Google is implementing a new machine learning technology in search called “multitask unified model”, in short, MUM.
MUM is touted as 1000x more powerful than BERT (bidirectional encoder representations). For years we have been talking about how right now machines cannot read through images for search purposes, but MUM will be able to do so. It is multimodal in the sense that it can understand information across text and images and in near future, it will also be able to understand information in video and audio.
The new algorithm can also process 75 languages for the purpose of search results. For example, if you post a query in English on Google and if the algorithm thinks that a better answer exists on a Japanese website, it will bring up the Japanese website after translating it into English.
Yes, now, you won’t just be competing for space in your own language, but also with 75 other languages.
Up till now, within search, Google’s main revenue model has been PPC ads. More revenue opportunities can be created by finding contextual results when people search, and then, offering commercial products and services for further exploration. Google wants to provide “context-rich” answers.
Ultimately, the company hopes, the company aims to achieve a “richer and deeper search experience”.
What does it mean for content writing? All my clients want me to write content that helps them improve their search engine rankings. How can technologies for algorithmic logics like MUM can be incorporated into the process of content writing?
Good content is based on targeted queries. If you’re looking for a content writing service for your logistics company, you are more likely to search for something like “content writer for my logistics company website” or “content writing services for a logistics website”, and other variations.
When the MUM-powered search algorithm goes mainstream, two main things are going to happen that concern your search engine rankings:
Google may find content related to “content writing for logistics company website” even on websites in different languages and show them in your language if it thinks they have a better answer for what you’re looking for.
It may also showcase information on why your logistics company needs a quality content writing service that can help you improve your search engine rankings, educate your visitors and lower your bounce rate.
Frankly, most of the blog posts and articles trying to explain what exactly MUM is are simply regurgitating what Google has published on its own blog. Everybody is using the hiking example used by Google – they haven’t been able to come up even with your own example. Hence, the understanding of the technology is still unfolding.
But the main takeaway is that the search algorithm is not just going to focus on the query that is submitted to Google for bringing up search results. It will also use its own logic to decide what more information could be useful to you and then present that information to you. It may combine multiple links into a single search result to give you a comprehensive, context-based result for your query.
Is MUM all about writing and publishing pillar pages and topic clusters?
Right now, it seems like it. How do you create a complete context? By packing everything into what you are writing. But you cannot write very long web pages and blog posts because then people won’t read them. What do you do? You create a pillar page with the main topic and then you create a series of topic cluster pages or the contextual pages that present all the needed information that is related to the main topic or the pillar page content.
In the end, what matters is the relevance and quality of the information that you publish on your website or blog. Write relevant content. Maintain a close relationship between your topic and the body text. High-quality, relevant content always stands the test of time.
In most of the cases, I don’t. The list of keywords is given to me by my clients. I find keywords when I am also helping a client with content strategy.
Whenever I’m writing content I advise my clients not to cram too many keywords in a single web page or blog post. That dilutes the main focus of what you’re trying to convey.
Nonetheless, when I need to find the right keywords for writing SEO content, how do I do that?
There are many tools for that, but the best tool is common sense. After that, you can take help of the Google search engine.
First, you need to know your primary keyword. For example, if your topic is “How to improve your SEO with content writing?” you have a fair idea of what you’re trying to achieve here. You want people who want to know how to improve your SEO with content writing, finds your link.
When you are trying to improve your SEO, there is a thin line that divides people who want to pay you and people who just want to learn something. The above topic, “How to improve your SEO with content writing?” is targeting people who want to learn something. They may also want to hire someone who knows how to improve SEO with content writing, but as far as the topic goes, it is being written to target those people who want to learn how to improve SEO with content writing.
This is a big phrase. Targeting big phases longtail keywords is always beneficial. Not many people may use them but they definitely help you improve your search engine rankings by zeroing in on those people were using exactly the phrase.
After that, there are two more keywords you can focus on, namely, “improve your SEO” and “content writing”.
You may also like to include “improve your search engine rankings” and “website content writing”.
Google also makes its own suggestions. Search for the term “how to improve your SEO with content writing” and see what other suggestions Google comes up with. Here is what I have found:
best practices for SEO content writing
how to write SEO friendly articles
SEO writing for beginners
and some unrelated keywords.
I also have a browser plug-in called “Keywords Everywhere”. It uses the Google database and some other sources to throw up related keywords and also the keywords other people may have used for the same sort of search. Right now, for the search term used above, it is not giving me much different options than what Google has displayed, but for many other keywords, it definitely gives more options.
