Guess What People - It’s Time to Kill the Fluff!

blog cover image

“In this fast-paced world of snail vs. slug racing…”

Oh no, hold on.

“In the ever-evolving landscape of MySpace, Nokia 3310, and Dodos..”

Wait… that’s not right.

“EmBARKing on a journey to keep your dog quiet…”

Why isn’t this working?

“Unleashing your dog’s lead…”


Dear ChatGPT, do you mind if I just write this blog post on my own?#

In future, if I wish to sound like Joey from FRIENDS using a thesaurus for the first time, I’ll call on you!!


What’s Up Wackies???

Long time, right?

Okay, I’m going to try to be quick today (Oi… stop laughing at the back!!).

So, no mucking about, let’s get on with it.

You Have to Kill the Fluff

Will you two go and have a conversation on someone else’s blog post, I’m trying to get my point across.

Plus, I said kill “THE” Fluff, not “OLD” Fluff, although… Hahahahahaha!! Let’s not go there.

Okay, it has occurred to me that I am quite possibly the worst person in the entire world to talk about this subject.

Basically, stop rambling, stop going off on tangents, and get to the point.

However, as I always tell you, Do as I say, not as I Do.

Here goes.

Google Search Results Provide Clues

So, one of the most common things you will probably hear/read me say is, “Check Google With Your Own Eyes”.

It actually amazes me that many online marketers don’t do this.

One of the main aims of blogging and SEO is to rank on page one of Google, hopefully within the top 3 results.

However, in order to achieve this most of us tend to rely on keyword tools, external rank checkers, SEO plugins, and even AI.

Here’s another way to look at it.

If I asked you to tell me whether it’s raining RIGHT THIS SECOND where you are in the world, would you:

  1. Check the weather app on your phone?


  1. Walk to your front door, open it, and look outside?

The answer seems obvious, right? (well, at least I hope it is).

However, for most online marketers it appears that they would rather “check the weather app on their phone” (use software and tools) rather than simply “opening the front door” (going to Google and actually looking with their own eyes).

Seems a bit strange to me, but each to their own.

The point being, when you actually go and look for yourself, more often than not, Google will “reveal” some clues about “ranking” for a particular search term.

Okay, I note earlier today Timothy asked a question on the platform about the “lawn care” niche, so let’s use this as an example to show you what I mean.

So, initially I head on over to the Google Search Bar to use the autosuggest/autocomplete function to see what people are ACTUALLY SEARCHING FOR.

I simply type a “question phrase” related to my niche.

I’ve gone with

Why Does My Lawn


Here’s what that looks like.

Okay, let’s click on the first result, “Why Does My Lawn Flood” and see what we are greeted with.

As you can see the first result is a “Featured Snippet” also know as “Google Position 0”.

Basically, the search result that is ABOVE the number one ranked article for this search term.

A “Featured Snippet” is typically a short block of text (it can be a bullet-point list, a video, or even an image with some text) that PROVIDES THE SEARCHER WITH THE ANSWER TO THEIR QUERY IMMEDIATELY.

Next, immediately below the featured snippet we are greeted with the “People Also Ask” section.

This is a list of questions that are CLOSELY RELATED to the search term (keyword) that has been typed into Google.

Here they are:

Now, with the People Also Ask queries you should know that when you click on one result it will automatically reveal MORE People Also Ask (PAA) queries.

So, you could sit there just clicking on the top result, open it, close it, and keep clicking on your mouse and it will continue to reveal more-and-more PAA queries.

Then again, if you’ve followed me for a while you may have the SEO Minion chrome extension installed, which allows you to download a few hundred PAA queries to an excel document in about 5 minutes (and if you own ahrefs or semrush then none of this is an issue).

Anyway, let’s click on one of the PAA results to see what’s going on.

As you can see it’s much the same, a short “snippet” of text THAT ANSWERS THE QUERY POSED.

It’s not until AFTER the People Also Ask queries that we get the NUMBER ONE RANKING ARTICLE for the search term “Why Does My Lawn Flood?”

Here it is:

Now, if you actually search “Why Does My Lawn Flood?” in Google (which you should doing as you read this, DON’T take what I say at face value, CHECK FOR YOURSELF), you’ll notice that on DESKTOP you can only INITIALLY SEE the Featured Snippet and the People Also Ask section.

Whereas, on mobile you can only see the Featured Snippet.

Realistically, ranking NUMBER ONE in 2024 can almost be the equivalent of ranking NUMBER 4 in previous years (less traffic/clicks).

Basically, articles are getting pushed further-and-further down the page.

