We know it when we see it. And it ticks us off.
Imagine if you were drawn in by the title of this article, only to find that it began:
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is vitally important to grow the number of hits your website generates through top search engines like Google. In order to optimize the attention your site receives through these search engines, you should execute key SEO optimization strategies which target keywords and phrases that will be recognized and liked by search engines.
You'd have hit 'back' on your browser by the time you were two sentences in.
In an online world where we so eagerly seek performance performance metrics to quantify the success of our websites, it's easy to forget the single most important thing we can do to ensure the popularity of our sites: create quality content and add to it consistently. We should certainly be mindful of SEO efforts, but they must not dominate our content to the point that our pages read like a repetitive machine-gun fire of single phrases or words.
So how do we strike a balance? How do we stay true to our calling to produce quality content but still ensure that our content will be seen by a Google visitor?
In a word, be smart.
Identify a select list of a few a few! keywords or, more preferably, phrases that you can weave organically into the prose of your site. But be careful. And be your own harshest critic as you do it.
In today's digital age, internet consumers are growing increasingly savvy and selective in the content they view. They have a pretty good idea of what they're looking for when they run a Google search, and they don't have patience for sites which aren't up too snuff. There's too much content out there, too much information just waiting to be found at the signal of a few keystrokes, to sift through a site, which is overly self-conscious of its SEO rating.
But don't despair. Just don't over-do it.
Again, be smart. Target web page titles. This should be a no-brainer and, in some ways, is a bit of a gimme. Nail your phrases and keywords in your titles. There's no harm in this. Consumers want to know what your site is about before they visit and, more often than not, have forgotten the name of your title by the time they scroll to the bottom of the page. Be consistent in your titling approach and be sure to include the phrases or words which you want identified with your site.
Once into your prose, be more judicious. Quality content and good writing should always win as the priority over SEO keywords and phrases, but the two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Use your SEO targets when it makes sense to do so; don't force it.
We crave quality content. We like it. We share it. We include links to it on our own pages, giving you an in-bound stream of clickers which will drive up your SEO rating naturally. Never forget this when executing an SEO strategy.
There's a balance to be found. SEO is not an excuse to abandon content quality. Be smart. Be creative. And be honest when you take on such efforts.