There are many commercial SEO keyword research tools such as Ahrefs, Serpstat (this, I have used the paid version), SEMRush (more of a content ideas finder rather than a keyword finder), LongTailPro (have used the paid version for a few months but then discontinued) and even Moz.
I have never used the paid keyword research tools for my clients because there are very few clients who actually want to pay me for keyword research. Yes, they do want me to find the keywords, but when it comes to paying for the time that I may spend, they prefer to do their own keyword research, which is fine. So, most of the tools mentioned above, I have used for myself, to improve my own search engine rankings.
Many people heavily recommend the Google Ads keyword tool. Previously it was also called the Google AdWords keyword tool. Since it allows you to find keywords you can bid on, so naturally, Google presents you with an extensive list of alternative keywords to your main set of keywords.
To find keyword alternatives, you can enter 3-4 keywords and then it generates a big list. To novices it may be confusing because you don’t want to use all the keywords. Since Google charges for every click, it is but natural that the company would want you to bid on as many keyword combinations as possible, this is just to get some ideas for your own content writing needs. You need to make your own judgement regarding this.
Sometimes I use Google Analytics to find what keywords people are using when they find my website or my blog. This tells me what sort of traffic I’m attracting. If I’m attracting traffic for all the wrong keywords, I make changes to my content accordingly. Hence, Google Analytics can tell you if you’re targeting wrong keywords through your content.
This is pretty much how I find keywords for SEO content writing.
For better search engine rankings, you must publish content regularly.
It has been observed that one should publish at least 16 blog posts or other pieces of content every month to sustain a better position vis-à-vis SEO.
B2B and B2C blog publishing frequency impact on traffic.
The HubSpot study mentioned in this blog post makes an interesting observation: There wasn’t much difference in traffic between websites that published on an average one blog post every month and between 4-5, but then, the websites that publish on an average 11 blog posts every month get six times more traffic than those who publish fewer blog posts. The difference is starker in the B2C segment.
Although, regularly publishing content is great for your content depth and consequently, search engine rankings, there are certain content writing mistakes that are bad for your SEO instead of improving it.
If you continue to commit these mistakes and on top of that, if you continue to publish your content, your digging yourself into a hole from which it will be difficult to come out.
Is regular content writing a risky proposition if you can be penalized by Google
Is regularly publishing content risky?
This is the most obvious question that must come up in your mind if I talk about content writing mistakes and how they can negatively affect your search engine optimization efforts.
You may think, if you publish content regularly, and if inadvertently you are committing these mistakes, are you undoing whatever gains you have made so far?
Should you stop then?
It is up to you.
How often you should publish depends on whom you are talking to, but if you want to improve your search engine rankings as fast as possible, you must publish fresh content on your website or blog daily.
The problem with not publishing content is that if you are not publishing, your competition certainly is.
Just as you are trying to out-rank the others, the others are trying to out-rank you.
Just as you want to improve your search engine rankings, the others too want to improve them.
Hence, the question is not whether you should publish content or not, the question is, how much you should publish.
This is my personal experience: publishing lousy content is better than publishing no content but if you get into a policy of publishing lousy content (inferior quality, thin content with plagiarism issues) regularly, you can get your website blacklisted.
But these are extreme case scenarios. An average website owner or blog publisher knows that plagiarism is a big no-no.
The same is the case with duplicate content.
Although clients who contact me know the risks involved with duplicate content and they specifically mention that their content must be unique and original.
I am saying this because no one wants to commit content writing mistakes knowingly and whatever mistakes are committed, they are either due to ignorance or overzealousness.
Penalization happens in extreme cases.
The negative impact of these content writing mistakes on your SEO can be so slow that you don’t even realize that your rankings are going down for a few months.
It’s only when you view the traffic graph in Google Analytics for 3-4 months that you realize that the slope has been downwards.
It helps to avoid these content writing mistakes. They are very easy to avoid. I’m listing seven such mistakes below.
1. Ignoring search intent when coming up with topics
Here is a small video that explains what is search intent:
Search intent is the “reason” why a search engine user does a search on Google (or any other search engine).
You should be clear in your mind whom you are writing for.
I’m writing this blog post for people who want to avoid content writing mistakes that can harm their SEO.
The objective is clear.
If the objective is not clear, if you have no clue about the right search intent, you are going to end up publishing lots of content with no clear purpose.
2. Not compiling a list of keywords to be used or using too many keywords
I know, the concept of keywords has become a clichéd topic.
Everybody advises you to use the right keywords.
There is an entire industry around helping you find the right keywords for your individual web pages and blog posts.
Compiling a list of your keywords can be easy and difficult depending on the search intent you are trying to target, as mentioned above.
