Interesting thread in the Third Tribe forum today: don't ignore the SEO.
It was started by someone who'd taken the 'write for people, don't write for the search engines' mantra literally - and not done any SEO work on their site.
Now, I've repeated the 'write for people ...' theme many times on this site and I hope I didn't give the impression in doing so that the SEO will take care of itself.
Because it doesn't.
SEO breaks down into two parts:
- On-page (or site) SEO
- Off-page SEO
Broadly speaking, as a webmaster or blogger you have direct control over the On-page SEO. Your control over the Off-page SEO is way more tenuous.
You need to get your On-page SEO right, because that's what tells the search engines what your site (or page) is about.
Remember: the mission of the search engines is to provide the most relevant results possible to searchers. To do that they need to know in as much detail as possible what information your page contains.
So the easier you can make it for them to do so, the better the SEO platform you're building.
Here, then, is what you need to get done for your On-page SEO:
- Effective META page titles
- Effective post titles (not the same thing, if you're blogging on WordPress)
- Effective use of H tags (heading tags)
- Effective META description
- Effective META keywords
- Effective use of Tags and Categories (if you're on WordPress)
- Effective permalinks (or page urls)
If you get those things right for your site as a whole and for each post (if you're blogging) or page (if you're doing a static site) you'll have created a good SEO platform.
Off-page SEO is where the principle of writing for people, not the search engines, comes into its own.
The principle driver of Off-page SEO is the number and quality of incoming links.
This is because the search engines see each incoming link as a vote of confidence by a third party in the quality of your site.
And the incoming links that the search engines are interested in are the ones created by humans.
So you want to write sufficiently well, and provide sufficiently useful information, that humans will link to your article (or site) or refer your page on to others.
And you definitely won't achieve that by writing for the search engines.
So yes – write for people, not the search engines. But make sure you get your On-page SEO set up first.