Human beings are searching the web to find the answer to their questions, whatever they may be, whilst search engine algorithms are trying to provide these answers to us as accurately as they can. Content behaves like road signs to web crawlers by providing the information that they need to sort and rank websites. A content first approach to website design leads not only to improved search engine rankings but also to a better user experience.
The first – humans
People most likely visit your website because they are interested in the services that you provide or the knowledge that you have. If your content is engaging, interesting and topical it is likely to offer them exactly what they have come looking for. If your content is outdated, boring or too lengthy they will probably get fed up and move on to one of your competitors.
Time is of the essence these days so you need to make sure that when people land on your website they can immediately see it offers what they are looking for and is worth investing time into. Don’t make your customers work to understand you or your services, they should be able to quickly tell whether or not you offer what they are looking for.
One of the most important roles that content has to play, alongside design, is building credibility, integrity and trust. If your content is useful and honest people will be far more likely to spend the time to get to know you better, and most importantly to get in touch with you. Your content needs to appeal to your target audience, show off what you can do, what you have to offer and who you are.
The second – algorithms
Getting found on a search engine is hugely important to businesses and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is big business these days with everyone competing for that number one spot. Google and other search engines are constantly updating the algorithms that they use to try and improve their performance and return more accurate and useful results; we have to remember they are businesses too who are looking to please their clients…us! The better a search engines algorithm is at pre-empting what we are looking for then the more likely we are to return to it next time we want to search the internet.
So, what does this mean for content?
One of the most common ways that search engines rank results is by the relevance of keywords and phrases used on a website. There can be a lot of competition for keywords which has led to some very dodgy strategies being used over the years. The most common of these is known as keyword stuffing where text would be entered primarily for the purpose of ranking on SEO. Google and other search engines have become wise to this. It isn’t helpful for their clients. We don’t want to see long strings of words that have no real meaning or relevance to the services we are looking for. We want to see meaningful information that is written for human consumption, not the consumption of Google bots and algorithms.
Google has begun to punish those sites who are clearly using SEO tactics to try and fool the bots into thinking their content is the most relevant. Google now rewards websites whose copy and content is written to be useful to humans. Essentially, Google’s algorithms are trying to think like humans, so if you try and write copy that thinks like a bot you will be punished for this in the search engine rankings. Google wants to see well written original content that is relevant to the website it is displayed on.
If you want to improve your SEO ranking this is one of the most effective ways to do it. Review the content and copy on your website and see if it reads for a human or a bot. If there are sentences that are clearly there for SEO purposes consider if there is another way to weave these into more natural sounding phrasing and you will reap the SEO rewards. Make sure you are not guilty of keyword stuffing and that all of your content is original, authentic and engaging.
If you would like help with your content or you need effective content writing for your website then please do get in touch with the copywriting team at Design in the Shires at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to help you maximise your SEO performance by writing content for you designed to appeal to your clients, not the bots!