You Writing for People, Or Writing for Rankings?

Last Update: July 16, 2019

Alright, content creators. This is it. This is the moment where I want you to look inwards at HOW you are creating content, and WHO you are creating content for.

As you build out your website and start to establish rankings and a solid base of traffic to your website, a natural shift in focus takes place. It goes from content creation and traffic generation (which is something that becomes second nature with time), to CONVERSIONS.

It is easier said than done, and in the same breath, it is often times less complicated than what people make it out to be. But the most effective way to tackle conversions is to not FIX content after you have created it, it is to create content in the first place that is highly engaging, relevant, and converting.

One of the biggest and most common issues that I see is not the quality of the content itself, but WHO it is written for. And this leads me to the very concept of this article, are you writing your content for ME, or are you preparing it for search engines. The argument that I am going to make is that these are not mutually exclusive of one another, and you can write for both.

Writing for Search Engines is Not Enough.

When you construct your content, you are wanting to do so in a manner that is conducive to search engines. This comes down to keyword selection, the layout of the content, the thoroughness of the content, the internal headlines, the outbound and inbound links between your content, among other ranking factors.

It is incredibly important to have a good apprehension of the rankings factors and once you understand how to research keywords and write content for them, you realize just how much traffic there is up for grabs within search engines. This is what you are learning in great detail as you move through the premium SEO (Search Engine Optimization) training here at Wealthy Affiliate.

But when you write just for search engines, which are in essence a collection of "bots", "spiders" and "algorithms", you have the tendency to miss out on one key component. There are actual PEOPLE behind every single search, people that will be reading and engaging in your content.

If you write based on a process to rank, then you often forget to fully humanize your content in a way that leads to great readability, captivation, and seamless integration of your promotions.

Because of this, you can should not be writing JUST for search engines. You should also be writing for people.

Writing for People is Not Enough.

When I create content one of the main things I do is put myself in the other person's shoes. I take the initial "keyword" idea and I step outside of the overall content creation process and think about what the specific "visitor" to my website would be thinking.

In other words, if someone searches keyword _________ (fill in the blank), what would they be thinking? What potential emotions would they be feeling? And what products and services could I effectively incorporate to help them with any problems/solutions they have...and how could I seamlessly introduce these products to them.

Let's look at an example here.

Let's say I had researched and found a keyword within the "make money" niche, the keyword I decided to target was "how to make money selling t-shirts online."

This is a fairly common.

So what is this person thinking and what are some key "emotional triggers" that I am going to try to target.

  • Wants to make money
  • Might have t-shirts to sell, or might have heard about selling t-shirts online
  • Looking for an opportunity.

I want to solve this problem for people, showing them how this business model works.

I want to promote WA to them, so I am going to introduce HOW to sell t-shirts in a way that I could seamlessly promote WA. I could recommend that they. To truly sell people on the idea I want to show them where they are going to be, versus what you are going to be offering them.

They want a business, and a successful one within the t-shirt space. They want a business that is working for them 24/7 and they wake up to 'new orders' every morning. They want a consistent flow of traffic coming to their website, with an abundance of untapped opportunities at hand that they can use to scale and grow their business.

THAT is what you are offering them. Not a website builder, not a keyword tool, not a hosting platform, not expert support and help.

And this is where I see most highly qualified traffic fall off the rails, and end up NOT converting. It can be quite disheartening when you start to get lots of traffic to your website and nothing seems to convert. The reality is that adding a "pitch" to your content is unlikely to convert nearly as well as writing your content with this "conversion intention" in the first place.

There is a happy mix of focus to all high ranking, high converting content pages. If you can master this mix, you are going to be very successful with your content you create moving forward but you need to approach it in a simplistic manner (as counter intuitive as that sounds).

    Write for Search Engines AND People.

    So what is the ultimate solution here. You want to rank in Google, because without these rankings you will get no traffic and no matter how well you structure your content for conversions, you won't have people to promote to.

    So search engines NEED to be a consideration with all your content.

    But remember this. Writing naturally, thorough, helpful and captivating content is what Google, Bing & Yahoo is after. They reward content like this and will continue to do so. In fact, EVERY major search engine update moves Google closer to being able to reward the highest quality content, and devaluing websites are trying to trick search engines into ranking them.

    But creating highly valuable and helpful content is not mutually exclusive from creating content that has a specific intention. It should be your initial thought and consideration when you write your content.

