‘Content is king’ has been an internet buzz-phrase for years since Google’s game-changing Panda algorithm, which favoured articles and writing on web pages. As such, businesses, bloggers and anyone else with a website started churning out any old blogs and features with the sole aim of pushing their pages up the search results where customers would find them.
But Google has always been wise to the marketing team’s wily ways and its more recent work has focused on ensuring that only the best content makes it onto the first page of search results – content that answers questions and is actually useful for the person doing the searching.
So how do you write content the internet will love? How do you make your reader happy while still keeping your site high up in the SERPs (search engine results pages)? Here at Retail Week Connect, we’ve been around the content block a few times and have learnt a few things.
- Make it useful, original, a must read and full of expertise
Essentially, write the content YOU would want to find on Google. Ask yourself what you want the reader to feel, having read your content. What will they take away from it? What will make them read until the end? Share your knowledge and give the internet something fresh and interesting that it has never seen before.
- Get personal and anecdotal
Evoking an emotional response in a reader isn’t easy when you’re writing about, for example, payment options for ecommerce websites. That’s not to say you can’t give your content a personal touch though. Share your own experiences and make the reader relate. Content that feels ‘human’ will always resonate.
- Avoid jargon, but if you have to use it explain it
It doesn’t matter how niche your audience is, always go in assuming they don’t know exactly what you’re talking about. Where you use acronyms (just like we have above), explain them, and where you discuss concepts not everyone will understand, go into detail.
- Keep your paragraphs short and your sentences simple
In a world where most people consume content via mobiles and tablets, this is vital if you want your work to be found. Make it easy to skim-read if necessary and ensure everything is to the point. That means no waffle.
- Include a call to action
This tip is actually not about converting your users (though hopefully it will!); it’s simply because people will probably want to do something else when they’ve finished reading. They’re unlikely to decide to quit their browser and put their phone away, so give them something to do next.
- Answer questions
People generally use search engines to ask questions and the internet is largely about discovery. If your content answers the questions people are asking about a subject, it is likely to be favoured by Google. Have you ever typed something into Google and been confronted with a little box featuring different questions and answers? Tailor your content to target the right questions and your website could appear in there.
- Keep updating
Not all content grows old. It’s likely that a lot of what you write will be just as relevant in three years’ time as it is now. This type of content is often referred to as ‘evergreen’. If you have content like this, make sure you keep updating it. This will ensure it is useful for your customers and Google will look favourably upon your website.
- Use lists and bullet points
Your audience is probably made up of busy people who want information that is easy to digest. Anything that lends itself to list or bullet point form (for example, dos and don’ts or step-by-step guides) should be written this way for people who like to skim-read.
- Don’t click-bait the headline, but do sell your hook
We’ve all been there: you’re scrolling through social media, you see an interesting headline, you click on it, eager to discover something juicy, and the page has nothing to do with the title and is instead an advert for the latest diet pill. That’s called ‘click-baiting’. Be honest about what your content contains and your reader will come back for more.
- Have fun, inject passion
It’s so obvious but easily forgotten when you have targets to hit and deadlines to meet. Being passionate and really caring about what you are writing about will always result in your best work.
If you want to know more about how content could help your business, drop us a line and a member of the team will get back to you.