And this is just for an informational type keyword.

Imagine a commercial or transactional keyword.

You'll have paid ads at the top of the page, BIG brands who offer the product (with images) next, a Featured Snippet (probably from a big brand too), then the People Also Ask section, and finally the "number one ranking article".

What Does This All Mean?

Basically, I believe that Google is almost trying to turn itself into a “Questions & Answers Machine”.

And it is “EVOLVING” this way simply because of how much humankind has changed in the last 20 years.

For those of you old enough to remember the world before smartphones and the vast array of technology we have at our fingertips now, this should make a lot of sense.

People, over the last 20 years, have been MANIPULATED & TRAINED by technology.

What I mean by this, and again for those of you old enough to remember, we didn’t have things IMMEDIATELY to hand many years ago.

You wanted to drive to somewhere you didn’t know, you’d pull out a paper map, get lost 15 times, shout at the wife, and as all us men do, NOT ASK FOR HELP (directions), LOL!!

Nowadays, you type your destination into your phone and you IMMEDIATELY have everything laid out for you.

Years ago, if you wanted to speak to 500 “friends” at the same time, you would have to make phonecalls, send letters, and find a specific time and place when/where everyone was available.

Nowadays, you can send a picture of your dinner to 500 “friends” on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, etc.

In other words, we have been MANIPULATED & TRAINED to want and to EXPECT immediate gratification.

Here’s another example, remember dial-up internet connect, those funny fax-like noises, and having to wait about 5 minutes before you have “connected” to the internet!!

Nowadays most of us throw a fit if the internet isn’t IMMEDIATELY available the second we open our laptop, and our smartphones are constantly connected to “mobile data” (we have been “trained” NOT TO WAIT)..

Basically, we have become a world of “I want it now”, “I don;t want to wait”, “Well, such and such can do this in 5 seconds, why are you taking so long?”

Another way to look at this, we have become impatient and then ungrateful if we don’t receive an IMMEDIATE RESPONSE.

Can you see where I’m going with this?


Is Google not currently giving IMMEDIATE RESPONSES (because it knows that people are NOW impatient, and have been manipulated and trained by technology to want IMMEDIATE RESPONSES) in the form of short snippets of text, images, videos, etc.?

So realistically your article writing should follow suit.

“Non-Prompted” AI Outlines Aren’t Great

Now, this is something that I discussed on the platform yesterday, but let’s take a closer look.

Firstly, before anyone thinks I’m anti-AI, which seems to be the case for many, it’s NOT TRUE!


Furthermore, I also create blog outlines, and even write articles via AI.

However, I treat AI like a real visual assistant, so I explain in MY PROMPTS what I want, what I don’t want, and I never take a “first response” as complete.

Now, the thing with most AI blog outlines is that they are typically created to cover EVERYTHING that could possible be related to that keyword.

Initially this sounds great, but is it?

Let’s get a ChatGPT article outline.

Okay, I’ve asked ChatGPT to provide with an outline for the keyword (or topic as I prefer)

How Long Does it Take to Earn Money From Affiliate Marketing?

Here’s what we get.

Now, if we then were to get AI to write each section, one section at a time, we are looking at an introduction first, and then information abiout what affiliate marketing is, and then potential earnings.

Realistically, most AI software will produce 2-3 paragraphs per point.

Let’s say two, and that each paragraph is approximately 70 words.

That is two paragraphs for the introduction, two paragraphs about the basics of affiliate marketing, and two paragraphs about earning potential from affiliate marketing.

So, that is approximately 420 words.

Now, let’s go back to viewing humankind in the 21st century.

Remember that human?

The impatient, “want it now”, “can’t be bothered to wait”, “I need immediate gratification” person.

How far do you honestly think this person will get through those first 420 words WITHOUT having their initially query (How Long Does it Take to Earn Money From Affiliate Marketing?) ANSWERED?

Realistically, most people scan read, hence why it’s good to have subheadings, bolded text, images, and videos (basically something that looks different from a wall of text).

That being said, I can guarantee that a huge percentage of people won’t even scan.

They will read your introduction, the first line of your first heading, and think “Well, this doesn’t tell me what I asked Google for, so let me click the back button and check the next article”.

Google takes notice of this.

“Hmmm, this article was ranking number one for the keyword (How Long Does it Take to Earn Money From Affiliate Marketing?), but it seems that a huge percentage of visitors are leaving within seconds, obviously searchers aren’t finding this article HELPFUL, let me replace it at number one with something better, and then drop this article to position 100 (where no-one will EVER find it).”

