Content marketing is a popular and effective way for businesses to market online. With content marketing, SEO is a rather important aspect to keep in mind, as it will help search engines to find and index sites for search results. But should you only being targeting search engines with your content? What about the human element? Should you target your readers with your content instead? Which is the better way to go with content marketing?
There was a time, not really all that long ago, when there was a slight difference in they way content copy was written. Some copy was written to appeal to readers, and others were written with search engines in mind (emphasising use of keywords, etc.). Some skilled writers could combine both rather seamlessly, but many people’s efforts to do so would have stood out, and not in a good way. But now, things are starting to change, especially now that Google’s algorithms are changing to favour more high-quality, natural and informative content that is geared more towards being user-friendly than search engine friendly. This doesn’t mean that keywords and such aren’t still important, just that it’s starting to look like it’s not so important to focus on them in content.
So which should a person target their content to? Humans? Or search engines? Or both?
Readers (the humans) are your customers and would-be customers, after all, so targeting them with your content is extremely important. A person searching for something on the web is generally looking for useful information, and when they enter their search terms, their language tends to be more natural – in large part thanks to the ability to do voice searches. This leads to more natural-sounding content being important. And because people are looking for useful information, your content has to be quality content. It has to be informative, factual, helpful, and clear and direct, as well as compelling and engaging to catch the reader’s attention. You want to appear to be an expert in your field to your readers, and doing so can earn you more visitors. Your site must also be updated regularly with new content and information, as outdated information can be misleading and cause readers to lose interest. And if they lose interest, or if you can’t catch their attention, you lose out on getting customers. Keep you content varied, as well, to keep their interest. Use photos and videos as well as text content.
You don’t want to totally ignore search engines, though. Search engines are how many people will find your site to begin with. Google and other top search engines may stress the use of high-quality content, but they still need something to use to rate content as high quality. You can use the same content you’re using to target humans to also target search engines. This can be done simply by using keywords in your content. Remember, keywords are important for SEO, but you don’t have to stuff them everywhere in your content. Insert them naturally, and include them in tags, the URL, and in the title of your post. Also use them maybe 3-4 times in the copy and in the anchor text of backlinks. Using variations on a single keyword is good, too. Also, using high-quality content can protect you from being penalised by Google. Photo and video content also help with search engines, too.
So, as you can see, it’s not important to focus on either readers or search engines. Targeting both with your content is really the best way for you to gain visibility and higher search rankings.
How do you use content in your SEO strategy? Do you target readers or search engines? Are there any additional tactics or strategies which can be used that haven’t been mentioned here? Please share your thoughts and ideas in our comments box below!