The great non-blogging philosopher George Santayana was not without an eye for the irony of today's battle over blog content:
Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.
This came to mind the other day when listening to some associates debate the primacy of SEO of B2B blog posts versus user appeal in developing compelling blog post content.
As the Web moved inexorably towards its commanding position as a marketing tool, the importance of search engines—and the mechanics of how they work— became an obsession with many marketers. And rightly so.
Who can imagine today’s marketing without Google being somewhere near front and center?
So until recently, it seems to me the preponderance of web content was being driven by SEO concerns. It was, so to speak, at the bottom end of the seesaw. So much so that the seesaw had become static.
My recent post (Content, Content, Content) indicates the balance is shifting back towards user content: Google itself has posted new guidelines directing the creation of content “as if search engines never existed,” imploring content providers to “make your content as user friendly as possible.” These guidelines have been backed up by more aggressive policies that penalize websites and blogs that use ‘illegitimate’ ways to improve their search engine ranking.
And yet, and in granular detail, we know how those rankings are compiled.
So what’s a B2B blog content writer to do?
The key, it seems to me, is striking a balance— on the Web as in life, never an easy thing to do.
If you focus on keywords in your work, focus not because you want to improve your SEO, but rather because you want to convey the right message. That will keep things from shifting too far one way or the other.
Santayana, I think, would appreciate this. After all, he is considered among the pragmatists, and, even to his keen eyes, a moving seesaw is much more interesting than a stagnant one.