So why would you write for them?
Being a fiction writer, I do a lot of research… including on topics that probably shouldn’t see the light of day outside their proper context. It’s lovely when I find the results I’m looking for on page 1 of Google search.
Something not-so-lovely is when I click on a promising link… and all I find is a bunch of gibberish shoved together to get clicks. Sure, it’s got the keywords I’m looking for, but it doesn’t actually answer my question. Instead, it rephrases the question twelve times before (maybe) giving me a fuzzy, unclear answer.
But at least it got me to their site, right?
Sure. For about 45 seconds. Then I close the tab.
Quite frankly, I’m not interested in web pages that don’t deliver what I expected. It got on page 1 of the Google search results, but it failed to get me to take action. I didn’t subscribe, I didn’t buy anything, I didn’t even read more articles. What’s more, I left with a bad taste in my mouth, less likely to trust the website in the future.
You can probably already guess what the problem is:
The web page wrote for search engines, not for humans.
If you want organic search traffic, you can’t ignore good keyphrases. Search engines are designed to help people find the web pages that talk about whatever they typed into the search bar. It’s important to optimize your page so the search engine will realize you’re talking about that topic.
But if it’s not written in a way that’s natural and pleasant for humans to read, you’ll get a lot of bounces. People will look at your page and then click the convenient back arrow.
For people to find you and engage thoughtfully with your content, you’ve got to flip common (but outdated) “SEO advice” on its head.
Search engines aren’t stupid. Gone are the days when it was effective to shove a keyword into every nook and cranny. Instead, it’s more effective to use a good blend of synonyms and related terms. More effective than analyzing keyword percentages is including a good mix of relevant concepts in the right places.
But you know what will get you even more dedicated readers than any search engine finagling?
Optimizing for the reader.
Your human readers should come first and foremost. Always.
That said, it doesn’t have to be an either-or. You can do both!
I find it a fun challenge to be strategic when approaching a piece, combining good keywords, a strong call-to-action, and easy, digestible content.
But you know what I like way more than writing my own web content?
I love helping people edit their online writing to optimize it for readers and search engines alike. It can be a pain to edit your own work. After all, you know exactly what you meant, and you know exactly what you want your audience to do. But your audience doesn’t know that!
If you’d like to take that job off your plate, I’d love to help you out!
I’ll be launching web copy editing services within the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
If you want more info now, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.