“Once you’ve identified an issue that you can address with your content, go ahead and write about it. Make it the very best on the internet, such that it can have the biggest impact on whoever reads it. Yes optimize it for SEO where you can, without messing up the quality. Google traffic is sweet. But here’s the thing: That human being who comes to your blog from Google expects epic content. And if they get epic stuff, you’ll stay in business for a long time.” ~Walter Akolo
Recently, I went on a Facebook rant about bloggers who care more about SEO writing than their readers.
What set me off on this rant?
A post and the supporting comments in a Facebook blogging group that I belong to.
“What do you do when the best keywords for an article are extremely difficult to compete with? Do you not even bother writing the article at all or do you do it anyways?”
Numerous comments supported her idea of not even bothering to write the article if she couldn’t get the right keywords for search engine ranking.
Frankly, as a writer and blogger myself, I was shocked. When did bloggers and writers stop writing for their readers and start writing solely for the machine?
Don’t get me wrong; I’m guilty of littering the web with keyword-stuffed SEO articles. When the 2008 recession hit, I lost my job. I helped pay my bills working for an SEO writing company. And I hated every minute of the soul-sucking work.
But I could NEVER imagine writing that kind of stuff for my blogs or the clients I have today. Nor could I imagine not writing a piece just because it “might not” rank well in the search engines. I’ve always written for myself and my audience first, SEO last. My blogs don’t always rank as high as some of the “popular” blogs, but my readers are happy. And that is what counts!
I believe as writers; we have a responsibility to our readers, NOT the damn machine. SEO writing is essential but NOT as important as your readers.
If you have an impressive piece, write it and publish it. Don’t leave it sitting on the shelf just because the keywords aren’t working for you. What if your article changed someone’s life? Or went viral organically, because your readers loved and shared it?
Let’s face it, SEO writing sucks! And here are the top five reasons why you should be writing epic content for your readers first and SEO last.
Google Rewards for Well-Written Informative Content
“When I have something important to say that I think will help people, I don’t even bother with SEO at all (at least for my own blog).” ~ Mariana Abeid-McDougall
A year or two ago, I wouldn’t be claiming that Google rewards for well-written informative content. It’s one of the main reasons why hundreds of thousands of tedious, keyword-stuffed, crappy articles litter the web.
But today the algorithms have changed, and Google ranks the good stuff first.
SEO writing is still critical, but delivering high-quality content is more important, especially for ranking with Google.
Writing Content for the Machine Does Not Satisfy Your Readers
“In the sea of the information written to satisfy the machine, people are left with no quality content to read.” ~ Katarina Lukić
A few years ago, you could easily use keyword-stuffed articles to rank number one with the search engines.
The problem is, you didn’t produce content your readers wanted to read.
Today, it’s an entirely different story!
Readers demand high-quality, informative writing. And because of this demand, the search engines now consider bounce rate. If you can’t keep people on your pages, your bounce rate will sink you down the rankings.
Yes, you heard me right!
The longer people hang out on your pages, the higher you rank in search engine results. So forget writing for the machine and write content that satisfies your readers instead!
Content Written for SEO Feels Artificial
“When you search for keywords and then write your content around them, it’s an artificial process.” ~ James Cochrane
Articles written around keywords always feel forced and artificial. Whereas ones written because the writer had something to share, feels more natural. And your readers can feel the difference.
Instead of researching keywords first, write the first and maybe even the second draft of your article. Then do your research.
You’ll find that your piece feels much more natural and less artificial when you place the keywords in after a draft or two is written. And if a keyword just doesn’t fit, forget it. Don’t force it!
And if, when researching, you find that your article doesn’t have high ranking keywords, publish it anyway. We are continually becoming more connected. And as that happens, our knowledge base grows. Obscure keywords today could be tomorrow’s treasure.
Excellent Content is What Goes Viral
“Awesome content is what goes viral.” ~ Amy Boyington
Going viral is the ultimate goal of any writer. It’s like winning the online lottery when a piece explodes across the internet. But keyword stuffing will not make an article go viral. Your audience will!
Writing in a way that resonates with your audience, makes your readers want to share with others.
Because they felt something!
Humans rarely use logic to make decisions. Instead, emotions and feelings drive decision making. So, when your readers feel, they want others to feel what they felt. As a result, they share. And sharing is what gives your article the potential to go viral. Not the keywords!
BTW, Google rewards for shares, so the more shares, the higher your article ranks. Are you still thinking that not writing a piece because the keywords don’t match is a good idea?
Epic Content Creates Loyal Readers
“That human being who comes to your blog from Google expects epic content. And if they get epic stuff, you’ll stay in business for a long time.” ~ Walter Akolo
It’s a fact!
If you want to create loyalty you have to have significant content.
Not only will it keep your current readers but it’ll convert new visitors into “regulars” and reduce your bounce rate. Keyword-stuffed articles just can’t convert the same way. Instead, you need up-to-date, informative, fresh content.
Produce epic content that hits all the right notes, and your audience will reward you with their loyalty. Don’t, and they’ll move on to someone who will.
Hopefully, by now, you understand the importance of why writing for your audience is more important than writing for the machine. SEO writing truly sucks, and your readers or the search engines no longer reward for doing it. So, stop letting keywords dictate your writing and instead, write engaging content that will wow your readers. In return, you will also wow the machine.