SEO (search engine optimization) is very important tactic for any website. After all, most people use a search engine to find what they’re looking for online. However, there is such a thing as taking SEO too far and forgetting that it’s people, not computers who actually read your website and then make a purchase decision. The right amount of SEO will follow best practices and help search engines more effectively index and catalog your site without making the text (or site) unreadable by people.
Follow Best Practices
Best practices for SEO include things like using header tags (h1, h2, etc), having descriptive titles and descriptions and just the right amount of important keywords within the text. If you follow best practices, your site will be more effectively indexed by search engines, but it should not overly affect the readability of your site.
Choose Only Important Keywords
Pick the top one or two keywords for each page and concentrate on using best practices to highlight them. Don’t choose too many keywords or search engines will be confused as to which are important. And people trying to read your content won’t have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to say.
Communicate Your Message
People are selfish. They want to know what’s in it for them. Your marketing messages need to communicate the benefits of your products or services to your potential customers. These messages are vital for converting people into customers. Make sure your marketing messages don’t get lost in your effort to optimize your site for search engines.
Give it the Human Test
To make sure your website still communicates your benefits and marketing messages after you’ve optimized it for search engines, have a few people who haven’t read it take a look at it. Ask them what the major points are of the site and key pages. Ask them if it’s comfortable to read and if it makes sense. If not, fix it.
Strike the Right Balance
SEO is important for initially getting people to your site, but it’s even more vital that your site is readable by those people. Find the right balance between SEO and readability so that you’re effectively communicating the information people are looking for as well as why people should by from you.
(photo by Dannerzz)