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How Being Human Can Help You Win Search

June 13th, 2012

by Allison Carter

Slingshot SEO welcomes Allison Carter to our blog. While we focus on enterprise business, in this guest post from our friends at Roundpeg, Allison offers some great suggestions on content development and outreach for small businesses.

Do you ever feel like a slave to search engines? It’s easy to feel like you’re toiling away under some robotic overlord in a desperate scrabble to stay searchable. So you work every day to feed fresh content to those voracious search engines, because you know recent content chock full of keywords is critical to creating relevant search results. But high SERPs aren’t enough to achieve your ultimate business goals of getting more customers. Are your prospects finding the original, interesting content they expect when they click through those hard-won search results? If not, all the page-one rankings in the world won’t mean a hill of beans.

Serving Two Masters

Every word on your blog should be optimized for two separate and equally important masters:  search engines and actual human beings. It’s a delicate balancing act, having content that’ can be easily scanned by robot overlords while still being fresh and interesting for your prospects. But when you’re walking that tightrope, never lose sight of what’s important in search engine optimization. After all, your goal isn’t to be good at SEO. Your goal isn’t to be on page one of Google. Your goal is to sell things. And ultimately, it isn’t your number one ranking that will make people buy from you–it’s content they can’t find anywhere else, a blog post that speaks to their problems, an offer they can’t refuse, a solution they need.

Start by Being Human Yourself                                                                                                        

The best way to ensure you’re getting the kind of content that will inspire people to act is to be a human yourself. Don’t think of what will feed search engines—think of what will edify and inspire people. Start by considering your current customers. What kinds of questions do they ask you about your product? What kinds of problems do they have that need solving? How do you answer them? These FAQs make fantastic foundations for blog posts. After all, if customers want to know the answers, chances are prospects do, too. If you can lure them to your site with the promise of answers, you’re likely to get them to stick around and do something, too. And even better, these question-based blog posts tend to allow you to naturally insert your target keywords, as well as provide rich long-tail search possibilities.

Circle of Life

SEO thrives on great content. Great content thrives when it’s high in SERPs. When you find content that appeases robots and pleases humans, that’s when you’ll start seeing real business results.

Allison Carter is director of communications for Roundpeg, an Indianapolis marketing firm that specializes in helping small businesses become big businesses. She spends most of her days up to her elbows in words, working with small businesses to tell their unique stories through strategic social media use and rousing copywriting.

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