When Google’s reps have been asked how marketers can optimize their blogs for the latest algorithm updates, the answer these days has been some version of “Write content for users.”
But what does that mean exactly?
Does that mean ignoring the classic fundamentals of keywords in content and just writing willy-nilly? No. It means structuring your blogs around human interest, and with the human attention span in mind, then optimizing it without ruining it.
In short, it simply means writing better blogs. Here’s how.
A Return to Storytelling
The act of publishing has replaced the art of storytelling in recent years. But storytelling is back.
The benefits aren’t simply limited to SEO. You can also generate leads by storytelling if you make an emotional connection with your audience. Stories have just as much place in your web and brochure copy as they do in your blog.
Think of it this way: A satisfied customer (the hero) had a problem that needed fixing (the quest) until you came along and solved it (the happy ending). Tell that story because those struggles and pain points will resonate with your would-be customers.
Tell stories instead of simply publishing content.
A Shift in Thinking
The old way of thinking about a blog was, “Ok. What does Google want to see from this blog? Well, Google needs to see the keyword in the title, the first paragraph, one of the headings, and as 2.5% of the overall word count.” That’s all marketers cared about.
This needs to change.
Keywords still need to be a part of your blog. But you need to start asking, “What will entice a human to click this link if they see it in their social feed? Why should they choose it over everything else in the search engine results?”
Ask yourself how you can write headlines and leads that make an emotional connection to your audience’s pain points. Find the interesting statistics and quotes that can grab their attention. Again, find the story to build the narrative to make them want to read the whole story, instead of just skimming over it.
A Different Type of Brand Voice
Too many companies sit around a boardroom table with a whiteboard, trying to define a brand voice that will resonate with their target audience. However, you shouldn’t define your brand’s voice. Your audience should.
Read social media conversations, customer reviews and Q&A forums that discuss your industry. Pay particular attention to the words that people use to talk about their pain points. These are the words you need to use in your content. This is the most valuable and unfiltered demographic research you can get!
This represents a major shift in how most companies approach their content. It will take more time and effort to focus on storytelling, put yourself in the readers’ shoes, and redefine your brand’s voice.
However, a little bit of extra effort will go a long way. You will create blogs that humans actually want to read, and Google will notice.