Optimizing the content on your website is one of the most economical tactics to attract leads to your business from the internet. People use the internet for all kinds of activities – more all the time. But, for our purposes as content writers and marketers, people use search engines – Google primary among them – to solve problems. Google has become the biggest reference source in the history of the planet.
Are you in business to solve a problem? Yes. Are people seeking the solution you provide? Yes.
So, basically, Google (or Bing, or one of the many other search engines that exist) assesses your website’s profile and decides whether to tell people about you or not. Some of its considerations are the volume of content, diversity of content, organization of content, user-friendliness, popularity, links, and more.
So when you undertake to use content to market your business (“content marketing”) you’re attempting to:
- help people find you
- help people solve their particular problem
- explain your product, and in other ways demonstrate your company’s ability to help them
Optimizing the content on your website is the way to ensure they can find you.
And on top of all these objectives, the content has to “convert.” In other words, the reader must be moved to take an action.
What action – prior to making a purchase – do you want the people searching for you to take? That is where we, as content writers, go to work.
Content Writers: How We Work
At The Allyson Group, our process with a new client begins with content planning. The length of the planning process depends upon how much you already know about your:
- key messages
- what you want to achieve
If you need to develop or update this data for your company, we can help. If you are able to bring a strong knowledge base about these fundamentals, content creation can begin much faster.
In our first meeting, we sit down together for up to half a day to distill what we know about these data points. We also clarify strategic goals for the content. Then we develop key messaging.
This knowledge helps us to craft customer-focused content. The content must recognize your customer’s desires, establish your expertise, and showcase your products and services.
At the end of the planning process, you have a playbook for 3, 6, 9, or 12 months’ worth of blog posts, articles, and other relevant content that serves your customer’s needs. Some will be “evergreen” content, which can continue to support your SEO value for years to come.
When we have a plan in hand, the writing can begin.
If you want to get into the particulars of SEO (search engine optimization) please read on. I attempt to distill it in the simplest possible terms, below.
For SEO, Elegant Prose is Not Enough – Optimize the Content on Your Website
For a company looking to connect with potential customers, great writing is always a goal. By ‘great’ I mean writing that gives the searcher exactly what they want and is a pleasure to read. Yet, for content served up on the web, elegant prose is not enough. To even be found, you must employ the tactics of search engine optimization (SEO) and optimize the content on your site.
SEO is a method for making your website more “findable” by “organic traffic” from the internet. The concept itself is not difficult. Organic traffic refers to customer leads from the web that you did not pay for. In order to attract organic traffic, many elements of your site must be “optimized” so that search engines can see, assess, and “rank” the site.
The rank is the search engine’s assessment of how useful the information is to users. To rank “well” is generally means that you appear on page one of a Google search.
So, how do you manage to rank – without spending a fortune for ads? You do that with a site structure that is easily crawled by search engines, and with words and images that have been search engine optimized.
This kind of site structure is also highly useful to real people. Ease-of-use helps you with search engine ranking.
The Content Writer’s Job: On-Page Optimization for SEO
In optimizing the content on your website, the content writer’s job is to infuse the site with the following characteristics:
Organization: great headlines, subheads, lists, images, and other devices that improve readability
- Keywords and Key Phrases: groups of words based on the words actual consumers type into search engines
- Images: the internet is a visual medium! And it’s proven that images improve comprehension.
- Meta tagging
These elements, working together, tell the search engine what the page is about.
How the Page Looks When Optimized for SEO
The main headline and subhead must contain keywords that indicate the primary topic of the page or post. These keywords must appear again in the text, as a further identification to the search engine.
Images are critical because people absorb information in many different ways. Some of us read, some scan, some rely on the pictures and captions. Some of us are visually impaired. Yet all of us need the information.
Tags are word-cues that get very specific; further signaling the site’s subject, authority, and value.
Links are very important, too. Links deepen or broaden a reader’s understanding of a topic. They may be internal or external to the site. If you can link to other – related – articles on your site (internal links), these links may indicate to the search engine a broad knowledge of your topic. External links, on the other hand – other people linking _to_ your site – are yet another indication to a search engine that your site is a source for reliable information.
These are all elements you more or less control.
But search engines look at other metrics as well – like how many visitors come to the site, and how long they spend there. How often you refresh the content is an important indicator; posting new stuff often helps tremendously with ranking. This is one good reason to maintain a blog.
And search engine companies change algorithms frequently. Awhile ago the focus was on “mobile search.” This was a nod to the fact that much commerce now takes place on mobile phones and tablets. In 2020, the new algorithm focus seems to be on “local search.” This will benefit businesses who serve customers on their premises – or who must go to their customers. For example the building trades, real estate, or cleaning companies.
What it Takes to Fully Optimize the Content on Your Website
A successful SEO strategy is not out of reach for small businesses and nonprofits. Optimizing the content on your website is not monstrously expensive. What it does require is a content strategy that populates your site with easy-to-read, friendly, informative content that your customers love and will return to again and again. That is how you rank. Ranking is a slow and steady process – even if you crank out new content every day.
But how frequently you post new content to your site matters a lot. We suggest that your goal be to build a content library that represents your company well; and over time the value of your site – if it is well-tended, sometimes weeded, like a garden – will grow. Organically. There’s that word again.
So, for content marketing strategists, web developers, Chief Marketing Officers, or individual business owners who want to build a content library, we can help.
We are ready to serve your content writing needs.
A Final Note from Karen
Still being very much related to current events in the world, and no longer willing to be silent, I’d love to recommend this fantastic reading list from the New York Times. How We Got Here: Writers on Race and Racism in America.
“Amid the most profound social upheaval since the 1960s, these novelists, historians, poets, comedians and activists take a moment to look back to the literature.”
Writers we respect, from Henry Louis Gates to Mexican novelist Valeria Luiselli to the young Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, share the books that deepened their own understanding of race, racism, and colorism in America.
But there are quite a few books on this list that I haven’t read! Shutting down the Netflix account for now. This is going to take some time!!!