I love when readers, clients and social media connections ask questions; the answers make great fuel for articles, so please keep them coming! Recently, a reader asked, “How do I know my web content is good enough or SEO’d well?” Thus, the topic of today’s blog.
So let’s break this down.
Your reader’s first impression of a page can ruin good, quality content. What I mean by this: have you searched for a keyword, gone to a page and the page is a mess? Nothing makes sense; you’re lost in a bunch of things jumping out at you and you have no clue what you went there for in the first place. You desperately search for the information that brought you there, only to get frustrated and hit the back button.
Obviously, these are the instances you want to avoid. Nobody wants a frustrated visitor; frustrated visitors don’t come back. With this in mind, there are a few things you check, right now, for free, to ensure the quality of your web content.
The “WOW” Link Factor
When you write content, whether it’s a blog, article or actual web page, you want to give the readers information they can’t live without. In case that seems a little melodramatic: something they can sink their teeth in to and share with readers, clients, friends, acquaintances, the weird guy on the corner… In other words, you want something they’re willing to link to, which gives you a great back link.
When assessing web content, we look at obvious things, such as grammar and proper usage of punctuation. However, we also look at whether it has unique (or uniquely written) information. I know you’re probably thinking, “How can I write anything unique nowadays?” Here’s a hint:
There may be millions of pages on Google, Yahoo and Bing covering similar information, but you’re writing to YOUR niche; don’t worry about it. Sure, they can get the information elsewhere, but once you develop a readership and have the content written, your friendly core group of readers will happily champion your page.
Create pages with the “WOW” link factor; if you have to, bug your readers, friends, acquaintances, the weird guy on the corner… Find out what THEY want to read, and then write about it!
Ah, a subject near and dear to my heart. No, dropping keywords in odd, uncomfortable places does not a well-optimized page make. Neither does adding a few keywords in your tags or description. “But, Gabriella,” you say, “my keywords don’t fit naturally. No matter what I do, they look forced.” I say, “Dear reader, change your keywords!” Use synonyms. If you have a key phrase, split it up. If you absolutely, positively can’t use it naturally, you’re either writing the wrong content or using the wrong words, and it’s time to start over.
Remember, first and foremost, you write for readers, not for search engines.
Pay attention, those sleeping in the back of the class, because this is important. This is where knowledge of conversion copy comes into play. Now, most have no clue what that means. Simply put, conversion copy is web content that causes the reader to ACT. Is your content causing readers to act? To find out, we look at your analytics.
If you have Google Analytics or other analytics program, pull it up and look at the page in question. If you don’t have an analytics program, get one!
Now, pay attention to what your program is telling you. Are people actually visiting the page? If they are, do they click to buy or are they leaving? How long do they stay on the page? If people are visiting but leaving, drop into Google Website Optimizer and start an account. Learn about A/B testing; you can take the same page, rewrite, add different colors or buttons, reorder your information and/or layout, and then sit back and watch how users react. It’s definitely inspiring (and somewhat humbling if you realize that your fantastic content that you’re so proud of fell flat).
Focus on a page with actionable content. Words like “join”, ”share”, “buy” or “act now” are powerful words. Strip your testing page of all the bells and whistles; you may be surprised by the results.
Social Pimping… I mean, networking
Whether you like social media or not, it’s an amazing traffic booster. Will your page excite readers? Does it have the traction for traffic? Will it entice readers to pimp it to other potential readers? Titles get crowds swarming around an article; great content that matches the promise of the title gets crowds beating down your website doors (figuratively speaking, of course).
Some call it link bait. I call it “hit them in the gut”. Get emotional with your title. Make readers feel something, be it good, happy, horrified or offended. Pass it around Twitter, Stumble, Digg or your social media platform of choice. These are some of the fastest places to give your web content a boost.
When you’re looking over your web content, wondering if it’s good enough, apply the above factors with a jaundiced eye. It seems an awful lot to expect a piece of writing to do, but consider the power of words. “I have a dream…” are only four little words, used quite frequently by themselves (and thus, not unique), but they’re words that strike a chord in hearts all over the world. You don’t have to be another Martin Luther King, Jr., Mark Twain or Charles Dickens; just remember, your web content can make you famous or infamous, but you always want to shoot for a little bit of both.