Something I notice all too often when browsing around online is how little attention is paid to the actual content of websites. Most people know that having a website is important in today’s business world, but they seem blissfully unaware of how to execute their message in words. The reason content tends to take a backseat, particularly among small business websites, is that many choose a do-it-yourself approach to creating their sites, not realizing how vital their web content can be in regards to search engine rankings and customer interest. Here are just a couple of things to keep in mind when compiling text for your site.
Scanning vs. Reading
Eye-tracking software used in several online studies shows that when viewing a new website, people don’t read, they scan. Headings and subheadings are where the eyes wander first, followed by links and keywords. With that in mind, your headings and subheads should be eye catching and your paragraphs short and to the point while still conveying important information. Long blocks of text tend to get ignored by online readers; bulleted and numbered lists are a good way to showcase information in short, digestible pieces. Another good rule to follow is, if a word can be cut, it should be cut. These tactics keep material relevant and informative, yet short enough to hold the reader’s attention.
Optimize Your Keywords
Search engine optimization (SEO) is extremely important when it comes to where your site ranks in search engines, and while optimizing keywords alone won’t get you ranked #1, it is an important part of the SEO puzzle. Do your research to find out what keywords are the most popular for your topic or industry. The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is a good place to start. We also like Raven for more in-depth SEO tracking. Make sure to also study SEO best practices to avoid outdated content tricks like keyword stuffing, as these things can actually have a negative effect on your rankings.
The Balancing Act
Web copy writing is all about balancing quantity and quality. Too little content can hurt your search engine rankings, while too much will overwhelm your customers. If you’re thinking of revamping your site’s content, make sure to join us for our upcoming webinar “Search Engine Results Soar: Focus on Text” for an in-depth discussion on the different aspects of writing for websites.