Should you write your website content for Google or for humans?

August 9, 2022

I was meeting with a prospective client yesterday and he proudly showed me several pages on his website that had been written for “SEO” – to get his site ranked highly in Google.

It was a classic example of web content written for the search engines. Keywords carefully placed in the title and sub-headings, and nicely peppered throughout the page. All in all, a pretty good example of “SEO content writing”.

But there’s a big problem with these kind of web pages…

Hardly anybody (apart from Google’s ‘bots’) is going to bother to actually read them. They are boring and dull as ditch water!

When I pointed this out to my prospective client, he said: “Oh, I never really thought of that! I guess it explains why I’m not getting many enquiries from my website.”

When I suggested he needs some more persuasive sales copy on these pages, to point out the benefits of his products and services, so people will actually want to contact him… he replied: “But won’t I then lose all the SEO benefits?”

OK, well hang on a minute and take a step back…

Is the reason you do “SEO” so that you can proudly boast that your website is “on page one” for all your important keywords? Or is the reason you have a website so that you will generate more enquiries, leads, sales and profits for your business?

I suggest it’s the latter. So, all this “keyword-rich” SEO content is worthless if a person lands on the site, yawns and clicks away.

And furthermore, bear in mind that Google is getting smarter and smarter… to the point that its web bots can now recognise content that is genuinely interesting and engaging to humans, rather than just bland search engine fodder.

Google’s mission is to improve the quality of content it delivers to its users…

It’s in Google’s interest to get rid of this dry SEO content and instead give preference to unique, interesting content that people will actually want to read.

So, I have very clear philosophy when it comes to writing web content. I picture the reader in my mind, and I write as though I am talking to that person. I scarcely give Google a thought.

And the results of this approach over the last two years have been very interesting. Many of my blog posts, written with zero thought for Google, have risen to number one position in Google search results! So how the heck did that happen?

Is it just good luck?

Well, in one sense, yes… I’m lucky that Google has become smart enough now to recognise unique, thought-provoking and well-written content… and rank it ahead of the keyword-stuffed SEO mulch.

But in another sense it’s just a result of following a hunch that I had right from when I started marketing online. When I saw all the crazy SEO tactics over the years, I thought “this will never last”. So I bided my time, forgot about SEO and used other traffic generation methods (mainly pay-per-click advertising).

Now, it seems the tide has turned. I’ll just keep on doing what I’ve always done – trying to write informative and relevant content makes the Internet a better place.

If Google likes it and ranks my pages highly – that’s a bonus. And the way it’s looking now, I believe I’ve chosen the right course.

1 thought on “Should you write your website content for Google or for humans?”

Leave a comment