Are we writing content to read or are we writing content for views?
A Cradle interview with New Zealand website developer, Sam Ardern.
With the two young children he shares with his wife, a dog called Larry, working as an editor on a leading New Zealand morning news show and running his own website development company, it’s fair to say Sam was in a bit of a balancing act.
But the late hours and minimal sleep took a change recently.
“About seven months ago.. I started using A.I,” he told Cradle.
As well as developing websites, Sam would write and produce the content for his customer. To try and minimise his workload, he contracted an overseas content writer.
“She would do a reasonable job with writing a bunch of content for each website I made. Then I’d duplicate that website for different cities; say it was a service for Tauranga. I’d do the same thing for Christchurch but I’d have to replace all the content otherwise it’s duplicate and Google doesn’t seem to like that,” says Sam.
That’s when jasper.ai started making a regular feature in Sam’s busy work day.
Jasper.ai, along with many other A.I writing tools creates content that uses natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to generate written content. It can also be used to enhance text for a variety of purposes, including website content, marketing collateral and even email responses.
The list could go on and on… But let’s get back to Sam.
“So I started using jasper.ai to write everything. Things were going pretty well and then all of a sudden everything sucked.”
Google released an update, which basically said they didn't like people using pure artificial intelligence.
“They want to see unique content which is understandable,” says Sam.
So it was back to the drawing board for Sam; not only did he need a lot of content pumped out, but he only had so many hours in his day. Not only did he need to create unique content, he needed to maximise the effort that went into that piece of content.
Then he had some tough choices to make. One of those options on the cards was waving goodbye to his content writer.
“Instead of paying her to do the whole thing again, which is what I was doing for a while, I had to come up with a solution to help me rewrite faster and pump out more websites. I thought A.I did a good job at that, but what it was doing was sending google signals that 95% of the content on the page was A.I detected.”
Within a few weeks a new piece of A.I software was launched, and with a flat fee of $400, a new tool was available to create endless content with only 5-10% being A.I detected.
“After trying this… My websites were ranking really well on Google searches.”
So it was goodbye contract writer, and hello little robot brain who can spit out content in seconds.
“It’s as easy as typing in ‘I want a blog with this headline and these keywords.”
While it seems like a no brainer when it comes to making efficient use of your time.. Sam feels conflicted.
“My concern is when you’re using A.I, you lose your voice, ethos and personality. But it’s getting my websites to the top of prospective customer’s Google searches, and that’s what my customers want”
This is where the big question comes into play; are we writing content to read, or content for website traffic?
In today's vast digital landscape where information is readily available at our fingertips, the significance of blog content cannot be overstated. They serve as a medium for expression, knowledge sharing and connecting readers with the same ideas.
But as online competition intensifies, there is no doubt a growing dilemma of writing for readers vs writing to appease the search engine optimisation algorithms.
Is there a world where we can find a delicate balance between content that resonates with readers, or gets our websites the first to be clicked on?
Are the two even related? Does one automatically cross out the other?
Hubspot recently raised some pretty interesting points in a recent blog.
"Artificial intelligence is getting a lot of traction in the marketing world. According to Statista, 80% of industry experts integrate some form of AI into their online marketing activities."
In Sam’s case, it’s all about pumping out content for his website that will bring in more web traffic.
“Nobody is going to read a 5,000 word page on a website I’ve developed for an arborist business in Levin. But Google will see that as you’re an authority on tree services, you ticked the boxes, and will direct online traffic there,” says Sam.
And it doesn’t just stop at words; Sam’s also making his own copyrighted logos and photos for businesses.
Sam’s new shortcut in building effective, informative websites has seen him build around 40 websites in six months.
“It’s completely transformed my business; I no longer rely on a writer which saves me money and am able to truly run my business independently. And I’ve seen a huge leap in income from the fact I’m able to triple the volume of content I can produce in basically the same amount of time.”
A.I will no doubt take up a huge space in society; it’ll be up to the individual to decide if they’d like to strike a balance between writing content for readers, or for SEO views. Prioritising readers by delivering valuable, engaging and well-crafted content remains the foundation of successful blogging. However neglecting SEO could seriously hinder your growth and reach.
So what’s Cradle’s view?
We think talking like humans, by humans, is more important than ever. And while A.I can be an incredibly helpful tool (and take a lot off our work loads) ask yourself this question.
What does my business value?
We think you can get the best of both worlds by implementing strategies that seamlessly integrate reader appeal and SEO optimisation. The key to both attracting and retaining an audience is creating content that your readers love and search engines can easily discover.
(P.S, if you’re wondering… We swear this was written by a human!)
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