I recently asked a creative director friend about his thoughts on SEO.
I must share his response verbatim: SEO copy is clogging computer screens. It pisses everyone off when SEOs fill the world with words of infinitesimal value that add nothing to the greater good.
Strong opinion, but fair enough. There is a lot of damp content out there written in the name of SEO.
The Dead Web
Much of the web contains content created by fingers for robots rather than by brains for people.
I imagine a factory of thousands of apathetic fingers stomping out content at 70 wpm just to create pounds of fresh content to help SEO.
The result is a vast majority of the web that no one cares about.
Old School, Keyword Heavy SEO is Out
A common corporate SEO approach involves contracting writers at low rates to pump out keyword-heavy content.
Man, thats so first-decade SEO.
The idea behind this approach is to keep websites fresh with new copy, which is a good; however, this keyword-stuffed dribble is likely hurting their SEO.
Theyre likely damaging their SEO (and conversions) because theyre weighing the site down with garbage that no ones reading, clicking through, linking to, or sharing with their friends. And search engines are noticing that.
Companies often see a better ROI when hire a trained writer or a clever PR/marketing firm to develop two or three well-crafted messages a week, rather than paying a keyword stuffer to produce ten pages of dull content for the same period.
Evolved SEO is HOC
Its time to stop worrying about tweaking content for search engines and instead focus on writing HOC, human optimized content.
Search engines will reward us if we offer the world intelligent content.
We need to stop worrying about how many times a keyword is mentioned and how often we post new content to our sites. We should put our energies (and funds) toward publishing meaningful copy that people want to interact with.
Worry about the search engines by making sure your content is link worthy and your site has a strong SEO foundation (back-end and architectural).
Search Bots Getting Smarter, Time for HOC is Now
Search bots are now better equipped to determine content value. As they continue to evolve, theyll advance even further in determining whether copy is relevant to human searchers.
Fresh content is still needed, but its not worth paying someone to write 600-word, keyword-cluttered nonsense.
Search engines are signaling that theyre devaluing stagnant copy (just look at the new features in Google Webmaster Tools). I've noticed the content that gets "used" the most (it circles the social world, gets clicks, people spend time on the page, etc.) ranks better--and that's likely because it naturally attracts genuine links.
These bots are also getting better at identifying paid links. Soon, instead of faking it by publishing bland keyword copy and buying links, every web owner will have to gain links the old-fashioned way: by producing interesting content.
But isnt that the most exciting part of the SEO job, anyway?
So, what types of HOC content do you create to earn eyeballs and links?
Please note the opinions in this blog post are my own and do not reflect those of my employer.
Meaghan Olson is a writer and digital marketer living in Chicago. She's a believer in the power of words – and in the technology that makes those words matter. Meaghan is the SEO Director at MyUS.com and she runs a site dedicated to giardiniera, the most delicious and under-appreciated condiment in the world. On the weekends, you can find her in section 157 at U.S. Cellular Field cheering for the White Sox.