SEO Copywriting Checklist: Are you writing content “for Google”?

Write SEO content for your readers, not for GoogleGreetings! Welcome to another installment of the SEO Copywriting Checklist series. Today, Heather gets back to the basics in discussing whether you’re writing content “for Google”.

The idea that you need to write content in a particular way for it to position well in search results is a tenacious misconception. It’s also an unhealthy one, both in terms of search engine appeal and user experience.

Tune in to hear what Heather has to say about writing “for Google” and how to correct for this stubborn tendency in your own SEO content:

“Gift Baskets” Is Repeated 9 Times!

So here’s an example of what writing content “for Google” can mean, where the term “gift baskets” is repeated nine times within a teeny-tiny block of copy!

I’m sure that the person who wrote this content didn’t do so thinking “Im gonna try to spam the engines and get up to the top results!” But the problem is that a lot of folks still think this kind of keyword stuffing is the way you write good SEO content.

Relax! Google Wants You To Write Good Content

So if this has been your mindset – that you have to write separate pages “for Google” or stuff the page full of your keyphrases in order to get a good ranking – you can relax: Google wants to you to write good, quality content. Really!

– Never write copy “for Google”. Write it for your readers.

Instead of hanging onto the notion of writing your content for Google, think about writing for your readers – always focus on their experience!

You don’t want to include a keyphrase so many times that it becomes distracting. People may well bounce off your page and out of your site to find another source of information that sounds more reputable, and offers content that is easier to read.


– Keyword stuffing won’t help your SEO.

Google has closed that loophole. Once upon a time, sure, jamming your copy full of keywords might’ve worked – but not today. So there’s no reason to do it!

– Unsure if you added too many keyphrases? Read the copy out loud.

If you aren’t sure whether or not you’ve been heavy-handed with the use of keyphrases in your content, sometimes the best thing to do is to just print that page and read it aloud.

The same applies if you’re a site owner working with a copywriter: when s/he submits the copy, read it out loud. That way you’ll hear if the keyphrase has been used too many times.

– Think quality – not quantity.

When thinking about your content, it’s always best to think of it in terms of quality.

It’s not about how many pages you can kick out so Google starts thinking you’re an authority on “X”. It’s about how many good pages you can write for your readers, so you attract more traffic and build your brand that way!

Thanks for joining me for this week’s video! As always, if you have any questions about today’s post, or anything else for that matter, I’d love to hear from you! You can email me directly at, or find me on Twitter @heatherlloyd.

image thanks to warrantedarrest (Tomas de Aquino)

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9 replies
  1. yogesh says:

    Hi Heather,

    Thank you for reminding the basics of online business and marketing.

    There are so many brilliant examples of failure due to black hat SEO, keyword stuffing, article spinning, and all other tactics used to get to the top of the ladder (search results).

    Ever since I started writing for the internet, I always made it a rule to check the post/copies to see if I had subconsciously stuffed it with keywords.

    Its high time that the writer and SEO community wake up to the importance of quality and create what people are looking for.

  2. Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

    Hi @yogesh!

    Fortunately, I think people are getting better around keyword stuffing. Where I see it happening (a lot) is with end clients without reliable SEO help. They read a few blog posts, figure that they have to shove in the keywords, and wonder why their copy doesn’t convert.

    It’s sad. :(

    Having said that, it’s a LOT better than it was even a few years ago. I imagine that Google will keep cracking down on content quality. Which is just fine with me…

  3. gregnet66 says:

    Hi Heather,
    Great post, people get so caught up in the chase for great rankings that they do sometimes forget about converting.
    Unfortunately I am still seeing examples where keyword rich blog posts do rank well for long tail keywords. But then reading the actual post there are keywords entered erratically in places that you wouldn’t expect them.
    Not as many any more, but there are some still out there and it is refreshing to see a call for the right content!

  4. Jen Stout says:

    Great post! As a content editor, I tell writers almost weekly to “read the copy out loud.” It’s helpful for both keyword overuse and general awkwardness/flow. It seems like a simple concept to write content with the intended audience in mind, but it can sometimes be tricky to find the right balance between quality content and the inclusion of applicable keywords. But, I like your suggestion to “always focus on their experience.” Building trust with your readers is just so important.

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Thanks, @Jen, for your comment. You’re right – reading the content out loud is also a great way to hear what “clunks” in your copy. I do this all the time – thanks for the reminder!

  5. LeadGenix says:

    Great post. It’s more important to have a great website with great content than it is to appease Google’s search requirements. Once you get the most important part right (content), the rest becomes easier to do.

  6. Ron VanPeursem says:

    “WRITE FOR YOUR READERS!” Seems like we’d be done with this by now, but we’re not. You’re right on the money to keep finding new ways to put this axiom out there.

    I’m clipping a quote, and including it in Friday’s round-up of “Best Marketing Quotes”. Gotta do my part to keep this out there!!

    Thanks for another good post!

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      @Ron – thank YOU! You’re right – it seems that the “write for readers” mantra would be firmly imprinted in peoples’ brains by now. But there are always those people who think, “Well, what if I do this…will Google like my site better?” And “this” usually means keyphrase stuffing, hiding text, or some other spammy technique that won’t work. ::Sigh..::

      Thanks for including a quote in your round-up! I appreciate it!


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