Let’s talk about SEO content guidelines.
First of all: We all love Google.
And Bing, Yahoo, Yandex and all those wonderful search engines.
Well, maybe not everyone does, but that’s another story.
Personally, I love Google.
When I say we all love Google, I mean every webmaster who lives from the traffic that Google sends us.
A traffic that is obtained through hard work.
And such work (sometimes) is rewarded in the way we seek: with more organic traffic for our websites.
With the visits we get, we will try to generate income.
Or maybe, to raise awareness.
Or simply beat our own drum on our own postmodern ego altar.
Google allows us to do that, and more.
However, let’s think for a moment: does this mean that Google provides the best results to its users?
This is what we will try to elucidate in this article.
SEO Content is false
OK, when reading the above title, someone will say:
“Oh, this is just a rant, how will you say that the content I wrote for hours is not such”
But please bear with me, I promise I’ll get to the point.
When I say “SEO content is false”, I do not mean that the content is really false.
We all know how much it costs to write an article.
Think of a good topic, develop it, find information, research on search queries, create backlinks…
All these activities would demonstrate that my statement is not real.
And the truth is that my statement is false. Up to a certain point.
When we write an article from an SEO perspective, we don’t do it to write a good article.
At least we don’t do it as our main objective.
What we are looking for is all those things that Google traffic will allow us.
- To sell.
- Create awareness
- Play the trumpet on the altar of our ego.
- Find the love of our life. Or that the love of our life finds us.
All valid and legitimate objectives.
And that’s why we do what we do.
Why we dedicate so much time to it, and also so much passion and commitment.
We write content for marketing purposes.
We create a SEO strategy and use all the tools at hand in order to be placed on first page of search engine rankings.
Good SEO content is good?
Today, Google requires more and more things so that the content we write is in the top positions of its result listings.
A minimum amount of words.
And since we are at it, let’s add video.
Maybe also an infographic, why not?
And let’s not forget to have links from other sites with authority!
All these ranking factors may seem excessive (and sometimes they are). But in a way, they are logical.
After all, if I look for “the best way to develop my online business”, I hope to have a lot of information. As detailed as possible.
That lot of information is what will eventually help me make a decision.
So, if I do a search for a business or money issue, that professionally written information will be of great value to me.
But … what if I want my grandmother’s apple pie recipe?
I can try that search query, and I will get a lot of results, with optimized videos, photos, etc.
All those results that Google shows (all, without exception) are from pages where the only intention is to generate money.
And I repeat: it’s not a bad thing. And it is valid.
In fact, I hope this article reports some income!
But what Google is not going to give me, never, NEVER, is the recipe for grandma’s apple pie.
Because my grandmother doesn’t know SEO.
And she doesn’t write content with keywords.
I’m 100% sure she doesn’t know SEO content guidelines or what long tail is.
She has no idea what words and acronyms such as SEO, SEM, Domain Authority, SERP, Site Optimization mean.
Nor does her recipe have backlinks from sites with authority. Or without it.
She doesn’t even remember when he wrote that recipe, or where it is.
She keeps a treasure that will never be discovered.
Does good content have authority?
Let’s leave my grandmother with her apple cobbler and her “Super Fast SEO and Marketing Course That Will Make You Rich in One Month” that a marketing guru has just sold her.
Let’s move on to authority.
I refer to the authority of knowledge.
From people who REALLY knows about a subject.
For example, let’s take the word “psychology.“
We will find a couple of links with real and obvious authority, some result with a rather dubious authority, and results that did their SEO duties well.
And the latter were rewarded. As it should be.
But being (as we are) knowledgeable about the subject, we know that these webpages filled with all the tricks in the book are rather poor.
My wife, a doctor of psychology, a researcher and a professor at two universities, only finds her books on very deep topics if she enters the exact title.
If she misses a word in the search terms, she’ll get pages and pages with good SEO about self-help, marketing (????), etc.
In fact, even what a teenager thinks about a topic tangentially related to psychology.
After all these results, she will find her books. And those of her colleagues, research papers, etc.
Talk about relevancy.
Do follow the authority!
We can extract an obvious insight from this: “people are more interested in what a teenager thinks about research in psychology than what a researcher thinks.”
And it is very likely. Of course.
And Google interprets that interest very well: it ranks the frivolous and entertaining result over the one that has authority on the subject.
Why? Because the shallow content will surely have user interaction. And way more interest than what 50 or 100 doctors may have on an academic paper.
But the underlying fact is that the results have no relevancy (at least not always).
The “authority” is given by the interaction. Which, to some extent, doesn’t make much sense.
