There is a move away from the importance of keyword use to a preference for promoting and respecting original writing. Repetition and duplication are given short shrift, only to be replaced by original content with relevant subjects, links and references to other authoritative sources.
Another difference is readability. An unrelentingly SEO-ed post would be stuffed to the gills with keywords, there would be no need for copywriting skills except how to incorporate the desired keywords in as many places as possible to stimulate the search engines. Now content marketing is rewarded with excellent writing, reader appreciation, reciprocal sharing via social media and plenty of comments and feedback. This can only happen if posts are written properly, have appropriate prose, grammar and syntax, and be suitably entertaining, informative and useful for the reader.
Content marketing communicates to the reader, not the search engine. Writers should address their audience in a way that shows they are understood, known and appreciated. Conversation is key: posts should be written as if directed solely to that one person reading the content, using familiar, personal and human language. Stories should take over from facts, case studies replace selling statements and the overall message should reflect ‘What’s in it for them?’.
The concept of conversation came from social media. The search engines noticed that a lot more interaction was taking place from to-ings and fro-ings from friends and contacts, however trivial, because the language used was easily understood, appreciated and simplified. There was no need for meaningless keyword use: repetition was natural, the vocabulary was appropriate and the pace fast. Short communications were vital to cope with a limited attention span, and messages were usually scanned first before a decision to read them properly was reached.
Another move was away from the written word. Images had been taking over since 2012 with the rise of Pinterest and other related social platforms. Video was making a comeback as creation facilities increased in mobile and tablet applications. Instant gratification of visual communication was made possible at a click of a button to express an idea, thought or observation on different media available to the audience.
Many things have happened since the beginning of the year, and we’re only about a third of the way through. Therefore it’s important to be aware of developments so you can keep up and adapt accordingly. All those agencies that specialised in SEO may now have their noses out of joint, but unless they can adapt to the world of good writing, excellent prose, meaning communication and exciting conversations that can relate to the reader, all good attributes towards blogging, they may find themselves falling behind.