This type of introduction and first subheading is NOT GIVING THE PEOPLE WANT THEY WANT.

Plus, remember I said that Google (CURRENTLY) seems to be far more focused on being a “question and answer” machine.

So, why not just follow suit?

Rather than going with an AI outline introduction, which sounds like a hyped-up 1970s copywriter, why not just give the reader the ANSWER TO THEIR QUERY STRAIGHT AWAY?

Look, writing articles was typically taught as:

  • Introduction = Tell them what they’re going to learn from the article.
  • Body = Tell them what they need to know
  • Conclusion = Tell them what you’ve just told them

Sounds great, right?

However, this type of article writing was formulated BEFORE the “informational/technology revolution”.

This type of article writing was used when we were more patient as humans, when we still had to use paper maps, had to knock on 500 people’s front doors to show them our dinner, when we would have to check outside for rain rather than using a weather app.


What’s the Solution?

Give them what they want IMMEDIATELY.

So, rather than having an introduction such as, “In the ever-evolving, fast-paced world of…”


Okay, I’m been talking about “Answer Snippets” for a good 3-4 years now (and been doing it for even longer).

This is simply a one paragraph, 40-70 word blurb, that ANSWERS THE QUERY POSED IN THE TITLE.

This USED to come after my introduction, which though very short usually, would not provide “immediate gratification” for my readers.

So, how about, STARTING an article with an “answer snippet” or “key learning points”.

Here’s a couple of examples from one of my sites:

And then THIS ONE:

Now, both articles are still 2,000+ words (not everyone requires immediate gratification, some people still like to read everything, so realistically your article writing should cater to BOTH types of people)


The “answer to the query” has been provided IMMEDIATELY for those who “can’t be bothered to read the entire article”.

Okay, you could say that surely people will read the answer and then just leave your website.

Correct, BUT, this is what a LOT of people online do anyway.

The vast majority of people who visit your website will leave within a few seconds.

EVEN WORSE, the vast majority of people who search for something in Google won’t even “finish their search” and find out what they want (can’t be bothered, taking too long, can’t find an IMMEDIATE answer).

Therefore, if someone is going to come to your page, read the “answer” and then leave immediately, they are the same type of person that would read your long-winded introduction and leave because they got bored (but at least this way you may be able to “entice interest” from an “impatient person” by giving them an immediate answer).

But, as I say, you can still write and outline articcles to cater to those who like to read everything and those who like everything now, now, now.

In terms of affiliate marketing, especially “Best Of” and “List” Product Reviews this could be a goldmine.

You article is

The 10 Best Cameras For Wildlife Photography

And at the beginning of your article, instead of an introduction you have

Author’s Recommendation

The #1 camera for wildlife photography is XXXX. This is because XXXX XXXXX XXXX. You can check out the camera for yourself here (add affiliate link), or continue to read for a more in-depth review, as well as the 9 other cameras that made the list.

Okay, that was awful, hahahahaha!!! But hopefully you get my meaning (obviously write a better “answer snippet” than I just have).

What you’re doing here is giving the impatient ones an immediate answer, but it is obvious there is far more to your article for those who want a far more in-depth review of all 10 cameras.

Once more, you are catering to and satisfying BOTH types of people.

It’s Not Just People You Will Be Satisfying

I’ve already spoken, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, about how Google may treat your articles if visitors are leaving extremely quickly.

However, Google is basically trying to tell us to “Kill the Fluff” by what we currently see in the search results.

Something else to look at, two of the worst hit industries in the 2023 Helpful Content Update were

  • Recipe Blogs
  • Travel Blogs


Again, this is NOT everyone, but in the main, there was a lot of filler content, and the articles took forever to get to the point.

As an example, you may have noticed that many recipe blog posts are like 5,000+ words.

They go into the history of the recipe, how the recipe was first introduced to the author, where the ingredients are sourced form, etc.

Does someone searching Google for

“Can I Make Apple Pie Without Butter”

Really need a history lesson on apples? Or pies? Or the history of flour?

The actual ANSWER to the query would typically be about 3,000 words deep into the article.

Not really catering to the “I want it now crowd” is it?

The same can be said for many travel blogs, again NOT ALL, but many, many, many travel blogs are like this.

Someone goes to Google and searches

“Can I Drive in Jaimaica With a UK Licence?”

They initialy get greeted with a history of Jaimaica, a history of driving licences (hahahahaaha!!! I might have made that one up), the best places to visit in Jaimaica, climate and temperatures for different times of the year, best festival in Jaimaica, etc.

