I’d like to begin by asking you to recall a time before Google, a time before SEO copywriters and YouTube…
‘What’s that?’ you say, ‘was there such a time?’
Oh yes. It was a time before the silver bullet of SEO. A time of less magical thinking, when we sought to grow our businesses not by relying on one company’s vision of indexing humanity, but instead by working hard and building a solid reputation in our communities and beyond.
Of course, this rose-coloured version of the past never really existed, (we always imagine there’s a silver bullet), but hopefully it helps you step back from the day-to-day of Internet marketing madness.
Start thinking beyond search engines
The changes that Google and the other major search engines are making to the way they rank websites are designed to help people find what they are searching for. Gaming the system with spammy sites and cheap keyword-stuffed content is no longer working and no matter how many links point to your site, you still need to create a great site.
Don’t believe me? Check out this analysis of a Matt Cutts help video (he’s the Google Engineer who talks about search in a way we can all understand):
“I wouldn’t put too much of a tunnel vision focus on just links, I would try to think instead about what I can do to market my website to make it more well known within my community, or more broadly, without only thinking about search engines.”
You see, Google is looking at indicators of quality, But, until Google can understand what the person on the street thinks of your business, much of its data comes from, yes…
The words on your website.
SEO copywriting is more important than ever before
The skill of artfully crafting a piece of writing that engages emotion, persuades against doubt and easily guides a reader from viewer to buyer is one that few possess. Sadly, that hasn’t stopped many websites from putting any old words online.
Then came the beginning of SEO copywriting and the magical thinking started: ‘If we just put enough keywords on our pages and buy some links, we’re good to go, right?’
Today, Google’s official help document describing ranking, says this:
In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.
There are those terms again: Quality, Users (i.e. people).
Quality content is not about punctuation or grammar – although those are important in good writing – quality content that real people want to share is writing they like, are persuaded by and (heavens above!) helps them get what they want.
That’s SEO copywriting at its best.
What about SEO?
Does all this mean that you should stop paying attention to SEO?
It means that you should continue to invest in quality SEO that targets your users, speaks with them in their language and on their terms, and that gives them a great overall experience on your website.
It means that there really is no silver bullet that will magically get you thousands of paying customers for free.
You have to do the hard work and win them over, just as businesses always have.
The great thing about search is, however, that when you’ve done SEO right, when customers go looking, they find you.