And one of the proofs of this nonsense is the dofollow / nofollow directives.
Just in case someone doesn’t know about these directives, it’s a way to tell Google not to follow the link when googlebot (or other search engines) crawlers finds it.
OK, I’ll let you chew on that for a second.
For some reason, we need to add a link to out content. Or many links.
We need them to expand our point, clarification, additional content, etc.
I mean: the root of the Internet utopia. A way to share or expand knowledge.
So… what we do? Well, we tell search engines:
“Hey, I need these links for my content. Those outbound links will make my page better. They will help our readers, hence why I’m using them. So DON’T FOLLOW these outbound links“
If you are new to the whole Search Engine Optimization game, you will probably think:
“OK, I found the definition of psychosis. Maybe I should refine my search, this result looks like a teenager’s rant about something tangentially related to psychology”
But guess what?
This nonsense makes a lot of sense for SEO!
We’re oh so special people!
Search terms and relevance
Let’s say I’m looking for “learning with neural networks” and I get a YouTube video.
In that video, a youtuber explains it, in a version “for dummies”.
And suddenly, I think I know something about a subject I still have no clue.
For that reason, I interact with the video or publication and give it a like, thumbs up, clapping or a cookie.
The content has engagement and Google records it.
Then, that content gains authority.
The problem is that Google records the engagement of an ignorant like me, and my interaction was given to a youtuber who may know something.
Maybe he’s an expert on neural networks!
But the concrete fact is that Google considers that the content of the youtuber is superior to that of a doctor just because of the interaction.
Because this doctor writes with APA style and uses complicated words.
And each phrase has at least 100 words.
And use passive language. A lot.
And doesn’t care about how to get search engine traffic.
That is: the doctor writes like those who know the subject but ignore everything about SEO.
So SEO content is a trick?
Well, in a way, yes.
That is, none of us will write using the style or language of academic knowledge.
Nor will we use my grandmother’s language.
Quite the contrary, we’ll research the keywords. Add some long tail ones.
We will distribute them throughout the content.
Make sure there’s not duplicated content or low quality links.
We will place the right title tags, the perfect alt tags and the supreme markup from heaven
And of course, we are going to use the headings, the images, the anchor text and the OG snippets (no, it’s not “Original Gangsta”. I’m talking about Open Graph rich social snippets)
In short: we are going to make our article a “war tank” of SEO content.
We will bull grannies with our content. Take that, grandma!
And our “war tank”, fueled by speed optimization, may be able to defeat all its enemies on the battlefield of the search engine ranking.
Or maybe it is shattered by some of the thousands of “war tanks” that come to the battlefield every day.
Because let’s not forget that other people, right now, are doing the same as us.
Keyword research, always well distributed.
Load speed optimization.
The correct headings, and optimized images and videos.
And the tips and insights from those wonderful SEO tools that facilitate our work.
Is SEO content helpful?
OK, let’s say SEO content is not a trick. Or at least, not only “smoke and mirrors”.
But in itself, none of us will teach the tricks that we keep under our sleeves.
No one will learn psychology FOR REAL.
No one will learn to make that delicious cake that my grandmother used to make. A cake she doesn’t do anymore because she is doing the “Accelerated Marketing, SEO and Social Networks Course Get Rich in One Month”.
Maybe it may seem like an exaggeration. But how far is it from reality?
Attention, let’s be clear: This is a self-criticism of ourselves.
Google does its business, with its rules and its ways.
Google increasingly asks for more. And more.
Furthermore, it gives less every day. Those are the rules of the SEO content game.
And we choose to follow them. Because if our SEO techniques goes well, we’ll win a lot.
Because so, many people will find our wonderful SEO curated and baked content.
With all the keywords.
And all the correct headers.
With videos and images optimized for SEO.
And of course, high loading speed, measured by Gtmetrix, Lightspeed, Pingdom and my next door neighbor.
Google knows everything
I am 100% sure that Google knows everything I am saying.
Because Google knows that I am writing this with the mentioned techniques.
Google knows that I visited Neil Patel’s site and used Ubersuggest.
And what are the keywords I’m aiming for.
It also knows the funnels that I created.
And the repetition of terms, and my way of writing.
Including all the possible errors in my English.
And my knowledge of SEO content writing. Or lack of it.
Google knows everything.
It even knows that “42” is not really the answer.
And with all that it knows, with that collage of terms and keywords, and the rhythm of them, proper repetition, backlinks from other sites, mentions in social networks and a long list of variables, will give us what it considers the best result for our search.
But sometimes, we just want our grandmother’s apple pie.
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