Search Engine Friendly Versus Reader Friendly Content: Who Wins?

Sarah McInerney

Head of Content

Sarah has almost three decades of experience in crafting compelling, engaging content specifically designed to boost sales and enhance brand loyalty. She’s also an expert in developing unique tone of voice that helps brands connect with their audiences. Her marketing and client service background has given Sarah a natural understanding of how to write content that makes readers take action. Whether it’s signing up to a mailing list, making an enquiry or donation or clicking the buy button, Sarah knows precisely how to convert with words. Pen down, Sarah is a proud member of the Essex Wildlife Trust and spends most of her free time enjoying inspiring walks through her local woodland and nature reserves, admiring everything that flaps, flutters and flowers.

Writing content for your blog or website is a skill that calls for two sets of considerations: your reader, and the search engines. Finding a balance in your copy so that it pleases both should be your key objective.

The good news is that there are certain things Google likes, and readers like too. Here we examine what those common things are, so that you can optimise your content in an attempt to please all of the people, all of the time.

content related words

Where content is concerned, there are certain things Google likes, and readers like too.

Long Articles

Google likes long articles because they show authority, and readers like to get involved in in-depth content too. But here’s a tip: readers get nervous when they see great blocks of text. You can break it up into sections by adding plenty of sub-headings, images and video and key identifiers such as ‘Firstly’, ‘In Summary’, ‘The Key Message’, etc. The current optimum article or page length is around 700 words, although guaranteed you will find variations on this: there is no exact science after all.

Subtlety on Key Phrases

Whilst the inclusion of key phrases is important, stuffing them in is not approved of by search engine, or reader. Over-use of key phrases has a negative effect on readability, especially as the phrases you wish to be found for need to be prominently placed.

The old term ‘SEO friendly content’ is somewhat redundant these days. Here at Figment Agency in London, we know search engines focus more now on user behaviour and rank sites based on things like how long visitors spend reading and drilling down through content, rather than how many times a key phrase is repeated.

Focus on Share-Ability

Search engines like to see content shared: they give it top marks because they can see its popularity. Similarly, readers love content that is share-able. We like to share material: it’s like getting a pat on the back when someone approves of what we’ve posted. And it’s nice if someone can benefit from it.

So how to produce share-able content? Write something unique that targets a specific need of your audience: include expert advice or opinion that won’t be found elsewhere. Perhaps introduce an unusual take on a subject, or solve a genuine problem that you know through research is a popular unanswered question. Or make it amusing!


Search engines like to see content shared, and readers love to share good content.

The Key Message

Our overriding message here is, don’t get obsessive about optimising your content for search engines. Instead, focus on making it interesting and authoritative. A well-built website will take care of the technical side of optimisation: all you need to do is add excellent content.

If you focus on solving reader problems and delivering information that people really need, then key phrases will fit in naturally. Please the reader, and you will please the search engines, job done!

If you could use some assistance with writing content that pleases all the people all the time, why not our London based SEO agency?

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