Do you want to know the secret to improving your SEO rankings in 2019?
The answer is simple. It’s to start ignoring Google completely.
Because if you’re creating content based on a lengthy SEO checklist, then you are killing your business.
It’s not a popular opinion, but in 2019 it’s absolutely true that writing to adhere to Google’s clandestine and ambiguous ranking algorithm will not move the needle in the way you want.
There are two broad reasons this is true:
a) Google’s algorithm is nuanced and sophisticated to the point it has become increasingly difficult to write in a way that catches their attention and helps you on the SERPs.
b) Creating content that ticks the boxes of an algorithm is, unsurprisingly, not the type of content that appeals to your human site visitors.
The marriage of these two unavoidable truths is that writing for Google in 2019 will not move you up the search engine result pages. And even worse, you will fail to connect with the traffic you do receive. This will cost you conversions and drive prospects to similar vendors, most likely to be your competitors.
With that said, on-page SEO is not dead. Far from it.
You should still devote time to ticking the most relevant SEO boxes. Some of the most valuable of these include:
- Optimising your Title Tags
- Express category hierarchy in your URLs
- Optimising image Alt Text
- Optimising your Meta Descriptions to increase CTR
- Use schema mark-up where appropriate
- Include relevant internal links
- Ensure your site is mobile friendly
- Ensure your site is loading fast
But that leads us to our next question, if writing for Google is a strategy of the past, what should you do today to start improving your rankings?
The answer is simple. Forget SEO and start writing for people because it is all about user experience.
When you do this you will be increasing the valuable user signals that will help you move the needle.
You’ll be engaging your audience and leading them to spend more time on your website, dive deeper into other relevant pages, reduce your bounce rate, and promote organic sharing of your content.
It’s these user signals that will send you to the top of Google. Not writing for Google’s algorithms or looking for ‘rank hacking’ strategies.
I recently spoke to SEO expert and co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, who believes that Google’s lack of clarity actually holds back businesses who want to create content that improves their search rankings.
With Google no longer a viable ranking compass, it’s time to start creating content based on what your audience needs, not what you think Google wants.
Ready to start writing for people instead of Google?
Here are 3 things you can do today to put people first:
#1 – Research before you write
You should always be conducting research before you commit to a piece of content. But in 2019 it is more important than ever.
Consider this sobering statistic. There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day.
To cut through the white noise of a volume so large as that requires more than a cursory reading of source material. While it may be confronting to consider, it is necessary to admit that someone else has likely created a more in-depth version of the content you are hoping to create.
Rather than let this scare you off, use it to motivate you. Read widely and consume everything you can on your chosen topic.
Once you have identified every premium article, guide, blog, resource, eBook and webinar on the market, it is your task to create a better and more valuable version.
That’s how you write for people and improve your SEO rankings.
#2 – Stop selling and start educating
Consumers in 2019 are far too savvy to fall for smoke and mirrors sales tactics.
Think of it this way, with the rise of ad blockers showing up to 25% of desktop users are bypassing digital ads. As well as this they use streaming services that remove the ads that were so ubiquitous in television. It’s easier than ever to recognise and avoid an unwanted sales push.
This form of interruptive advertising no longer works on audiences in 2019.
As a result, to start creating content that speaks to the desires of a human audience you should focus on educating and stop selling.
The most important question to ask of your content is…are you solving a problem?
Your readers and site visitors should leave feeling armed with new information or guidance that will empower them to solve their own problems.
This is the heart of successful content marketing in 2019 and should become your focus going forward.
#3 – Forget about keywords
Let’s be clear right now, you shouldn’t abandon keywords entirely.
Keyword research and the appropriate use of keywords across your Page Title, H1 and Content should still remain a valuable weapon in your SEO arsenal.
However, the obsession with LSI (latent Semantic Indexing) is overblown and serves no SEO purpose.
Here’s what I mean.
Any content writer with a focus on their human readers will naturally use a range of LSI keywords, more simply identified as keyword synonyms.
This is because your content, when written for people, should be in-depth and full of actionable tips.
When you create content to this standard you will naturally use a range of synonyms.
In this article alone I’ve given Google a range of clear indicators as to what the article is about. All without having to mine data and track the competitiveness of any keywords.
So forget about keywords and focus on your chosen topic. If your writing is strong and you keep the needs of your audience front and centre, the rest will take care of itself.
What is the secret to improving SEO rankings in 2019?
Content creation isn’t a skill that marketers and business owners are born with. It can be learned and improved upon over time.
With Google’s ranking algorithm as advanced as it is, it’s time to leave it alone to do its job.
If you want to the know the secret to improving your SEO rankings in 2019 it is simple.
There isn’t one.
On-page and technical SEO are still important. So get those right. But when it comes to content, the needs of your human visitors first, and your SEO will take care of itself.
What are you going to do today to start putting people first?
Alexander J Porter is Head of Copy for Paperclip Digital. Bringing a creative flair to everything that he does, he wields words to weave magic connections between brands and their buyers. With extensive experience as a content writer he is constantly driven to explore the way language can strike consumers like lightning.