Why You Should Create Content for People, Not Search Engines
Do you value your readers? Do you care about what THEY think and what problems THEY might have? Then why torture them with keyword stuffed headlines and hollow, over-optimized articles? “But it’s for SEO!”, – you might say. Let me ask you a question: How much value does an article bring to the table, when it is focused around keywords and not around a specific problem in your industry? The answer? Close to zero—because your visitor will bounce off your website after reading the first paragraph. Only robots care about content written for robots.
Have you considered a content strategy for your website yet?
If not, you should. Chasing after keywords won’t get you far in today’s webscape. Content is read, shared and thought after by people and not by robots. A well-planned content strategy helps your rankings for SEO, converts traffic to paying customers, and gives you an advantage over competitors. Even today I still hear this outdated mantra for SEO:
- Research your keywords
- Create fresh content for these keywords
It’s easy, right? Aren’t you supposed to write for PEOPLE who will read that content? People who resonate with your writing? People who like your content so much, they share it with their friends on social media? People, whose life you’ve CHANGED by solving their problem? So, rather than concentrating your efforts on pleasing the search engines, let’s focus on creating content that people care about—and how it benefits your business.
A look at content from an SEO’s point of view
Don’t get me wrong, SEO is important to min-max your ranking game. When I refer to ‘optimization’, I’m talking about the technical part of ranking a webpage. A well optimized landing page will look something like this:
- Targeted topics and keywords
- Targeted page title
- Clean URL
- Compelling meta description
- Quick loading time
- Call to action
Content, on the other hand goes BEYOND optimization. It opens a door to your personality, and builds a relationship with your customer. Great content focuses on the audience’s intent. In other words, it’s all about them: their problems, their solutions and their HAPPINESS.
What do the people want?
A well-planned content strategy focuses on fulfilling the desires of your ravings fans. When planning your content strategy, ask yourself these four questions:
- Who is my audience? Age, sex, professional standing, etc.
- What do they need and what do they want? The actual and the perceived need.
- Why am I writing for them? How you can solve their problem.
- How do I make money? Reaching your business goals through content
EXAMPLE: Implement the strategy and create value Let’s say our friend Bob makes a website that contains killer stories and helpful tips about his world travels. He is familiar with SEO, and has done research to optimize for certain keywords. But, for some reason, he lacks a connection with his audience, gets almost no feedback, and his sales are subpar.
If he asks the right questions, he can create a SUCCESSFUL content strategy and solve his problems.
- Who is my audience? 18-25 year old guys (turns out Bob’s audience writes pretty raunchy and daring - more of a young guy’s taste).
- What do they need and what do they want? Location independence and world travel.
- Why am I writing to them? To promote world travel and provide useful tips, through entertaining and motivating stories.
- How do I make money? Selling eBooks.
Now Bob can implement this content strategy throughout his website. Weaving it into his blog, his homepage, about me, and any other pages. Bob’s traveling website now speaks TO THE PEOPLE, instead of just the search engines. He creates several eBooks ranging from hilarious adventures to what-to-do and what-not-to-do in certain countries. He provides value to his readers, which garners blog comments and email feedback. More importantly, he creates value for an audience that WANTS to buy his eBooks!
When you create content with people in mind, you create value for your business.
Sharing is caring
Write content that people can’t help share. In SEO terms, we call this natural backlinks or link-baiting. Not only do these links help your website’s SEO, but they also create a FUNNEL for relevant traffic from social media. When someone reads an article on your website and enjoys it so much they share it on their Facebook page or their own website, you should pat yourself on the back.
A great article is an asset to your business, which has the potential to last in the online world for years to come. If someone links your article back from their website, you’ll receive more relevant traffic as people click on the link and land on your page. Remember, sharing is caring. Create content for people who want to share it.
So, make it easy for your readers to share your content and RETURN the favor wherever you can.
Reach your business goals
As I mentioned before with Bob’s traveling website example, great content leads to a responsive audience. Because Bob identified his audience and their specific needs, he can create content that caters to the audience—and lay the groundwork for many valuable relationships.
When you write content that makes your audience ENGAGE, you increase your chances to get feedback. Maybe you get a comment on the awesomeness of your post, or an angry email disagreeing with it. Either way, you get feedback. And those RESPONSES from your audience help you grow as a business owner.
Don’t just optimize for robots…optimize for the people. Think about your audience when you create that next masterpiece!
About the Author, Rob Walling
Rob Walling runs popular long tail keyword tool HitTail and he wrote the book on small soft-ware startups. In his spare time, he co-hosts one of the leading podcasts for bootstrapped startups, called Startups for the Rest of Us.