Not only does great content help you rank higher in search results, it can increase your chances of converting those users to customers. Whether you’re launching your site or just want to improve your content, here are a few pointers to get you started.
Answer potential questions
If someone knows nothing about your business, how would you describe it to them? At the most basic level, website content should answer questions that might be asked.
You’re the expert about your business, so sharing valuable knowledge can help people understand who you are and why they should do business with you. It also feeds Google information it can use to decide if you’re a relevant search result.
Read your content out loud
Your text should sound like something you’d say to a customer who just walked in your door. It’s easier for people who are reading your site to follow, and it’s what Google’s algorithm expects to see when it crawls your content. When you read your writing out loud, it helps you hear when something doesn’t sound quite right so that you can revise it.
This is especially important when it comes to using keywords, which are words or phrases people commonly search for on the internet. Many marketers and business owners try to “stuff” important keywords into their content to help it rank higher in searches. Back in the early days of Google, this tactic worked because Google would simply match the keywords in a search query to keywords on a web page. Now you need to ensure you have useful content that’s conversational.
Prioritize quality over quantity
Google’s algorithm wants to see quality content, and it doesn’t really matter how much there is. That means that occasionally adding a single page to your website can be more effective than adding 10 pages that target a bunch of keywords.
Take a look at your site. Is there enough on each page to explain what the page is about? Does the content answer any possible questions about your products or services? Will it help potential customers decide to do business with you? These questions can help pinpoint where you can include more information.
Stand out from your competitors
To make sure your content is actually about your business, you can do an easy test. Copy the content from your homepage into a text document. If you changed your business name and city to your competitor’s, would the content work if you dropped it on their homepage? If it can easily apply to another brand, change it to be more specific to your business.
Create unique content
Contrary to what many people think, Google doesn’t penalize duplicate content: It rewards unique content. Remember, Google is basically an advanced pattern detection program. If you copy another site’s content and paste it to your site, it’s incredibly easy for Google to see that it’s identical, and you won’t show up well in searches.
Even if you sell similar products or services as your competitors, having content that’s relevant to your business on your site can improve your visibility in searches.
And make sure your content is local, too
Google’s local algorithm returns search results in a potential customer’s area, so it’s important that the content on your blog and main site pages is localized. Located on the main road near downtown or share a parking lot with another visible business? Let people know.
Images make your site more engaging, so make sure every page has at least 1 image. Avoid stock photos whenever possible, because real pictures of your business or products are far more effective than generic images.
Upload your images at the size they’ll be displayed on your site. If you upload a huge image and use the image embed code—the HTML code that displays a picture on your page—to shrink it down, the browser still has to load the entire image before it can resize it to the specified dimensions. This will make your page will load more slowly, which can annoy customers (and Google).
Add schema markup
Several years ago, search engines got together and came up with a shared classification vocabulary for websites. Schema is a special set of programming terms that specifically define elements on your website.
Instead of relying on Google’s algorithm to read and understand the content on your site, you can use schema markup to include definitions of various elements such as people, places, things, and products. Schema helps Google understand your content on a deeper level. It exists behind the scenes in the HTML code of a page and isn’t visible to people. It can be coded manually, or you can use a schema code generator.
For local search, the most important schema to include is local business schema, which defines your business name, address, telephone, and hours of operation. You can also add event or product schema. If you really want to go in depth, head over to the local business section on schema.org for an outline of every local business schema type.