There is a misconception among some business owners that optimised website copy and blog posts are essential for SEO purposes. To an extent, this is true. However, writing blog posts won’t fast-track you on to page one of the SERPs. Nor will cheap web content stuffed with keywords.
Writing blog posts and web copy is an art form, a bit like baking souffles, or in my house, keeping indoor plants alive and cat hair out of the evening meal.
For a quick guide to why content isn’t just an exercise in SEO, read on.
The Importance of Keywords
You probably already understand the importance of keywords, but for the avoidance of doubt, relevant keywords help search engines make sense of your copy, so they can show it to the right audience.
For example, a plumber in Nottingham would do well to include “plumber in Nottingham” in his website copy and write blogs about plumbing-related topics. Writing passionate blog posts about his amazing holidays in Gran Canaria or the latest Premier League results won’t do his business much good. Rather, it will only confuse the search engines to the point where his business website sinks like a stone.
However, while it’s good to weave relevant keywords naturally into your blog posts and web content, do not make the mistake of focussing on keywords over and above everything else.
Only include keywords where they can be inserted naturally. If a keyword jumps out at the reader, it shouldn’t be there. Ask someone to read your content and play ‘spot the keyword’. Clunky content indicates you might have overdone it on the keyword front.
Write with your target reader in mind.
Answer the question that brought the person to your website. There are lots of ways to find out what customers in your niche are asking or looking for.
Drill down into your customer’s deepest and darkest desires by way of the following:
- Conduct social media surveys
- Send out feedback requests
- Read the comments on review sites
- Pay close attention to customer complaints and enquiries
- Search Quora questions
- Read threads on relevant forums
- Check sub-Reddits for your industry niche
Remember, if people are visiting forums and sites like Reddit to ask questions, the answer is not easily available online. Use this to your advantage. If you can write an article that expertly answers the question, you might be lucky enough to be featured in Googles ‘snippets’ section.
Long isn’t always better
It’s a fallacy to think you need zillions of words to achieve a high ranking on Google. Some people assume that longer is better if they want to rank well. However, a 2,000+ post of word vomit containing carefully targeted keywords is not superior to a 500-word blog post that concisely and expertly answers a common reader question.
First and foremost, a search engine’s priority is to provide a top-notch user experience. Google’s algorithms are a closely guarded secret, but what we do know is that Google prioritises content that offers “value”.
Content must be well-written and useful above all other factors. So, if someone tries to sell you cheap, illiterate content stuffed with keywords and says that’s all you need to rank, tell them to jog on and then contact us. 😊
Clear and concise copy
Long posts are good if you can dig really deep into a topic and cover all angles. Avoid filling the page with fluff to boost your word count. Don’t use 30 words when you can say what you mean in 10 words or less. Try and be as concise as possible.
Use a tool like http://hemingwayapp.com/ to polish your prose.
Avoid using too many big words
Long sentences are hard to read, and too many big words will confuse many readers. We’re not suggesting your readers are the missing link between man and ape, but unless you are targeting a very niche audience of biochemists or nuclear physicists, it’s likely most of them won’t be members of MENSA.
Write for the lowest common denominator. Use easy-to-understand language. Give examples and include images and videos if it helps make your point easier to understand.
Quality not quantity
Don’t overcommit to a content schedule. Many website owners make the mistake of thinking they MUST write as many blogs as possible. The more, the merrier, right?
Content needs to have a purpose. Churning out blogs without a coherent strategy isn’t sensible. For one thing, it’s a waste of your time and money, and for another, irrelevant content could actually harm your SEO.
Quality is more important than quantity. Devise a content writing schedule you can stick to. Only produce good quality content that serves a definite purpose.
This is especially true with product descriptions. Readers don’t want to read a beautiful essay about why your blue widget is the best thing since Tiger King launched on Netflix. All they are interested in is whether the product meets their requirements.
Look at product pages on Amazon. There product’s main features are listed in bullet point. This is followed by a link to the extended product description. If the reader wants more info, they can scroll down the page. They are not bombarded with long and confusing paragraphs of text.
Want to sell more products? Optimise your product pages, so they look more like Amazon. Write a bullet list of the main features, along with anything else the reader needs to know, so they can make an informed buying decision. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.
Get it right and you could end up as rich as Jeff Bezos.
(OK, so that’s an outright lie, but it’ll definitely help!)
Repurpose old content
Look at your old content with fresh eyes before you spend money on new content.
- Is the topic now redundant?
- Has your advice changed?
- Are there new laws/regulations in place?
- Can you do a better job of answering the question?
If a blog post is currently on page two or three in the SERPs, you might only need to rework the article so it reads better or contains a keyword relevant to your niche. Remember, well written evergreen content is a valuable asset!
It’s really important to have a clear strategy for your blog posts and website. Throwing yourself into writing without a goal in mind is akin to entering a marathon without a training plan. You might achieve a decent result if you’re very lucky, but chances are, it will all go horribly wrong.
Start with your website copy and product pages before you create a blog. Get the basic nuts and bolts of your website optimised for readers first. Only then is it time to write interesting, useful blog posts.
Too busy watching 365 Days on Netflix to give a toss about blog posts?
Frankly, we don’t blame you!
Outsource your content to a trusted third-party like us if you have neither the time nor the ability to craft well-written blogs or website copy. You know it makes sense!