How to create search-friendly content for your new website
Chapter 2: How to create search-friendly content for your new website
If you’re building your website with Webstruxure, we can help you to write search-friendly (i.e. search engine optimised) website content. We can be as hands-on or hands-off as you like, from writing the content on your behalf, to reviewing or editing the content you’ve written, or simply loading your approved content into your new web pages.
Quality, on-topic content is the key to success with SEO. We want your website to be successful, so if you’re writing your own website content, here’s Webstruxure’s tips, tools and advice to ensure your site is optimised to rank well for your key search terms.
Planning for success – creating a content plan
Start by reading Chapter 1 – How to create the ultimate website structure for SEO.
In this chapter, we describe the process of creating a site plan for your website. The site plan is a list of every page that appears on your site. You need a site plan to ensure you have included a web page for every keyword you want to appear in search results for. But it also forms a plan for creating your website content.
Once you have a website plan, you have an overview of every page that you need to write content for. Turn the site plan into a content plan, by assigning people, due dates and review dates to each page:
You might be a small business and you’re the sole person in charge of writing content. If so, that’s fine – and we’d say that setting yourself deadlines for completing content, and writing the most important content first is key for ensuring your website project isn’t held up by lack of time to write content.
If you’re a larger business, delegation of content writing could be an option. Utilise the ‘subject matter experts’ in your company by assigning the content for their specific area, to them. You will however need to ensure that you review every web page for consistency of content and tone, before publishing the pages. But that’s a quicker task than writing all the pages yourself!
Assigning due dates
If you’re creating the web content by yourself, then use your site plan to establish which web pages are top priority, and which are lower priority. Get top priority pages written first (e.g. main navigation/top level pages and key services or products) – and get them published ASAP so your website launch isn’t held up by the content process. Once your site is up and running, you have a tool that can start bringing customers to you – YAY WELL DONE!
Now, work on lower priority pages (e.g. individual services/product pages) and get them published as soon as you can, to keep the momentum going.
Websites can be updated in seconds – so don’t treat your website like a printed book that needs to be perfect before it’s published. Get it up, then refine it as and when you have time.
Assigning review dates
Website content gets out of date over time – and it’s not a professional look to have outdated or incorrect information on your site.
Assigning review dates to every web page, ensures you regularly look at your site and keep it up to date.
How often you review each page depends on the content you provide. A once-a-year review can be enough for many businesses, but you might want to think about regular reviews for some circumstances, for example:
- If you post events every week or month, you need to ensure your past events aren’t displaying as “coming soon” events
- If you use your website to run advertising campaigns, make sure you know your campaign dates and review/unpublish pages where campaigns have ended
- If your shop is having a clearance sale, ensure you know when your sale ends and update the site accordingly
- If your stock changes every season, set a date to update your product catalogue
Make sure your review dates are actioned – we use Asana to keep a log of our web pages, assigning people and due dates for review – so we get a calendar reminder and the task isn’t forgotten.
Tips, tools and resources for writing website content
Look for existing material
There are a few places you can get inspiration from for writing website content. But start close to home – by looking at what your business already has available. Do you have any of the following?:
- Brand guidelines
- Writing style guide
- Marketing collateral – leaflets, posters, etc.
- Existing website content
- Social media pages (these often have “About” blurb/company information)
Once you’ve collected everything together (or you’ve realised you don’t have much to work with), you have a starting point for either expanding on what’s already in existence, or for starting from scratch.
Focus on one thing at a time
Don’t forget the ultimate reason for your web pages – you want to reach as many of your ideal users as possible, and the way to do that is to search engine optimise your website. Search engines like content that’s focused on a single topic. It shouldn’t be hard to write web content if you stay focused on your site plan. You have a list of topics (web pages), now you just need to write about those topics, one at a time.
Check out the competition
Each time you sit down to write about a new topic (i.e. write content for a web page), type the topic into Google and see what websites appear. These websites are the ones you need to compete with. Go into each site in the first page of search results, and review what content appears on the pages. Think about what you like or don’t like, is there helpful information you’d like to ‘rehash’ on your own site? We’re not suggesting you copy the content (Google will penalise you if you do), but use it as inspiration for writing something even better!
Create page templates
It’s useful to create page templates for each type of content – so your web pages are consistent. For example, a ‘services’ page is a type of content. A ‘product’ page is a type of content. All ‘services’ or ‘products’ pages should have a similar structure.
For each type of content, list sub-headings you think would be of interest for users. Sub-headings help you to focus your writing and to maximise the number of words on the page (500+ words should be what you’re aiming for, for key content pages – the more words the better for SEO – providing they are on-topic!)
As an example, the page template for a ‘services’ page might contain these sub headings:
About the service
How this service will benefit you
Why we’re the experts in service ABC
Fill in the gaps, then repeat for the next service, and the next – until voila! You’ll be surprised how quickly you have all your services pages complete!
Web content writing resources
Webstruxure has multiple blog posts with advice about writing website content:
Read more from Webstruxure’s content blog
How to optimise content for search engines
Ensuring your web content stays on topic is important for SEO – it’s less about including keywords in your body content these days, and more about focused content. Utilise semantic keywords (related words) and try to answer the questions that users are searching for, related to the topic.
How do you know what questions users are asking? Use answerthepublic.com to find out. Simply enter your keyword, and you’ll see what the public wants to know. It’s a great way of incorporating long tail search terms into your web page content.
Optimising content for search engines also includes ensuring your web content includes On Page SEO factors. Your content should consider correct usage of heading tags, include metadata (page title and description for Google search results pages), alternative text for any images that appear, and have 300 words minimum, though 500+ is optimal.
How many words?!
Let’s take a moment to think about the number of words you need to write. The more words your page has (providing they are focused on one topic), will directly correlate to its ability to rank well in search engine results pages. We’d suggest thinking about it this way:
- Top level pages – Home, About, Contact, Services/Products landing page etc. – 300 words (any less than that is called “thin content”)
- Services/Products, individual pages for each service or product, brand etc. – 500+ words
- Portfolio/projects pages – 900+ words
- Blog posts, news articles – 1,500+ words
Find out more about On Page SEO Factors
Publish it now and perfect it later
Hopefully you’re well on your way now with some great website content. You have a site plan that’s SEO-ready, a content plan that tells you what content needs writing and by when, and some great tips and resources for writing…
Once you’ve finished your high priority content – get it published! Like, NOW! The thing about search engine optimisation, is you won’t appear in search engines if you don’t have a website! Publish it now, perfect it over time. Don’t get overwhelmed by over analysis paralysis – JUST DO IT.