Great copywriters know empathy is crucial to improved SEO

How to boost your Google ranking

Search Engine Optimisation is a clandestine art of sorts. It’s constantly changing, enshrouded in mystery and is equal parts interesting and scary. To truly be a master of SEO, you need to dedicate at least half an hour a day to researching and refining your knowledge and SEO efforts.

And yet amidst the hamster wheel of changes, one core element of SEO, particularly SEO copywriting, remains true.

SEO is based on a desire to fulfil the basic human need to feel understood. In essence, to appeal to humanity.

I understand that this is a loaded statement. If you’ve come to this blog through a casual Facebook scroll, it might feel a little overly-philosophical for post aimed at helping your improve your Google ranking.

And yet, humanity is at the core of all we do.

We sell to humans to fulfil their needs, and to fulfil our needs too.

We buy from humans because we trust them through emotive signals.

And we build, create and redesign with the belief that humans matter, and their needs deserve to be met. We empathise with them, and then orient from there.

This is at the core of SEO. And now more than ever, we need to keep this in mind.


Empathy sells

We’re aware of the old coinage that ‘sex sells’. Appealing to our basic, carnal lust is an age-old marketing trick, but I would argue that sex falls under the larger umbrella of empathy. Acknowledging human needs, desires and yes, perversions, is what really sells, not sex in and of itself.


What is empathy?

A simple definition from Merriam Webster Dictionary:

: the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings


Empathy is a key element of emotional intelligence. Without it, we can’t understand or connect with the people around us. As marketers, emotional intelligence and recognising what drives behaviour are critical skills.

Because if you don’t understand your target market’s plight, then you can’t appeal to their wants and needs. And if you can’t do that, then your brand is dead on arrival.


How does empathy have a place in SEO?

SEO relies upon a number of factors, or as the experts say, ranking signals. Aside from optimising the technical aspects of your website, a larger and arguably more difficult side to SEO is learning SEO copywriting.

Once upon a time, SEO-friendly copy was defined by keyword density – that’s using a keyword a certain amount of times within copy to ‘optimise’ the web page. You could literally stuff a page with keywords with disregard for user-friendliness, and soar to #1 on Google for that keyword.


Today, Google uses an algorithm which is far more intuitive, intelligent, and yes, human. In fact, Google’s algorithm uses machine learning, which mimicks the human brain. This technology is called RankBrain, and it helps Google deliver search results through a process called machine learning. The machine actually teaches itself, rather than relying on detailed programming or humans.

Dystopian allusions aside, machine learning is useful for fulfilling search queries with intuitive data. By more closely understanding what we need, Google can deliver us more useful information.

But here’s the thing: you need to fulfil your end of the equation too.

And by that, I mean your copywriting should signal to Google that you understand what your audience is searching for, that you understand what they need, and that you have the information to help them.



Learn how I got to #1 on Google, and stayed there for 4 years.

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I'm Camilla Peffer, and I'm a Melbourne copywriter who creates engaging, results-driven content for fashion and lifestyle brands. From website copywriting, to fashion copywriting, content strategies and SEO audits, I've created clicks and conversions for the likes of Sportsgirl, Seed Heritage and Politix. Want to work together? Reach out! I'd love to hear about your next project.