How to Develop Content for Searchers and Search Engines
When your website has “quality copy,” it delivers positive results to your company:
- It draws the user deeper into the page and the website
- It decreases bounce rates while increasing engagement
- It enables search engines to rank your site by relevance
Everyone wants these benefits, but few companies achieve them. How do you create quality copy for your website?
- Put your user’s experience first (ahead of search engines)
- Create relevant copy that pays off the search terms
- Do not replicate the exact copy on multiple sites
- Begin each page with one to two sentences followed by bullets
- Keep paragraphs brief, using two to four sentences per paragraph
- Write each paragraph with the intention of making a single unifying point
- Use keyword phrases two to three times per page (no more than that)
- Don’t use unnecessary synonyms, colloquialisms, or sayings like “…and that’s not all!”
- Make sure your content is comprehensive, accurate, and timely
Search Engines Reward You for Optimizing the User Experience
Which is more important? Getting great search rankings or optimizing the user experience? It used to be that marketers opted for great search rankings and, in the process, sacrificed readability and ease of use. But today, user experience matters in rankings. In fact, if you put search rankings first you might sacrifice both user engagement and presence on the search engine results pages. Research shows that smaller paragraphs get more attention, bulleted lists are more digestible, and meatier paragraphs lower on the page provide the detail that is needed for both users and search engines. Additionally, while it’s important to incorporate keyword phrases throughout copy, it’s better to limit keywords to two to three uses per page to keep your users engaged.
Remember to create unique copy for every page of every location. Don’t repeat the same sentences or paragraphs across multiple properties, or on pages within the same property’s website. Duplicate copy makes it difficult for search engines to determine which version is most relevant to given search queries. When that occurs, search engines have to choose the original, or best, version to display in search results, leaving out duplicates.
Write Copy that Creates and Delivers Value
When developing copy for your websites, be as descriptive as possible without stuffing copy with too many keywords or synonyms. Write about the value of your property – why is your property better than your competitors? What benefits would customers get by renting from you? Describe the services and amenities you offer, but also be sure to describe the value of these things and why your property is the best property for the searcher. Providing the “why” engages users and paints a picture of the advantages they gain in renting from your property.
Write for your users first and then search engines. Search engines direct users to your page, but after that it’s your job to keep them there with relevant, scan-able, optimized copy.