I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about SEO for content.
When I started out as a copywriter five years ago, SEO for content wasn’t on my radar much.
Yes, I knew keywords were important.
Yes, I knew where they had to get integrated on the page to help them rank.
But, I never believed in writing for search engines.
I pay close attention to the message the words are sending far more than what Google wants.
Because I never want the writing to lose its authentic charm.
After starting my business, I began working with a few clients who placed a heavy focus on SEO for content.
Specifically, local SEO.
And even more specifically, local SEO for lawyers and doctors.
As I’d write the 50th page for a personal injury lawyer, having to somehow integrate an awkward keyword, such as “personal injury lawyer Tucson” (who talks like that?) into content without it feeling unnatural, I realized something.
SEO for Content is Ruining Our Humanity
That might sound dramatic, but it’s something I wrestle hard with every day.
On the one hand, I want the sales pages and blog posts to be real.
The goal with every single piece of content we create is for it to make a connection with the person on the other side of the screen.
On the other hand, Google is used daily by humans who need to find something to solve a problem.
If the content we create at Savvy Copywriters isn’t optimized for how the search engine robots need it to be so that they can appropriately categorize it, how will it ever get found?
How will the people who need these solutions ever find the answer to their problems?
Here’s the Bitter Reality of it All
Sometimes, I get frustrated with the whole thing.
I mean, really frustrated with it all.
Sure, my Tucson marketing business offers SEO services based purely on content creation as a primary service offering.
But it still frustrates me.
I’ve caught myself thinking things such as:
Masterminds like Seth Godin and Ash Ambrige don’t think about SEO (or at least it doesn’t appear they do), so is it really that necessary?
If the content we create is super, spot on human, it’ll get shared and that’ll help it get found, which will eventually help it show up on search engines, right? RIGHT? (Wrong.)
Will anyone care about what they read if all we ever do is try to appeal to the Google monster?
That’s the frustration I’m feeling now.
Perhaps you’ve felt it too in your own communications journey at one point or another?
The juggle of data finding vs. artistry is real. And yet, I can’t stop.
I can’t stop myself from looking up keywords because I have to know what the people outside of the four walls of my home office are looking up.
Can’t stop myself from integrating these keywords into posts because I know that’s what Google needs so that my and my client’s content can appear on search engines organically.
I Can’t Stop Because I’ve Been Pushed Back to Square One
A few weeks ago, I made the decision to move from having my personal name as my domain over to having my agency’s name as the domain.
This is part of the switch from being a freelancer solopreneur to blossoming into a fully functioning communications agency.
There are growing pains associated with any big move like this, and one of those is SEO for content.
More specifically, I’ve lost a few backlinks.
With the switch to a brand new domain, all the backlinks (read: SEO gold) I’ve built up to my old domain don’t matter as much.
To rank higher in search engines again, we need to start from scratch.
We have to rebuild those valuable backlinks to the new URL so we can kick our domain authority up from the bottom of the barrel—and fast.
Another challenge: Going from a one-man show to a small company means new keywords, all new copy, and of course, a completely different marketing message.
That’s a lot of shake-up for a business that’s growing up steadily.
To add fuel to the fire, I’m about to head on maternity leave for all of Q4 this year, leaving the bulk of the work to my team while I’m “out” (in quotes because, let’s face it, entrepreneurs are never really “out”).
And that begs the question…
Was It Worth It to Consciously Take a Few Steps Back in the SEO Game?
The short answer is this: Absolutely.
And I’ve spent plenty of sleepless nights, zoned out on many long drives, and stared out my office window way too many times justifying and reasoning to myself why that is.
My gut has been telling me that this is the right move, but it just felt so daunting.
Here’s what I came up with, which relates back to what nagged me about SEO from the get go:
Despite how important it is to rank high up on search engines, it’s equally important that the signal we’re sending to the person landing on the homepage is strong and clear.
The domain needs to convey the same message as we’re sending in all of the copy and content that fill the pages.
So, we work. We start over.
And from that, we seek new opportunities to connect with people outside of our own digi-walls.
We infuse keywords to show Google how to rank us, so we can get in front of the right group of people.
And in doing so, we’ll soon emerge out of level one and upwards through the page ranks.
And that is that. It’s real. It’s honest. And, it’s still SEO.
How do you reconcile your SEO game with human connection?
Please tell me I’m not the only one who has struggled with this!