The keywords for this blog post can be “content writing mistakes”, “content writing mistakes to avoid”, “what is bad for my SEO”, and so on.
I often suggest that you have one or maximum two primary keywords and then a collection of five or so secondary, LSI or longtail keywords.
A big problem I have seen with many clients is that they want to use as many keywords as possible in a single blog post.
This doesn’t work.
Choose a single keyword. Choose a related keyword. Then choose a few LSI and long keywords. That’s it.
3. Not writing mobile friendly content
Many years ago, Google switched to “mobile-first” indexing.
This means, when Google comes to crawl your website, it first looks for its mobile version and it first ranks your website according to its mobile version.
If you don’t have a mobile version, this is bad for your SEO.
If you have a mobile version but your content is not mobile friendly, then again, it is bad for your SEO.
When writing content, write simple, shorter sentences.
Simple and shorter sentences are easier to read on mobile phones.
Even for the Google crawler, no matter how advanced AI and machine learning have become, learning shorter sentences is easier.
Capture one thought in one sentence.
Unlike conventional writing, avoid using multiple sentences in a single paragraph.
This reminds me: a few months ago a client was mad at the way I have written content for him.
“Are you writing poetry or blog posts?” his message screamed.
He was referring to the single-sentence paragraphs that I had used because I wanted to give him mobile friendly content.
4. Just focusing on improving search engine rankings
Yes, we all want better SEO but if this is your singular goal, you are going to be neither here nor there.
In Hindi, there is a famous saying, “Duvidha mein dono gaye, maya mili na Ram”.
When you have wrong priorities in life, you neither get worldly comforts and wealth, nor Ram (proximity to God).
Similarly, when you are just chasing SEO through content writing, you neither improve your SEO nor get more business.
Some years ago, Google started using human intelligence to evaluate your content and as a result, decide your search engine rankings.
In this video I explain how your rankings and quality content are interrelated:
Google has modified its ranking algorithm in such a manner that unless actual human beings find your content valuable, you’re not going to enjoy higher search engine rankings.
And anyway, what do you achieve out of search engine traffic if this traffic does not convert?
What is your goal?
Do you just want to improve your search engine rankings and then feel good about it, or you want to generate more business from your website?
Obviously, you want to generate more business.
Higher search engine rankings are just a means to an end: more business needs.
If you simply focus on improving your search engine rankings without paying attention to the meaningfulness of the content that your writing, you’re going to get yourself trapped in a vicious loop.
Make quality content your priority.
Have a clear purpose.
Provide value to your readers.
Only then, think about improving your search engine rankings.
5. Not making your content scannable
Scannable content means, even without having to read everything on your web page or blog post, people should be able to make out what you’re trying to say.
Hence, use headings and subheadings to organize different sections of the main messages that you want to highlight.
If you have multiple points, use bulleted lists.
Of course, as I have already written above, shorter sentences make it easier for your readers to read your content.
6. Not using your keywords and hence, not talking about the main topic within the first 100 words
There is a reason why most of the SEO experts advise you to use your main keywords within the first 100 words of your webpage or blog post.
Google is not always going to crawl your web page or blog post.
The crawler has just a few seconds to make sense of your content.
Sometimes there is lots of source code before it can even reach your main content (for example, you are using lots of WordPress plug-ins).
The connection may get lost before it can crawl everything.
The point is, there is no guarantee that Google is going to access your entire link.
Hence, you should pack everything important within the first 100 words.
At least use your main keywords creatively so that the Google crawler can make sense of your main topic.
Then, even if the crawler leaves your web page halfway, it will have some idea of what you’re trying to convey.
7. Not taking your meta title and description seriously
Examples of meta title and description.
Recently, a client paid me separately for writing meta titles and descriptions for 25 web pages.
Your meta title and meta description appear in search results.
They also appear when someone posts your link on his or her social media timeline.
Your title is very important.
People are prompted to click your link on Google when your title is compelling.
In the search results, if your click-through rate is low, you begin to lose your current rankings.
Hence, if you want to improve your present search engine rankings, you need to convince people to click your link when they come across it in search results.
This happens through a compelling title.
The same goes with your meta description.
This is the text that appears below your listing.
People first read your title, and then for extra convincing, they read your description. Then they click the link.
Since they are not visible to your visitors when they visit your web page or blog post (because they are part of your source code) , sometimes, clients don’t take these two attributes seriously, but they are very important and they can have a big impact on your overall search engine rankings.
Concluding remarks on the common content writing mistakes
The primary purpose of publishing quality content on your website is to help your visitors as much as possible.
Even when you want to improve your search engine rankings, you want to do so that they can easily find the content that can help them.