Basically, stringing out an article in order for it to be considered “helpful”, and hopefully “manipulate” Google’s algorithm with the plathora of keywords in your text!!!



Final Thoughts

I am actually trying this out on 3 different sites.

Admittedly, the “positive results” I’ve seen thus far from my two main sites aren’t even worth mentioning.

They’re both huge authority sites so I could basically write about toenail clippings and I’ll probably rank.

However, for the less authoratitive site things are also starting to happen.

Weirdly, time on page has GONE UP and rankings have seen slight improvements.

Realistically, I would usually want to “give tips” if I haven’t tested something for at least 6 months, but as I say, Google is actually giving us clues that this is CURRENTLY what they want.

BUT, I do think there are some big changes coming again this year in the search results (which Google’s Gary Illyes alluded to late last year, and which Google’s Danny Sullivan joked about on Twitter/X just FOUR DAYS AGO ←– If Danny’s making jokes about “sweeping changes” that Gary had previously spoken about, is our first Google Algorithm Update of 2024 imminent?).

Just before I leave you, just a quick word of these upcoming algorithm updates.

This is purely my opinion, but in seems that Google wish to focus on “Search Spam” and “Parasite SEO” (please look them up for further info)...

However, for those of you who lost rankings in last year’s HCU’s, you will probably have noticed that the rankings were taken over by user-generated-content, web 2.0 properties, as well as specific parasite SEO sites.

Does this mean that things like Quora, Reddit, TikTok, and Pinterest will STAY?


All the IRRELEVANT, high authority websites, which are clearly being used for backlinks/guest posts/ranking based on domain authority will GO? (and if so, who’s going to replace them? Don’t forget that in many algorithm updates of the past some websites that were affected have “come back from the dead” WITHOUT actually ever doing anything).

I don’t wish to get anyone too excited or too depressed, but I have a feeling that there will be more shifts in the search results that will shake things up.

Anyway, I seem to have gone off on about 200 tangents… what was this blog post about again?

Oh yeah, not going off on a tangent, cutting out the fluff, and getting to the point!!!


I’ll stop now before I do it again.

(Do as I say, NOT as I do)

Thank You For Reading


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Recent Comments


In this style, which I both like and want myself when I look at other articles, do you agree with me that it is best to start the post with a comparison chart? If you are writing a review of 3-1000 reviews, I mean.

And then the typical guide/knowledge etc, after it? Of course, after the answer snippet, I like it and will start to test it now.

You should know by now Johann what I'm going to say 🤣🤣🤣

You know I love to experiment, try different things, and then determine what works and what doesn't.

So, sure, go for it.

Yes, I agree, have the answer snippet first, which provides an immediate "answer".

I would have a one or two sentence "introduction" to your Comparison Chart next.

Plus, as it's a review, I would aim to have an affiliate link to the "best product" (at least) within the comparison chart (I'm guessing you will have links to all products anyway in the chart).

What you don't want to do is provide lots of useful information immediately but not "ask for the sale", i.e. include a affiliate link.

The answer snippet and comparison chart immediately will work really well for visitors who are very close to making a purchase, but need a little "push" (some more information).

I would experiment on two different review articles as well.

So, perhaps have one with the answer snippet and comparison table immediately and then the second article have the answer snippet, then your "reviews" and the comparison table later on.

Monitor this over a 4-6 week period and then YOU'LL KNOW what works best FOR YOU.

Hehhe, yes I know. But it was a reason for me to come with another comment here! :)
First of all you need to understand that I come from elite sports circumstances. This means that I need to think first, always a little bit (not critically), but to understand.
After it, I am used that team come together and analyeser the opponents piece by piece and then each player made his own plan inside the team, his role to win.

And maybe that is the reason that I look at WA that way. Are I so far from your ideas, I don´t think so ;)

But the reason for my thinking about this idea is that I don´t read posts that are to long if there is a lot of waste of time in them (except I read your but started to late hehehe).
I don´t have time, and I have tried too many times with the end disappoint.

So, for me, as a human looking around, it is exactly like I would see it. But! That is just me, you are the word :)

Thanks again, I go for it! And yes, I always have links on all products in the charts.

Awesome post that is packed full of information. I agree with your sentiment about AI. Like you, I am not anti-AI.

Bottom line, we need to take time to figure out how to prepare posts that will be found AND read.

I will be referring back to this post. Thank you.


For me, it's always been about focusing on the "human element".

Sure, there are lots of "technical aspects" to on-page SEO, but the most important factor always has to be your reader.

