This is a guest post by Miranda Marquit.
With the changes that Google is making, content – quality content – is more important than ever. But you shouldn’t want better content just for the sake of Google. Don’t forget that customers, potential customers, media, and potential business partners are all visiting your web site.
Content has become an important part of online marketing. Without good content, you are less likely to impress visitors to your web site, and it is harder to convert. Create better content for your web site, and not only will you have better search engine success, but you will also be more likely to create a loyal community.
Focus on Your Target Market
One of the keys to successful content is the focus on your target market. What do visitors to your site want? Consider items of interest to your target market, providing posts, tutorials, videos, and other content that is useful. It can’t always be about the sale, either. You want to show that you are providing something that your audience can use, whether it’s a special insider deal, or whether you offer helpful tips and how-to articles.
When are writing a sales pitch, you need to focus your content on what you can do for the visitor to your web site. Your audience needs to know what you are going to do for them. This means that you need to understand who your target market is, and what your target market wants. Take the time to understand your visitors, and you will be more likely to provide content that engages them, and encourages them to take the next step in a relationship with you.
Grab Your Readers’ Interest
How do visitors to your site know that what you offer will be useful to them in some way? You have to start out by grabbing your readers’ interest. Your content should quickly show visitors what you offer, and give them a good reason to keep reading. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you attempt to attract the interest of your visitors:
- Use keywords: What words are likely important to your target audience? Think about the words that your potential customers are most likely to search for in your market. Don’t just think about individual key words, though. You also need to think of key phrases, and make sure that they are applicable. You don’t want to stuff your content full of key words and phrases to the point where your content doesn’t make sense, but you can use a few well-chosen words and phrases that signal to your visitors that you do, in fact, offer exactly what they are looking for.
- Remember the “fold”: In the newspaper business, the biggest stories, the most important information, is put “above the fold.” That terminology has transferred to online reading. Online, the “fold” is the point at which a visitor to your site has to start scrolling to read the content before. If you don’t grab the attention of your visitors before they start scrolling, they are likely to leave. When writing better content, you need to make sure that what’s above the fold is attention grabbing. You need to make a good impression immediately.
- Keep it fresh: A visitor might be impressed with a particular piece of content on your site, and be willing to come back for more. But what if you don’t have anything else new or interesting to share when they return? For many web sites, it’s important to have readers return, developing a loyal fan base of community members. You don’t want your site to become stale, or customers lose interest – and so do web crawlers. Consider adding a useful blog that provides good, up-to-date information on a regular basis so that you attract more visitors.
- Grammar and usage: It helps to remember good grammar when you write. While none of us are perfect, you can, nevertheless, make an effort to produce content that follows general rules of grammar and usage. It’s more professional, and provides you with greater authority. Poor grammar and usage is distracting, and it is difficult for readers to slog through, no matter how interesting the information.
- Break it up: Make it easy on your readers. Online, paragraphs are generally smaller. Break up your content with smaller paragraphs, and incorporate bulleted or number lists, and subheadings, to help move the visitor through your content.
- Engage visitors: Look for ways to encourage discussion and engagement on your site. You want to build a community. Good content can be thought provoking as well as informative and useful. You can encourage visitors to become involved with your site, whether it’s leaving comments on a blog post, or submitting their own video reviews of your product.
- Moderate: While creating good content for site, don’t forget to moderate and keep out the spam. Spam annoys visitors to your web site, and you don’t want to come across as spammy. On top of that, spammy content, and duplicate content, can cause problems with search engines. You want to rank high in the search engines, and that increasingly means providing good content throughout your web site, and getting rid of spam that crops up.
How Do You Make Your Content Interesting?
You do want to grab attention with keywords, and make sure that you are focusing on what you can do for your web visitors. But you also want to produce good, interesting content regularly for the benefit of return visitors, as well as for web crawlers. This can include industry news, how-to tutorials, commentary, and other types of posts and content.
One of the best ways to add a little interest is to consider some of the news values when deciding what to write about: impact, timeliness, prominence, proximity, oddity, currency, human interest.
Every piece of content you add to your site should reflect at least one of the eight news values. If you can find a way to incorporate more news values, your content will be more interesting – and possibly more applicable. You can even use some of the news values to reach out to visitors in your marketing copy. Impact is one of the most important news values when you write marketing copy; you want to show exactly how your reader is affected by what you offer.
As you write, look for ways to make your content more interesting, by relating it to what is happening currently, as well as looking for angles that make it more “real” to the reader. Not only will your better content begin to attract the notice of search engines, but it can also contribute to your ability to build community on your site, and keep customers returning for more, and sharing your quality content with their friends and family.
Miranda Marquit is a freelance writer and professional blogger. She writes for several blogs, and provides content for online and offline publications. Miranda is the co-author of Community 101: How to Grow an Online Community, and the blogger behind PlantingMoneySeeds.com.