As search engine optimization has become increasingly important for companies who want to strengthen their online presence, the amount of content floating around the internet has multiplied exponentially. Businesses constantly send new content out into the ether, hoping it will help them improve their keyword rankings – but, unfortunately for the average web user looking for helpful information, most of this content is targeted at search engine web crawlers rather than at the actual people who must wade through it all to find what they’re looking for.

The result is a huge surplus of meaningless, irrelevant content on the web.

Functionally, SEO content – whether in the form of a blog or articles distributed across the web – provides several benefits:

  • Fresh, regularly updated content causes web crawlers to crawl your site more often and helps the site rank better.
  • It allows you to incorporate keywords you want to rank for into your site.
  • It helps bring you traffic by increasing your ability to attract inbound links to your website.

These are tangible, measurable goals that can be met by writing only with search engines in mind. However, by aiming higher and writing for the human web user as well as for mindless web crawlers, your content can provide additional benefits that are worth their weight in gold, including:

  • The ability to attract higher-quality inbound links from sites with better domain authority. People will recognize authoritative, meaty content and will be more likely to link to it from established and respected sites. One good link from a high-quality site can outweigh dozens of mediocre ones.
  • Enhancement of your branding and marketing efforts. By getting people to come to your site for useful information, you set yourself up as an expert in your field. People will be more likely to do business with you if they consider you an authority on the subject.

Ideally, quality SEO content should aim for the point at which the needs of web crawlers and the needs of internet users intersect. When attempting to raise the quality of your SEO content, keep the following practices in mind:

Write authoritatively. Your articles and blog posts should offer something new or helpful that can’t be found in the hundreds of other articles on the subject that are already floating around out there – whether it’s your unique perspective or insider information you’ve learned through years of experience in your field. If an SEO company is producing your content for you, work with them to ensure your perspective and expertise are represented.
Give people something they need.
Nobody wants to click on an article just to read a sales pitch about how great Company A’s widgets are. People want to read about things they can do today to improve their lives, save time and money, or learn something they didn’t know before. Use your SEO content to inform, not to sell.

Be concise, detailed and meaty. Think of your content as a cut of steak. A huge proportion of articles and blog posts on the web are extremely fatty – once you cut away the fat, there’s very little, if any, meat to chew on. Aim for a lean cut, with lots of meat and little to no fat. If your title promises to tell readers how to do something, make sure you deliver on that promise. The more concrete detail you can offer, the better.

So much of the web content out there is simply a regurgitation of ideas other people have written about. By producing content that is both original and based on your personal expertise, you can become a source of information not only for potential customers, but for the hundreds of other writers out there who are looking for meat to include in their articles.

And if you’re lucky, they just might link back to you.

[photo: The Bitten Word]