When it comes to writing content for your website or blog, it often seems as though you have two options. Option one is to create content that is written for the reader first. Here, your first priority is to create something that people will enjoy and that they will be excited to read. This is the best strategy for those genuinely interested in true content marketing, where the objective is to create long-term fans.
Option two though is to write content for the search engines. In other words, this means that you are writing content in such a way that Google will be more likely to index it and will be more likely to present it to users. The risk here is that while you might gain exposure, you could risk losing the enjoyment of your readers and thereby building trust and authority.
But the real question you should be asking is not which of these methods you should adopt… but whether or not you can accomplish both things at once.
The New SEO
There was a time when writing for Google and writing for the reader meant two very different things. At this time, SEOs were focussed on trying to hack Google’s algorithms and effectively game the system. Google primarily ranked content based on the repetitious use of keywords and phrases and this meant that a smart SEO could simply insert the same keywords into their content over and over in order to make something that would rank highly on Google.
Of course, this did not result in content that was readable or enjoyable for the visitor.
Fortunately, Google has wizened up to those methods and is now much savvier at spotting blatant attempts at manipulation. If you repeat the same key terms over and over again, your website is likely to get penalized rather than reaching the top.
Instead, Google is now smart enough to look for real language and writing ‘around’ the topic. In fact, you can see this now when you search Google for terms: often it will actually replace the search term with synonyms!
This is something you need to consider and include when you are writing then: try to use related terms and synonyms in a way that comes naturally and a way that you think Google is likely to understand. If you do this, then your content will be more varied and useful for the reader and it will also be more likely to get ranked by Google.
The Message to Remember
The key take-home to remember through all of this is that Google wants to rank the best quality content. The overall aim of Google is to ensure its users find what they are looking for when they search and thus if you offer something genuinely useful, your goals will be aligned with those of Google’s and future updates will be more likely to help you rank. On the other hand, if you are trying to dupe Google, then your site will get hurt with each future improvement!