Structuring Your Content Around Reading Behaviour

With the new emphasis search engines are placing on content, many are wondering what kind of content to have on their sites. Google’s algorithm wants them to have natural and diverse keyword rich content. But is that what the average website visitor wants?

That’s the problem with the new weight of content. Whereas in the past, links were for web-crawlers and content was for people, now we have to market to both in one area. Striking a balance can be challenging. Especially when you consider how differently people perceive content.

In general, people exposed to your content fit into one of three categories.

Snack Readers

These are the type of web-users that Pintrest and Twitter was invented for. They like their content concise and purposed. If confronted with a page that has huge blocks of pure text copy, they will continue following links until they find the simpler format that makes them comfortable.

In general, these people prefer picture heavy content with short information points. This type of reader is most at odds with a good SEO strategy, as Google doesn’t take picture content into account, (except in terms of alt tags for images), and fitting a lot of keywords into a limited amount of copy can make it both clumsy and unnatural.


This type of user isn’t averse to reading up a bit, as long as they don’t have to read all the content. They normally visit a site with a general idea of what kind of information they’re looking for. They will quickly scan the page, taking in a few morsels of information along the way, and stop and intently read the parts they find interesting.

It’s important that some of the content is eye-catching and subconsciously grabs their attention. Once again, they will carry on browsing, if they find a page that’s pure copy. The copy should also be at a level of diction they find appropriate and relatively easy to understand, avoid academic terms. As they’re skimming for quick facts, it should actually be below their reading level, and making use of techniques like bullet point lists can be very beneficial.

Content Gluttons

This is the type of web-user who’s read the instruction manual for every electronic device they’ve ever bought. They have no problem wading through volumes of web content, intently taking in every piece of information, until they feel they know everything they wanted to about the topic.

They are generally cautious by nature, which is why they like content so much. It helps them feel like they making the most informed decision. This type may seem like a page optimiser’s dream but that’s not the case. They will be the first to notice if your content seems clunky or unnatural, so your copy needs to be consistently valuable and relevant throughout your entire site.

Providing Content To Satisfy All 3

The best solution to keep all three happy and still retain your rankings with search engines is to take the middle ground. Make all your content rich but easy to scan. Here are some tips.

* Place typography emphasis on key concepts in the text.
* Paragraph the text often, large blocks of text can be dissuading.
* A lot of content isn’t bad, just make sure in doesn’t obstruct any of the core functions of the page.
* Bullet points put valuable information into attractive bite size portions (Admit it, you had the urge to read them first when you started this article.)
* Use images to keep the attention. Just make sure they contribute to the message of the page.
* Use subject headings for paragraphs. This will let people who scan content find the information they’re looking for more easily.