The problem with having a website for most businesses is that you have to fill it with something. This requires effort which in turn can drop down your priority list, which I guess is understandable for many business owners, with the millions of other things they need to do often seeming more important. But because your website is your online shop window, if you do not spend time making sure your content is spot on and engaging and you are simply writing for search engines, how many visitors are you driving away?
The main question you need to ask yourself, and ask yourself honestly – are you writing for SEO reasons or are you writing for your audience?
If you are simply writing to get content on your site in the hope of pleasing the search engines, then it really is time to take a step back and start re-thinking your marketing campaign, because these days, writing for your audience is what you do first, as the search engines will be even fonder of your work. The way content on your site works has changed with the impact of social signals, which means that content that just sits on your site for the sake of it is going to do you no favours, where as an article that gets Tweeted, Liked and Plus One’d, is going to be powerful.
This is where things have changed and to be fair, changed much for the better. Gone are the days where you felt you have to knock out one 500 word article every two days to get the search engines visiting, ranking and loving your site, and in are the days of writing content that people are going to read, love, share and engage with, as this is where the content you now write on your site needs to be different – SEO writing is dead, engagement writing is very much alive.
If you are still there worrying about keyword density and how many times you have got the keyword into your article or if your article title gets the keyword and long tail keyword into it, then worry about something else, maybe the state of the economy, crime, health or how your car sounded this morning, but really, stop worrying about keyword density in your articles, it really isn’t something to stop eating or sleeping over. Whereas if you are having sleepless nights because your content is about as enjoyable to read as a Government policy on Oak trees in a residential area, then good, you should go tired, as you need to be more interesting! Unless you like reading about Oak trees in residential areas, but then I guess, you probably won’t be reading this anyway, you will be reading about Oak trees in residential areas.
Anyway, imagine owning a book store (bear with me on this). Years ago, you thought you had to stock every book you could, so your shelves were full, you even had tables in the middle of the shop, they were full and pretty much everywhere was full. In fact, it was so full, you had books piled high on the floor and if there was ever a fire – you had issues to say the least. You got loads of people through the door, but most couldn’t really find what they were looking for. They book they wanted was probably there, but they just couldn’t find it, as you had so many books, they gave up. The guy next door, he also has a book shop, but he just specialises in Gardening books. He gets less visitors than you, but sells more books than you, because people know what they want, they can find what they want, so they can buy what they want, even though you had the same book, it was just high on shelf 505A, left of the fire escape door that people can’t get access to, because of the books.
You see, content is now just like that. It is better to have a lower amount of quality articles that people want to read (and can find), rather than hundreds of lower quality articles that are just there as content fill. A bit like your kids on Christmas day, those 50 little pound toys that you put in a Santa Sack, leave on their door and they just rush through in the morning just to get to their main presents. You put them there simply just to give you a bit more time in bed before they want to get up and look under the tree and open the real presents at 6am. You do not want your articles to be stocking fillers, you want them to be the toy that is remembered, played with and shown off in the playground.
The problem with churning out content is that everyone seems to do it. So, nearly every site has a blog, some people pump out more content than you could ever imagine, never checking if it has been read, never bothering to put the proper promotion into and really, just assuming it will never be read so let’s just keep banging out words. This then means the Internet is full of rubbish, billions of articles about millions of subjects, with only a small percentage actually worth being there. This then means the good stuff can get lost in the mass of content that continually floats around.
Therefore, go through your content and read it again. And ask yourself some questions:
- Is this article a good read?
- Do I learn anything from this article?
- Would I show my friends, colleagues and families this article?
- Will this article enhance my reputation?
- Have I answered a question within this article?
If the answer is No to one or more of the above, then what is the point in having it there? It is just filling your site with pointless content, which will make you look bad and have no proper impact on you as a business. We no longer write just for the sake of it, we need to write to get people to share our content, like our content and want to know more, learn more, engage more and of course, in the end, buy more (from us).
As a business with a website, you want your website to get you leads and sales and act as a display into why people should be using you and why you stand out from the other businesses that offer the same kind of service. This starts with a nice looking design of course, but it continues with quality content that people will read, learn from and then want to know more about, either making your content drive sales or your content back up the trust in you as a business and therefore also drive sales.
Content can have both a direct impact and an indirect impact for you when it comes to leads and sales.
This kind of content is pretty hard to get spot on, but it is content that delivers a sale or lead directly from the person reading it. So, you might write about how hard it is to vacuum your living room with a bad back, but announce that you have just invented a vacuum for people with a bad back and the reader goes “Cool, that works for me, I will have one” and buys it there and then. If content was this easy then I wouldn’t be writing this, but there are occasions where that one article leads to direct sales, sometimes for no obvious reason, it just happens.
I am not saying that you will hardly ever sell directly from your content as this is not the case, but the chances of this are less likely, but if it does happen, then that is great and is another reason why writing good content is worthwhile.
Never underestimate the power of people learning about what you do via your content but maybe not making a purchase or enquiry at that specific time. More often than not, your content will not directly lead to a sale, but what it will do is lead to you being remembered when your service or product is required. Although there are many statistics flying around, there are millions of people that will research far more extensively now rather than making an impulse buy, so just because you do not get the sale or lead on the day of them reading your content, does not mean it will never happen.
And, you are also using your content to make yourself and your business an authority on what you do. If you produce enough quality content about your industry, services and niche, offer some advice, tips and guidance, you then start to be remembered for what you do, but in an indirect way. If I was a local garage, I would right high quality information about keeping your car well maintained, because then when the customer needs the MOT for the year, you are remembered and you get the sale.
Buyers and customers are now much more aware of what they want before they even reach out to you, which means that you no longer have to continually explain what you do and the services you offer. Thanks to the Internet, the average consumer is far more down the sales path when they come to you than ever before, which means that instead of having to spend hours every day writing about what you do, write about stuff that allows them to know you can do it, because they probably already know what they want, they just need to find someone that can deliver it.
So, now that you have completed reading this really long article that is another 1698 words of content fill just to please Google and get me ranking for all the terms that will make me my millions (smiley face), my main message is, as it was at the start – write for your audience, do not write for the search engine.