While keywords help with search engine ranking, write for your audience first. Every piece of online content you write is really for two audiences: online readers and search engines. Both are important, but readers get the edge and hold more weight for two reasons:
Having content rank high in search engines has little value if your content doesn’t attract readers who turn into customers or followers. If readers do not revisit your content or quickly view it before discarding it, it hurts the relevancy search engines place on the content. When your pieces aren’t considered relevant, they drop in value when it comes to ranking. Plus, over-optimizing for SEO hurts your content.
The solution is to strike an effective balance by using value-driven, informative copy and strategically placed keywords.
Writing to both audiences with one piece of online content
SEO does have tremendous value, but you need to approach it in the right way. If you’re like most writers, writing online content and optimizing with keywords simultaneously probably hurts the strength of the content.
Instead, use a two-part writing process. Write for readers and potential customers first. Then go back, and weave keywords naturally into your content. Just stuffing keywords randomly does not work well, so make sure you understand when and where to use keywords for SEO.
Understanding how value-driven content also drives traffic
When you write engaging, informative and useful online content, readers and consumers naturally bring in additional traffic. It might get shared by word of mouth, via someone’s blog post or on a social media site. However it’s shared, it still means increased traffic to what you write.
If you can welcome all those new visitors with solid content, you are much further ahead than ranking higher temporarily from keywords stuffed into empty, un-engaging content. Compelling and relevant content is always your first priority when it comes to SEO.