How to Write ‘Search Engine Friendly’ Content Without Annoying Your (Human) Readers?

Blogging is a great way to get the attention of Google and other search engines – if done correctly. But, should a blogger write for the Search Engines or for human visitors (readers)? This is an old question that has been plaguing every content writer’s mind for ages now.

There is a fine line between content that is reader friendly and content that is search engine friendly; learning how to strike a balance between the two together is one of the keys to obtaining high Search Engine Rankings. If you’d ask me, writing for humans first and then considering the search engines is the way to deal with this matter.

What Does ‘Writing Naturally’ Mean For ‘SEO Copywriting?

Content, in the form of articles, knowledge bases and blogs should be keyword rich, but not over-saturated.  Over use of keywords is something that search spiders will look for in your textual content. In fact, spiders are on the lookout for ‘word stuffing’ or pieces of text filled with too many keywords. And it can mean doomsday for your site/blog if you are trying to trick search engines by stuffing keywords into your content.

So if old hat optimization is considered over-optimization and/or is potentially detrimental to your SERP rankings what do you do? Here are some tips for writing searching engine friendly blog posts or news stories that every website should use. Not all of your blog posts have to be directed at search engines, but to rank on specific keyword phrases you should write at least some blog posts with equal attention towards keyword phrases.

Top 10 Best Tips For Search Engine Friendly Natural Copywriting

Without further ado, here are some tips to help you write articles and blog contents that have a balance between targeted search engine bots as well as are equally appealing (natural looking) to your regular human readers:

1. Use an Interesting and Unique Article (Page) Title

Admit it or not, your article’s headline is the first thing that can make or break your chance to grab reader’s attention. You have got about 15 seconds time during which a potential search engine user looks at your article and tries to make sense out of it – if your article title is well-written and if the reader is able to identify his needs with it then you can expect him/her to continue reading the whole article; otherwise, the visitor will simply ‘close’ your article and move along (and will probably never get a chance to stumble upon your site again).

So it is absolutely important to write a unique and interesting article title to turn a casual passerby into a serious reader. Here are some nice tips to write attention grabbing article headlines for your blog posts.

However, just writing a good article title is NOT enough. Your web page that contains your article must also have a good headline. Interestingly, the page title is something that appears in the top left corner of the browser window. You and your human visitors may not be keen on looking at the page title (in the browser title bar) but it is something that most search engine spiders look for while indexing your content. So make sure to assign a unique page title for each page you create. If you are unable to assign page titles via your CMS install an SEO plugin that lets you do the same.

2. Use H1 tag and Use Primary Keywords in Your Article Page Title

Most search engines use a maximum of 70 chars for the article title. So make sure that you have included the ‘most natural’ variation (translation) of your primary target keywords in the page title. And ensure that the main heading on your page uses a H1 tag. Most WordPress themes by default do his on the fly. However some themes uses a H2 tag instead for the article page titles, which is also OK but not as effective as the H1 tag.

3. Collect Your Keywords Wisely

When the so-called SEO experts talk about ‘keyword density‘, most of them forget about the ‘keyword quality‘! It is absolutely important to research and determine ideal keywords for your topic based on supply and demand. Use keyword tools like Wordtracker or Micro Niche Finder to brainstorm for popular keyword phrases. Search in Google to determine the supply/competitiveness of the keywords. Find high demand and low supply keywords. And while you are at it, you should probably also do your homework keeping the long tail and short tail keywords in mind.

4. Format Your Article Ensuring Easy Readability

Remember that people generally scan web pages looking for simple answers. So long and complex sentences/paragraphs will tend to put them off. Also try to break up the text using bulleted or numbered lists where relevant. This is really important for your users as it is important to keep the content digestible if you want to keep people’s attention.

You may think that this is not important for the search engine spiders. But after Google’s recent Panda update, it has become clear that things like easy navigation, an uncluttered web site (blog) design and good readability are things that Google (and other search engines) have started taking into consideration while ranking a web page.

5. Write ‘Link Magnet’ Articles

Lot has been talked about writing ‘pillar articles‘ and ‘link bait articles‘ as an effective methods to attract backlinks. So basically while writing, in addition to formatting visually appealing copy (bold points, lists, useful sidebars, etc.), think about writing article pieces that other bloggers from your niche will want to link to, will want to save to their social media bookmarks, and tell others about. For example, take a look at the homepage of Digg or Reddit. You will notice that the posts are straight to the point (i.e. right now an article entitled “Google+ scares me” by Market Watch is on the front page of Digg.) To know more, check out our Top 10 Link-Building Tips for Your Blog!

6. Use Descriptive Alt Tags On Your Article Images

As they say — pictures are worth thousand words. So you should include images in your articles where ever possible and when you do so, you should use alt tags. Alt tags are basically short descriptions (mainly intended for the search engine crawlers) that let search engines know what is in the picture. And make it a point to use your keywords in your image alt tags but don’t try to overdo it. Try to keep them relevant to the content of the picture and you can expect some good traffic from Google’s image search.

7. Use Different Variations of Your Target Keywords

‘Keyword stuffing’ is possibly the surest way to jeopardize your article’s SEO success — so do NOT do it. Instead, select 1 to 2 main keywords for each article based on high demand and low competitiveness. Then create a list of several keyword phrases to target in current and future updates. Once you have the list, use those keywords in the article name, titles, the first sentence and the last sentence. Repeat the keywords and synonyms a few times throughout the article; but NEVER overdo it.

8. Use CSS (Div) Instead of Tables

When the search engine bots view your article page code, the content should come first before sidebars and other junk that will reduce the relevancy of the page. CSS is the solution to this. You can place content below a menu visually, but above your content up in the source code. In addition, HTML code should be used as it was meant to be used. For example, the title of an article should be in an H1 tag, other less important subheadings should be in H2 and so on.

9. Keep Your Keyword Density within 4%-6%

Calculate the keyword density by dividing the number of keywords by the number of total words. Aim for a 4 to 6 percent density. Edit the article for quality content for reading that also has a good keyword density for the search engines. Add keywords or edit down the word-count to increase keyword density.

10. Write for People NOT Robots

This is probably the most important of all. Write something that people want to read — whether it be informative, educational or entertaining. TO know better, read aloud your article before publishing it. If it sound ‘natural’ and yet informative then your readers would also feel the same. As a rule of thumb, a great article is the one that your human readers as well as the search engine spiders find interesting. Hence, if you want to get higher search engine ranking, target the humans and the robots will follow!


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