Are You Writing for Search Engines … or for People?

Sep 2015

Are You Writing for Search Engines … or for People?

Oh, dear, it’s happened again.

I just got another inquiry from a marketer who wants a guarantee that our services will catapult his website search traffic into the stratosphere.

Hey, I get it. I really do. Search engine optimization (SEO) is important. If people in our target audience are going to find us, we need traffic. We need eyeballs on our websites.

And yes, good content will drive traffic to your site.

But you know what can also drive traffic? Bad content. Content that’s written for the Googlebot instead of for your future customers. Content that will get those traffic numbers up … but that will have visitors hitting the Back button faster than J.J. Watt can smack down a pass.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

SEO will drive visitors to your website … but only quality content will keep them there.

So, yes, we need to keep the Google gods fed with the keywords they crave, but more importantly, we need to engage and appeal to the visitors they bring us. How can we do that? Reviews about Web 20 Ranker SEO services can help us monitor our progress.

Start a Conversation

Nothing turns visitors off faster than a site that’s written in a stilted, “capital-P-professional” tone. We expect that from textbooks, not from human beings who say they can solve our problems.

No matter what product or service you sell, you can’t go wrong with a friendly, conversational tone. Write the way you would speak to people in your target audience. If you bend a grammar rule here or there in the name of audience-focused content (within reason), it’s OK.

If you have a hard time with this, grab your smartphone, fire up the voice recorder, and start talking about how you solve customers’ problems, just as you would at a dinner party. Then play it back and use it as a foundation for your newly conversational website content.

Keep It Simple

You may have heard me tell a certain story from the early days of my job as a copywriter for a large Houston advertising agency. I waltzed in with my master’s degree from Columbia, and dangit, everything I wrote was going to show it: words you haven’t seen since the SAT, sentences you’d need a diagram to follow, you name it.

My first piece of writing came back from my editor a bloody mess. And I’ll never forget the words she’d scrawled in the margin: Dammit, nobody cares how smart you are.

She was absolutely right. We’re not writing to impress — we’re writing to connect. So keep it simple. Streamline your message down to its very essence, then drive it home.

Write for Online Readers

Reading online content is a very different experience from reading print. While we might approach a brochure as we would a book — start at the beginning and read through to the end — when it comes to websites, we tend to scan.

(By the way, this is one reason why copy-pasting your brochure content onto your website is such a terrible idea.)

In addition to writing conversationally and keeping your message simple, keep these online writing tips in mind:

  • Keep your sentences and paragraphs short.
  • Insert a subhead every 2-3 paragraphs.
  • Use bullet lists wherever possible.
  • Bold key words and phrases.


YOUR TURN: How does your team keep people at the center of your content? Tell us about it in the Comments. We’d love to hear from you!


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About the Author

Rachel Parker, Founder & CEO of Resonance Content MarketingA self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).

As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations. Contact Rachel about speaking to your group or business.

content_marketing_50 BizSugar KredFeatured Author on Business 2 Community


  1. […] won’t make your online content a success. To really get the most from your content, you need to keep your actual readers in mind, rather than just search engines, according to Rachel Parker. You can see further discussion about […]

  2. […] won’t make your online content a success. To really get the most from your content, you need to keep your actual readers in mind, rather than just search engines, according to Rachel Parker. You can see further discussion about […]

  3. […] make your online content a success. To really get the most from your content, you need to keep your actual readers in mind, rather than just search engines, according to Rachel Parker. You can see further discussion […]

  4. […] won’t make your online content a success. To really get the most from your content, you need to keep your actual readers in mind, rather than just search engines, according to Rachel Parker. You can see further discussion about […]

Our Clients Are Saying

  • Produced ROI Result needed someone who could grasp the complexities of our product, capture the subtlety of our differentiating value propositions, and convey them in the right voice for an exacting customer audience…. Resonance delivered, by crafting a multi-faceted online content marketing strategy that drove traffic and conversion, producing the ROI result we were looking for….

  • Professionalism and Sincere Desire to Help

    I just didn’t seem to be able to find the time or the right words to explain what I offer and how my company helps people accomplish their goals. Rachel was able to ask me some questions, do some research and capture my voice while writing my website copy exactly as I needed it to be written.  Now, the copy on my website is much more professional than what I would have created and having this task handled by Rachel and Resonance freed up my time to complete other tasks I am better suited to do.

