How to Structure Content for Both Users and Search Engines

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How to Structure Content for Both Users and Search Engines

SEO Resources

And Digital Marketing Guides for Businesses

Writing content that is both natural-sounding and user-friendly for human visitors to understand and excellent enough to rank on search engines is one of the main problems that professional writers face today. There was a time when content was given priority over search performance, but when competition set in and the need to stand out, get more website visitors, and make more money became imperative. Content no longer was king, but SEO.

You’ve probably come across some articles on the internet at some point, filled with meaningless text that is overly loaded with irrelevant keywords that make it difficult for the user to discern their importance. Due to the rising demand for SEO and the debatable advice on the best SEO practices, we frequently lose sight of the fundamentals and the core of why we write in the first place.

The idea that content is intended for humans to consume and that search engines are merely tools to make content more accessible to users has been lost.

In as much as writing for the users in mind first is paramount, writing for search engines too is important – hence, structuring your content for both users and search engines.

That said, a successful piece of content isn’t one that search engines can only crawl, index, and show to potential users to draw traffic, but also one that users find helpful and satisfying after visiting the page. It’s one that delivers on the promise and gets the users to achieve what it was intended while making it easy for search engine crawlers to find it and display it to searchers. 

So to create a successful piece of content, it must serve these two purposes – that is, it must meet the searchers’ intent and, at the same time, must be discoverable by search engines. To create contents that meet these criteria, your content must follow a certain structure. 

The web and algorithm ranking signal has changed drastically over the past few years, especially Google search engine. The way that we engage with content has also changed with this shift. What seems to have been working a few years back isn’t producing as much results anymore, and as content creators or website owners, it’s important that you stay updated on the content strategy that works. 

In this blog post, you will learn the best way to structure your content for both the users and search engine rankings.

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Why SEO Content Writing Matters

“SEO,” which stands for Search Engine Optimization, refers to the practice of improving web content so that search engines may find them and display them to users when they conduct research on the internet such as Google search.

As a result, when you combine the ideas of SEO and content writing, you are using a technique that people will be able to find your content (that is, your web page) when they conduct a search.

If your audience can’t even find the stuff you’ve laboriously created to be educational and helpful, what happens to it? You forfeit the chance to engage with visitors who could be interested in your content and, consequently, any products or services you might provide. This is, however, in addition to losing the chance to rank better in search results.

What Does It Mean to Structure Content for Both Users and the Search Engines?

In simple terms, content that are written to help web users (searchers) solve their search queries, get information, or even make informed buying decisions are referred to as “content for users.” These kinds of content were written with the users in mind and with the goal of satisfying the users’ search intent.

On the flip side, content for search engines are content written to help web crawlers discover them and display them to users. The goal of this type of content is to draw organic traffic and increase clicks. 

If that’s the case, so what’s wrong with content written for search engines? After all, isn’t that what every business owner wants? There is nothing wrong with optimizing every piece of your content to get a favorable spot on the search result, it only becomes a problem if that’s all that your content aims to achieve. 

Your content should not only appeal to web crawlers or Google’s index but also to users. It should seek to address real human problems and should come from the point of thorough research or expertise. In the end, what you want to achieve is to make your visitors leave your website feeling they have learned enough about a topic to help them achieve their goal.

Google’s Major Algorithm Updates That Changed the Game in Content Marketing

With the launch of the Helpful Content Update in September 2022, Google began evaluating a site’s quality by determining its “quality score” to assess whether it contains low-quality content or is overrun with keywords.

Its aim here is to reward pages on your site with high-quality content by elevating them in the SERP or to punish low-quality content sites by removing them from search engine index or downranking them entirely.

Google no longer takes into account how many times you repeat a keyword across your article or if you regularly create 500-800-word pieces only to appear consistent.

These are outdated tactics, and the very ones that once provided essential guidelines for ranking higher on search engines are the exact reasons Google will ignore them today.

So what is the strategy that works now? Google now pays more attention to quality content that users find helpful and is likely to elevate that page in search results if more people read it and interact with it by leaving comments and sharing it on social media.

Even though this information may appear overly technical, it is essential to keep them in mind when creating content that both readers and search engines will enjoy. The secret is to achieve the ideal balance between writing quality content while also making sure that potential readers (and perhaps customers) can find them on the search.

To help you get the best out of your effort, Google, following its recent update in algorithm ranking signal, has provided a list of guidelines you must follow to create content that is for both users and search engines.

In our recent article, “Helpful Content Update,” we did talk about this in detail. If you missed it, ensure you read the full article to learn what this update means to your website and business.

How to Structure Content for Both Users and Search Engines

By structure, it means how you should write your content and what you should do to make your content useful to users and also easy for search engines to index and show it to users. Note the emphasis here, “users first.” This means that your content must appeal to users first and satisfy their search intent when they interact with it.

That said, when writing your next sets of blog posts, here are what to keep in mind.

Start with Keyword Research

Keyword research helps you understand what the intent of the users is when searching for a particular topic, word, or phrase so you can tailor your article to meet those needs.

Once you have found out what words or phrases (keywords) users are searching for, use them throughout your content to help search engines understand what your blog content is about. If you use the same keyword over and over again, search engines may penalize you. How you apply keywords in your content should appear natural and not forced in.

If you are new to keyword research, I would recommend you read XYZ to learn everything you need to know about keyword strategy, organic search, and other SEO strategies that help Google to index individual web pages.

Include Related Words

Related words are words that are often searched together with your primary keyword. These words can either describe your product or service or provide additional information about your business or the topic you are addressing. If your site contains a lot of duplicate content, related words can help improve your SEO rankings.

Create Catchy Headlines and Optimize Your Title Tags

The title tag is the first thing people read when searching online. Make sure it’s descriptive enough to entice them to click through to your website. Using relevant keywords helps increase your chances of being ranked higher in search results.

Optimize Your Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are HTML tags that appear below your page’s title in search engine results. They tell Google and other search engines what your page is about. Keep meta descriptions short and concise, and avoid using long paragraphs.

Add External Links

External links allow visitors to leave your site and visit others. When someone clicks on an external link, they’ll be taken away from your site. However, adding links to quality sites can boost traffic to your own site. Be careful not to add too many links. Spammy links can hurt your site’s reputation.

Write Excellent, Informative, Unique, and Useful Content

If you have a unique idea for a blog post or article, write it down! Don’t just copy something you’ve seen somewhere else. People won’t want to return to your site if they feel like they’ve already been there before.

Use Great and Relevant Images

Images make blogs stand out from the crowd. They can also help draw readers’ attention to specific parts of your page.

What to Do When Writing Content for Both Users and Search Engines

What You Should Not Do (Avoid) When Writing Content

FAQs

When writing content for both users and search engines (SEO), I would always say, think Keywords first and then your users. Before you can have any impact on your target audience, your work needs to be found. This is why conducting keyword research should always come before conducting any research or writing. 

Conclusion

Having content that is both useful to users and search engines is a tricky business. Content is the backbone of a good website, and the better it is, the more likely it is that your visitors will return to your site. Your goal should not be only to rank high in search engine results and attract visitors but also to provide useful information for users. 

The rule of thumb here is to strike a balance between quality and SEO. If SEO should get you to your target audience, the usefulness of your content should keep them, have them come back for more, refer you to friends and family, or buy from you.

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