Writing Great Website Content
Writing Great Search Engine Optimized Content
(Without scaring your clients away)
The right content goes a long way in being found and ranked by Google. There is a phrase among the Search Engine Optimization experts that “content is king!”
Website text not only tells Google what you do and how much you know, but is also how you communicate to your prospective customers. It’s a balance. It has to be found by Google, but has to be as readable as possible. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”… But you need to need to get the horse to the water first!
Google insists on writing for the customer. I agree. However, I believe you need to write within a framework that Google can understand.
Keywords (focus phrases)
There is a strategy involved in determining the keywords to target on your website. The starting point is to identify what people would type in to a Google search to find your business. You match those to the top services you want to promote and create your list of keywords, often including your city or some unique identifier. The most important phrase will be your “theme” for the website. For example, your theme could be “Website Designer Surrey.” It is better to do well for a very specific term and not show up for other terms as opposed to having an average Google rank for several phrases. You need to earn a larger reach.
These keywords, 2-4 word phrases, should be integrated throughout your site wherever possible. You should also use synonyms, different forms and tenses where possible.
The keywords should be used in the page headings, toward the front in the first paragraph and then sprinkled at regular intervals throughout the rest of the text. Also, the final paragraph or sentence should contain your key words.
How Much To Write
General rule of thumb is that Google likes a minimum of 250 words. 300+ words is even better for search engine optimization. However, you don’t want to be too far out of the box for your industry. Ecommerce websites or design firms will have a low word count, but will be focused more in other areas. So have a look at your competitors. You want your website to rank better than theirs in Google, so you don’t want to look too out of place. The trick is to make less “mistakes”. Google looks at 200+ factors in the rankings. You need to be less imperfect.
Home Page Writeup
Below is a typical recommended HOME page that should do well for Google (enough content) but also works for the person on your site (easy to read).
- Page Heading (with the words you want people to type into Google)
- Optional subheading
- Initial short paragraph 3 to 5 sentences with lots of keywords
- Possibly a bulleted list
- Short paragraphs with subtitles outlining all your most major services or product categories
- Ending paragraph
Make sure to include why a person would want to call you or purchase from you. What problem are you solving for them? How are you better than your competition?
Also, tell them what do you want them to do when getting to your site (aka “call to action”)? Do you want them to call? Buy? Fill out a form? A call to action or two will be incorporated into the design, but a sentence in the content would be good as well (eg. “For independent advice on the best forklift to buy or where to purchase quality forklift parts, contact Joe Shmoe”).
If you have multiple services or products, we recommend using 2 types of inside pages: A title page for products or services, plus individual pages on the products or services themselves. If someone has a leaky toilet, they won’t be searching for a new faucet, so you shouldn’t have faucet information on the same page.
Separating out categories (eg Plumbing vs Heating) but keeping similarly themed pages together, is great for Google. These categories with their associated related pages are called silos.
GOOGLE LOVES THIS!
The title pages should be structured similar to the home page, but more specific. If you are a plumbing & heating company, you should have a tab for plumbing services and a tab for heating services. The plumbing title page should have sub pages for the types of plumbing services you offer. The heating title page should also have a sub page for each of the heating services.
The specific product or service pages will probably be more detailed and therefore it’s not as easy to use the same format as the title pages. But you still need to have a great page heading (eg. “Drain Tile Replacement Vancouver”) as your main heading. Distribute the keyword phrases throughout the body of the page. Make it easy to read as you can. Small sentences, lists, photos, etc. will all help your cause.
This results in you not only ranking for those phrases, but also for longer phrases which may be a mix of your target terms. This happens organically based on them being placed close together throughout the page.
So if and when it comes time to write content for a website, it’s good to spend a bit of extra time to think about it, plan it and do a good job of editing it. And don’t be afraid to go back and rewrite your text to be better for SEO / Google or clear for your customers. It’s worth the effort!