You want to write for your readers of course. But, you want Google to find you, too. Does it have to be one or the other? We ask Mr. Search Engine himself - Neil Patel to give us the lowdown.
Let me start by saying thank you very much, Meerkat for saving this file for me. It's just possible that someone forgot to hit "record." While the sound quality is not what we aim for, the information is so good, we had to share.
Neil wrote a blog post in February called SEO Copywriting: How To Write Content For People and Optimize For Google and we knew that he was the one to explain this tricky balancing act.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is about making your site visible to search engines like Google and Bing. Factors for ranking include sites linking to your site as well as social signals and technical considerations such as responsiveness.
What About Keywords?
Don't get hung up on these - search engines are pretty smart. Your keyword research should include looking at what is popular in your space. (We like BuzzSumo for this kind of research).
It's All About Content... And SEO
Neil knows. He spends about 20 hours a week writing. What works 100 years ago still works today. Neil suggests we all check out some of David Ogilvy's books. He's known as the father of advertising and his advice still works.
Content that works for SEO is written first for the user. Add in keywords when and if they make sense. Assuming the content you are working on is relevant an good, you are writing for search engines without even trying.
What About TItles and Meta Descriptions
Your headline is so important from a user perspective. Check out BuzzFeed and UpWorthy - they are so good at "click bait" which basically means they are so irresistible.
Meta descriptions used to be extremely powerful for SEO - stuff as many as you can in there and win! Now the
Why Link to Someone Else's Content?
It provides value to the readers, builds trust, and helps search engines figure out where you belong in the scheme of things.
The Importance of Responsiveness in SEO
We haven't noticed any huge changes - though some search engine listings show "mobile-friendly" designations now. Here's the thing - if your site does not look good on all devices, people who visit from those devices will leave right away, thereby telling Google, "Hey, this site isn't what I wanted." Google can take a hint, and your ranking will take a hit.
Elements of Great Content
Storytelling boosts connections and sales. People love stories. Google wants to please the user. Just focus on pleasing the user.
Case studies with plenty of data to back them up build trust and increase sales. The longer the better because more text tells Google more about what you are writing about.
Ever been tempted to embed an infographic, add a couple of paragraphs and call it a blog post? Guess what? If you users find it helpful - you should do it!!
Neil didn't want want to talk about Pinterest. :)
How to Get Backlinks the Right Way
Find websites that you would like to link to you. Send them some content you think they might link to and even suggest a page where your link might fit. It's a lot of grunt work, but people are often very willing to do so.
What About Site Structure & SEO?
This one was a listener question. Using breadcrumbs and internal links not only helps search engines know how to connect and crawl your information - it also helps your users get where they want to go, which means they stick around - which means Google gets the signal that they like you. Don't worry about fancy URL and folder structure, though.
Why Use PopUps?
This was a great guest question from our live Meerkat stream. Why use popups when people say they hate them? You'll have to listen in for the answer! :)
About Neil Patel
Neil was named a top 100 entrepreneur under 30 by the Obama administration and has a slew of amazing awards. He is also a serial business starter and is founder or co-founder of such noteworthy businesses as KISSMetrics, QuickSprout, Crazy Egg and Hello Bar.
He’s a contributing writer at neilpatel.com, entrepreneur.com, tech crunch mashable, Moz, and many more.
If he's not blogging, he's probably on a plane to somewhere that sounds pretty exotic.