Mickie E. Kennedy’s post at Blogging Pro has a great title, “Forget What Google Thinks and Write for Actual Humans.” Here’s the golden kernel.
“The problem is, search engines don’t say “hmmm….” after they’ve read an especially thoughtful opinion piece. They don’t brush a tear from their electronic eye at the plight of a child with a rare disorder. On a more materialistic note, they don’t even become valuable customers for your brand or loyal readers of your blog.”
Search engines are not people
Yep, it’s true, search engines don’t read your post, they only index it. Writing for search engines first usually means sacrificing human communication.
But search engines want what people want
The Holy Grail of search engines is to present lists of blog posts that are just what you were looking for. If search engines get tricked, so do visitors. Visitors get mad and that’s not good for search engines.
Write for people first
Don’t start out thinking about keywords and SEO. Start by thinking about who you want to read your post and what you want them to do when they’re done reading. Then write the best damn post you can.
Adjust for search engines
Once you’ve got your post, go back and see if you can change things to make it even more search engine friendly. Figure out what words your reader might use for a search to which your post is a superb answer. Change some wording to accent certain words or phrases without messing with the meaning or readability. Adjust your subheads to make the post scanable as well as easy to index.
Write for the people you want to reach, then adjust your post to help the search engines lead them to you.
For further reading
“Obviously, the debate stems from the fact that search engines are powered by computer algorithms. But as search engines have gotten smarter, writing that pleases people and satisfies spiders is not that far apart, if at all. Let’s look at four factors that work well for SEO and see how well they cater to the needs of people.”