The explosion of content marketing has meant a huge opportunity for search optimization. Companies with strong marketing departments deploy infographics, listicles, blogs, thought leadership articles, etc. on a regular basis for lead generation and prospecting purposes. So it only makes sense that SEO has grown in parallel, because if you’re going to go to all of the trouble to create the content you might as well make sure your target audience can find it – right?

The reverse is also true. If you are going to hire an SEO in hopes of capturing highly-qualified organic leads, your content needs to be both search engine friendly and human friendly. And for the human friendly aspect it boils down to user experience and writing. So unless you want to have atrocious bounce rates, with visitors leaving your site faster than a barefoot kid on a hot driveway, you better make sure your writing is solid. After all, you could be the best on-page SEO on the planet, driving mad traffic to landing pages and blogs but never converting a single soul because users are confused by your message.

The bottom line here is that good Internet copy takes into account both what people are looking for and what they will relate to.

Write Content People Can Find

Writing content people can find boils down to knowing what keywords people are searching for and writing specific content to target that search or set of searches. On-page optimization, including image and video SEO, tells Google and other search engines that your pages are relevant to those keyword searches. The better you are at researching and selecting your keyword terms, the more successful you will be at writing.

Sometimes, it is best to write a landing page to specifically target a search term, and other times, it’s best to write a blog around a hot topic and then see if it fits a keyword string later. Making sure web surfers can find your website should take a backseat to generating useful content that converts visitors to actual contacts in your database.

Write Content People Can Read

Writing content people can read is easy; writing content people find useful can be the challenge. For blogs and article posts, I always recommend writing the piece first and looking for keywords that fit later. Blogs are great top- and middle-of-the-funnel content that serve to educate and build trust. For these very reasons, you should put your content ahead of your SEO and write to convert and not to attract. If you know your market and hot topics that interest your audience then write about that. You’ll gain some pretty qualified contacts this way – albeit they may need a bit of nurturing before you can give them a sales touch.

Never leave out what you want people to do next. Strong and clear calls-to-action lead visitors through your marketing funnel and make it easy for you to segment lists in your database for nurture campaigns. Educational content marketing pieces such as e-books and whitepapers make great gated offers to collect contact information for nurturing.

Balancing being a writer, an SEO and a user-experience expert ain’t easy. But by putting your audience first, you can determine how to best marry these techniques to give your visitors what they are looking for and to start qualifying them as prospects. The good news is that constantly updating your site and providing new content also tells search engines to rank you higher, so if you have a few misses along with your hits, it won’t be the biggest deal ever.