It’s simply strange to think about.  There are writers out there, in the present day, who are composing content for two audiences simultaneously: humans and robots.

These individuals are search engine optimization (SEO) writers.  Writing for SEO means creating content for two specific audiences simultaneously.  The first audience is the human reader – those people who will find your content on blogs, news directories and social media sites.  The second audience is the search engine ‘web crawler’ – those robots employed by Google and Co. that meticulously crawl web pages and determine the relevance between sites and search queries.

There are quite a few guides available on how to properly write content with search engine optimization in mind.  While many of these guides give great tips on the use of keyword conventions and titles – many forget the cold hard truth that writing for SEO is a constant balancing act.

The very nature of these two audiences is in opposition.  What a human finds entertaining, humorous or interesting might be completely irrelevant to a web crawler.  And what a crawler bestows with high importance through its appraisal of title tags and H1 headers may turn out to be an utterly banal article (which probably could have been written by a robot).  Catering too far to either audience can result in failure.  Too much human ‘pizzazz’ (such as the use of metaphors) and the crawlers may not attribute the article to the target keyword.  Too much keyword jargon and the humans will never pick the article up and link back to it.

This makes the job of a good SEO writer particularly difficult (though not impossible).  Achieving a balance between the two audiences can be done – it simply means working within constraints.  Let’s say the end goal is to attain incoming traffic for a local business web site through the keyword “old shoe repair.”  Here are a few various article types that can help cater to both our human and robotic audiences:

The Top Ten List: Create a top 10 (or 5) list of famous shoes that have gone out of style.

– For The Humans:  Reminiscing about our old pairs of Converse All-Stars and Nike Air Jordans.     
– For the Robots: The perfect segway to talk about getting those old shoes repaired.

The Recent News: Write an article that involves recent, breaking news that involves shoes. For example “Do Obama and Biden share their pairs of old shoes?”

– For the Humans:  A piece of news that is as digestible as anything you might find on CNN nowadays.
– For the Robots:  Fresh, relevant, keyword specific content.

The Controversial Subject: Write a piece of content on a subject that is sure to have both lovers & haters. For example “Will Vibram Five Fingers Replace Old School Shoes All Together?”

– For the Humans:  a good read that is sure to push them in one way or the other and possibly involve them in an ongoing conversation because of that.
– For the Robots:  Fodder not only for on-topic keyword insertion, but also a long term conversation with commentor’s keyword use.