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Writing Content for People, Not Search Engines: a Human’s Guide to SEO


In developing a content strategy for your business, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important investments you can make. When leveraged correctly, writing content with SEO at the forefront can improve search engine rankings, increase organic traffic, and raise brand awareness so your ideal customers can find you. In fact, DemandGen’s 2022 B2B Buyer’s Survey found that 67% of B2B buyers start the buying process with a broad web search. And according to, companies that integrate SEO into their content marketing have a higher chance of success in their online strategies, and their content performs better in search results. 

Still, it can be too easy to be shortsighted in implementing an effective SEO strategy. More keywords = good, right? In theory, yes. In practice, absolutely not, especially as it relates to Inbound Marketing Methodology wherein the first stage focuses on attracting your ideal customer with relevant content.

Imagine you’re searching for SEO best practices, and land on an article that appears to be helpful. You click one of the first blogs on the page, and it read like this:

"Search Engine Optimization is important for optimizing your content to include keywords that rank in search engines. In fact, SEO is good for blogs because you can optimize your content for search engines to rank higher. Optimizing your content for search engines is important because…”

You would immediately know the author was trying to rank for keywords instead of providing helpful, relevant content, and would quickly (and correctly) assume they couldn’t help you. That blog may have got the initial hit, but didn’t appeal to the end user, and as a result lost a potential customer. That is why stuffing website content with keywords is at the end ineffectual and off-putting to site visitors.

Even as artificial intelligence is becoming more popular in content creation, people are good at sniffing out robotic content that may hit various keywords, but reads like word salad. Technology can help you to get ahead, but it’s important to remember that there is a human at the other end of your messaging who is looking for relevant content. And they are the ones with purchasing power.

Strategizing how to implement SEO into your content creation can seem daunting, but keeping the following rules of thumb in mind can help you to create helpful content for your site visitors while also improving your site’s search ranking:

Rules of Thumb for Human-focused SEO Strategy

      1. Know your audience: What are they searching for, what can you help them with? These questions are key to leveraging SEO in your content strategy. From there, you can create a Keyword Research Report to determine which keywords that are relevant to your customers will be worth the effort trying to rank for. 
      2. Quality > Quantity: If you’re trying to rank for a keyword, you only need to use it a total of 3-4 times in your copy. Focus on the message surrounding the keywords and it will be easy to organically include them while also providing quality content to your end user. 
      3. Find an SEO schtick and stick with it: Once you start creating relevant content for your end user, see what they like and stick with it. Over time, and with consistency, you will establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and improve your site’s authority score, which is also beneficial to SEO.
      4. Internal and External Linking: Speaking of authority, strategic use of internal and external links can guide readers to related content within your website, improving navigation and increasing time spent on your site, while external links to sources with high authority signal to search engines that your content is well-researched and adds credibility.
      5. Local SEO is your friend: According to GoGulf, 46% of Google searches are for local businesses. From there, 72% of searchers visit a local store or company’s premises within 24 hours of the search, according to WordStream. If your company has a local angle, whether your customers all live within a specific range or you have a physical location users can visit, be sure to play to it in your SEO strategy. 

Honing in on your SEO strategy when creating relevant content is well worth the investment, but we fully understand how overwhelming it can be. Check out our free SEO 101 download to help guide your journey. And if you want to tag in an expert to help audit your content, or help you with a Keyword Research Report - tag us in!

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