These are all essential elements of the vast, complex microcosm of SEO. However, an undue focus on the minutiae of keyword placement and phrasing misses the whole point. Question number one should be: Is your content worth reading?
I suspect that some of us have been writing SEO content for so long that we have forgotten what it’s like to be a casual reader of web content. When was the last time you browsed blogs or articles for information or entertainment… or just for the fun of it? Are you able to read blogs without evaluating keywords and judging its SEO value? It can be a highly instructive exercise to put yourself in the shoes of a net neophyte. After all, most of your target audience won’t know or care much about SEO.
So, what does your average blog or article reader care about? What makes someone want to click on a link and read the rest of the story? This, of course, is the $10,000 question. A big step in the right direction is to keep this rule in mind: Quality First. Make it your mantra, for there is a big idea in that little phrase.
Think about it. Would you want to read rehashed, spun, keyword-stuffed content? How would you feel if you clicked on a title filled to the brim with promise, only to be redirected to what amounts to an extended advertisement? It seems that all too often, the SEO article has become the infomercial—or worse yet, the used car salesman—of the new millennium. There’s a fine line between marketing and just being pushy.
People don’t buy products and services from people and businesses they don’t like. If you’re providing content, then it’s your responsibility to give potential clients something to like, and quality content is the key. When you inform, entertain, persuade, or otherwise engage the reader, you’re optimizing in a very organic way. I remember an old saying: “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Well, you can also catch and keep more customers with good content than with shouting and repetition.
Saying “Quality First” means that more is not better; better is better. If you’re spinning a junk article, then all you’ve got is more junk. If you stuff junk with keywords, then you’ve got stuffed junk. You might catch a few unwary net denizens with your search engine rankings, but once they click through and see the junk you’re churning out, it’s game over: No sale, and a bruised reputation.
Don’t try to beat the system by sacrificing quality for quantity. Get back to basics: Useful, worthwhile, memorable content that keeps ’em coming back for more—and earns their trust. Remember, a sale happens long before the money changes hands. Practice “Quality First” to build connections, trust, a healthy buzz… and, in time, sales.