3 golden rules for simplifying searchable content

Writing in a way that represents who you are as an organization, is genuine, and pays respect to your audience is a surefire way to make your customers trust you.

We are often asked for advice on how to structure content so as to help it rank well in search results.  

To that end, we’ve published a few blogs or how to's on the topic to help. Still, the question persistently arises, and we’ve come to realize that many of our customers are interested in making their copy as searchable as possible.

The difference between content and copy

As we are making a distinction between content and copy here, so we will also explain the difference. Content refers to everything on your website; the webpages, images, diagrams, pdf’s and more. Copy refers to the words that populate that content.

The 3 Golden Rules

We’ll be honest; the quality of your copy can only impact your search results to a point. Put simply, common sense is key, and following these three points will aid a great deal in writing copy that is highly searchable:

  • The more occurrences of a query word in your page the better (within reason, it needs to sound natural), so try using words in your copy that are relevant to the targeted audience and would reflect the words they might use to search. You’ll need to balance this approach out with point 3.            
  • Shorter pages are preferred by the search engine to long ones.            
  • If possible, using words that are unique to the subject matter of your copy is best. For example, if your website subject matter is insects, but the page you are writing specifically is about bumble bees, always use the term bees or bumble bees and if possible, never refer to them as insects. The word insects is all over your website, so it isn’t likely to return any meaningful search results if used as a search term.            

Is that it?

This may be the extent of really useful information on how to make your content more searchable, but thankfully it is not the limit on how to write great copy. One web search such as how to write good content will provide you with many bloggers who will give you their top 10 tips for writing. We’ve aggregated and summarised some of our favorites here.

Stay on target: Understanding clearly who you are writing your copy for, and what you want to encourage them to do is pivotal to writing that goes somewhere. And you want to go somewhere...

Write engaging copy: This is a given, but how do you know if your copy is engaging enough?

Enriching your copy with graphics, videos, and supplemental links all help to explain your story effectively and provide a more visually exciting experience. Make sure your images are relevant, not just decorative, that you avoid link bait, and that your link text is descriptive.

In addition to visually pleasing copy, asking for feedback from a trusted and honest colleague can go a long way in helping you identify where your copy may be lacking that wow factor.

Cut the fluff: Once you’re happy that your copy is engaging and complete, it is your perfect opportunity to begin culling. Be vicious, but not at the risk of creative flair. It’s not an instruction manual. Start by:

  • Removing anything that sidetracks the reader from the point you are trying to make.            
  • Replacing at least half of your and’s with full stops.            
  • Consider whether your adverbs are necessary or superfluous, and if the adverb is really or seriously, see if you can’t replace it for something more meaningful.            

Mix it up to keep it interesting: Copy that involves paragraph after paragraph of similar size is visually boring and may lose you readers. By varying your paragraph size, occasionally allowing a paragraph to be one sentence only (for visual and contextual impact), using some dot points  and  at times even enlarging the font on an important sentence or quote, you can ensure easy skimming and more enjoyable reading for your audience.

Provide practical takeaways: Spend some time summarising your copy so that your audience finishes with clear idea of what to do  next,  whether it is an action item or just food for thought. This ensures that the audience feels like reading the piece was a valuable use of their time.

Finding a way to write effective, punchy and highly searchable content that also drives quality conversions is a complex task, and each business is individual in nature and therefore individual in its challenges.

Overall, speaking in a way that represents who you are as an organization, is genuine,  and pays respect to your audience is a surefire way to make sure that your customers can trust you, so we would suggest that you start there.

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