Enough is Enough and Enough is too Much: Google and its Hatred of SEO
If you’re looking to work with a content writing service, it’s likely because you’re hip to the SEO scene. You understand that you need to work with a talented and knowledgeable copywriter to help you write your way to the top of the Google charts. You’ve read blog posts, books, articles, white papers, and scores of other pages on the subject. You know about the importance of keyword density and headings. A little bird named Twitter told you so.
It might take you a while to realize that while all of this is going on, Google’s at the other end of the equation, and it’s frowning at you. A word to the wise: Google hates SEO.
Of course Google hates SEO. The very idea behind it is to use Google’s algorithm against it in order to advance the placement of your site. The main reason why Google hates SEO is mainly due to black hat practices – and it was these very practices that caused the Google Caffeine and Google Panda updates to occur in the first place.
Take it straight from the horse’s mouth: in March of 2012, Google’s Matt Curtis came out and said that websites that had overoptmized content would be penalized. For some, this may seem disheartening – after all, many business owners put a lot of time and money into SEO. Why does Google have to be so hard to get along with?
Well, it’s those standards that make Google as astute of a search engine as it is. Think of it this way: as much as you want your website to be at the top of the Google pile. Google wants to make sure that only the most pertinent results are actually there. It’s safe to say that Google would lose relevancy fast if only black-hat sites succeeded in getting to the top – just because somebody understands how to link-spam doesn’t mean that the content of the site is relevant. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that sites that revert to link-spam aren’t relevant at all.
Keeping it Relevant and Optimized
Of course, this isn’t to say that all SEO tactics are bad. As a content writer, I work with a lot with clients who are deeply concerned about their SEO, and those concerns are valid. Even though Google doesn’t want sneaky sneaky sites to take advantage of the rules, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your site as attractive to Google as possible.
Think of SEO like a website putting on makeup for a night out on a date with Google. A little bit goes a long way – too much is far too overbearing. A little bit of mascara helps make things more attractive – but if you’re ringing your website’s eyes with orange neon glitter, it’s a bit much.
You can still write optimized content for Google without being penalized. How? SEOcopywriting.com has some wonderful suggestions, and, hey, I’ve got some too:
• Read your copy out loud. If it sounds awkward and unnaturally repetitive, it probably is. This is a good way to check for keyword stuffing, which has been a no-no since way back in the day. This is not to say that keywords can’t be used – hey, I’m using them right now! – but if your website reads like a repetitive mantra rather than useful content, it’s over optimized and Google’s not going to fall for it.
• Control bolding and linking. Obviously, I’m using bolding right now. Bolding and italicizing content is a way to get Google’s attention – it’s like giving the words the power to shout “look at me!” When you utilize H1 tags or linking too often, Google knows that you are pandering to the search engine rather than the reader, since randomly bolded words make no sense to a human. Think of it this way: if I had written this blog and bolded the word “writing” every time I used it, wouldn’t that look a bit strange?
• Don’t write for Google. I have worked with clients in the past who have been very concerned about what Google thinks about their website – and specifically requested that I write more for the machine than for the man. This is almost always a recipe for disaster – after all, Google isn’t reading your content. Google is simply looking for ways to organize it in an algorithm. Write for your reader.
To exemplify a proper use of bold, I’d like to use it again: don’t write for Google. The biggest mistake that many websites make is trying to attract Google, rather than the reader. If you attract the reader, you’ll attract Google. The more people that consider your website an actual resource, the more Google will turn its head.
And, by the way, remember that’s a metaphor. Google doesn’t actually have a head. It also doesn’t have a brain, or eyes, or feelings, or the ability to convert. That’s what the human does. In all reality, you wouldn’t put on any makeup for an algorithm. You’d do it for a date. Make your date with the reader, and your problems with over optimization will disappear.
Matt Cutts made this statement as a side note during his panel at SXSW. And as you can imagine there has been a ton of chatter about his intentions. Yes, Google will be adding some “anti-SEO” components to the algorithm but this by no means you should drop SEO. It’s rather just an indicator that you can’t put all your eyes in one basket. Everything Google has been doing in the past 3 years has taught us that optimizing your site for the best user experience is always the way to go. And often, that includes some basic SEO. Many top SEOs agree that the intention of this comment was to follow SEO only as far as it helps usability – not as an end to itself.
Will this statement have any effect on your SEO?
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