Search engine robots are my audience. As a budding blogger I have become obsessed with how to build a readership, and am learning the tricks of how to appeal to search engine robot crawlers. If you write a good article that the robots don’t “see,” it’s the equivalent of typing up a manuscript and carefully filing in a desk drawer.
Blog writing today demands a mixture of content that someone might want to read, and setting up the mechanics to appeal to search engine robots. If the robot crawlers don’t like your article, it won’t come up in searches, and it won’t be found. It will sit in the desk drawer. One current strategy: You should load up your essay with “search terms,” putting them in headers and in bold. Your title has to be straightforward and descriptive, rather than mysterious, to get the “take home news” up front. You should advertise your writing on social media to get tweets and likes, and leave comments on other sites and associate with the top bloggers, to generate ping backs and links.
And this extremely irritating advice: Write articles about a focused topic. If you don’t, your site will not appeal to search engine robots, which are looking for evidence of related material. How do the robots know? Words and titles shared among your articles. Even doing all this, it takes months to attract traffic.
Here’s a question for you: Would your favorite writer have structured their sentences to include keywords, added lots of bold headers, socialized to sell, avoided mysterious titles, or given a crap about what robots think? Would your favorite writer focus on a single topic or foolishly write from the heart about their sincere and varied interests? This sort of writer might have trouble being found on the Internet, and certainly not on day one.
Blog experts already tell us, “Content is King”
The word on the street about Search Engine Optimization is that content matters. It does, and increasingly so. My theory: Search engines are evolving and will get smart. Real smart. The robots are converging on the human mind’s capacity to distinguish quality. Why? The business of search engines companies is to serve up relevant searches to readers. Computers are increasingly powerful and software more intelligent. Rather than humans optimizing writing for search engines, search engines will be optimized to discover writing that appeals to the human heart.
Already the search engine robots watch humans
Humans visiting and linking to sites help search engine robots decide whether material might be good. The robots look for older, established sites, and supposedly check how far into the future a domain is registered to evaluate commitment. But the robots don’t fall for the old trick of loading up an article with a list of words. They don’t fall for a site that just copies text from other sites. They still fall for some tricks, but the search robots are getting smarter.
Smarter search robots will usher in a new era in human writing on the Internet. Writers will be found who simply write well about topics that matter to them. Writing from the heart and the brain will be enough. Search engines will become like human editors, able to spot talent and even cultivate it. Robots will become the thoughtful servants of humanity, rather than the mindless masters of the digital realm. And those who write from the heart will be found by readers. On the first day.
So those of us who are playing the game of SEO had better be careful. Warning, warning: If you write for the current crop of search engine robots, you may have fewer human readers tomorrow.
Note to robots: Nothing personal and I for one admire and embrace our current robot masters.