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The Balanced Approach: Writing for Humans vs. Search Engines

Writing for humans is about creating engaging, informative content that resonates with your audience. Optimizing for search engines ensures your content gets found, but it's essential to strike a balance between the two for long-term online success.

High-quality content is the lifeblood of online success. But who are we truly writing for? Is it the search engines, with their ever-evolving algorithms, or the human readers who will ultimately consume our work?

The answer, thankfully, isn’t an either/or proposition. It’s a matter of finding the sweet spot between writing for people (who crave engaging, informative content) and optimizing for search engines (to ensure our content gets found).

Let’s look at the nuances of this balancing act. Read on to equip yourself with the knowledge and strategies you need for content that resonates with both humans and search engine algorithms.

How do we write for humans?

As we stated earlier, human readers crave engaging, informative, and well-structured content. We want to feel a connection, find answers to our questions, and enjoy a seamless reading experience. Prioritizing readability, clarity, and value will always resonate more with us as your audience.

Writing with a conversational tone and incorporating storytelling elements can make each piece of content more relatable and enjoyable. Including practical examples, case studies, and real-life anecdotes helps build trust and credibility with us. Addressing common pain points and providing actionable solutions will keep us coming back for more.

Why is optimizing for search engines important?

There’s a lot of noise out there, and even more so with the introduction of AI to the business world. SEO is needed to ensure that your content can be discovered. It involves strategies that affect known (and estimated) ranking factors to increase your website’s visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

That’s a fancy way of saying keywords, meta descriptions, backlinks, and site structure all play a role. Focusing solely on these elements can lead to writing content that feels robotic and unengaging. Completely ignoring them means your content might never reach its intended audience.

How do we find the balance?

The key to successful content lies in harmonizing the needs of search engines and human readers. Here’s how you can achieve this balance:

Integrate your keywords naturally.

Use relevant keywords naturally within your content. Avoid keyword stuffing; instead, place them where they make sense. Aim for long-tail keywords that reflect how people search for information.


If you’re writing content about email marketing, you might naturally include keywords like “effective email marketing strategies” and “best practices for email campaigns.” Instead of forcing these keywords into every paragraph, use them where they fit naturally. For instance, “One case study on effective email marketing strategies showed a 20% increase in open rates when personalized subject lines were used.”

Write quality content.

Create high-quality content that provides genuine value, no matter what type of content. Is it a guest post? A social media poll? A landing page? Answer questions, solve problems, and offer insights. People are more likely to share high-quality content, increasing your reach and boosting SEO. We appreciate well-researched, comprehensive pieces that offer real solutions.


Your blog post could be about social media marketing tips. Instead of providing generic advice, dive deep into specific strategies. For example, “Using Instagram Stories for behind-the-scenes content can humanize your brand. A case study from XYZ Company revealed that their engagement rates doubled after they started using Stories to showcase their daily operations.”

Craft engaging headlines.

Craft headlines that are compelling and include your primary keyword. Ensure headlines are clear and give a good indication of what the content is about. Engaging headlines draw us in while helping search engines understand your content.


Instead of a bland title like “Marketing Tips,” craft a more compelling headline with a keyword. For example, “Top Marketing Strategies to Boost Your Blog Content: Proven Tips from Experts.” This headline is clear, includes a primary keyword, and promises valuable information.

Format your content for readability.

Break up text with subheadings, bullet points, and short paragraphs. Use images, infographics, and videos to enhance understanding and engagement. Including a table of contents can help us navigate long articles more easily. Readable formatting improves our experience and keeps us on your page longer.


Break down a long article on SEO strategies with subheadings, bullet points, and images. For example, a section on “Optimizing Meta Descriptions” can be formatted with bullet points:

  • Keep it under 160 characters.
  • Include your primary keyword.
  • Make it compelling to encourage clicks.
  • Insert an infographic that visually explains the best practices for writing meta descriptions.

Write clear, concise descriptions.

Speaking of meta descriptions, write clear and concise meta descriptions that include keywords and summarize the content. Use appropriate tags for images and links to improve SEO and user experience. Proper meta descriptions and tags help search engines categorize your content accurately.


For a blog post about marketing trends, write a meta description like: “Discover the latest marketing trends for 2024. Learn how to leverage AI, social media platforms, and influencer partnerships to grow your business.” This description is concise, includes keywords, and summarizes the content effectively

Use internal links to keep us on your site longer and provide us with additional valuable information. For example, link to other relevant blog posts on email marketing or social media platforms. Include external links to authoritative sources to build credibility and trust. Linking strategies enhance both our experience and search engine optimization (SEO).


In a post about content marketing, you might add an internal link to another post on your site about SEO best practices: “For more on optimizing your content, check out our post on SEO best practices.” Additionally, you can add an external link to a reputable source: “According to HubSpot’s latest report, businesses that blog regularly see 55% more website visitors.” Note how the link highlights the important data point.

Monitor the results and adapt your content.

