Should Content Be Targeted to the Readers or the Search Engines?

Updated on: 3 January 2014


Content plays an important role on the web because users only come to your site searching for information. This means that the content has be of high quality but for whom? The readers or the search engines? In simple words, you should obviously write compelling, interesting and helpful content for users and at the same time you can also make it search engine friendly – but how and why? Keep on reading this post and you will find it out by the end.

Why and How to Target Content to Readers?

When someone searches about anything on the web, they expect to find useful information regarding it. If your site is about ‘basketball players’ but the provided information is not accurate or truly regarding basketball players then visitors would most probably never return to your site. You don’t really want that unless you intend to spam and that’s a different story. Therefore, to capture readers’ attention you have to write interesting, compelling and helpful content. This will, in long-term, get you quite a lot of readers (i.e. traffic) to your site. Moreover, it’s also important that you keep your site updated with latest content and info as outdated information can be misguiding and readers would lose interest in your site.

Why and How to Target Content to Search Engines?

Although all the major search engines stress to write high quality content, their algorithms need ‘something’ to rate any content as high quality. For this purpose, there are certain techniques that you use to target the same piece of content to search engines that you write for users. So how can you do that?

One word: keywords. But, remember that although they are important you don’t have to stuff them everywhere in the content. It’s important that you insert the keywords naturally in the content, don’t try to forcibly insert them as you would like. Here are a few things you can do to optimize the content you write primarily for readers:

  • Conduct a keywords research, if you haven’t done it till now.
  • Long-tail keywords are also a great way to optimize the content for search engines.
  • Try to use the keyword in the URL of the post (slug), title of the post, in content for 3-4 times (for 500-550 word post), Meta description and heading tags.
  • When you link back to a post, use the keywords as anchor text to do so.
  • You may also use bolds and/or italics to highlight the keywords.
  • It’s also better to use different variations of a single keyword rather than using the same keyword everywhere.

So, up till now it has been established that it is important to write content for readers as well as search engines and how you can optimize your posts for search engines and your readers. Therefore, your aim should be to target both of them in order to get better visibility and higher search engine rankings. Moreover, updates from Google like Penguin and Hummingbird update won’t affect you since your content will be of high quality and its right thing to do from long-term perspective.