Creating SEO-Optimized Content For Search Engines Or… Was It For Users?

Search Engine vs. User – This is always tricky when it comes to SEO. Writing the perfect content for both can be challenging because at the end of the day the content should make the user happy, but also rank well in the search engines. In this post, we show you that this might not always be a dilemma and how you can find the right text length for your target group.

User Experience Comes Over Content-Length

For a long time, long text meant greater relevance. This is, however, outdated, because the crawl bots are now more focused on the needs of the users who do not always want to fight through 3000 words in order to get the information they need. Just because the text is particularly long and contains many keywords, does not mean that the content is necessarily relevant to users. Some topics simply do not need much explanation and therefore not much description text. The length of the text depends on the topic and the target group. Therefore the text lengths should depend on the experience the user has when reading the content.

Both, search engines and users love unique and interesting content. Long texts with high keyword density can, of course, still rank well. However, even short texts, which provide the users with what they are looking for, can be successful in the ranking when important keywords are used. But let's be honest: How important is it if the content is ranked well but nobody reads it (till the end)?

Don't Let Your Users Bounce

Readers bounce quickly when they notice that the text is dragged unnecessarily. Therefore, in addition to quantity, authors should pay attention to the quality of the content in order to inspire their users. Here is a simple rule: A text should be as long as it is interesting and provides a real value to the reader. The reader must be convinced that it is worthwhile to read the text to the end.

Therefore, content should be served on the silver tray. The text must be easy to find on the website and be well written with all the relevant and necessary information the user needs. In addition, the content itself should be structured well and should be absorbed easily. If the reader is happy, search engines will be happy, too and will reward you with a good ranking.

Test, Experiment & Measure

But how do you know which text length is good for your target group? Conversion rate optimization (CRO) usually focuses on page elements like heading, layout, site bars, buttons etc. The content itself is usually at the end of the task list, but actually, it is one of the most important factors for a good user experience. Therefore, tests and experiments might help to figure out the ideal text length for your content. You can experiment with different versions of your texts and find out which version is best for your readers.

To track the performance of your content, Google Analytics gives you great insights. The default content tracking content in Google Analytics is quite straight forward. Using the standard reports like time on page, bounce rate and pageviews are important metrics to evaluate the quality of your posts. But sometimes these metrics are not enough. An important metric for the content analysis is the read completion rate for example, which is the proportion of the reader who has scrolled to the end of the article. When scrolling all the way down, you can assume that the reader has read the post until the end. You can track this metric easily by creating an event goal.

event goal for content read
event goal for content read

User behavior should also be tracked in terms of device usage. While the desktop user spends more time on the pages with longer versions, the completion rate is usually highest in the medium-long version. The mobile user behavior, however, looks quite different. Here the short version is usually the best.


SEO-friendly content is no longer a question of length. Both Google and users rely on good user experience: a unique content of appropriate length and a clear structure (headings, images, videos, links, graphics, etc.). Content must be found, but also inspire and drive potential customers to the conversion.

So please: Write for your users, not for the search engines! If your readers are happy, so will be Google and reward you with better rankings.

Halide Ebcinoğlu
16 Apr 2017

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