Hence, whether you want to improve your conversion rate or your SEO, the sole purpose is to provide helpful content that people can use to make better decisions.
If you focus on this, and then make sure that your content is easily accessible and all the vital information is present on your web page, it is easier to avoid these common content writing mistakes that are bad for your SEO.
The importance of SEO copywriting in search engine marketing.
Search engine marketing or SEM involves improving your organic search engine rankings and search engine advertising through PPC campaigns or other engagements.
The importance of SEO copywriting rests in the fact that it improves the quality of your SEM strategy from multiple angles.
Many businesses use a combination of organic SEO and paid search engine placements.
I have observed that if you initially pay Google for placements, even your organic search engine rankings begin to appear faster in the search results.
Hence, it is better that if you have just started publishing quality content and Google hasn’t yet started crawling and indexing your content on regular basis, you can gain quick visibility through running up few PPC campaigns.
How does SEO copywriting help you in SEM? Why is it important?
As mentioned above, how you define search engine marketing depends on your strategy.
You may want to completely depend on improving your organic search engine rankings.
You may not want to spend a lot of money and effort on high quality content, but you quickly want to increase your search engine visibility and you’re ready to pay for every click that you get.
Normally this happens when people are not aware of the benefits of improving their organic search engine rankings through strategic SEO copywriting and instead, they want to go for a quick fix.
Paid advertising is costly. You are paying for every click.
The search engine users know that since you cannot improve your rankings naturally, you are paying to increase your visibility.
Hence, trust factor is lower compared to organic SEO.
I’m not saying that you should refrain from paid search engine marketing altogether.
In fact, you can make strategic use of it.
But you shouldn’t make it into a major search engine marketing strategy.
The ultimate goal is to improve your SEO organically, and this is where SEO copywriting can help you.
Below I am listing a few reasons why SEO copywriting is important for your search engine marketing strategy whether you want to pay for your visibility you want to improve your SEO organically.
SEO copywriting reduces your PPC costs
When you pay Google for your search engine placements, you have a PPC arrangement.
There are also other modes of advertising, but this is the most prevalent one.
You pay for every click.
Your listing appears in the “sponsored” section.
Google declares it openly that you are paying for the placement and your content is not appearing in the search results because of its inherent quality and relevance.
This happens with every search engine. I’m using the name of Google because it is one of the most used search engines in the world with more than 97% market share.
So how does effective SEO copywriting reduce your PPC costs?
In two ways:
Through actual reduction in the amount of money you pay per click.
Through improving your ROI – you generate more business per click.
It is in Google’s interest that more people click your sponsored link because you are paying for every click.
But then, after a while, it will be counter-productive because paying for every click will prove to be so expensive that you may have to deactivate your campaign for a while.
Google doesn’t want to kill the goose that lays golden eggs.
Hence, it rewards you by reducing your PPC rate if your placement generates more clicks.
The amount of money that you pay is inversely proportional to the number of clicks you can generate.
Through efficient copywriting, you can make more people click your paid placements and as a result, end up paying less to Google.
Suppose, initially you pay $ 0.5 per click for your current placement.
The copy of your ad is really good and it encourages more people to click your advertisement.
After a while, Google begins to charge you $ 0.45 per click for the same position.
This way, Google will go on decreasing your PPC if more people click your ad.
This is one way copywriting brings down your search engine marketing costs if you are paying for your placements.
The other way is by increasing your ROI.
In a PPC campaign, you use aMr landing page.
If you get 100 clicks from Google, you expect to make at least 5 sales.
If your SEO copywriting is not convincing, you may make 2-3 sales per 100 clicks, or even less.
If your copywriting is convincing, you may make even 10 sales per 100 clicks.
Hence, the success of your PPC campaigns depends on how convincing and well written the copy on your landing page is.
SEO copywriting organically improves your rankings for your main keywords
You need to resort to paid advertising on Google because you don’t have good organic search engine rankings for your main keywords.
If your links naturally appear in the SERPs, then there is no need for you to pay for the placements.
Just imagine – if you go for paid placements, you are paying for every click.
Referring to the above example, if you are paying $ 0.5 per click, for 100 clicks, you will be paying $ 50. For 1000 clicks, you will be paying $ 500. And so on.
But what happens if you organically improve your search engine rankings?
People can find your links among the top results and when they click your links, you don’t pay for those clicks.
Hence, whether you get 100 clicks or 10,000 clicks, your cost doesn’t increase.
In fact, it is free traffic.
Can you easily increase your rankings for your primary keywords?
Not if you have great competition.
