The following series is pulled from a presentation I gave to a group of beauty bloggers hosted by L’Oreal in New York. Most of the presentation is geared toward how to make a blog more search engine and user-friendly, however I will expand many of the concepts here to include tips and strategies for sites selling products or services across all industries.
The first place to begin in writing your content is to create a great heading for each page. In the last post I discussed grabbing the visitor’s attention. This is one of the primary jobs of page headings.
The heading is different from the page title tag. Where the title tag is displayed in the search results the heading is viewed on the page itself. Sometimes you want the heading and the title to be the same, other times you don’t. The title MUST use keywords in it. The heading SHOULD use keywords in it. It all depends on the hook you want to use to grab attention and entice your visitor to keep reading.
Be careful that your title and heading aren’t too far removed from each other. The last thing you want is to get the visitor to click into the page and read a heading that doesn’t match up with their expectations.
A good heading tells people what they can expect from the content that follows. What information will they learn? What benefits will be presented? What solutions will you provide? The heading needs to project and give enough information that the visitor wants to keep reading without providing so much that they don’t feel they need to.
A good example of this is “Good headings help you increase search engine rankings.” This seemingly tells me just about all I need to know. On the other hand, “How to write headings that increases search engine rankings,” gives me a reason to keep reading. I know I’m going to learn something that wasn’t given away in the headline.
Make Your Content Compelling
The headline draws people into the content, gets them interested and makes them want to dive into what you have to say. Therefore your content needs to not disappoint.
Don’t skimp. Allow your content to go wherever it needs to give the reader everything that they want. The only time you can have too much content is when it get’s in the way of the sales process rather than promote it. Keep in mind, when readers have enough to make a decision, they’ll stop reading and do what they came to do. If you don’t have enough content to convince them then they won’t take the action you hope them to.
Site visitors come in a variety of personality types and personas. In order to speak your audience’s language you must hit a lot of different key points. Some people want to know about you, some about your products or services and others care about your qualifications. Others don’t care about that at all and want to know how the product or service benefits them specifically. Still, others may want to know your history and are looking for signals of trust.
If you leave any of these out then you’ll lose some potential conversions. And these and these are just the tip of the iceberg. Be careful, however, that you don’t spread yourself too thin. You can’t please everyone, but you can do a reasonably good job of figuring out who is your primary audience and make sure you are hitting the key points for them.
Write what you need to convince the majority of your audience and no more.
When it comes to working keywords to your content there are plenty of opportunities to add your targeted phrases without mucking up the content. Look for these opportunities, but don’t jump on every chance to throw in a keyword just because you can. Good writing means using keywords conservatively.
Every paragraph is full of keyword opportunities but if you added every keyword possible then you’re in real danger of keyword stuffing. The last thing you want is for your keyword rich content to have too many keywords in it. Your visitors that came looking for a site based on the keyword they searched for will have a difficult time getting past the over-stuffed keyword content. Your keyword filled message will be lost due to the over use of keywords in the keyword content. (Get my point?)
As mentioned above, good content isn’t just about keywords. It’s about giving the visitor what they need. Sometimes you can’t give them all they want or need on a single page. Sometimes you talk about something else that you can’t address fully without going wildly off point. This is where the magic of hyperlinks come in.
Too often people are afraid to “clutter up” their content with hyper links. They have a point, but only to a point. You can go overboard on the hyperlinks, but too few hyperlinks is worse than too many. Give your visitors the avenue to explore the site outside of the navigation. If you mention something that is explained elsewhere link to it. If you mention something that you should provide more information in a full context, write a new page of content and link to it.
Links let people explore and find other things they are interested in. Things that help them earn confidence in you, things that give them more information, things that teach them new things. Without the links these important areas of your site remain largely hidden, even if they are found in the site’s navigation.
Make it Pretty
Long paragraphs of content may get all the right points across but they are booooring to look at. And visually boring easily translates into just plain dreary to read. Make sure your text looks good. It’s not the job of the copywriter to add images, but that doesn’t mean the copywriter can’t make it easier to read.
Good use of headlines, sub-headlines, paragraph headings and section headings can go a long way to making your content easier on the eyes. You can also use bullet points, content boldings, italics, hyperlinks and numbered lists also make the content look better, easier to read and more digestible.
The content of a website is one of the most important factors in achieving top search engine rankings. But it is an even greater factor in ensuring the website performs with visitors. Without good content a site will fail both with engines and visitors.
Missed a part of this series?