Content Writing and Optimization

Anyone can write content for a website, but writing good, optimized content is a lot harder.  That’s because it has to pull double duty: optimized content needs to be informative and read naturally to a person, but it also needs to contain specific keywords and information for search engines, too.  Finding the perfect balance between these two target audiences can be quite difficult, especially for those who don’t understand how search engine optimization works.

Writing for Humans

First and foremost, website content is written for people.  They come to a website to learn about a business, gain information about a subject, or be entertained.  The content on a website has to sound natural to people; otherwise, it will be difficult to read or unhelpful, and the person won’t remain on the website for very long.  If the website is for a business, this most likely means losing a sale or potential client. 

Writing for people is done without much thought as to what words are used or how often those words are used.  The writer simply writes what is naturally needed to inform the reader.

Writing for Search Engines

That’s not the case when writing for search engines.  Here, specific words are worked into the content and may be used a certain number of times to make the content appear to be focused around those terms.  Search engines will pick up on these specific keywords and use them when comparing the website to a search.  If the website matches the search terms, it will rank fairly high on the search results, making it more likely that the user will visit the website.

The Balancing Act

If content is written solely for humans, it’s possible it won’t contain all of the keywords necessary to get the website highly ranked.  However, if the writer is too concerned with keywords and keyword density (the number of times a keyword appears in the text), then the resulting content will sound very unnatural to a person reading it.  Finding the perfect balance between the two, then, is an absolute must.

Writers also have to keep abreast of the latest search engine algorithm changes.  These algorithms determine how a search engine ranks a page.  They used to focus solely on keywords, and a website with a large number of keywords would rank highly in a number of searches.  However, search engine programmers soon realized these websites often had nothing to do with the keywords that appeared in their content.  Today, algorithms may actually penalize a site that has too many keywords in the text, adding another layer of complexity to creating the perfectly optimized content.