SEO 101 with Matt Cutts: When Creating Content, Focus on Clarity
Producing great content that will rank well on Google’s SERPs has always been a challenge for content marketers. While many content marketers focus on producing high-quality, optimized content, some forget the importance of producing content that is both accessible and comprehensible for readers.
In a Google Webmasters video dated February 26, 2014, someone asked Google’s Matt Cutts if Google is more inclined to rank content that is easier to read or more scientific in nature.
Cutts admitted that he “spent more time thinking about [this question] than [he] did a lot of other questions [that day]”. Cutts went on to admit that “the clarity [of what a person writes] matters a lot”.
Cutts stated that if topics (no matter how technical or scientific) cannot be explained clearly to a 6th grader, than the person teaching the topic probably did not understand it well enough. He noted the times he would go searching for answers on Wikipedia, but would encounter pages that were “way too technical” and littered with “hyper-scientific terms”. While factually accurate, such content want “not all that understandable.”
He referenced the popular Explain Like I’m Five subreddit as one example of simplified explanations that the average person would understand. Aside from emphasizing clarity, Cutts affirmed that it is advisable to also add the correct scientific terms and industry jargon associated with the topic. Moreover, Cutts advised content creators to find an angle that would entice the reader or get them to truly understand the content, and avoid presenting them with “an opaque wall of scientific stuff”.
“If you’re saying something important but you can’t get it across, then sometimes you never got it across in the first place,” said Cutts. On the other hand, if a page is meant for industry professionals, it might make sense to have a page that uses industry terms familiar to the target audience.
Nevertheless, regardless of who the content is for, Cutts says that making the content as natural sounding as possible would benefit all readers, and is more likely to last longer than “something that’s…just a few scientific mumbo jumbo stuff.”
When creating content, do you focus more on technicality and accuracy, or readability and accessibility?
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