Becoming an SEO robot? Start talking like a human again.

If you’ve ever read an article about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), then you’ve probably come away feeling like you’ve got your work cut out for you. You’ll be doomed if you don’t stuff your page with keywords and pump out content ad infinitum. Cast aside by Google’s All Powerful Algorithm. Dumped into the abyss of Page 2 of the Search Results! And that will be the end of you.

Okay, let’s calm down. Is SEO important? Of course it is. But the days when one could hope to game the algorithm with clever use of keywords are gone. These days it pays to walk and talk like a person.

A bit of quality content is better than heaps of “meh” content. 

Simplified SEO wisdom says you need to push out content, and you need to push it out regularly. And fast. And link it to other pages. And have heaps of keywords. But like so many other things, quality trumps quantity.

Here’s the thing about Google: they got to be our All Powerful Overlords by focusing on the experience of their own users. They’re not impressed by you pushing out slapdash content every single day of the year. There was a time when unscrupulous websites could game the algorithms with iffy content and push users to sites full of dodgy advertisers. Google got wise to this and came up with its Panda algorithm, which rewards quality over quantity.

Basically, if you want Google to be sweet to you, you’ve gotta be sweet to Google’s users (the Spice Girls said it first – If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends). Give Google’s users some quality content. Instead of pushing out five “meh” blogs a week, work towards putting out one awesome blog a week.

If you provide users with quality content, you engage with them on a human level. That means they stick around longer. Those engagement levels will make you look mighty sweet to Google.

All the keywords, keywords everywhere!

You’ve seen it before; I know you have. You go on a website, and something feels off. Then you realise the copy has included the phrase “Dog washer in Brisbane” six thousand times on the About Us page.

Over-stuffing keywords isn’t a great idea for a number of reasons. Firstly, if makes you look like A.I. that hasn’t quite nailed fluency in English. Kinda weird.

Furthermore, if Google catches you overstuffing your copy with the same keywords, it’ll send you slipping down the page ranks. What you want to do is exploit something called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords. In a nutshell, LSI keywords are similar in intent and context, but not exact matches. For example, “Dog washer in Brisbane” is semantically similar to “Queensland dog groomer”. Google likes LSI keywords because they’re closer to the actual way humans communicate. And if you’re communicating like a human, you’re more likely providing users with a quality experience.

All this is to say that the days are gone when you can blindly exploit SEO and expect Google to give you love. These days, you’re far better off knowing the SEO ropes, but approaching your copy with some humanity.

If you think you can outsmart Google, then good luck to you. But it’s a waste of time trying to game the algorithm. As a sage group of young Britain women once famously remarked: Now don’t go wasting my precious time/Get your act together we could be just fine.