As a website or blog owner, you’re sure to receive countless preachings from others on the importance of SEO. “More important than regular toenail clippings,” they’ll say to you as they seek to hammer home their point.

Search Engine Optimization > Toenail Optimization

Sure, proper keyword usage is important for many reasons. Yet, there’s a fundamental problem in the industry: SEOs are focused on the search engines, not the users. What the techies don’t understand is that awesome SEO takes a reverse approach by focusing on the user first and foremost. To build a popular and profitable website, you must always ask what information your readers want, continually create shareable content and more. Check out these tips to learn how.

Put Users First
Remember, your readers are purchasing your products or services, not the search engines. Tailoring content solely to achieve high search engine rankings may eventually place your site at the top of Google but that content will likely fail to inspire a potential customer’s purchase.

With that in mind, never tailor your site’s copy or your blog posts around a specific keyword. Instead, put your users first by drafting content they want and need to read. After that awesome content is written, return and assess how a specific keyword can be naturally inserted. By always putting your users first and search engines second, your focus will remain on those who have the potential to purchase your products and services rather than on search engines that are likely to flip on a dime.

The climb to the top of Keyword Mountain is a lonely one.

Create Shareable Content
With the rise of social networks, there’s a lot of buzz these days about creating shareable content. But, what is shareable content and how do you create it? Shareable content is anything that an online user feels compelled to share with friends such as blog posts, photos, quotes or announcements regarding awesome products. So, how do you discover which content is shareable among your readers and how do you create it? Here’s how:

  • Research your market: Different content appeals to different target markets. Your site’s content will only be shareable if it appeals to your target audience. Do the necessary research by learning who your products and services are intended to reach. Then, research which topics are most important and relevant to that audience.
  • Do something different: Don’t use your blog as a platform for regurgitating overly-used content online. Instead, produce copy on underserved topics that are of interest to your target audience or present over-used topics in a new and unexpected manner.
  • Put emotion first: Emotion is the main driving factor behind most shareable content. Whether you incite happiness, sympathy or rage, if your content pulls strong emotions from your readers, that content is more likely to go viral.
  • Make it easy: Most online users want everything handed to them on a silver platter. This means, if your site’s content is difficult to share, it won’t gain much traction online. Simplify the sharing process for your visitors by accompanying any content you want to be shared with big and easy-to-use social sharing buttons for Pinterest, Facebook, and other relevant social networks.

Draft META Tags
Even on a user-focused website, you must occasionally get a little techie. META tags may sound like SEO mumbo jumbo but they are, in fact, highly user-focused details. Your website’s META title and description can simply be thought of as the snippets of information online users absorb when encountering your website in search engine results. Think of these snippets as tiny sales pitches that will either draw users into your site or drive them away. Or think of them as little pixie dust-sprinkling fairies that help you bring in traffic, doesn’t matter.

Meet Miss META.

Since your site’s META title and description will serve as first impressions for many online users, draft them with care. A META title is best summed up in a few keywords that properly capture the site’s essence. The META description is a slightly longer blurb that describes the site’s purpose while capturing the interest of your target market.

The online world will continue evolving, with mind-numbing changes to Google algorithms and SEO tactics sure to follow. Beat the numbers game by maintaining a focus on your website’s users. By creating awesome content your readers want to read and share, your site will be a success regardless of what Google chooses to do.