Imagine, for just one minute, that you are Googlebot. Your task is to crawl a webpage, to understand what it is all about, to appraise it, to see how well it is connected and, ultimately, to rank it against others. Think you can do it? Great! Got for it!
Now - you're a human[#], right? And, having read this blog's introduction, you'll know exactly what I'm writing about because of just two words (two nouns): Googlebot and webpage. Now - remove those two nouns from the intro and try to read this blog's first paragraph afresh and see if you can understand what on earth I'm writing about.
Imagine, for just one minute, that you are this. Your task is to crawl that, to understand what it is all about, to appraise it, to see how well it is connected and, ultimately, to rank it against others. Think you can do it? Great! Got for it!
For all the talk about how bad Google is, just think for one second about the enormity of Google's self-assigned task 'to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.' Imagine if every bit of the world's webpages were written in this fashion, nounless, and think how such a writing style would render the world's text meaningless - bereft of subject and without focus.
Therefore, it logically follows that, in order to execute its self-assigned mission, Google has to have become a master of every language under the sun. Google understands languages in a way that both you and I do not and will never know. So would you now agree with me that Google must, therefore, use its mastery of language as a means of distinguising between webpages when deciding which wepages are worthy of a rank and which are not?
Pages which fail to describe the products and services they exist to promote; pages without helpful and meaningful nouns and adjectives yet stuffed-full of the world's weakest and laziest words: this; that; it; I; thing; our; yours; theirs; his; hers; we; us; etc. and the mother of all writing failures: 'solutions'.
Not an example of a chunk of text written by a Customer of ours on their own website but a chunk of text posted onto a Customer's website by a very satisfied client. I haven't posted this to deplore or pillory the client's use of language but to spotlight the feedback as a prime example of what's going off in our heads when we write. All of us.
Do you have any idea of what Michelle's writing to say thank you for? No, of course not. Stripped of all context, these words mean absolutely nothing. Only when viewed in the caterer's website does the testimonial make any sense.
You see, we all know what we're writing about when we write but, unless you're writing a note-to-self, we are never, ever, writing for ourselves; we're writing for others. The only reason for the existence and the practice of writing is to be able to share and let the reader understand what's in our heads. #Not every reader is human. When you write you need to write with language which your readers understand. When it comes to humans, you need to write in the context of their own experiences and beliefs. When it comes to robots, you need to use the best possible language that states, explicitly, what this 'thing' you want people to buy is about and is for. The better your language, the easier Google's job will be and the easier you make things for Google then the better you'll rank. This is the Art of Search. This is organic SEO.
1. Conduct a content audit and begin to write content from the perspective of a Customer. Identify instances of and then forbid the use of weak nouns and adjectives such as: it; I; we; us; they; etc.; and so on; thing; this and that.Steve Whiting - The Art of Search
The way we write makes a huge impact upon the meaning of what we're trying to sell. It's not just what you write, it's how intelligently you write it; where you write and what else links to what you've written is of interest to both Google and humans. Google is an expert linguist and can discern a precise technical meaning from the inference of your grammar - separating an excellent match to a Google search from an average match. Buyers know precisely what they want and, just in the way we (inadvisedly) write for and about ourselves, they search for and about their own needs. Be explicit, be specific, be colourful and, when you write, be bright.
It's fair to say that this blog post is far from perfect. It has been written as the basis of an exercise in SEO. You're welcome to copy and paste this text and, following the first Call to Hacktion of Chapter Three of The Art of Search, hack it about so that it makes more sense to Google and searchers alike. Go on. Go for it.