blogging for SEOIn many ways, content marketing has supplanted traditional search engine optimization (SEO). While targeting keywords is still critically important, blogging for SEO primarily means creating quality content that resonates with your audience.

Gone are the days when content creators could stuff their blog posts full of keywords to improve their chances of attracting Google’s spiders and ranking well. But how can you ensure you’re writing content for your readers rather than the search engines?

Focus on your audience’s interests

The most effective digital content focuses on your audience’s interests, motives and pain points. Given the sheer amount of content now available online, you need to develop articles and blog posts that will hook your readers and show them how you deliver value.

Writing engaging content while also effectively using keywords will help your posts rank well on the search engine results pages. Avoid forcing content that’s not relevant to your audience just because it works well with a specific keyword. After all, if you rank well for that keyword, but nobody is interested in the content—what’s the point?

Does your blog post answer a question or truly inform readers about the topic your keyword implies? If people search for your keyword and find your content, will it truly benefit them? Great content that includes relevant keywords and is beneficial to the reader will rank better than sub-par blog posts that sprinkle in relevant keywords.

It’s also important to use keywords naturally in your blogs. Incorporate them in a way that enhances the content, but not so much that they distract readers. You may be blogging for SEO and aiming to rank well, but you also need to make sure your audience knows that they are the focus. Ideally, your readers will not realize you’re using keywords at all.

Be smart about keywords

There are more than 40,000 Google queries every second, and it can be difficult for your content to stand out from everything else available online. To deliver quality content to your intended audience, you must pick the right content and keyword combinations that match what your readers want and need.

Look for keywords your potential customers will likely use when searching for your products and services. What are they looking for and how are they using terms related to your business? Basic research can help you identify the keywords your audience is interested in and provide them with valuable content on those subjects.

To help avoid unnatural keywords usage, use slight variations of the words and phrases you’ve identified. And, try to include your keywords in other places besides the copy, including the title, subheadings and meta description. If your post has an image (and it should), use your keyword as its alt tag.

Blogging for SEO can be a challenging skill to master, but so is keeping your audience engaged. If you can achieve the latter and make effective use of keywords across all your blog content, you’ll gradually begin to see your page rankings climb. Just be sure to focus on your audience rather than what you think Google’s spiders want to see.

ProPRcopy offers content creation services for businesses and organizations across many different industries and subject areas.