The 2012 Digital Content Marketing Survey found that an increasing amount of companies want website content that's focused on providing a quality user experience.

A recent Digital Content Marketing Survey relayed by the CMI reveals that businesses are changing their focus to ensure that website content is written with the user in mind instead of prioritizing content’s appeal to search engines. 

According to the survey, 18 percent of respondents said is critical that content is developed purely for readers. Just 3 percent said their SEO content should be developed to prioritize search-friendliness above user experience. Thirty-seven percent landed somewhere in the middle, looking for content that is appealing to consumers and search crawlers alike.

As content marketing has become a critical part of web campaigns for businesses, the espoused best practices have changed. More content on the web has driven the development of search quality algorithms (including Google ‘s Panda) to promote only high-quality websites and give SEO rewards to sites that focus on the user. Currently, developing SEO strategies and publishing original content that supports keywords to create interesting, relevant articles is most likely to improve search standing.

Brafton recently reported that Matt Cutts, head of search spam for Google, hinted that websites with excessive SEO components may lose some visibility in favor of sites with content created to encourage a positive user experience. He suggested an algorithm update might “level the playing field” for sites that have good content but lack SEO.

As the Digital Content survey suggests, more companies have started making quality content their main goal. A separate Brafton report highlighting more information from the study found that well-written, informative content was among the most important considerations for businesses looking to outsource content marketing to a third-party agency.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.