    As you sit down to write your content, consider a few things.

    1. Helping People. What do you want to help your audience with and what problems are you going to solve them?

    2. The Intent of Your Article. What is your overall monetization strategy and what action do you want to evoke them to take with your content?

    You can implement BOTH of these things at the same time, and you should be. This is going to change the way you create content and it is certainly going to amplify your conversions.

    So my task for you is this. Your very next article think not only of the content you are creating and how it is going to help people, but consider how/where you are going to encourage the 'action' that will lead to a new lead, a new sale, a new click, and/or a new comments. :)

    Join the Discussion
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    Recent messages
    J-KWest Premium
    Thanks Kyle, I've been reading and listening to you say this and talk about "relevance" in your videos for the last few years, but it wasn't until earlier this year that the lightbulb finally turned on (I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer 😀).

    Adjusting my content as you describe here was a game changer and my conversions literally changed overnight.

    Thanks again,
    Kyle Premium
    I think that we sometimes get lost in the "process" itself. We create content and we do so with frequency, then we outsource, then we try to streamline operations. In this strive for efficiency and automation, we forget to humanize our content or write with intent.

    Great to hear you have seen such positive results from adjusting the way you write. As you are probably finding it doesn't take too much adjustment, rather just some thought before you write.

    Thanks for chiming in Jay!
    J-KWest Premium
    These are the lessons that can be tough to teach. We're reading and listening, but whether it's context or experience, we're not always ready to receive the message.

    In my case, I think I just had my hands full for the longest time trying to generate traffic and I couldn't see the forest for the trees. It wasn't until I could let off the gas a little, step back and set my sites on the challenge that followed (conversions).

    Thanks Kyle
    TitaWorks Premium
    A balance to aim for, Kyle. Thank you.

    -- Netta
    Kyle Premium
    Yeah, it is a healthy balance when you consider the keywords you are targeting, but as you create your content, the flow of the content should be geared towards some sort of intent.
    Nadia27 Premium
    That's true. Hopefully with time it will become a habit to write for people and search engines. I know that for now my posts are more for people than search engines. And I am working on improving that. But do you think buying an SEO tool could help? So far I am using Yoast the free version.
    Kyle Premium
    SEO tool WILL NOT help with your rankings. What are you hoping for it to do?

    If you want to rank, write for low competition keywords, write quality and engaging content, work on getting comments within your content, have Google Search Console set-up, and give yourself adequate time to gain authority (it doesn't happen overnight).

    The Yoast free version is more than adequate, you don't need to upgrade. Save your money.
    Nadia27 Premium
    Ok. Thanks
    Igor13 Premium
    Hi Kyle!

    Thanks again for the helpful post!

    There is not much to add here. You pointed a few very important factors when it comes to content creation and conversion!

    I especially like the paragraph where you inform us about the "happy mix" strategy of content creation.

    The next factor I found very important as well is about tricking search engines with attention to get better rank and the importance of the highest quality content.

    It seems the "things are not going to change so soon" even if video marketing is so huge now. Written content (as long the search engines function the way they do) will be one of the most (if not the most) important factors of great content creation and page rank.

    Best regards,
    Kyle Premium
    Video has been huge for a long time now, so has text based content. Neither are going anywhere, if anything, people have more ability to read content than they do video as people are using their devices on the fly (and cannot always sit through, or listen to a video).

    One thing that is interesting is that keeping someones attention within video is getting harder as people tend to watch videos that are not as long, or watch a smaller percentage of longer videos.

    We are living in a world of instant gratification, and click bait headlines. Your content always needs to be engaging and focused on intriguing the audience, and typically if you can do that and target keywords appropriate, you are going to rank well.
    Igor13 Premium
    Thanks, Kyle!
    Great explanation! It clarifies a lot!

    JagR Premium
    I mostly write for people with a focus on getting into rankings. Right now according to Google Analytics people are staying on my site for about 11/2 minute before bouncing away. Not sure what I can do to improve retention rate.
    Kyle Premium
    That is a pretty good time on page, it really depends on how many words your content is and other variables like the exit points, if you have pop-ups, etc.

    That shows that people are definitely taking some time to go through and engage in your content.
    JagR Premium
    Thanks for the feedback Kyle. Much appreciated.
    Great post, helping people is very rewarding.