Search engine optimization is important for most businesses' web presence, and content is a huge part of SEO. When folks first realized this, the content trend was kicked off. If search engines wanted content, then content they'd get. SEOs were turning out web pages by the ton, and content farms were born to churn this all out on the regular. This content catered to the search engines almost exclusively--a lot of gibberish was whipped up to get the attention of web crawlers. Pages existed purely for the purpose of slipping in more keywords and links. It didn't matter if the words there made any sense or served up any value to real people, but who cared about real people?! They weren't going to get you to the first page of the search results. But that's all old news.
Google did a few rounds of algorithm updates, and suddenly a premium was placed on relevance, value, and usefulness. The content farm crap no longer cuts it, so if you haven't received the memo, all of your content needs to cater to actual people now; the search engines like it. And even if you've been aware of this shift, you may have noticed that old habits are hard to break. You need to learn how to write SEO content for humans. Here's our tips:
Don't make them search for squat.
A high value piece is one that gives a reader all pertinent information. If you reference another site, talk about a product, or drop a contentious stat, link to it. People shouldn't have to stop what they are doing and go search for supplementary information--it should be all right there for them. This doesn't mean you have to beat a dead horse and make every post exhaustive as all get out, but the immediate topic should be fully covered.
Don't be too basic.
Posts introducing topics and giving broad overviews can be beneficial, but not to every audience. If you are drafting a post to talk to newbies, that's cool, but if your blog readers or site visitors are advanced, they don't want to read 300 101-level words on a topic.
There is a ton of content online. Being 100% unique and different may be impossible, but you have to try. If your content is the same as something a reader could get by scanning the first three results when searching your target keyword, your article may not be worth writing.
Clean it up.
Sloppy copy can be almost painful to read. Not everyone is a grammar geek who can't help but to correct errors with "your" and "you're" on Facebook, but just about anyone will take note of common errors like incorrect capitalization and willy-nilly punctuation littering your page. It can be hard to read and can give humans an actual headache.
Talk to your audience.
You should know who you audience is. You should have whipped up some client personas, or at least have put some thought into who you want as your ideal audience. And you should create content that speaks to them. Generic content that is meant to be applicable to all probably won't resonate with them.
Skip the hard sell.
Ok, this one really has nothing to do with search engines. Just don't use your content as another opportunity to sell stuff. People want value--they don't want an ad. And if you are really trying to enhance your SEO efforts, the hard sell will hurt you, as folks will be eager to navigate away from your page, which will make it seem sucky in Google's eyes.
Learn what's up now with SEO.
There were a lot of "old school" SEO techniques that weren't good for UX at all. For instance, layering keywords under the background can slow things down and can look like total crap if the page doesn't load correctly. Figure out what's out so you can lose anything that doesn't do anything for your user's experience (and that could actually hurt your search rankings).
To get started on figuring out what's the deal with SEO today, you may want to snag our download "16 SEO Myths to Ditch in 2016." It's awesome and it's free.
Start next your off right by shaking off B.S. that's messing up your marketing.