Your audience v. Google: who are you writing for?

by Stratton Craig

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Billions of searches happen every day on its platform, and with over 65% share of the search market, Google demands your attention. But with every update to the Google algorithm taking it in a direction to a more human frame of mind, should we rethink our priorities when it comes to search optimisation?
Wait, what is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is the practice of improving the position that your website appears in the ‘organic’ results from search engine giants like Google, and is one of the most important aspects of online marketing strategy. To give you an idea of just how important – let’s talk about rankings. The number one ranking page in Google gets 33% of search traffic, and a number one ranking on that page will guarantee you the lion’s share of visitor clicks. That’s a lot of traffic to your website, and traffic equals views, followers and sales.  This is why businesses big and small, old and new, are all scrambling to optimise their search rankings.
The dirty battle for rankings
With palpable and measurable benefits to web marketing, you can see why companies will do pretty much anything to serve the colossal search beasts, even giving in to sneaky tactics in an attempt to cheat their way to the top. Typical dodgy behaviour involves keyword stuffing – the repetitive use of keywords so that they unnaturally appear word after word…after word. Word! Other trickery includes doorway pages – text that matches the page’s background colour so that the human eye can’t catch it, but search engines can still index it, and keywords intentionally used incorrectly or even misspelled just to rank in other searches. Hidden text, meta-tag and content stuffing, mediocre and useless content – it’s all bad, and even if it works temporarily, it won’t work for long.
The Google robot is smarter than you think
The perpetual evolution to Google’s method for delivering search results has shown us that the robots (Google’s algorithms) are getting smarter at figuring out the intent and context of our queries and what we’re writing and marketing. Google is starting to listen, think and act like a human with a goal in order to provide you with more relevant results. Things like instant answers and knowledge graphs, personalisation and history, ranking signals and Google Now are proof that Google is one step ahead of you. Spammers and scammers known to harbour malware or use misleading methods will be devalued and, in some cases, even penalised.
The Google robots are evolving to become your complete human audience. The greatest SEO strategies are multifaceted and complex, and while you may feel like you’re writing for and fighting for both armies, it’s important to remember that Google’s goal is to serve your audience. And to do that, they need to be your audience.
Loyal audiences first, SEO second
Instead of focusing on how to think like Google by becoming an algorithm hawk probing into every change for the latest trick, concentrate instead on giving your customers what they want: interesting, compelling, authentic content shared through various social networks. This is the failsafe way to create loyal audiences. And with loyal audiences, the approach to SEO is easy, because once you’ve earned them you can use their amplification to help you perform better in search.
Producing unexceptional or pointless content isn’t enough for Google, so if you’re finding it challenging to put out great material on a regular basis, talk to someone who can produce unique and memorable content for you. Like us! The statistics show that investment in such a partnership will return to you in the form of new customers. And as long as you’re focusing on quality content instead of quantity and giving your audiences what they want, you’ll inadvertently be giving Google what it wants. Robots are human these days after all!

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