Create SEO content for users, not search engines in 2014


There was a great quote buried in a mundane SEO article almost two years ago – ancient history in our industry – that still rings true today. Now, I would modify this statement by taking out “SEO” and replace that acronym with “Search Engines” in general.

Google and Bing have finally reached a point where they are so sophisticated that all trickery has effectively been taken out of the SEO playbook. Now, as SEOs, we can finally exhale!

SEO Playbook: Then

Back when I started in SEO Copywriting, there was a definitive playbook that my first agency used, and boy, did they teach it to us. It was like the dark arts with ‘secret’ formulas of bullet points, cross-linking and peppering in keywords at just the right cadence. Even then, when this so-called secret sauce still worked, it was all BS.

Why? As a writer, you shouldn’t be writing throwing keywords in a bowl, throwing them up into the air and hope that you can “Shakespeare” your way into making sound like it’s a coherent piece of prose.

I’m sure a lot of battle-tested SEOs from that era still have the scars just like I do. After all, there are still plenty of these pieces of junk littered all over the virtual landscape of the internet – especially in the automotive space.

You’ll find all kinds of so-called ‘articles’ about every type of automotive OEM, individual automobile, part, everything that’s poorly written, and mentions XYZ keyword 10,000 times in order to catch old search engine traffic. Luckily for us, as consumers of the internet, the game is up. Google and Bing have simply improved their algorithms too much to fall for these kinds of shenanigans.

SEO Playbook: Now

Now? You use keywords, and as an extension, the Keyword Planner, as mere signposts, pointing you in the general direction of what to write about. Once you have that direction, you’re not chained to them, either. Sure, they have their place in today’s SEO, but they are not the one and only metric that they once were. Now, if you slavishly use keywords as the one and only metric, you’re sunk.

SEO is hardly “dead” as so many stylishly claimed over the past few years. Instead, it has changed to the creation of useful content that people may want to consume on the very sites that we, as SEOs, are trying to build a voice for. I say that it’s about time that we stopped slavishly living and dying by keyword ranking reports and started thinking about end users.

That’s what we should have been doing in the first place as SEOs and finally, we’re at a point where Google’s algorithm is sophisticated enough that it rewards you for doing so.

Thank you, Google! It’s about time.

Dan Patrick is the Digital Media Group Manager at Dealer Product Services. He also served as a SEO Analyst and Copywriter at Walgreens, CouponCabin, and LocalLaunch! Prior to his career in Search Engine Optimization, Dan was an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist in the Chicagoland area. In his personal life, Dan is a major automotive enthusiast, having attended major events including the Rolex 24 at Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and the Indianapolis 500. Thus far, he has attended major events for Indycar, NASCAR, NHRA, TUSCC, ALMS, GRAND-AM, TRANS-AM, and more.

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