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INSIDE SEO: Balancing Search Engine Optimization with Readability

Life is a balancing act. We hear about balanced budgets in the news, a balanced diet from our doctor and there’s a ton of other forces which require balance in our everyday lives.

Even the plots of familiar fairy tales are based on finding the right balance. Think Goldilocks and The Three Bears – Goldilocks had to try the bowl of porridge that was too hot and the one that was too cold before she found the one that was just right.

Article writing and marketing isn’t any different in that we see many situations that require a delicate balance. One of the most challenging balancing acts in article marketing is the one between search engine optimization (SEO) and readability. The ultimate goal is to satisfy the complex and constantly updated search engine algorithms while also producing creative, natural-sounding and readable articles.

•   Conscious (Or Unconscious) Desire to “Stuff” – When you’re writing articles solely for the sake of search engine optimization, there’s a desire to inflate the number of instances of your keywords so you can stand out in the eyes of search engines. The result is something we call keyword stuffing – a situation where there are so many instances of the same keyword throughout the article that it doesn’t sound natural. When a reader experiences this, they leave your article and look elsewhere for the information.

 •  Too Few Keywords – If your article goes off-topic and doesn’t stay focused on your targeted keywords, the search engines may not recognize your article or index it. Articles like that may be easy-to-read, but they won’t get you any closer to optimizing your content for search engines.

 •  Finding the Balance – “Don’t try” sounds almost too simple, so think about the writing process like this:

 1.           Before you write, decide what keywords to build the article around.

 2.           Create a title that includes your chosen keywords.

 3.           Write the article in your own words (Don’t try to ramp up the keyword density of your keywords, just write.).

 4.           Check to see if the keyword density is around 1% (1 instance of the keyword for about every 100 words).

 5.           If the density is significantly higher or lower, remove or add a couple to get closer to 1%.

 •   Easy-to-Read and SEO-Friendly – Always test the readability of your articles before you submit them. If it doesn’t sound natural when you read the article aloud, revise it until it does. Never sacrifice readability for anything else because that’s the most important thing.

Incorporate the “Don’t even try” mentality every time you write and submit a new set of high-quality, original articles.

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