When Google Webmaster Central says goodbye to Content Keywords on Search Console, it’s time for content creators and those who want content written to pay attention. Whether you write for the web or own a business, the goal of content is to address readers and get them to take action.
The change has caused surprise for business owners who come up with keywords for their business or “SEO” writers who have not been paying attention. Web copywriting has changed.
Here are Google’s official words on the change.
The words on your pages, the keywords if you will, are still important for Google's (and your users') understanding of your pages. While our systems have gotten better, they can't read your mind: be clear about what your site is about, and what you'd like to be found for. Tell visitors what makes your site, your products and services, special!
I wrote on this topic in March of 2014:
Most people are on internet sites looking for solutions to difficulties or enquiries they have. Engage them by
making your article enlightening and useful,
produce bulleted or numbered lists to make your page appealing and easy to read,
encouraging the reader down to the bottom of the page where your resource box is.
My mission in writing for others has been to elaborate on this to produce meaningful search results for clients: a clear understanding of the business that encourages a sale.
Words Still Matter
The words you use in your content still have significance, but in a different way. Words written in natural language to answer customer questions, allow your site visitors to understand your products and services and lead them toward a purchase. The vocabulary you use for your business reflects your understanding of customer need.
If your content is about you, your product, or service without filling a need, the text is just taking up space. The text may feed your ego, but if it doesn’t address client concerns your site visitor will skim, skip, or leave the page.
Julia McCoy recently wrote on LinkedIn
Online writing is designed to be about the audience first and you second, third, or fourth. With this in mind, use your personal experience, pain points, and knowledge to help THEM break down their issues, but don’t make yourself the center point of the story. Instead, keep the focus thoroughly on your readers and interject the “I” only when it’s really needed.
SEO stand for Search Engine Optimization and you want to optimize your text for search engines by addressing customer needs. A balance of discoverability (ranking) and sales is your goal. If you rank high but are not making sales, you are missing the point. Google understands how important it is to address customer needs.
Intent and Concept
If Google and other search engines are looking for quality over keywords how do you rethink your content?
Cosmetics are one thing, sound structure is another. A flashy title or intriguing image may get a reader to notice, but then it is time to engage the reader by answering a question or addressing a need.
Keep in mind your buyer's intent in searching for an answer. Aim your writing toward that intent. Whether you are creating text for a web page or writing an article, your intent is to respond to the reader's intent when they arrive.
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Consider every web page a landing page. Write clear text addressing the content of that page. Add links to other pages to expand the concept but don't try to jam everything about the business onto that one page.
Each article or blog addresses one complete idea in the same way. If you focus on the one concept and do it well, with links to other content or specific web pages that expand on the idea, the reader stays engaged. Your clear focus in addressing a need can lead them naturally to other content on the site.
Address Intent One Point at a Time
Keywords may be the starting point in research, but write your text in natural language to address one concept. When you address a reader need fully, their natural inclination will lead them along the buying process. Answer the question using words the reader understands, not your industry jargon, to engage reader attention.
Simply put, readers are people.
Zara writes semantic web content and ghostwrites books and guides business owners in writing content for customer action.