As the head of content for a digital marketing agency, I can spin a convincing argument on the importance of search engine optimization. And because I’ve been able to produce some pretty solid results—like those elusive featured snippets—it appears to clients that I have some kind of magic SEO formula.
What I do have is a background in journalism—which, it turns out, was the best 20th century training in the world if you want to appeal to 21st century search bots that didn’t even exist back in the day.
So, although there may not exactly be a magic formula, there are steps you can take to write for humans that will also appeal to the Google bots that determine whether your content will ever see the search engine light of day—i.e., search engine results pages.
1. Stay true to your brand
Patagonia seems to embrace its “why” even at the risk of profit. In 2011, the company took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times on Black Friday with one of its fleece zip-ups prominently displayed below the callout: Don’t Buy This Jacket.
In an effort to speak to a customer base that believes in the company’s products and its belief that “to lighten our environmental footprint, everyone needs to consume less,” Patagonia urged consumers to buy fewer products, even if that meant taking a pass on its own brand for the season.