SEO is About People as Much as it is About Search Engines
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, but good SEO provides more than just a way to game Google for higher search rank. Sure, formatting your website content to appear higher in search results is an important marketing technique, but crafting excellent content should be the ultimate goal. After all, the entire point of a given search engine’s algorithm or any taxonomical tool (Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.) is to provide users with the best, most original, most useful and relevant content from the Internet. So how do we provide such content for our customers? We use human beings! People write original content, citing original sources (if necessary), using non-plagiarized meaningful content that follows a clear and easy to understand organizational outline.
Of course, there are several small tricks that are incorporated into SEO, such as tagging, “backlinking” and using proper image sizes (among a number of others), but serving your audience with meaningful content is the best way to engage them, even in the Internet age. The fact is, people know how to connect to other people. It is the reason that social media has become such a force in digital communication these days (and another important component of SEO). This is why enterprise organizations continue to develop social media and SEO content strategies that involve engaging, human-generated content.
As they say, “Content is King”. But more appropriately, they should say, “Good Content is King.” It isn’t enough to simply produce content. The content should be informative, authoritative, trustworthy (to achieve this your content should be as grammatically sound as possible, otherwise people will not trust you to take care of business if you can’t properly spell or write English well), inspiring and interactive. It should also be structured well, with a clear beginning, middle and end, a clear purpose/audience and broken up into parts with titles, subtitles, images and so forth. Bullets and lists should be formatted properly as well.
Just take a look at some of your favorite websites and observe how the good sites structure and present their content. Always ensure that the content on your website reads as easily as you would want it to read if you were the intended reader. Also ensure that the content would do what you wanted it to do if you were searching for that kind of subject matter. Usability isn’t considered a core part of SEO, but it certainly should be. Site audits can be a useful tool to understand where and how your audience interacts with your site and its content as well. Experiment with your data, analytics and metrics. Use the data to develop your content strategy.
Remember: SEO is about people, not just about machines. A search engine can pick up just about any public website and its content, but will the user actually find it useful 100 percent of the time? Probably not. It is up to you to craft meaningful content.