Keeping it real with SEO

letters on the wooden blocks

If you’ve been through our SEO lesson in the Intro to Podcasting course, chances are you may have noticed a tip there which notes that one of the best ways of creating good SEO is to imagine that search engines don’t exist.

It’s an interesting thought – how would you write your site content differently if the worry of creating something search engine-worthy wasn’t hanging over your shoulder? What if that frame of mind even helped us to create better search terms that could even help to improve our search engine rankings in the long term?

That sounds like an idea worth exploring.

Then vs now

In the early days of search engines, there were plenty of hacks that would allow you to game the system a bit. People also got obsessed with being number #1 on Google search rankings. Many sites practiced “keyword stuffing,” a process that involved filling up your site with words that people might search for. This practice, along with many other less than ethical approaches, are now frowned upon and even penalized by search engines. 

As time has moved on though, these practices have changed, and SEO priorities look a little different. These days, what I might see in the number 1 spot on Google is not necessarily what you’ll see. Google provides results based on what it knows about what we search for and might be interested in. The results are personalized.

With the enormous global processing power that’s readily available in recent times, it’s possible for Google and other search engines to work out more accurately what is genuinely useful content rather than someone trying to trick the system. As a result, the best way to rank highly is, quite simply, to give people content they want.

Take YouTube, for example. When you release a video, the platform tests it against real people. If they open it and play it, then YouTube will show it to more people. If it fails that test then it might be shown to only a handful of people in the future.

While search engines don’t work exactly the same as YouTube, and traffic to your website won’t be the only factor to help with your ranking, it is a factor that search engines will take into consideration. But they will be looking at how people are finding your site and what they do once there, more than just the sheer volume of traffic your site gets.

The importance of quality

This means that more than ever, your content has to be well crafted, and it has to be created with real people and their reading habits in mind. If it answers people’s questions by solving their problems better than the other content out there, there’s a good chance it will rank higher in search engines. There’s no better way to do that than to write in the same way you might speak to a friend about your interests, or to a potential client for your business. 

Writing naturally and conversationally will not only grab and keep potential readers’ attention, but will also raise your chances of being found and improve your search ranking over time.

So, with all of this in mind, we always recommend that you write naturally. Whether your blog’s purpose is as a hobby or to complement your business, your passion will shine through and so will the keywords that your audience are likely to search for. To get good search rankings, the most important thing is to create high quality content that entices real people to click, read, and engage. If you don’t nail this part, none of your other SEO efforts will matter, because people won’t stick around your site. This will eventually cause your search engine ranking to drop, wiping out any gains made in the short term.

Take it to the next level

Once you’ve got genuine content presented in a conversational tone, the next step is to learn what your audience is searching for, the words they’re using, and figuring out how to incorporate those words and phrases naturally into your content. If you’re ready to learn more about that, consider enrolling in our Intro to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) course.

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on

Published by Georgina Reeder

Happiness Engineer at since 2016, and Podcasting Course community member since forever. I love sharing tech knowledge, untangling the jargon, and making the internet a little less daunting! I'm an occasional voiceover artist and podcaster, fan of movies, books, music and games, and an avid traveller.

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