Write For People And Not For SEO


Tuesday night I received an email from someone who offered to teach me how to write “dynamic, turnkey copy that is optimized for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and guaranteed to drive copious amounts of traffic to my blog.”

My response was to point, click and delete.

It wasn’t because I don’t believe in SEO or see value in it. It is a very useful piece of the puzzle and when used effectively a tremendous asset.  However many people don’t understand how it works well enough to teach others how to use it or why they should.

If I was going to take a course I would probably look at what Sean McGinnis  is doing at 312 Digital or someone else who showed me they understand how to communicate and write for people.

I am not interested in paying for writing advice from someone who sent over 598 words of “Authentic Frontier Gibberish.”

Write For People

Not unlike many bloggers I would love to have a million or more readers grace these Hallowed Halls of Cyberspace each month. It would be wonderful to be faced with the problem of trying to manage a community of that size.

Sadly I am more than several hundred thousand people away from hitting that mark so there is a lot of work to be done to build things around here.  However I have a simple, yet effective plan to help reach that objective.

It is based upon the following  three words:

Write For People

It is not real complicated.  Write posts that people want to read by providing useful content that is interesting and easily digested.

When you write for people you use the same sort of structure you would use in person by telling a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end.

Don’t Be The Schmuck On The Camel and pepper your posts with gobbledy gook because it turns people off.

Rhyme and Reason

I have been a part of multiple discussions about why some content sticks and why some doesn’t.  Sometimes you can come up with logical reasons why people bounce and sometimes there isn’t.

People like to think our decisions are based upon logic but it doesn’t always work that way.  Different voices and styles of writing impact us in different ways.

It is part of why we have multiple news sources covering the same stories, but let’s not focus on publications that are written and edited by professionals. Let’s talk about blogs.

Let’s talk about blogs because it is why you are here.

People Power Social Media

People power social media and if you want to make your presence known you have to relate to people and be relatable. It is part of why I share some personal stories about the proper age for children to receive a cellphone or favorite movies.

It is why I like the Google Plus communities and hangouts–they build connections.

People power social media and writing for people powers the blog.

People are also the reason why I try to balance my time online versus offline. I don’t want to find myself in a position where there is a reason to say it is time to quit blogging.

Why Are You Here?

I am a blogger because I am a writer, a storyteller and a marketer.  This joint provides me with the opportunity to ply and practice my trade.

It is something that is a consistent source of fun and it is only enhanced by being something that helps me earn a couple of bucks.

People are a big part of that.

This place has also served as a place where I have new friends and learned many things. My ledger is well in the black.

Writing for people is my anchor.

How about you?

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  1. Mary Stephenson January 13, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Hi Josh

    When I first built my website, it was partially to get a release for the frustration from a lay off from a dysfunctional job. It helped a lot and I know that many others were dealing with lay offs. But now I write from what I feel is fun or insights into our lives.

    I read all about the SEO factors and know how to go about getting keywords, but it just seems like such a drag. It is hard to write from the heart when you have that looming over your head. Since Google is as flighty as a pigeon (maybe that should be there next slam) you really never know what they are looking for.

    I do believe if you write for the people and reach out to the people, that you will slip under the radar with Google. Hope so anyways!


    • Josh January 14, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Hi Mary,

      We have the same approach. It is more challenging to write from the heart when you try to apply stringent guidelines to it.

      When you add the changes that come unannounced but expected from Google it is hard not to feel like it is almost a waste of time.

  2. Alex January 13, 2013 at 5:27 am

    On target. We writers should write for people. I don’t think anyone really writes for search engines except to include keywords… and it would not be wise to overlook the power of keywords. I guess that SEO, but there’s a lot more to SEO than just keywords, isn’t there?

    • Josh January 14, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Hi Alex,

      There is a lot to SEO or so I keep hearing and reading. While there is no single path to social media success my experience has taught me to focus on people and writing for people makes sure that happens.

      But I admit that I sometimes wonder what would happen if I knew that adjusting things with quadruple my traffic.

  3. Yvonne Salvatierra January 12, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    I just write. No rhyme or reason, no complicated equation, just simple write. Sometimes I write about injustices in the world or in my life, or sometimes I write about love or men or or both and other times I try to write poetry. At least, that’s what I think it is. I get the whole SEO angle, and agree that it can be very useful and even profitable. But none of that really worries me.

    • Josh January 12, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Hi Yvonne,

      Just write is a motto of mine and one of my favorite things to do. I love that you do it. It makes the posts more interesting to me.

      I think it helps to make the writer human and that is where the connection comes from.

  4. Jens P. Berget January 12, 2013 at 12:26 am

    That’s exactly what I’m thinking. Google is updating the algorythms several times a year, and it’s always updating towards understanding what people are looking for. So, writing for people is exactly what we should do. And now, there is at least 7 signals we need to focus on to please Google, and on page SEO is just one of them.

    • Josh January 12, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Hi Jens,

      I figure the easiest way to work on SEO is by convincing people that our content is important enough to visit and share. Google sees that kind of stuff so if we can build it and convince them to come then so will Google.

  5. Tim Bonner January 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    I do have an SEO plugin installed on my blogs but I can’t say I focus on SEO very much. I always try and write as if I’m having a conversation.

    My goal from my blog is really to build a like-minded community and to get to know and meet new people. Money was originally the primary goal but not so much any more.

    • Josh January 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Tim,

      I am a huge fan of conversational writing. I think it is a great way to engage with people and build relations.

      I like your goals. I am obviously a fan of community so I think that is great.

  6. Omar Habib January 11, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Hi Josh,

    I agree about writing for people not for seo or search engine. One thing I have learned about blogging is if your write for your readers, provide value, you will get loyal traffic constantly.

  7. Dan Black January 11, 2013 at 10:07 am

    You hit the nail on the head. It’s wise to focus more on the people and adding value than SEO. When we serve and help other people they will be our greatest fans and supporters. Great post and thoughts.

  8. Craig McBreen January 10, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Sounds like a conversation I often have with clients who are still thinking in terms of keyword stuffing and old SEO tricks. They want design, but don’t fully understand the importance of great copy. Unique content crafted for their audience, with just a bit of soul of course 😉

    • Josh January 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Craig,

      There are so many changes and so much information out there it is easy to get confused about what to do and how to do it.

      But great copy is never a bad thing. Some might argue that great copy that isn’t seen is worth less, but I’ll always push to produce something great because when you get people to read you want them to see a reason to stick around.

  9. Kumar January 10, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Josh, you nailed it. I would say, write for people and not for “google”. I see people working hell lot on SEO. I have a question do you feel organic traffic is sustainable?


    • Josh January 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      Hi Kumar,

      I think that organic traffic can be sustainable but that much depends on the content and community.

      If you build a good community and populate it with fun/knowledgeable people it goes a long way to helping those efforts.

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