The thing about content specifically geared towards SEO marketing is that it sometimes tends to sound “unnatural,” especially when you target long-tail keywords. Here’s an example to better explain it:

– X is a marketing company specialized in SEO.

– X is an SEO marketing company.

One can argue the first sentence sounds better than the second. But the catch is that even though the first sentence has more of a natural flow to it, it’s not SEO friendly. Here’s why.

Picture yourself looking for a solution to a problem you’re having. Say, you see this one notification on the dashboard of your Subaru every time you start it. You then type Subaru dashboard light meaning into Google to find the solution to your recurring problem.

Subaru dashboard light meaning.

Syntactically, the sentence is an eyesore. It’s missing key components of a proper English sentence.

Semantically, however, it’s practically perfect. You can read the sentence and easily understand the purpose behind it, no deductions needed.

Look at the sentence again: Subaru dashboard light meaning.

– Would an old-school linguist approve of the sentence? Not in a million years.

– But can the average Joe understand it? Absolutely.

And guess what? Google algorithms are formed based on average Joe searches for these three reasons:

  • Average Joes are more ubiquitous in the world than old-school linguists.
  • When you’re urgently looking for a solution to a problem, grammar is the least of your concerns.
  • Google’s search predictions usually omit words without substance such as linking verbs (be, am, were…), prepositions (in, about, over, with,…), and articles (a/an, the).

People have become accustomed to googling grammatically incorrect phrases and still getting the result they’re looking for. 

That said, let’s go back to our earlier example and apply the average Joe concept to it.

– X is a marketing company specialized in SEO.

– X is an SEO marketing company.

SEO marketing company is a long-tail keyword with a search volume of 50/month, while marketing company specialized in SEO has 0/month.

SEO marketing company marketing company specialized in SEO

The reason SEO marketing company is a keyword with a decent amount of searches is that this is what people google when they’re looking for a marketing company that provides SEO services. Nobody really bothers to google marketing company specialized in SEO, which is why Google doesn’t autosuggest it in the first place. It’s simply too long—too proper if you will—of a phrase.

This is how your long-tail keywords end up sounding somewhat “unnatural.”

But what does this entail for content?

If you’re doing SEO content marketing, remember that sometimes you have to compromise for the sake of search engine recognition. While you want Google to acknowledge the content you’re creating, you also want it to be accessible to your target audience.

Find a middle ground where the old-school linguist and the average Joe can meet.

Sure, you’ll always find ways to nitpick at your sentence structure when targeting long-tail keywords. But at the end of the day, being able to combine good language with Google’s preferences is what eventually makes you a proficient SEO writer.