Google’s recent Helpful Content update directly responds to how people search online. They want actual, helpful content that answers questions, provides information, or solves problems. Therefore, prioritising relationships with humans in your SEO strategy is essential. While this may seem simple enough, in order for any SEO strategy to really work, you also have to prioritise your relationship with search engines.
But how can you get your content to rank in search engines whilst still resonating with human beings?
Here are six tips on how to write for both search engines and humans as you develop your SEO strategy.
1. Recognise what SEO is and how it relates to humans
In order to benefit from SEO, it is important to understand what it is, how it works, and how tailoring it to humans can enhance the way people experience your content.
Put simply, SEO is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches. Your ranking on search engines is based on the quality of your site, which is decided by visitor metrics such as how often they come back, how much they engage, and what they do on your site.
If you prioritise human behaviour when implementing SEO, your site will be sure to rank well in search engines.
2. Determine your target audience, and their search intent
With any SEO strategy, you need to know who you’re talking to and how you can appeal to their emotions and desires. After all, emotions influence what customers purchase. Thorough research on your target audience means figuring out how they conduct themselves online, their current needs, and what they value. Once you understand your target audience, creating content that will appeal to them becomes much easier.
If you truly want to give people what they want, you must incorporate user search intent into your SEO strategy. Search intent is the reason someone looks up information on certain topics. The five search intent categories are:
- Informational: The person wants more information about their searched topic.
- Navigational: The searcher wants a specific website or location on the map, like a URL or a street address.
- Commercial: The searcher wants to compare products or services for purchase.
- Transactional: The person is searching for a specific product or service that they want to purchase.
- Local: The searcher may still have one of the above common search purposes, but they also want results relative to their current geographic location.
3. Understand your keywords and how to use them in your content
Keyword research is essential in humanising your SEO. Picking the right terms to represent your content should always be searcher-focused. Searcher-focused keywords should be based on what your target audience types into a search engine when looking for a solution, product, or service. For example, if you are selling running shoes, you will want to feature keywords that people may search for to find this product, such as ‘trainers’.
To get the most out of your keywords, it is important to research their authority, relevance, and search volume. You want to find highly searched keywords that you can reasonably compete for based on:
- The level of competition you're up against
- Your ability to produce content that exceeds in quality what's currently ranked
Be sure to re-evaluate these keywords every few months to keep your content relevant and searcher-friendly.
Once you have a list of the keywords you want to rank for, it is important to incorporate them into your content. Your usage of keywords in the content should appeal to both the reader and search engine bots. This means it needs to feature the keyword enough times to be ranked by search engines whilst also being readable to humans.
Here are some tips for writing keywords into your content successfully:
- Don’t "stuff" keywords into your content: Adding too many keywords into your content not only makes it unreadable to human audiences, but also puts you at risk of being penalised for irresponsible use of keywords (not ideal).
- Do incorporate your keywords naturally throughout the copy: Remember, the reader comes first if you are looking to humanise your SEO. So, make the content readable and feature keywords where relevant.
- Do use keywords in your headings: When a keyword is used in headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.), it helps the search engines understand how relevant those keywords are to your content and displays your site as relevant to the reader’s search.
- Do use keywords in your image Alt text and file names
- Do add keywords to Meta Descriptions, Meta Title Tags, and page URLs
- Do insert keywords in the first and last paragraphs and evenly throughout
4. Create unique content
One of the biggest things the Helpful Content update cracked down on is unoriginal content, with plagiarised content now being recognised and removed by Google. In order to keep bounce rates low and search engines happy, you need to write authentic, actionable content that readers won’t find elsewhere online. Even if the topic you are writing about has already been talked about by others in your industry, it’s important you have a fresh angle or new information to discuss in your piece.
5. Link, link, link!
For any SEO strategy to be successful, it must place importance on hyperlinks. Hyperlinks are clickable words, phrases, or images within content that lead to a new web page.
In general, there are 3 types of links in SEO:
- Internal links: These are links that lead from one page to another within your own website. Well-planned internal links give readers additional content on topics they already care about. And the longer they stay on your site, the more familiar they become with your brand, encouraging them to purchase from you when they are ready.
- External links: These are links that lead from your website to another resource. Backing up information in your content through external links to reputable sources increases your credibility and the audience's trust in your brand.
- Backlinks: Links that lead from another site to yours. If someone is linked to your site from another reputable site, the more likely they will trust your brand from the start.
6. Write authentic and engaging meta titles and descriptions
When it comes to humanising your SEO, prioritising meta titles and descriptions is essential. For Google, especially, meta descriptions are not important and are instead intended mainly to attract human searchers. So, although meta technically doesn’t do much to help boost your rankings, it does help your audience decide if they want to click on your content or not.
Therefore, it is important to write an engaging meta title and description with a clear call to action in order to grab the attention of human searchers looking for information, products, or services.
How to humanise your SEO: More advice
Your SEO strategy could make all the difference between making a winning brand or just another business hidden in the thousands of SERPs. So, use these tips on humanising your SEO, and watch your business attract visibility and brand awareness among a community of relevant users.
At Bigger Picture, we are dedicated to taking ambitious brands to the next level. Why not get in touch with us to see how we can help you with your SEO strategy today.
Contact one of our friendly experts for more information.