There has long been a debate in the search engine world as to whether or not you need to focus on the kind of killer content that will benefit humans the most and push them to your site or to use all of the tips and tricks that we have to make sure that the search spiders push us up the rankings in way that would only make human readers head’s itch. And while the perfect answer probably lies somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, the debate still rages on.

So which one is best – is content really king of the hill when it comes to driving traffic, or can you get away with a bunch of keyword stuffed electronic friendly articles to push people to your sites?

Content is king – most of the time

While it may have been possible to get some pretty slick rankings in the past with spider optimized articles and websites, the fact of the matter is that things are changing – and rapidly at that. Each and every day sees more and more subtle changes to the underlying structure of SEO, and the major search engines are constantly shifting their algorithms to weight different factors across the board. This has made it next to impossible to gauge with any real accuracy what the future of SEO holds, and it’s become more and more important to make sure that we are writing for our readers more than the spiders.

That’s not to say that the SEO world is dead and we need to shift our focus entirely – far from it. But we need to be more judicious with the way that we write, and understand that companies like Google are looking for the most relevant content to serve their users – and the eventually the spiders will only be focusing on killer content just the moment that the technology makes that possible.

You cannot ignore the new wave of search engine practices or the boom in other traffic methods

The second major reason that you need to focus on content over the spiders is the fact that he social web has changed the very fabric of web traffic. No longer can we count on all of our traffic to come from the search engines. While they still play a prominent role in how new visitors find our material, the social web has caused millions of other little pathways to our content to open up – and if a reader stumbles upon some jumbled mess of an article or other SEO work we’ve created for the spiders we’re going to start losing the pole position we’ve worked so hard to create.

So while there needs to be a balance between writing for our user base and writing for the machines, the landscape of SEO is dictating that we need to be leaning more towards amazing content and less on trying to game the search spiders.

Joel Mayer writes about SEO and other online marketing techniques for the AustralianWebMarketers blog