For example, if I want to improve my search engine rankings for “SEO copywriting services”, it may be very difficult because top content writing and copywriting services are already ranking quite high compared to my website.
So, what do I do?
This brings us to the next topic…
SEO copywriting organically improves your rankings for longtail and related keywords
While you continue with your effort of improving your rankings for primary keywords, you should first focus on improving your rankings for longtail and related keywords.
Hence, instead of aiming for “SEO copywriting services”, I may aim for “The top 10 benefits of SEO copywriting”.
If you’re running a real estate business in Mumbai, instead of trying to just improve your rankings for “real estate business in Mumbai” you can write content around “Why it makes sense to work with a local real estate business in Mumbai”.
Longtail keywords may not directly bring your business, but they increase your visibility and then this visibility brings you business.
If you publish informative content covering your longtail keywords, other websites and blogs have a reason to link to your website or share your link on their social media timelines.
This brings you the much needed visibility.
When people link back to you, it also improve your search engine rankings for your primary keywords.
Effective SEO copywriting brings down your bounce rate
Your bounce rate has a direct impact on your search engine rankings.
Your bounce rate tells Google whether you have valuable content on your website or not.
If people immediately leave your website after finding your content in search results, it tells Google that people are unable to find what they’re looking for, for the keyword they are using and finding your content.
Here is a small video that explains the relationship between your bounce rate and search engine rankings:
Hence, your content begins to lose its current rankings for the keyword.
Again, I will give my own example.
If someone searches for “best SEO copywriting services in my area” and comes to my website and within a few seconds goes back to Google to carry on the same search, Google downgrades my current rankings for the search term “best SEO copywriting services in my area” because it assumes that my website doesn’t have relevant information for the topic.
On the other hand, for the same search term when someone finds my link and goes to my website and spends some time going through my web page and even explores other webpages for a few minutes, it tells Google that my website has relevant information and consequently, it upgrades my rankings for the same search term.
This is how your bounce rate affects your current search engine rankings.
Relevant SEO copywriting gets you more backlinks
Getting authoritative backlinks is an inalienable part of your SEM.
When content writing to not put all your SEO eggs in the Google basket.
After very long time I have read this highly intriguing blog post on what direction Google is taking and how content marketing (in my case, content writing) must take a proactive stand.
Right now, when you write content, there is a more than 99% chance that you want to improve your search engine rankings on Google. The search engine has a 92.17% global market share, after all. The search engine that comes second is Bing at a measly 2.78%.
So, understandably, when you are investing in SEO, you would rather focus on 92.17% than 2.78%.
Google is unpredictable, though. Years of investments in terms of man-hours/woman-hours and money go down the drain with a single update.
Google is a private enterprise. It is capitalism machine. It is not a social service. It wants maximum number of people using its search engine so that it can monetize them.
Eventually, in near future, Google wants to give you information even before you realize that you need to look it up.
People use Google because they find useful information, fast and conveniently. “Useful information” is the keyword here.
Search engineers and hundreds of PhD’s in mathematics are working round-the-clock to make sure that the users get the most relevant information they need.
To achieve that, sometimes they need to change their algorithm according to new observations.
The point is, they are going to change their algorithm at their convenience, whether the new change wipes off all your listings from the search engine or suddenly catapults you to the top position for you every keyword.
SEO content writing while not getting influenced by Google’s whims
Frankly, there is no foolproof solution. The above Content Marketing Institute blog post concludes with
SEO becomes a long-term experiential development strategy, not a game of matching semantics. As content marketers we are ultimately NOT trying to simply understand how people search for content – and are served it via Google – but rather how people are finding and experiencing the solutions to challenges they may not even know they have.
What does it mean?
Provide value instead of writing content according to Google guidelines. Focus on people instead of SEO. Make it easier for people to access your content and it will be automatically accessed by Google and other search engines.
Remember that content is all about experience. You already know that every instance of purchase is an emotional decision. Hence, your content, whether you write that content or publish a video or audio recording, must invoke an emotional response.
Your content must be a part of a journey. A bigger customer journey that does not begin and stop at your search engine rankings.
Rankings matter, yes. Keywords also matter.
But, your content is more than that. Keywords are just a guideline. For example, when you read a book, let’s say “Jude the Obscure” by Thomas Hardy, you know that the theme centers around a character called “Jude” who is always making “obscure” decisions about his life and people around him.
So, when I create a web page about “best content writing services”, instead of repeating the phrase multiple times in my content, I must focus on explaining to you why my content writing services may be the best for your need.
Create the context. Weave a narrative. Deliver value. Touch people emotionally. Then you don’t need to constantly worry about your Google rankings. You content attracts people due to its own, inherent quality.