SEO: Down with the keywords dictatorship!

The foundations of a content writer’s work look like lists. Those lists are more or less long, with a lot of words juxtaposed together. We call them keywords, and they’re here to make Google and its mighty algorithm happy.

The idea is pretty simple. It is all about writing texts full of keywords which are looked for a lot in search engines. This way, Google assumes the content is pertinent and makes it rise in the search results. As a consequence, the website is more visible, with more visits and therefore more conversions. It is ideal for clients, and being found on Google’s first page is a key for online success.

So it’s all about being pertinent. But here is the question: is it better to be pertinent for a computer with an algorithm for a brain or for real human beings, who are maybe interested by the content of the site?

The main issue of this keyword dictatorship (and SEO, logically) is that you can reach a point where you forget that the very principle of a website, article or any web content is to inform and interest.

The goal is to find the happy balance between optimizing for Google and optimizing for readers. The content has to be meaningful and full of keywords at the same time. And it has to be written to interest people. This is where the job gets complicated. The researches are rarely grammatically correct. Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say I am looking for a company providing strategic planning and marketing services, in the B2B industry, in Montreal. It is extremely rare to look for “strategic planning and marketing services, in the B2B industry, in Montreal”. It’s usually a lot shorter and looks like “b2b marketing montreal”. Or even worse, when you type too quickly because Google corrects it anyway: “markteing b2b montreal”. The problem here is that there are a lot of entries with mistakes, and they distort the keywords lists. And of course, you cannot write mistakes on purpose to please an algorithm.

This is why defining keywords is crucial: you have to make a choice. What is the most important? Having a legitimate content. What is the point of being first on Google if, as soon as a potential client finds your website, he runs away because the content is not interesting and ridden with mistakes?

As a conclusion, quality is more important than SEO. You have to think about the readers before thinking about the machines. And if you write pertinent content, some keywords will obviously be used. Sometimes, you just have to exaggerate a tiny bit and you’ll find this happy medium.

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