And Happy 7 Years Sondra! :)

Here's a humorous take on summarizing the fluff, highlighting its genius while nodding to the challenge of understanding for the "uninitiated":

Ever stumbled upon a text so clever it felt like trying to listen to a symphony through a wall? That's the original piece we're talking about. Picture this: It's a literary concoction that curves between lines with the grace of a gazelle and the subtlety of a ninja. To the untrained eye (or ear), it might just seem like a jumble of words, akin to overhearing an opera in a language you don't speak – you appreciate the noise, but the beauty of the aria eludes you.

But here's the kicker: Once the "deafness" of our understanding clears, what unfolds is nothing short of genius. It's like suddenly realizing you've been holding the map upside down after wandering in circles, and now the path is clear, inviting you to a treasure trove of insights and enlightenment.

So, to those who felt a bit lost in the linguistic labyrinth, worry not. You were merely in the silent movie version of a blockbuster plot. And with a little decoding, the soundtrack kicks in, vibrant and full of life, turning what seemed like an intricate puzzle into a masterpiece of clarity and wit.

In short, the text is a secret handshake of sorts, a cerebral jest only fully grasped when the scales of unfamiliarity fall away. And once they do, oh, the places you'll go!

I hope this playful summary captures the essence of the fluff's brilliance while humorously acknowledging the challenges of cracking its code.



I have surely noticed a big shift in my niche, from Google SEO down and Pinterest and Reddit going way up in the rankings. I am now glad to have never slacked on social media, although not fully attention yet, because if I would have done so, I would have given up entirely. And for sure, AI is giving way to much fluff, I'm doing so much deleting that I might just go back to writing everything myself and it even makes me lazy and out of focus of my own experiences or opinion with a topic.

Yep, it's kind of like I've mentioned above as well.

Essentially, ranking number ONE in 2024 you will actually be in the "same place" (on the actual screen) as a number 4 ranking article from 2020 (because of the the featured snippets, PAA, ads, YouTube and Image carousels, etc.)

So realistically, someone who was NOT hit during the updates may even see their traffic halved, simply because they've been pushed further down the page.

Well done for keeping up with socials, it definitely makes a huge difference if you stay consistent.

As I've mentioned, I do think there are big changes coming this year.

I do think one of the main changes will be these huge DA websites currently ranking, but using parasite SEO, (basically, people asking to guest post on high DA sites just for the backlink <---- This is what is currently ranking), and often the article is irrelevant to the search term, well I think these will get "punished" this year.

Of course, I don't know, but this could mean that a lot of people who lost rankings in HCU may see some improvements, even if they did NOTHING.

The reason being is that SEARCHERS may not be happy with the results, so they are spending more time on Quora, Reddit, Pinterest, TikTok and avoiding these high DA sites that are ranking.

The more these sites are "avoided" the less likely they will be viewed as "helpful" (so, there could be lots of changes again this year).

I do also think that a lot of "spammy AI" sites, so either those publishing at extreme volume (hundreds or thousands of articles a month), or those just publishing whatever AI gives them without human editing will get hit this year.

So, the hope is, for those of us who have been doing things "right", as long as we are not over-optimized (it's obvious that we're trying to get keywords in), as long as we are receiving traffic and backlinks from external sources (Pinterest, Reddit, TikTok, Medium, Facebook, Insta, Forums, Quora, etc.) then we MAY see improvements this year without having actually done much.

I think it's going to be an interesting year!

oh for sure, lot's of people will be dissapointed I think, also here on WA. When I use the 'comments for comments' section here, I see more and more quite unreadable articles spitted out with the AI writer. Hard for me to even go through because I have ADHD, but it's not just that, it has just gotten quite boring, to be honest. (and I need to hold off my "honest " comment, because I know it will just get disapproved.
Good, opinioned articles , for example, always have been more intriguing to me , although I still have to cut your texts into half and then read on later haha, I do go back to them for more. I do believe that personal articles will stand the test of time more than AI, although it can be a great help. And for certain topics, it does go a lot quicker, so I will just use the "credits for the AI writer" only for those.

Hey, Partha; thanks a lot for your excellent and fluffy article... I think I got the point: give the visitor some instant answer or at least part thereof, and then persuade/compel them to read further if they feel the need. You can also put a subtle CTA in your intro snippet/ bullet list as you mentioned. I think this could definitely work and cater to both types of people.

Good morning Partha,

Thank you for a great blog post, packed with good information and humour!

I'm going to bookmark your page for future reference, I often do!

Regarding the weather app, most people would check their weather app when it's pouring down with rain, despite the weather app probably saying that it's dry and sunny!!

Have a great day and thank you for the info.


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