    It was a joy to work with Rachel. Her professionalism and sincere desire to help was apparent from the first communication until the final delivery. I will definitely use Resonance again and highly recommend their services.

  • Event Sold Out Two Years In A Row!

    Rachel worked with me on creating a content marketing calendar and content for the Big Social Media Summit (Big SMS) three years in a row. She is very organized and knows just the right amount of posts on social, email newsletters and content to send.  Her content marketing efforts helping us sell out our event three years in a row!  I am expecting the same for October 2014.

    Rachel was hired to write content for our email newsletter and content for our social platforms. In addition, she had a budget to do advertising on social media. She participated in the event live and after the fact to assure buzz was created before, during and after the event. As a result, our event sold out.

    When I work with Rachel, I have total peace of mind.  I know that she is on target, on time, reliable and delivers over and above the results I expect.

    I trust Rachel totally with her ideas on strategy, marketing and the content used to not only promote our events, but also post on my behalf on social networks. I have been doing social media for 8 years, and I hire Resonance to post on some of my social sites as it saves me time, and keeps my social sites relevant and current. They always post great, engaging content that gets my social properties likes, comments and shares.


  • Added 5 figures to my business in less than 4 weeks

    Rachel took the overwhelm and stress out of writing content for my marketing campaign! When I approached Rachel, I was really concerned that I wouldn’t have the time to focus on writing copy for a lengthy marketing campaign that included sales pages, solo emails, newsletters and social media updates. Well, let’s just say I’m glad I hired Rachel because I couldn’t have done it without her support and expertise. I loved how she used my voice and words to craft content that helped me reach and attract my ideal client. As a result of working with Rachel, I added 5 figures to my business in less than 4 weeks, hundreds of new social media followers and exceeded my sales and list building goals! You know your marketing copy is working when you hear someone say, “I see you everywhere”. Thank you Rachel for helping me not only get seen by my ideal clients but get paid!

  • Increased our likes and interaction rates

    Working with Rachel was a delight. Not only does she communicate very well, but she provided valuable insight about our social media platforms and followers. We have much better engagement with our fans and followers, which increased our likes and interaction rates.


  • Increased website traffic, New Lead Generation

    We were experiencing a lack of internal resources to consistently maintain the Ustream blog. So we turned to Resonance Content Marketing to write blog posts on current industry topics while maintaining a consistent tone with the brand. The result is increased website traffic, new lead generation from gated assets on blog, and better educated/qualified leads. And I now have more time to spend on marketing strategy with the confidence that the content we push out is extremely well written and engaging.

    Rachel is an amazing writer and has really managed to create engaging and relevant blog material on topics that aren’t always super interesting. On many occasions, she has been able to quickly turn around one-off requests and the results are always top-notch. She has also helped guide our content strategy based on her expertise in content marketing, which has been a huge asset to our team.

  • Social Media Ranking Better Than Ever!

    We are so happy to have hired Resonance for our social media needs. We spend most of our time serving our clients and studying our field so we can provide the highest quality possible. We no longer worry about our social media, as we have total confidence in the wonderful work Rachel and her team have accomplished.

    Our social media is active, promoted, and is ranking better than ever! People often comment about what they see on our Facebook page. Resonance has added a creative, and artistic twist to our social media that is appealing and captivating to our audience. This has allowed me more time to work with my team and clients, so I can focus on service towards the people that help our business grow.

    I know there will be wonderful content on Facebook, and that Rachel will answer to posts, comments and questions as soon as a comment arrives. I am often impressed at how quickly she responds! Thank you Resonance! I highly endorse Resonance and encourage companies who need social media strategies to work with Resonance! You won’t regret it! 

  • One of the best “vendor” relationships I’ve ever had.

    My company had little or no time to spend on social media. Our needs were to ensure a steady stream of posts across three platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) by harvesting and re-purposing content from our own site and news streams. So I contacted Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing.

    The result was two-fold. Not only did our ranks of followers grew steadily, the steady drip, drip, drip of content helped us train our personnel and direct their own individual social media efforts.

    Rachel and her team are extremely organized and open to discussion and new ideas. They deliver a rapid response to new opportunities — and an overall feeling of being on the same team. One of the best “vendor” relationships I’ve ever had.

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