When it comes to writing content for websites, writers often fall into two different camps: those who focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and those who focus on in-bound content. Let’s be clear, both strategies are very important. SEO is vital for driving traffic to your website. Without optimizing your website for search engines, you’ll have to rely on intensive social media campaigns and/or paid traffic (i.e. ads). Meanwhile, if your pages aren’t optimized for readers, you’re going to struggle to generate conversions.
Fortunately, you can accomplish both SEO and crafting genuine, powerful, inbound content. While the two strategies are sometimes thought as competing, this is far from the truth. Both fit together quite nicely if you use the right approach. That’s why we’re going to go over why and how you can both increase your SEO ranking and publish great inbound content.
First, Know Who (and What) You Are Writing For
The first tip for any type of writing is to identify who your target audience is. In this case, you have at least two audiences, your organic, real live human readers, and the search engine “bots” that will crawl your website. These two audiences are going to approach your content much differently.
First, let’s talk about the “bots”. These are search engine programs that “crawl” over your website, trying to determine what the content is about and its quality. These bots are super smart, but they aren’t truly “intelligent.” They examine word density, looking for words that are repeated frequently, check basic grammar, look at publishing dates, and various other factors. They more or less “grade” your content, and the info they find is then used to compile your search engine ranking.
Humans, on the other hand, are looking for valuable information. They want to learn or acquire knowledge about something, and they hope that your website will have the answers. Your human audience, of course, can be broken down into multiple subsets.
Both Bots and People Want Great Content
The most important rule for both search engines and inbound content is writing great content. A lot of people try to over think when writing for search engines. They pack articles with keywords, for example, hoping that bots will pick up on these keywords.
It’s important to remember, however, that Google’s search engine is primarily looking for great content. The entire point of a search engine is to give users access to highly relevant, high quality content. So forget “black hat” tricks and trying to fool Google. Focus on providing great content instead. Not only will readers enjoy this content, but search engines will appreciate it as well.
Details Are Your Friends
Search engines pay special attention to “headers” and bold content. Search engines also love images, charts, and other similar types of content. They can recognize these types of content by reading descriptive keyword alt tags. Bots will also look for bolded words, italics, and other words you mark as important.
Readers, meanwhile, enjoy all of the above. Content that is broken up with headers, and occasionally uses bold words is easier to read. Readers can more easily and more quickly find high quality content that is relevant to them. Web users also love images and charts because they convey information quickly.
Ultimately, when it comes to targeting both search engines and human users, it’s often possible to hit two birds with one stone! What’s essential is conscious effort.