Posted on Jul 8, 2015

Why SEO Today Means Writing for Humans

As a small business owner, navigating through the mire that is SEO is not easy. You have to do SEO so that you appear in Google, but how and what you should do are the hard questions. Luckily there is an easy answer – write content on your website for humans.

“Write content on your website for humans” – that phrase in itself demonstrates how disconnected SEO often is from the reality of doing business. On reading those words you are probably thinking “Who else would I flipping write for – the man on the moon?”

The problem is the SEO industry. Here is a basic step-by-step example that explains how internet search works:

  1. Company creates a website page about car servicing
  1. Google reads that page and tries to figure out what it is about. It uses lots of things to help with this but two of the main factors are keywords and links. They help Google understand that your page is about “booking a service for your car” and not “getting to a church service in your car” (notice the similar words that have completely differentmeanings).
  1. Google then shows this web page when someone searches for car servicing, but doesn’t show it for searches related to church services.

So, keywords and links are important to the position of your pages in Google.

The SEO Expert

Step forward the SEO industry who, based on this keyword and link situation, often offer SMEs a solution to SEO that looks something like this:

Page stuffed with keywords + lots of links (even fake ones) = good ranking in Google.

This results in web pages that are not written for humans – hence the importance of the phrase above. Instead they have awkward sentence structures to wrangle keywords into submission. In addition they lack ideas and detail.

In the modern internet this presents two main problems:

  1. It will probably damage your ranking in search because Google is getting much better at identifying things whose primary purpose is to get a good rank. This includes content and links.
  1. More importantly, conversions with this sort of content suck.

Forget About Increasing Traffic Through SEO

Even though you might be new to SEO, it is time for a rethink. (Don’t worry. It’s not as exhausting as it initially sounds.)

You should stop thinking about SEO as a tool to increase the numbers of people visiting your website. And start thinking about SEO as a tool to get the right people visiting your website, so that you can increase conversions.

How do you do that? You write content on your website with people in mind, not keywords. This includes things that will genuinely help the people visiting your website – how-to-guides, opinion articles, articles that explore topics in detail.

Here is where the magic happens: by forgetting about increasing traffic to your website you will increase traffic to your website. People will share your content on social media which will increase the number of people visiting your website, but it goes further. This is also the sort of content that gets links – real, high quality and lasting links.

Those links will increase traffic to your website too, and they will help your ranking in Google.

Balance to be a “Hero”

As a business owner, you probably like to talk about your business, educate your customers, and help people with your products. SEO writing means doing all of this on your website.

This chart from Schaefer Marketing Solutions sums up the relationship between SEO and content:


Think about it in chunks:

  • Write basic content on your website that has top-notch SEO, such as the product and service pages
  • Other content on your website can have a less strict focus on SEO – but with one eye on search engines (regular blog posts are an example)
  • Write content which completely disregards search engines and is just created for humans

Find the right balance by combining top-notch SEO writing with simple storytelling. You’ll make the most impact this way and you’ll win the hearts of the humans who read your words on the web.