Have you ever read a web page or product description and thought to yourself, “who approved this?” Repetitive words everywhere, oddly structured sentences and variations of the same phrases don’t make for easy reading, but some may argue that’s what the search engine algorithms want to see. They’re not entirely wrong … but they’re not entirely right, either.

If you want to improve your search rankings and website traffic this year, make sure that you’re not “that guy.” If you don’t already have both on your team, you’ll need to think like an SEO expert and a copywriter at the same time, pleasing both the algorithms and the humans reading your content.

Here are a few things to consider implementing on your site in 2022:

  • Keyword research is a powerful tool for uncovering what users are searching for related to your topic, but personas may be even more useful. By creating user personas for your site, you can identify where users are in the marketing funnel and tailor your content accordingly. Consider the words they might use about your topic that may be different from what a subject matter expert would use.
  • Don’t throw out those keywords, though. Make sure to use your strongest keywords in your page titles, headlines and subheadlines throughout the page, meta descriptions and image alt tags. It’s also important to use them throughout your content (especially at the top of the page), but be careful not to “keyword stuff.” Use variations and synonyms of words and phrases.
  • You may think shorter is better, but most SEO experts agree that Google favors pages with more content. However, don’t stuff more content onto a page just for the sake of it. Make sure your long-form content is helpful and informative, with the goal of satisfying as many search queries as possible. This is where content tailored to a specific part of the user’s marketing journey really shines.
  • Support your written content with elements that may be picked up by Google to be used in featured snippets, such as lists, definitions or tables. Featured snippets gain a lot of clicks and occupy “Position #0,” which is even better than ranking first. A great option is to include a Q&A section on your site that may be picked up as a featured answer by Google. You’ll want to write your answers as if another user wrote them rather than the brand.

At the end of the day, you are still ultimately writing for human beings, but with these tips you can also write for the algorithm without being “that guy.”