Web Copywriting: Write For People or Search Engines?

May 24, 2011Leave a reply

Coke or Pepsi?

Science or Religion?

Should you write website content for people or for search engines?

It’s a common debate in web writing circles.  The end users of your small business website are people.  But search engines use complex algorithms to determine if your content is applicable to the questions searchers are asking.

The bottom line question is whether to sacrifice readability in order to keep the search engines happy.

Fortunately, this is one debate where you can satisfy both sides with a better understanding of four key web copywriting principles from Brian Clark of Copyblogger:

Compelling Content
Search engines like Google take into account the words people use when linking to your  anchor text to get a feel for what’s on your website.  Particularly, Google focuses on the links pointing at your domain as a vote of legitimacy.  So link attraction is essential.

But it’s not feasible to trick people into linking to you.  They’ll only do that when your content gives them a good reason to do so.  To accomplish this, your content must be enlightening, engaging, though-provoking and valuable.

Content Landing Pages
These pages are where you create valuable content resources on one search optimized page for the most important topics related to your small business.  This is where your site’s cornerstone content gives visitors the most fundamental information about your small business.

By creating a virtual table of contents, you direct the majority of links to that page in a way that promotes sharing and bookmarking.

Speaking the Language of the Audience
Even though analytical tools are increasingly focusing on usage data as an indicator of web page quality, search engines ultimately still must match up what a page is about with what people are searching for.  In plain language, that means your web copywriting must match up with the words searchers use when they’re talking about it.

Mirroring the language used by your intended audience is the key to being a great communicator, and that’s true online as well.

Enhanced Readability
A balance must be struck between keeping your web copywriting reader friendly without missing the boat on SEO.  Keyword stuffing isn’t necessary to give the search engines what they need.  What you’re looking for is logical, informative, reader-friendly content that promotes linking to your site, combined with optimized content that tells the search engines you have what people are seeking.

Your web copywriting must cater to the needs of the people and the search engines that are visiting your small business website.  The proof that you’re doing it right is when your rankings and conversions start to rise.

Let the Website Architects build your small business website using proven principles of web psychology.  Contact us for a free proposal.

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