A great infographic here from Barry Feldman looking at an SEO checklist with a big focus on making it compelling and engaging the reader. The article that inspired it is also well worth a look.

Here are 3 things you must be doing with your content, to not only make it more alluring to the Google bots, but more importantly, to your prospects:

1. Be natural

Gone are the days where blog posts were full of disconnected sentences pandering to search engines. Keywords are now a way of matching your prospect's way of talking, sounding human and taking part in a conversation. A crafted piece of writing instead of something a machine could have spat out. 

2. Be relevant

15% of daily Google searches have never been seen before and the most recent updates favour quality and relevance over anything else (you will find some of the titles of the top results don't even contain the typed keyword). It's clear that there's more to it than stringing the right words together.

The key here is knowing the persona you're writing for, and focussing on them to make sure that you're being relevant and useful. If a piece isn't either of these things, then it's simply adding to the noise of the internet and isn't providing any value... so why should Google reward you for it? No one wants to have to get to page 2 before they find what they're looking for.

3. Be interesting

There really isn't any point in being relevant and using a natural way of writing if your content subject matter isn't presented in an interesting way. This ties up a little with relevance, but remember that to make your content stand out from your competitors, it needs to grasp the audience's attention. Lots of facts and figures? Perhaps avoid a blog post and go for an infographic. A very technical blog post? Consider your persona and plant the technical elements into a real-life example. B2B content certainly doesn't have to be boring. Just remember to keep in mind which formats resonate most with your persona.

Hoping your content will do well without considering the way it has been written, its relevance, and its role for the reader is a crucial mistake and Google won't thank you for it. Stop thinking solely about the search engines when creating content and focus instead on your prospects. You'll find that this focus will actually help you with your search rankings and overall success in the long term.

You might even create some content you're really proud of in there, too. What a thought.