RoboYes, yes, we know you should write for people, but in doing so, it appears online businesses have forgotten they still also need to write for search engines. Optimisation is not dead yet.

At least, that’s the impression I am getting from current search results. They are getting worse, not better. And don’t even get me started on the amount of superficial nonsense I have to scan before finding something interesting to sink my teeth into!

Despite Google claiming the Hummingbird algorithm can understand the context of a search term, the results do not correspond with the theory. At best Hummingbird is guessing what the searcher wants to know.

And that is because content curators are no longer writing for search engines. And if they are, they are still writing the way they used to for the old algorithms.

For sure, you still have to use your most important keywords, but in some cases, keywords can be generic. Hummingbird wants us to be specific, which requires adopting long tail keywords, synonyms, related and associated keywords and theming content.

Who are you writing for?

This is the paradox; you are essentially writing for your audience because they want to read content that is fluent, cohesive and makes sense. However, if you do not write for search engines your content will not reach your audience through search channels.

Writing for people is easy. You just need to make it engaging and interesting. Keywords should come naturally, but the keywords are the subject you are writing about, and the terms the reader typed into the search engine.

The number of visitors you attract to your site will of course, be the pièce de résistance of your digital marketing campaign. If you do not publish content that attracts, engages and retains readers, forget about content marketing altogether. You are wasting your time and may as well just stick to technical SEO alone.

But if you are new to blogging and content marketing in general, your website is not going to rank well until you start attracting traffic and earning the trust of search engines. And that is why you cannot afford to forget that Google et al need instructing where to index your content.

Theme page content

Recent changes in search engine algorithms rank individual pages rather than entire sites. This means that the theme of your content should be limited to one key principle – which is centred around the principle keyword, obviously.

So if you are selling sports wear for example, a webpage optimised for men’s running shoes will not rank as well as a page for say, Nike running shoes for men. This search term should be included in metadata and as a long tail keyword embedded in your content and headings.

It makes sense for search engines to turn to this philosophy, after all end-users are looking for something specific. Marketers typically think in terms of user intent and think this is how to structure content.

And this is why search results are in a mess. Identifying user intent is the job of search engines. The role of content curators is delivering content that has information the end-user wants to read.

To do that, not only do you need to move away from the standard 500-word articles and superficial information that you can find on any competing site, and actually write content that is interesting and engaging. If needs must, be controversial. People love that.

And providing you tell search engines what readers can expect to find in your content, the more often it will be produced in search results. Furthermore, readers have wised-up to the regurgitated drivel business blogs are churning out. Eventually nobody will trust what you have to say anymore.

Stand out in the virtual crowd

And therein lies another purpose of writing for search engines. Google score your website on trust and authority. You need to be different to stand out in a crowd. Fresh, engaging content has a virtual neon light strapped to the top of its head.
When writing for an audience, create a unique voice, one that has a strong personality, makes people sit up and take notice and keeps readers entertained. That’s how to write for people. They want information and an enjoyable read.

Search engines on the other hand need signposts; keywords, metatags, long tail search terms, and specific themes all of which have to comply with marketing guidelines. So the next time you create a blog post, be mindful of what search engines need to index the page so that it appears in search engine results.