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Web Writing For Search Engines And Humans
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Web writing tricks

One of the most often asked questions I get concerns whether an author should write articles for search engines or for actual human readers.

I recently received this question from a reader:

“What I really want to figure out is what type of content will bring the readers to my website and then convert them into buyers and also, do I really need to keep using different variations of saying the same thing over and over to please the search engine spiders?”

Good question–The answer is that ideally you would write content that is helpful to your target market, but that is also optimized to catch the attention of search engines.

Easier said than done, eh?

It can seem like a perpetual tightrope to walk–what do the search engines want to see -vs- what will appeal to my target market–, but I encourage you to relax and not over think things.

Article marketing is a work in progress, something we do continually over the lifetime of our websites and, as with any skill, we can improve our writing and naturally increase in our skill without the pressure to be the absolute best writer/article marketer on Day 1.

This is a process, and instead of getting bogged down in trying to do things perfectly (not really sure if there is a “perfect” way to do things anyway :-) ), it’s helpful to focus on starting where you are and then improving over time.

I’d like to go over a few approaches you can take when you’re trying to meld the needs of your human readers with the desire to appeal to search engines.

Write an attention grabbing title.

Now, what is attention grabbing for a reader is not necessarily the most attention grabbing for a search engine, right?

Readers respond to imagery and emotion, and a search engine is looking for semantically related words to indicate what a particular webpage (or article) is about.

There are a few approaches you can take when trying to craft a great title:

*Be certain that your title reflects specifically what your article is about.

This means that you won’t just make your title be your keywords, but you’ll make your title be more engaging and more specific.

For example, if I were submitting an article, I would not simply make my title be “Article Marketing”. That may tell a search engine what my article is about (in a very general sense), but it isn’t very helpful or captivating for human readers.

Also, if your keywords include a geographic location, such as “New Jersey Personal Trainer”, you wouldn’t include anything about New Jersey in your title unless your article was specifically about personal trainers in New Jersey.

Does that make sense? Your article title must reflect what your article is about, and any promise you make in your title must be delivered upon in your article body.

A compromise…

Option #1:

Now, this won’t work for everyone, but depending on what your keywords are, you may have the option of having the best of both worlds by including your keywords in your article title and also having wording that appeals to people.

Let’s say my keywords are Article Marketing and my specific article is about how to write your first article–I can simply make a title like this:

Article Marketing: 7 Fast and Easy Steps to Writing Your First Article…Even If You’re Not A Writer!

You’ll notice that I included my keywords at the front of the title, and then used a colon (:) to lead into a more exciting headline.

Option #2:

Like I said–the above technique won’t work for everyone, as sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to include your keywords at the start of your article title. So, here’s another approach:

Write your article on the topic of your website (as usual).

Then try to create an article title (if and where possible) to match what people are searching for, using the Wordtracker tool to help.

For example, I might write an article about how using an outline can help you write an article faster.

Use long tail key phrases as article topics.

Long tail key phrases are the longer search terms that a search would type into Google to find information on a topic in your niche. Your main keyword phrases will usually be between 1-3 words long, but your long tail key phrases can be 4, 5, or 6 words long. Your main keywords target general topics, while the long tail keywords are very specific. Because the topic is so specific, it is easy to write an article about a long tail key phrase. Since the topic is so specific, it’s also easier to rank highly for that search term. For more detailed information, please see this post.

Manage your HTML resource box carefully.

With an HTML resource box, you are using a keyword or keyword phrase as anchor text for a link–this means that the keyword is hyperlinked and when a reader clicks the words that are linked, then they are taken to your site. Google and other search engines regard hyperlinked text as being more important, so using your keyword as the anchor text for a hyperlink is little SEO thing that you can do with your keywords to help Google associate those words with your article/website.

An important note–if you’re using keyword linking from the HTML resource box, do not focus on the same keyword phrase each time, but vary them a lot within your niche.


If you use one keyword over and over again in your HTML resource box, it can appear as if you’re trying to manipulate Google’s evaluations and Google doesn’t like that. By varying the keywords you use when you’re employing an HTML resource box, you can help Google get a good idea what your site is about by linking in semantically related key phrases in a non-manipulative way.

What does semantically related mean?

If your keyword phrase is ‘sail boats’, semantically related phrases would be: ‘sailing boats’, ‘how to sail a boat’, ‘sail boat gear’, ‘learn about sail boats’–you get the idea.

What is an HTML Resource Box?

How To Create An HTML Resource Box

How To Write A Killer HTML Resource Box…The Easy Way!

Use your keywords appropriately.

This means writing naturally, and first and foremost keeping your human readers in mind. Your article should sound natural and not contrived (not say the same thing over and over), and

For more information on how to use keywords effectively in your articles, please see this resource.

You can write for humans and search engines, but I think people run into trouble when they try to write only for search engines and forget about their human audience.

Remember, your articles are pieces of communication between you and your target readers–your goal is to create an article that effectively conveys useful information. If you follow the tips in this post, search engines will also pick up on the topic of your articles and they will be able to appropriately classify your article in their results listings.

If this sounds too overwhelming, start by focusing on your readers. Write for them and forget about Google for a bit. When you get more used to writing article, it will be easier for you to integrate some of these techniques.

Photo Credit: The Web that is US

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