Rob Cottingham from ReadWriteWeb commented on a cartoon, Search Engine Pessimized. He states, “It’s happening to more and more of the blogs I read: the personality, quirkiness and unique voice that once made them so appealing to me are fading. In their place, an SEO-driven uniformity that puts keyword placement ahead of pretty much everything.”
As an SEO consultant, I would have to agree with Rob. I’ve been working with a few publishers recently and what makes their headlines so magnetizing and hooks people into reading their articles, are at risk of blandness.
A message that I have heard so often in the SEO industry, is that we are to optimize our websites not only for search engine spiders, but also for humans. Real people folks. Those that feel real emotions when they laugh, cry, shout or grumble when they read or watch something that touches them.
The balance between SEO and creativity is being lost. Being too far one sided with “keyword rich” content will surely miss the point of what we are trying to achieve. In most cases, our goal is to generate qualified traffic that converts into an action such as buying a product, subscribing to an email newsletter and even generating repeat usage through brand engagement.
An audience member or customer will only want to establish a longer term relationship with a brand should it be engaging and touch the core of what is relevant to them.
Unlike PPC, a tap that turns traffic on when you shovel money into the Google slot machine, the purpose of SEO is to generate sustainable business. Sustainability for websites, whether it be a blog, a newspaper or ecommerce site, is to ensure that when people arrive on those sites, they want to return again.
Can SEO and creativity go hand in hand?
Sure they can! SEO is both a science and an art. If SEO leans towards science too much, you will certainly loose the sparkle that makes a piece of content go viral. We want people to find our content, click on it, enjoy it and spread it around the world to like-minded friends.
Getting our pages ranked within search engines is only the first part of the challenge. On a search engine rankings page of 10 possible listings a person could click on, I want them to click on my website or that of my client’s. Content headlines need to include both SEO and creativity. A well written, intriguing headline will certainly get more clicks than one that is optimized purely from a robotic perspective.
Winning the click, is the second part of the challenge. A quirky headline that is also optimized for search engines, increases the chance of that listing being clicked. Keyword rich content that is also highly engaging and thought provoking, increases the chance of people blogging and linking back to that piece of content. Natural link building, is the best form of inbound links and is an integral aspect of SEO.
Even if there is a homogenous trend happening in the SEO industry, it needn’t be that way. SEO guys and gals need to step up with their creativity. I for one am not the most creative or the best writer, however, by engaging creatives who can make a piece of content stand out amongst the rest, are certainly worth their weight in gold.
SEOs and creatives make highly effective teams, however, balance is the key.