how many times you used a keyword or how many times you have a keyword in an H1 on your document.
Once you start writing content for human beings, you’ll not only become a better writer, but you’ll see more traffic to your site, more shares on social media, and most importantly, more sales.