Content is king, and clarity is key – it’s really important for both search engines and users that website content is well written, clear and engaging. Not only do search engines use content as part of their algorithm to help decide on a website’s value, but users also easily turn away if they come across content that they don’t understand or isn’t clear.
A recent study undertaken by the Content Marketing Institute during the COVID pandemic has shown that businesses had to change their content marketing strategies to meet the evolving needs of the public; with so many more people using the internet to shop and research online rather than in person, messages had to be reviewed and adjusted quickly to ensure the customer journey and targeting was flexible and met customer needs. This includes a range of content types, including:
- Delivery timescales and expectations
- Website/company terms and conditions
- Relevant articles about COVID/company response to COVID
- Updates concerning any new products or services that may aid customers during difficult times
- Companies that may have quickly moved to online ordering or quickly expanded may also need to review their GDPR statements/processes
With this in mind, well-written website content holds more value now than ever before, especially as the trend in online shopping and browsing shows no signs of abating any time soon!
Our top tips for writing clear, concise content include:
- Keep it relevant – if you are writing a product description, talk about that product first and foremost
- That said, it can be useful to link or reference to other related products, but keep the balance between a reference and full different product description
- Use a spellchecking service, even just the inbuilt Office one, to keep on top of good spelling and grammar
- Think about what you want to say before you start writing. Do you want to talk about a product’s features, it’s benefits, it’s differentiators, or something else? Jot down the main points so you don’t end up missing things out.
- Use headers; H1 & H2 tags especially help users to read copy easily as they break up the text (and they’re good for SEO as they hold “weight” with search engines for adding importance to the phrases within them.
- Bold, italics, underlining and bullet points are also really useful for helping users to read copy easily.
- Imagery needs to be crisp, relevant and useful. Don’t include a picture of a vase of flowers if you’re trying to sell a pair of shoes. Including related objects is a good idea, as long as they don’t overpower the image of the actual product being sold.
- Copyright your text on your website, and date it. This helps to prevent against content theft.
- Run your copy through a checker such as Copyscape – you may have inadvertently copied phrases from another source which could penalise you later down the line. This tool (and others) will give you an idea of how original your content is and if you need to change any of it.
- Most importantly, don’t focus on keywords, focus on your users. If you write good, engaging content then the keyword rankings will naturally fall in line; if you “keyword stuff” to try and get good keyword density ratios and you get it wrong, you may see your rankings actually fall. This is because the sophisticated algorithms used by search engines can tell when copy doesn’t flow well and can mark a website down for it.
Having started out in this industry with about as much marketing knowledge as a gnat, I have worked my way up from tea-making trainee to Head of Search thanks largely to the staunch support of our director, Stuart, and a lot of late nights, strategy sessions and training. At work I am extroverted, creative and always on the Internet, but behind closed doors I’m happiest with my family, my dogs and a good book (usually accompanied with a good cup of tea!).