If you are going to go to all the time and expense to have a great website built, don’t overlook one of the most important parts of the whole process: content. No matter how well-designed and technologically solid your company website is, the content that searchers find on your site can be the difference between a successful site and one that’s mediocre at best. Website content that answers searchers’ questions should be at or very near the top of your list if you want to have an effective website.
Effective Content in the Age of Google
We live in a world of instant answers. There are very few among us who have the time or the patience to hunt for an answer to a query. The first page of search results is typically as far as most of us go. We expect those sites to be well-written and easy to read.
Google crawls sites looking for solid information. If you’ve got good SEO practices in place, you’ll likely get a few hits just based on the SEO. However, providing website content that answers searchers’ questions will help your site move up the list.
As you probably know, Google (and other search engines) employs some pretty sophisticated machine learning behind the scenes. Their algorithm is capable of adapting to queries to return better search results. How? Basically, the search engine determines how well a page answers a query by that page’s bounce rate. How long a user stays on a page tells Google volumes about how useful the information on that page is. Lingering on the page? Good info. Leaving the page and going back to search results? Not what the user was looking for. Known as searcher task accomplishment, this bit of machine learning can help Google serve up accurate results. So when your content answers searcher’s questions, Google takes note.
Writing Content That Answers Searchers Questions
Anticipate questions users will ask Google
Search has evolved thanks to increasingly sophisticated algorithms. Once, you might have begun a search with a keyword or two. Now you can use an entire phrase or question. Look to the questions your sales staff gets and write content around that. Take care to use the phrasing that’s common to these queries. This is where keyword research comes in handy.
Plan for voice search
From the moment Apple’s Siri entered the scene, people have been asking their devices to tell them things. Cortana, Google Home, and Alexa have all changed our expectations for search. Now we talk to our devices the same way we talk to other human beings. Consider natural language search when writing content.
Provide the information people are looking for
Your location, business hours, product or service line, and other important aspects of your business all need to be easily found by search. Depending on your business, there may be more specific things like a restaurant menu, church service times, or types of insurance taken by a doctor. Give the people what they want as quickly and easily as you can.
Explain why your product/service/company is better
The difference between you and your closest competitor may be so slim that you will need to use your website’s content to build trust. Give your customers a reason to choose your business.
Write With a Goal in Mind
That may seem to be obvious advice, but many businesses choose to fill their valuable content space with fluff. After all, they’re invested in their mission statement and their marketing message. While those elements are important pieces in the whole marketing puzzle, most people come to a company website looking for answers. Providing those answers should be the primary goal of the content you place on your site.
Of course, every bit of content on your website needs to be accurately spelled, properly punctuated, and grammatically correct. While this is true for all business communications, it’s especially important for web content. For many people, your website is the first contact they have with your company. That good first impression is pure gold!