When deciding what to write content about, it makes sense to look into what people are searching for. Or does it?
Recently, a tweet from Google’s John Mueller has suggested that he is advising against content creation based on keyword volume, but before SEO experts start ditching their keyword research tools, it’s important to look into exactly what Mueller said and understand the context.
Mueller was replying to a user who had taken a screenshot of a list of keywords with high search volume, and was asking whether it was possible to write about all of these separately without cannibalising keywords.
I can't judge that, but to be quite honest, seeing a list like that as a target for content makes me worry that you're not going to get a lot out of your work, or that your work is going to be quite superficial.
— John Mueller is mostly not here 🐀 (@JohnMu) October 26, 2022
His reply was that this approach would likely lead to “mediocracy” (he may have meant “mediocrity”) and that it’s better to write based on your knowledge and passion than to base content simply around “search volumes”.
The big danger is that this piece of advice will turn into “John Mueller says don’t look at keyword search volumes!” and will be quoted for years to come. Like the idea that a blog post has to be at least 800 words to have any SEO value, this is a situation where something an industry expert said once in response to a particular question could easily find itself cited again and again, taken out of context and used to give duff advice on content creation.
Let’s remember that first and foremost, Mueller was giving advice to one particular Twitter user here, not the entire content creation community. The person asking the question has screenshotted a fairly crude list of high-volume keywords, all of them about making money from YouTube, and seems to want to write pieces of content about all of them in a bid to rank for each one.
Mueller’s reply seems to me like a friendly and diplomatic way of saying the user needs to be a bit smarter than this, and that if he simply writes a garbled piece called “What is YouTube CPM?” (complete with tedious keyword-stuffed remarks like “you are probably here because you want to know what is YouTube CPM”), followed by another piece about whether YouTube has a money calculator, he’s going to end up with content that is indeed mediocre at best.
That’s the not the same as saying to avoid keyword research. Of course, it’s always worth using tools like SEO Minion and AnswerThePublic, monitoring what people are searching for and using this as inspiration for content creation, but only if you have something original and useful to say about it. If you’re simply fudging meaningless content around popular searches, you will end up with something of little value to the reader, and Google’s algorithms will probably quickly identify it as “unhelpful content”.
The Twitter user’s response suggested he didn’t really get it though, as he went on to ask what if he just did the last three of them. It looks like Mueller hasn’t bothered to respond to this, and I don’t blame him.
Above all, SEO is all about producing meaningful, high-quality content that builds your site into an authority. Speak to Engage Web today about how we can develop leading content on the subjects your target audience is searching for.