Here’s the dilemma – If you only write for your readers, then your site won’t be fully optimised. But if you only write for search engines, then your content will be flat and boring and your visitors won’t enjoy it. So, what can you do?
SEO needs quality content
If there’s one thing that the Penguin and Panda updates have taught us is that producing high-quality content should be part of your SEO efforts. That means that content and SEO should go hand in hand and you should not sacrifice the value of your content in the hope of getting higher search engine rankings.
When you write your content, stick to best practice in SEO, but don’t think that means you have to compromise on quality. Here’s how to make sure you’re getting it right:
Make content, not spam
People only share awesome content, that type of content that inspires or makes them think, laugh or cry. So, if you want them to take notice of you, you need to write great content.
Great content is:
- Useful – it solves a problem
- Interesting – it grabs people’s attention
- Sticky – it makes the visitor engage, read more and come back for more
Choose the right keywords
Use Google’s Keyword Tool to find the most popular keywords in your niche and put together a list of strong keywords that you’ll be using to optimise your content for search engines.
This will help your content rank higher in search engines when people enter a search query using those keywords.These keywords tell you what your potential customers are looking for on the web when searching for products or services in your industry. This kind of research gives you an idea about what they’re interested in and what valuable information you can provide to attract them to your site.
But don’t go crazy with the keywords.
Stuffing is for Thanksgiving
Write for your readers first and then tweak for the search engines. Create useful content that that you’ve optimised, rather than optimised content which you have tried to make useful. We’re talking about a gentle tweak, not stuffing your pages with keywords from beginning to end.
Even if your visitors don’t know about SEO, the rubbish you churn out will be massive turn off and they’ll avoid reading or sharing your content since it wasn’t written for them in the first place.
So, if you’re only writing for search engines, then you’re writing spam content which has been created with the sole purpose of packing in a bunch of keywords. Not only will no one find value in it, but it’ll also be a waste of time as you won’t benefit from it. Keywords should occur in your articles naturally, rather than being shoehorned in whenever you have chance.
Create easy-to-skim content
By making your content easy for your readers to parse, you also make it easier for search engines to index.
Remember that the structure and organisation of your content is essential not only for your readers but also for search engines as they’re using an algorithm to “read” your content and rank it.
Improve your content’s readability by:
- Writing short paragraphs – People often don’t read in depth on the web and writing chunks of text can put people off. Instead, write short paragraphs (3-4 lines of text).
- Using sub-headlines – Break your content into blocks of text separated by sub-headlines that summarise it.
- Embracing bullet points – whenever possible as people prefer reading clear, concise ideas rather than pages of text.
Provide extra information by linking to other resources
Your mission is to get visitors to stay on your site as long as possible. So, show them other resources they might be interested in by linking to other pages on your site. However, make sure the pages you’re linking to are relevant to what you mention in your content, otherwise you’ll probably going to lose them.
Increasingly, what is good for search engines is the same as what is good for your visitors. But if you ever find yourself in the position of having to choose one over the other, it always makes sense to give your readers what they want.
After all, search engines don’t have money to spend.