SEO is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. Regularly monitor your content’s performance using tools like Google Analytics. Adapt your strategy based on what works and what doesn’t. Engage with us to understand our needs better and refine your content accordingly. Monitoring and adapting ensures that your content remains relevant and effective.


Imagine you’ve published a blog post about the latest trends in social media marketing. After a few weeks, you notice it’s not getting as much traffic as you’d hoped. Here’s how you can monitor and adapt to improve its performance:

  1. Use Google Analytics: Check the performance of your blog post in Google Analytics. Look at metrics such as page views, average time on page, and bounce rate. For example, you notice that the average time on page is very low, suggesting readers aren’t finding the content engaging.
  2. Analyze Search Queries: Use Google Search Console to see what search queries are bringing people to your blog post. You find that many visitors are searching for “social media marketing tools 2024,” but your post doesn’t mention specific tools.
  3. Update Content: Adapt your content based on these insights. Add a new section to your blog post that reviews the top social media marketing tools for 2024. Include relevant keywords naturally within this new section.
  4. Enhance Engagement: To keep readers on the page longer, add engaging elements such as images, infographics, or a video that explains how to use one of the tools. Also, break up long paragraphs and add bullet points to make the content more scannable.
  5. Internal Links: Include internal links to other relevant articles on your site, such as “How to Create an Effective Social Media Strategy” and “Top Content Marketing Trends.”
  6. Monitor Again: After updating the post, continue to monitor its performance in Google Analytics. Look for improvements in page views, time on page, and search engine rankings.

By regularly monitoring your content’s performance and making data-driven adjustments, you can enhance its relevance, engage your audience better, and improve your SEO over time.

Write for humans first…

Google’s Helpful Content Update (HCU) prioritizes genuinely helpful content. When you align with HCU principles, your content is more likely to be seen by those searching for information and improve your search engine rankings. When you focus on us, your human audience, you’ll speak directly to our needs in a clear and concise way. This approach makes it easier for content creators to start writing and ensures the created content resonates.

…then write for search engines.

Without a strong ability to write for search engines, there’s a likelihood your content will never be found. Solid SEO content strategies help search engines understand the relevance of your content to specific search queries.

To boost your content’s search visibility, think user-first and SEO-friendly. Sure, target relevant keywords throughout your content, but prioritize addressing the needs and questions of your audience.

  • Increased Visibility: When you appear on search engine results pages, it’s far easier for your audience to find you. Increased visibility leads to higher traffic and better engagement with your content.
  • Targeted Reach: You can identify the specific terms and phrases your target audience is searching for through effective keyword research. This allows you to create content that directly addresses the interests and needs of visitors.
  • Long-Term Growth: SEO is an ongoing strategy. High-quality, well-optimized content tends to rank higher on SERPs over time, attracting a steady stream of organic traffic.

Should you incorporate AI into your content strategy?

AI is now an integral part of business, which should come as no surprise. It’s been on the horizon for years and has quickly exploded into the mainstream. Consider innovations like Google Gemini, Microsoft’s CoPilot, and Apple’s Apple Intelligence. AI is used in content creation, developing data strategies, and performing analysis, among many other tasks.

So, how can AI help with your content? While AI can take your content to 80% of completion, it rarely, if ever, gets it to 100% on its own. Here’s how you can effectively incorporate AI to enhance your content without relying on it to do all the work:

  1. Support your research. Use AI to gather relevant information, identify trending topics, and compile data for your articles.
  2. Notate areas in old articles that need updating. AI can scan your existing content and highlight sections that may be outdated or lacking in detail.
  3. Generate content ideas. AI tools can provide fresh and innovative content ideas based on current trends and audience interests.
  4. Optimize for SEO. Use AI to analyze keywords, suggest meta descriptions, and recommend link-building opportunities to improve your search engine rankings.
  5. Enhance readability. AI can help rephrase complex sentences, break up long paragraphs, and suggest subheadings to make your content more reader-friendly.
  6. Create engaging visuals. Leverage AI to generate infographics, charts, and other visual elements that can enhance the engagement and comprehension of your content.
  7. Personalize content for different audiences. AI can analyze audience data to help you tailor your content to different segments, making it more relevant and engaging.
  8. Automate routine tasks. Use AI to handle repetitive tasks like formatting.

By leveraging AI for these tasks, you can streamline your content creation process and make sure you have time to focus on the important stuff—such as adding the human touch your content needs.

The Win-Win Approach Still Works

A good balance of high-quality content with search engine optimized elements can help you achieve a win-win situation. Your content is far more likely to be discovered by readers, and Google will reward you for providing useful and informative content.

Attracting and retaining a loyal audience matters. Write for people—write for the search engines. Bring home the trophy.

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Writing for humans is about creating engaging, informative content that resonates with your audience. Optimizing for search engines ensures your content gets found, but it's essential to strike a balance between the two for long-term online success.

Today's Author


Interested in Guest Posting?
Read our guest posting guidelines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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