Why write content just for search engines? So what if it gets you a high ranking if people can’t understand it?
I’m completely amazed at some of the content I see on the web. It seems as if some people have sold out and are offering up simple readability as a sacrifice to the gods of Search Engine Optimization. They don’t care what the text on their site actually looks like to a human as long as they get ranked highly by the almighty Google.
Here’s an example. Names have been changed to protect the innocent (or ignorant):
Acme Corp is a Raleigh Web Design company located in Raleigh, NC. Acme specializes in web design and Raleigh website development for small to medium businesses in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Apex, Cary, Holly Springs, Morrisville, RTP, Research Triangle Park, and Fuquay Varina areas of the North Carolina Triangle. In addition to website design and web development, Acme also specializes in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Raleigh businesses. Acme can redesign your Raleigh website and help you achieve great search engine rankings through optimizing your site text for search engines.
Obviously, these guys are just stuffing as many keywords into their text as possible so they can rank highly for phrases like “web design Raleigh”. They apparently don’t care very much about the actual humans who come to their site and attempt to read the copy in hopes of hiring this outstanding “web design, website development, and search engine optimization (SEO) firm”. It doesn’t matter to them if the text makes no sense as long as they get that click.
Personally, I really hate this approach. Content should be written for real people who actually read things, not our evil robotic overlords from the future. Just take a look at the content on this site. It was written in the hopes that people would dig in and learn about the services we offer. It was also written to give people a little glimpse into the personalities behind OnWired. We’re not uptight, corporate stiffs, so we don’t want a site that comes off that way.
Getting to my point, here are my rules for writing:
- Write simply. The average American reads on a high-school level, so don’t try to impress us with lots of big words. Your website shouldn’t read like a doctoral thesis, and it certainly shouldn’t use lots of buzzwords or corporate mumbo-jumbo.
- Be real. Show your personality. The people reading what you write aren’t lifeless drones. They are real people who probably enjoy a good chuckle from time to time, even though they may be stuck in a corporate cubicle farm.
- Don’t stoop to keyword stuffing. Don’t be like the guys in our example above. You only need to tell me once — or maybe twice — that you’re in Raleigh for me to get the point. Six times in one paragraph is just obscene.
- Check your spelling and grammar. Even better, get someone to proofread your text and make suggestions. After all, if your buddy can’t understand what you wrote, people on the web probably can’t either. NOTE: Even your esteemed author had someone proofread this article (and fix a couple typos) before posting it.
That’s it. That’s all you’ve got to do. Just follow four simple rules and write the content for your site. Don’t obsess over search engine rankings. We certainly didn’t, but we still rank very highly for our target keywords.
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