Pretending You Are Google: An Exercise
This is an exercise that will help you understand how Google's search engine algorithm works to make recommendations when they don't understand your intentions. (This article comes from the Avalanche weekly email.)
Today I’m going to make you exercise…
(Lucky for you, you won’t have to break a sweat. It’s a brain exercise)
Let’s begin in 3, 2, 1…
Look at the red box in our keyword research tool (image below).
There are over 1 million variations of the way people search every month that contain the word “wordpress.”
Now imagine you are a search engine ranking algorithm… okay, that may be hard to do…
Instead, imagine you know everything there is to know about WordPress, which includes all the 1 million+ different ways people search for it.
Now a friend walks up to you and says, “wordpress.”
That’s all they say and you can’t ask them to elaborate.
With all your knowledge, what are you going to recommend to your friend?
Luckily, this particular example is actually sort of easy. WordPress is a brand, so send them to the brand’s website at WordPress.com…
But, what if that isn’t what they are looking for? Where would you send them?
- With all the knowledge you have, your best bet might be to send them to a site that provides a comprehensive guide or course on getting started with WordPress.
- Perhaps you’ll recommend a site that provides content to match the intentions behind the majority of the 1 million+ different keywords.
Congrats. The exercise is over.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what it’s like to be a search engine algorithm (and didn’t pull a hamstring in the process).
Understanding that every search query (or keyword) begs even more questions should help guide your own SEO and content strategy.
Every you time you think about the words or phrases you want to rank for, pretend a friend is walking up to you and saying those exact words.
- What are they actually looking for?
- How can you help them find what they are looking for?
- What could they possibly want and how could you give it to them?
Understanding your topic and all the possible intentions, problems, and questions people have related to it should help you develop search empathy.
That empathy should allow you to create something your audience truly values and when your audience truly values something you create… you become more valuable.
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