A lot of webmasters really have a pretty lousy content strategy in place. Here’s an example (based on a question I recently saw asked on a webmaster forum):
Someone wanted to know whether it was better to write for bots (search engines) or human readers. Their purpose seemed obviously to lean towards making a solid content-rich site. Because SEO is always a hot topic (because frankly most people are either too lazy or too dense to look beyond it for quality traffic sources), you’ll find a lot of information like this around (paraphrased):
“Write for search engines first to get rankings and traffic, and then start writing for readers to keep them.”
I had a total “duh” moment when I read that, thinking I must be on a total idiot binge lately on the webmaster front.
Actually, that suggestion is beyond stupid as far as content strategies go. Let’s break it down into to your two most basic options:
- If you want to build an authority website or blog in a niche, and have a site with long-term potential, you write for the readers.
- If you’re building sites only thinking about the short term quick buck (driving search traffic to sites loaded with high paying keywords), then you write for the bots.
If someone had the goal of number one above, but started off with the model of number two (as the forum “geniuses” suggested), the site might very well find itself doomed to failure. Why?
Because if the starting content (which is ranked well and the reason viewers are getting to the site) is nothing but SEO’d-to-death content for those rankings, those visitors aren’t going to come back. The only way to get visitors coming back (necessary if you want to build an authority site of any level) is to always write unique and interesting content for your readers.
Starting off with the wrong content strategy can seriously screw up the reputation of your site or blog even before it really gets going. Don’t make that mistake. Know what your ultimate site goals are from the beginning and tailor your content strategy to the right audience.