As a writer, there have always been very specific things I wanted to communicate to you, the people who read our blogs. And, as a largely “not-buttoned-up” kind of guy, I have a way of crafting words to inform, entertain, and grab attention. I’m blunt. I’m honest. I’m almost into the red zone of snarky. I don’t feel like a blog is worth much if it’s not read by anybody. I also don’t feel it’s worth much if somebody reads it and gets absolutely nothing out of it. In fact, do you know what happens when I read a blog and get nothing out of it? I tend to say, “That sucked,” and avoid ever reading that blog again.
But the digital marketing world has been operating in a world that’s diametrically opposed to the above philosophies. A blog that’s not read is worth something. A blog that’s of no use to anybody is of value. And nobody seems to care if one bad blog after another leaves a negative impression on their brand. That’s because blogs are written for human readers second, and Google bots first.
I know how to SEO-optimize a blog, and it makes me grind my teeth to the nubs. I know how to research and analyze hot search terms, twist my headline like a pretzel to include it, make my first sentence bend to the search term’s will, and make those key words burst out like little attacks of Turret’s throughout the blog. I know how to seek out irrelevant link exchanges. I know how to play the SEO game like a good little content marketing soldier. But as a writer, as someone who wants to communicate human-to-human and provide real value, I want to take a “Crying Game” style shower every time I do it.
I know why we do it. I get it. Who doesn’t want to show up on the front page of Google results when a search term gets put in? But instead of building our brands and providing true value to our target audiences, we’re playing a Google game that winds up doing little more than promoting content that’s probably bad, or certainly not as good as it could be. Another reason you write blogs is to have worthwhile content to put out on your social streams. With the quality of your social content now the dominant factor in whether or not it shows up in Facebook News Feeds and gets engagement, do you really want to promote the daylights out of a blog for bots? Is it worth sacrificing your content chasing a Google algorithm that’s as much a mystery as why the Kardashians are famous?
You know who realized all this? Google! And if you believe what was hinted at in Austin at SXSW, there are big changes coming to address it. Google is allegedly about to start penalizing you for over-optimized content. How? No telling. But the drive is to promote and reward genuine, quality, useful, entertaining, informative, relevant content. If this is true, it means a few things, all of them good.
Good content will be liberated
Writers can say what they want to, how they want to, unconstrained by techno trickery.
Readers are going to get better material
Blogs will now be intended for human eyes. Much less “click-regret.”
The best content will rise to the top
The best singer should win “The Voice,” and the best material should win search results.
Blog writing will be done by writers, not SEO blog sweatshops
This is a whole separate blog, but I’m here to tell you we’re on the verge of an explosion of demand for real writers and content creators.
Social will get better
For those of us in social marketing, links that lead to relevant content instead of taking users down a bad-blog rabbit hole will only help.
I apologize for the noticeable lack of unrelated links to sites in Singapore in this blog.