When I was in corporate, we had something called a matrix structure.  In this weird format, I reported to  multiple managers and multiple staffers from different teams reported to me.  The purpose was to make people responsible to the teams they were supporting, regardless of the department in which their head count resided.

While this worked sometimes, with really good managers and really good team members, most of the time  it was a mess as people ended up dedicating more time to things they wanted to work on, rather than the most important programs overall.

I am reminded of this lopsided structure every time I talk to my small business clients about balancing their web content for search engines and real people.  While both audiences want content, they want very different content.

For example;  –

  • Key words -While search engines love pages stuffed with keywords, this often makes the copy cumbersome and unreadable for human beings.  How do you balance?
    • Get creative with your images.  Don’t just name them imageone.jpg,  imagetwo.jpg use key words to name them  – such as “small business social media one” or” web design image”
    • Create multiple pages using your blog and write related  content featuring different key words in the SEO tools – Remember both search engines and people like lots of content, just not all at once.
    • One of my favorite tricks is to write the blog post for human beings, then go back in and edit for search engines.   That involves making simple tweaks to the copy to include key words in natural places.   Look briefly at the web copy on this page.  Notice the words in red.  These are phrases I added after I wrote the initial draft which don’t take away from the content, but are designed to help me improve my rankings.
  • Links – Search engines judge you by the company you keep.  They define “company” with links.  While multiple back links to and from other sites and internal cross links will improve your search, too many make the copy look like a page from Wikepedia.  I typically try to keep links to just a few per page, and then use trackbacks to let influential bloggers know I am featuring their content.
  • Content –From a search engine’s perspective, you can never have enough copy.  The more pages (or posts) the more indexed content.   And your readers will like a steady flow as well, but how much is overkill.  If you are not writing a news site, one update a day is plenty, and if your traffic is fairly low, and people are not coming in large numbers each day, then take a break, write more detailed content a little less often, maybe every other day.

Ultimately it is important to remember, that neither search engines, or web traffic are your real master.  Your customers and employees are your primary focus, and the website should serve their needs.