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In short, Nobel-prize-winning literature makes bad web content. You have to write specifically for web. That's why web hasn't fueled much of a resurgence in short story or other literary writing, dashing many hopes. Ebook versions of paper books have also disappointed expectations.
Newspapers are only paper publications that have made a smooth online transition, precisely because they are written in short, to-the-point paragraphs that are easy to scan.
Still Think Good SEO Web Content Makes for Bad Reading?
You've just read almost to end of a piece of search-engine-optimized web content. This article was optimized for keywords, "SEO," "search engine," "search engines," "keyword," "keywords," "search engine optimization," and "writing."
The keywords were present in headings and throughout content. The content itself is easy to scan: paragraphs of one-three sentences, broken up by sub-headings every four paragraphs or so.
Naturally, those keywords are too broad for this page to have a chance of ranking high in search engines for them. But this page will get some of atypical search keywords that account for as many as half of all searches. So, if someone types in a phrase like, "keyword writing search engine optimized content," this page would have a pretty good chance of showing up.
To be sure, this article is on long side for a web page. Most people won’t even scan more than 600 words of text; 250-500 is ideal.
But this article is destined primarily to be shown in an email newsletter, where attention spans are longer since people are more confident source of content can be trusted to repay their investment of time. Besides, as a well-structured page, it can be split into two or three pages according to subheadings.
In short, there’s much more to writing well for web than just writing well. If you’ve had enough sense to have your web content written professionally, have enough sense to take advice of most website copywriters: search-engine-optimization for keywords and good web writing are same thing.
Joel Walsh is a professional content writer and founder of UpMarket Content, whose site offers information on getting great website content: http://upmarketcontent.com/website-content [When posting on the web, please hyperlink this text as the visible anchor text: "website content"]