An SEO Dilemma: Should You Write Content For People Or Google?

If you read a lot of copywriting blogs you’ll undoubtedly find the debate surrounding whether you should write your content for people or for search engines…

Let me make one thing clear.

It’s probably the one thing I want you to take away from this blog post…

Search Engines are designed to interpret human behaviour.

Search Engines want to deliver the best content to answer their customer’s (searcher’s) query. In the past few years search engines have got smarter – a lot smarter, at interpreting what makes a piece of content valuable to people.

And that means whilst you should write content that Google loves, you must always remember that it’s the people who read your copy who you need to influence to take action.

And that requires you to ensure your content is valuable, relevant and interesting…

1.  Is your content Interesting?

One of the biggest signals to the search engines, especially Google, of quality content is external factors such as the number and quality of links pointing to a web page. By making sure your content is compelling, whether that be interesting, informative, controversial or entertaining, you increase the likelihood that other website owners will link to it or share on social media.

Remember. People link because there’s something in it for them in some way, and because something about your content compelled them to do so.

2.  Is your content readable?

Search engines can actually decipher the reading level of a piece of content and it pays to avoid common writing mistakes.

It’s important to bear this in mind if you are writing content for a wide reaching audience. Try to avoid jargon, complex words or technical terms if they are things your target market may struggle to understand. Another area where you need to spend time is making sure your content doesn’t have any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes within it.

Most people are lazy readers and will just scan a page looking for the content that they seek. They will only really stop to read if they see something that stands out to them. Keep your sentences short and direct, but don’t skimp on the content, the more content the better! But instead of writing an endless column of text, write short paragraphs and utilise a lot of white space. Remember to use bullet points, bold and/or italics to emphasise the key content. Do this and you’ll make it much easier for the reader to spot the key points you are trying to make.

3.  Is your content specific?

This is really important…

Google has to match up what a page is about with what people are searching for.

And this means your words need to match up with the way searchers most like to talk about it.

Keyword research and the use of keyword phrases within content is the one area where some webmasters fail to invest their time properly. Anyone who’s not interested in understanding the language used by their customers is simply not interested in being effective at marketing their business – search engine or not.

Keyword stuffing is not what Google wants, so get the notion that “keyword density is important for SEO” out of your mind. People don’t enjoy reading overly optimised content and therefore it is in the best interests of the search engines not to show it. I’m not going to lie to you because you can actually underuse your keywords in relation to an article or blog post. However oftentimes the case is that the majority of individuals who are new to SEO copywriting tend to actually overuse their keywords beyond what is really necessary.

SEO is invaluable for driving traffic to your website. But do not lose sight of the importance of keeping people at the centre of your writing and don’t forget your aim is to help the search engine bots understand what your content relates to.

How do you use SEO to attract customers? How do you ensure your write for people and not search engines? What concerns do you have about getting your SEO right? Please tell me in the comments below.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Start with the home page of your website and ask yourself:

  1. Has it been written mainly to score in search results?
  2. Is it interesting, readable and specific?
  3. How could you reword some of the sections to make it appeal more to your target audience?

 

Chris Dyson

Chris Dyson is a Freelance SEO Consultant and currently blogs about Social Media and SEO at Triple SEO.