Are We Writing for Robots? A Look at the State of SEO in 2021
- What Google’s robots look for when evaluating a page
- How to optimize content for modern search
- Why you should write for humans first, robots second
- Relevant to searcher’s intent
- Factually accurate
- Easy to crawl and index
- Include your main keyword in the header, first sentence, and once or twice more
- Use custom images to increase dwell time
- Improve load speed
- Increase word count to enrich user experience
- Include external links to trustworthy domains
- Google wants you to write for humans
- Google’s AI is getting better and better at predicting human behaviour
- Write for humans, optimize for robots
There’s this far-reaching feeling among content writers that nobody reads our writing. We spend all this time churning out content—page after page after page—and the only readers we get are Google’s crawler bots. It can leave even the most seasoned writer disheartened. And it can leave us questioning the point of the job: Are we writing for humans, or are we writing for robots?
In 2019, we said that successful content needs to be written for humans, not robots. In 2021, that mantra has never been truer, and it will remain so in the foreseeable future. Now more than ever, content needs to be for humans. For it to be successful, your content needs to enrich people’s lives.
In this post, you’ll learn:
Google’s Search Crawlers
Every day, Google processes more than 3.5 billion search queries. They’re able to manage that task thanks to Googlebot, Google’s Web crawling software, which indexes and evaluates the Internet’s more than 4.2 billion Web pages.
What’s a crawler bot? Check out our post on Web crawl
When evaluating Web pages, Googlebot examines countless factors to determine their search result rankings. We don’t know all these factors, but we do know the essentials. Google’s page-quality guidelines say that content should be:
What Do the Robots Want?
Google’s robots want content that’s relevant, crawlable, and original. Google’s come a long way from its early days. Way back when, if you wanted to rank for a keyword, you could cram that keyword ad nauseum into your page, and eventually you’d see results.
Google’s algorithm is more sophisticated now, and it’ll only grow in sophistication as it matures.
It’s not only gotten more savvy about black-hat tricks like keyword stuffing. It’s also gotten much more aware of what users want when they’re searching online.
Ultimately, Google wants to recommend the best pages to human readers. That’s its service (or one of them, nowadays at least). The closer Google’s AI gets to mimicking human behaviour, the better.
So with that in mind, what’s our suggestion? Well…
Write for Humans. Optimize for Robots.
Write for humans. But optimize your pages so that they are easy for Google to crawl and index. In 2021, as in 2019, the most successful content is still written with human needs in mind. It’s written to fulfill a purpose, to add value to people’s values. That value can take many forms, be it informative, educational, or for the sake of entertainment. But it needs to be there.
Once you’ve written your content and made it the best possible for human eyes, you need to optimize it so Google will assess it fairly.
You can optimize your content by doing the following:
In sum: Write your content knowing that robots will read it. But don’t write it for them. Write it for humans. Write it for the audience you want. Because if not for them, who?
Key Takeaways for SEO Content Writing
Need to Rethink Your SEO Strategy? LinkNow Media’s Here to Help
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