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How to Write for Search Engines & Humans
One of the main challenges professional content writers often struggle with is finding the perfect balance for successfully writing for both search engines and humans. Ever since Google released its Penguin update in 2012, search engine optimization (SEO) has become increasingly focused on finding the perfect balance between user-centric content and convincing search engine crawlers that your content is king.
At FirstPage Marketing, our professional Internet marketing team understands how important it is to write for both humans and search engines. That is why we offer a range of digital marketing services, including search engine optimization services and writing content for your website.
Why SEO Content Writing is Important
Since SEO works to optimize webpages to allow people to find them first in search engines like Google, combining the concept of SEO with content writing can help ensure that your content is found when people hit “search”. Content that is informative and useful but has not been optimized for SEO may lose the potential to not only rank higher in search results but also to engage people who might be interested in your content, products, or services.
Learn more about the importance of writing quality website content.
Optimizing Content Writing for Both Humans and Search Engines
Some SEO best practices that can be used to optimize content writing for both humans and search engines include:
Understand Your Audience’s Needs
Taking the time to research and understand your target audience’s needs and intentions can help shape your keyword strategy and content writing. Try to provide the best information available for prospective customers and search engines by answering search queries or by addressing common problems people face with products or services similar to your own.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing (the practice of placing keywords all over a webpage in an attempt to increase site rankings) is no longer a common and acceptable SEO practice, as it adds nothing to user experience. As search engine robots continue to become more advanced, the risk of penalization for keyword stuffing increases.
Use SEO Best Practices
Following some basic on-page SEO practices can be an essential part of creating rich content that both humans and search engines will love. Some of the basic SEO practices you can utilize include:
- Meta title tag—Page titles should be no longer than 70 characters and should use target keywords as close to the beginning as possible.
- Meta description tag—Descriptions should be no longer than 160 characters and should also contain keywords. The description should also entice readers to click through to the page.
- Heading 1 tag—There should only be one H1 used on each page, as search engines view it as the most important heading.
- Image alt tags—Since search engines cannot see images like humans can, it is important to describe the image using keywords.
- URLs—Shorter URLs that contain keywords are better, as they can impact whether or not a user clicks through to your website.
- Body copy—Target keywords, including variations and contextual keywords, should be used at the top of the page and at least two or three times throughout.
Include Internal Links
Linking between different pages on your website can add relevance to each of the pages, while also keeping users on your site and engaged. If done properly, linking between pages can be a great way to funnel potential customers to your priority webpages. When linking between different pages, be sure to optimize the anchor text (hyperlink) for keyword and page content relevancy. Anchor text that include phrases like, “click here” have zero search engine optimization value and appear spammy.
Provide Easy-to-Read, Scannable Content
Providing users with easy-to-read, digestible content can be the ideal way to keep users engaged. Some of the ways that you can create an easier website experience for your audience include:
- Avoiding large blocks of content.
- Utilizing bullet points and numbered lists.
- Using H2 and H3 tags as subheadings to break up the content even more.
- Making words or phrases bold or italicized to help keywords stand out.
If you would like to learn more about how to write successfully for both humans and search engines, or if you are interested in one of our digital marketing services (Internet marketing, print marketing, marketing strategy, search engine optimization, website design and development, or social media marketing), please contact us today.