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To Write for Search Engines or People: Which is Priority?


Today, writing content for the web needs to be more than just an opinion piece. If you want eyes on your words, you need to consider writing search engine optimized (SEO) content that keeps best practices in mind. However, while Google and other search engines need to be considered in your writing, you need to remember who you’re writing for – people. The overall goal for anything you write should have an equal balance of value for the user and search engines, but which one is more critical in today’s digital world?

Search Engines Read Human Language, Not Search Language

Unlike our other blog posts, we’re going to answer the question early: you should always write for people over search engines. Here’s why:

As you know, Google and other search engines are continuously changing their ranking factors (not majorly, but little by little) to make sure they’re delivering the most valuable, relevant results for users. Over time, they have learned how human beings use language to find answers, and they continue to learn every day so they can perfect their algorithms.

Because of this, search engines do not need people to write content that’s tailored around their algorithms; they exist to serve people and give them the content they’re looking for. If your content delivers relevant answers and value, they will reward you with a higher ranking.

How Search Engines define “Strong” Content

As search engines become better and better over time, so do their abilities to identify high-quality content. In fact, Google has their own set of guidelines that lay out what it considers “strong” content. While this has been said to not directly impact rankings by Google’s John Mueller, it does offer insight into creating good content and what’s considered poor content.

Here are the most noteworthy elements search engines consider with page quality:

  • A web page’s purpose
  • Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of the site
  • Content quality and length
  • Website information and reputation /information
  • Information and reputation of the author
  • Relevancy to a search query (probably the most important factor)

How You Can Write High-Quality Content

If all of this above confused you or had you rethinking your content marketing strategy, don’t worry, there are still ways you can write to please both people and search engines:

  • Define your content’s purpose. Everything you right needs to have a reason behind it. Define your content’s goal, audience, and call to action before you start writing.
  • Plan it out before writing. Before you even write a word, outline, and research each section of your content.
  • Edit your content as much as needed. Never post something online without reviewing at least once. It also doesn’t hurt to have a friend or colleague review it too to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
  • Give yourself some credit. Search engines care about who created the content; make sure it’s easy for them to find out. Add yourself as the author of the post; the more authority a person’s reputation has, the better.
  • Make your content valuable. There needs to be substance in the content you create. Ask yourself if the content matches your purpose and is as educational as possible.
  • Cite your sources and add links. If you use other sources for your content, link to these accordingly so readers can learn where they came from. Also, add links to other pages of your website or other websites. These can be helped with telling search engines what the content is about.

While writing for people should always take priority, the digital world is too competitive not to consider search engines. It takes practice, but you can find balance over time.

To learn more about digital writing and SEO, contact us today!

About the Author

Brooke Desmond

Communications Manager
With a passion for all things digital marketing, Brooke aims to give a unique perspective on the latest trends and ideas in this ever-changing space.

View Brooke's Profile

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