In the early years of Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing you could get away with stuffing keywords on a page to “game” the search engines (Google, BING, Yahoo) and it worked. However, there were two downsides to this practice. One, it’s a technique that was eventually discouraged and finally, penalized by the search engines. Second, this technique flat out sucked for the visitor/reader. Anyone actually reading a “wall of repeating text” stuffed with keywords wasn’t going to hang around long and probably wouldn’t want to do business with you. These were the Dark Ages of Content Marketing when SEO was the master. Eventually, search engines got wise to what was going on and adjusted their algorithms.
Not everyone made changes and some flat out refused to adjust their tactics. This was certainly to the detriment of their lead generating activities. If you’ve read online for any amount of time or, you are trying to attract and engage with prospective customers online you’ve (hopefully) adjusted your strategy over the years.
In a recent post by Mark Schafer he says, “I made a decision at the beginning of my blogging career to write for readers and NOT write for SEO.” And this got us thinking.. is their some seismic shift in content marketing? Or, some new standard for writing for the web?
We aren’t in complete agreement that we should NOT write for SEO. Rather, we’ve thought that SEO should be moved from the role of a strict master to that of a student. In other words, when we write, write with SEO in mind… not strictly for SEO (like the old days) AND write for your visitor/customer.
If we take the approach of SEO as student in content marketing there are several benefits:
- We are mindful of changes that need to be made to content marketing and strategy due to changes by search engines
- We keep the needs of our prospective customers in mind as well.
Was SEO ever the master? Or, always the student? Let us know what you think in the comments.