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Working Together: SEO and Web Content

Feb 4, 2011
DotcomWeavers

For some reason, there is a persistent myth about search engine optimization and web copy: that good writing and good SEO don’t go well together.

I hear statements like “No need to search-engine-optimize the content,” and “If it is well written, keywords will naturally flow in the content.” If you are a person that believes a conflict of interest exists between these two tools for search engine ranking, then you are convinced of two misconceptions:

One: that you know more about what people will read on the Internet than a search engine.

And two: without consciously optimizing the content, you or your writer will produce content that will magically be ideal for people and search engines.

We have search engines for a reason

Search engines are highly complicated bits of code, not just an oversized ‘find’ function. They are programmed to find web content that others have found relevant and useful for the keywords entered. Think about it, Google wouldn’t be so popular if it didn’t return useful results most of the time.

The spiders that search engines use to crawl through the web to find useful content for your search terms have been refined again and again to prevent returning spam, farm links and pages that have been oversaturated with keywords. Highly ranked websites have been verified by search engine crawlers and surfers.

What Web Surfers are looking to Read

The way information is shared on the web is changing. These days, people prefer to get their information from a video, rather than read a bunch of text. If you want people to read what you have typed, it needs to be in short, to-the-point paragraphs that are easy to scan.

Nobel-prize-winning writing will not entice web surfers. That is why the Internet has not helped the resurgence of the short story or other literary writing. Matter of fact, the only paper publication to have made a smooth transition to the web, and perhaps see improvement, are newspaper publications. They are written to immediately get to the point after attracting a reader’s attention. That is how web content must be written, as users are not willing and shouldn’t have to spend exorbitant amounts of time reading all the text available on most websites to find the information they want.

Good SEO content makes for Good Reading

The short, precise style of writing for the web is perfect for SEO. Knowing your intended audience and the keywords you want to incorporate are essential to writing good web copy. When people search for terms, they expect to find them in the content that is returned. This is how they find the portion that is relevant to their query.

If you’ve had enough sense to have your web content written professionally, have enough sense to take the advice of most website copywriters: search-engine-optimization for keywords and good web writing are the same thing.

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