SEO… PO = People Optimized Content

by Ben Jackson · 41 comments

This is a guest post by Ben Jackson from SEO Discovery.

Once upon a time is a terribly cliché way to begin an article.

Having a keyword density of 5% is a good way to let your readers know you care more about search engines.

Talking with boring technical terms is a good way to say “click the back button”.

There is no substitute for content that gets read and shared online, and there’s no other content like it.  Not your run of the mill “quality” content, I mean stuff that creates a BUZZ.

How To Write People Optimized Content

People read and specifically share content because they connect with it on some level.  They likely share things THEY like on Twitter and their followers likely follow them because they like a lot of the same things.

So make content that has the ability to connect with someone and get shared.  It can be tough when discussing technical topics like SEO for instance, but there’s no reason you can’t slip in an analogy or joke to catch someone’s attention:

Keyword density doesn’t matter, it’s like the Dolphins upcoming season 😛

No you don’t have to be some comical mastermind.  I seriously doubt anyone actually laughed at that weak quip I shared above, but it will capture the reader’s attention.

People love sports, and even if you hate on their team they usually take it in stride and jab back at you – interaction!

Even quirky references to odd yet relatable observations or collective memories can turn an average piece of content into something very memorable.  Have you ever read a post by an experienced blogger about how they got started, doing this or that for the first time?

Everyone’s all nostalgia, HARD, like they’re obligated to comment and share their own first experiences even if they just started and their first post was last week.

People only come online in the first place for one of two things: entertainment or information.

Guess what? 

Most people don’t read for entertainment.  There are tons of videos and free games all over the internet and they’re fantastically entertaining! You’re reading this because you’re looking for information, so it must be delivered.  That being said, informational content with an entertaining edge is truly a piece of blogging gold.

Providing information that people are looking for is a great start and is all you really need to make it, but if you want to stand out you need to stimulate your readers.  Put on the clown nose and make them laugh, add “BONUS Tips” in side-boxes, embed video examples, or at least write in a provocative or thought-provoking way.

The fact is, just writing the content is not enough anymore.  Forget about keyword density and bolding your keyword phrase.  No one is going to tweet your post because they liked how optimized it was.  You should still have it optimized, but write for people not the search engines.

In other words, optimize your content for getting shared by writing compelling posts (how many ‘Top 5’ lists can you have??).

Here are two BONUS SEO TIPS from me:

  1. You only need your keyword in the Title tag and have it in the content.  Keyword density really does not matter – localized ratios ignore global keyword density values and normalization.
  2. Putting your keyword at the beginning and end of the article is not the same as putting it in the beginning or end of the page.  Look at Google’s text-only cache to see where your keyword is actually showing up on your page and get creative putting it near the beginning and end – try widgets 🙂

Winding Up

There is a huge difference between crappy, spun, illegible content and what seems to be the average piece of “quality content” these days.  However, there is just as much a difference between average content that gets deemed as “quality” and content that really shines.

While hard to initially measure, the difference between “quality” content and exceptional content is profound.  ­Exceptional content is hard to come by but very influential – it’s shareable and memorable.  You read it and share it now, you think about it later, and you come back to share it again.

That is the new “quality” content.

This post is a part of SmartBloggerz’s guest blogging contest where you can win cash prizes for earning the most points. Help this guest author win this contest by commenting and sharing this post using the buttons below.

Top 10 Search Terms:

• funny clown faces • funny clowns • funny clown face • funny clown • clown faces • funny clowns faces • clown face • clown faces examples

About Ben Jackson

Follow Ben Jackson on Twitter for updates on new and relevant SEO information and the occasional social media and blogging share. If you've been putting off understanding SEO, get started today with SEO Discovery's FREE SEO Course. If you've already got your head in the game, check out these highly recommended SEO Products for SEO automation.

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Hamish October 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Some good points in your post. SEO might get visitors to your blog in the first instance – but if they aren’t entertained or informed, they are unlikely to return, far less to spread the love on Facebook, Twitter etc.

Keyword density is not something I ever bother about. Maybe I should, but I just try to have a good title and then write something informative related to it.

Noel Addison October 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm

The idea of “people optimized content” sounds really good. Before we write and publish our content we should think first, ‘Is this what my readers want to know?’, ‘would they care to share this to their friends or networks?’. We should always think first of our target audience before we think of pleasing the search engine.

Adam Saverian November 11, 2011 at 4:50 am

While I agree that combining entertainment with information can be valuable, some people find entertainment in their information to be a distraction. I’m one of those. I’d rather read a dry paper than an entertaining blog entry. That’s just me. But it’s also a lot of other people to.

To a large degree knowing how to approach a post depends greatly on your audience. If you’re writing for engineers you’re probably going to want to keep it dry. However, the occasional engineering joke probably wouldn’t hurt. As long as your content adds value to the life of an engineer. In order to do that your content will have to be less “Comedy Central” and more “Discovery Channel”.

What I like about the idea of people optimized content is that, frankly, it’s more valuable than old school SEO. New school SEO takes People into account a lot more considering the search engines take People into account more than they used to. It’s all about user experience and popularity today. New SEO takes POC in account, rather than pitting the pitting the two against each other. There are however niches where writing like a robot for SEO still works. It just goest to show that there’s still a lot of room for content on the web. The long-tail is really, really, long.

Ronald Bryant August 25, 2012 at 2:49 am

As a fellow content writer for different blog sites, I prefer quality over quantity. Quality write-ups for me attracts more people and will be able to understand and relate to you quickly. While on the other hand, quantity writing for me focuses only on the number writings you can do for a day that is why sometimes the thought of it cannot be understand so easily.

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