Writing Copy for a website
Writing content for websites is different to typical copy writing. It needs to take into account users's online behaviour patterns. These behaviours are largely driven by the improvement of Search Engines as they have become the dominant tool for users to find what they want.
Users view the web as an integrated whole and aren't really concerned with individual websites, only who has the answer they are looking for. Search engines are no longer used for finding good sites, but for finding answers, and the most successful sites are ones with targeted and highly speciaised information.
Users are so busy and there is so much information on the web that it is not worth their time to dig into a website's content. Some indicators of this include:
- On average, only 23% of people will scroll past the fold on the homepage.
- Most people will only spend 25 - 35 seconds on a homepage before making a decision to go further into the site or leaving it entirely.
- Sites on average are revisted 0.4 times.
- Users will typically only scan the first few paragraphs reading less than half the information in them.
- Unless the text is written at an eighth grade reading level, many readers will find it hard to follow.
As such, it is important that pages are structured in a way that communicates with both search engines and users easily and quickly.
Content is King
Create as much content on your site as possible.Search engines view a website with 50 pages as more important that one with only 5 pages.
Any new content needs to be related to your website as the keywords you will use on these pages would typically relate to what you are selling, or what people are typing into search engines.
There are a few areas you can focus on to try and increase the amount of content on your site, including:
- Expand Core Information - You may be able to expand the information that currently exists on your site. Examples include:
- Offer a more in-depth explanation of your product or service.
- Run a forum or a blog on your site that is focused on related topics to your website. In addition to the benefits you will get from SEO, you will also start to appear to be the expert.
- Educational Content - Adding useful information aimed at educating your visitors about your product and/or service can be extremely beneficial. This will help with your Search Engine Optimisation, but you'll find that other websites within your industry will be more likely to link to your site for the benefit of their own audience.
- News - News articles are the most popular method of content creation. All websites should be able to create a news section filled with articles relevant to their industry. Articles can then be archived so that search engines can find them, even if they may seem out of date. Over time larger sites can accumulate hundreds of extra pages in their news section.
When a search engine sends a spider to your site, it will determine the keywords on each page. Your page is then ranked and categorised depending on its perceived importance by the search engine in relation to its keywords. Keywords need to be strategically placed on the web page to increase search relevance.
It is these keywords that you must concentrate on if you wish to boost your search engine ranking. Keep in mind that a search engine decides what your keywords are by the number of times they are used on each page.
So with this in mind, you will need you to start choosing some keywords. Things to remember when choosing keywords:
- Two words together can count as one keyword - if you are selling tennis equipment, you could use keywords like 'tennis balls', 'tennis rackets', 'tennis shoes' etc.
- You can also choose combinations of keywords like, 'buying tennis rackets', 'tennis rackets for sale' etc.
- Think about your keywords from a customer point of view - what words would potential customers use. Maybe ask some of your current clients
- Use your company name in phrases as people do search by company name
- Use your geographic location as a keyword. People will often search for pages within their local area
- Review your competitor websites to get ideas of words you can use
- Don't use keywords that are too broad. Instead use modifiers to make generic keywords and phrases more specific. For example, insurance related companies might use the key phrase 'health insurance quotes'
- Try to use multi-word phrases
When updating your website, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when making changes:
- Ensure keywords are included in the title of each page you create
- Repeat your keywords near the top of each page as headings or use larger fonts
- Make sure the keywords are as close together as possible
- Design your site with pages that don't have more than 300 - 500 words per page, with keywords repeated 3 - 6 times for every hundred words
- Keywords should be repeated throughout the whole site, not just the individual page. Use links back to the home page with the keywords in if possible
- At the bottom of each page, link to another part of your site using its keywords. Eg: 'Click here to view our tennis shoe collection'
Other things to remember:
- Duplicated content on your site or an external site will lead to penalties
- Search engines value websites that have good content to offer visitors. For this reason, the text on the page is carefully analysed to gauge how appropriate it is for a specific search
- The number of words on the page is also important