If you’ve ever searched the internet for a quick answer to a question, you may not have concerned yourself with who generated the information that you’re reading. After all, for general information questions—the year Lincoln was assassinated or converting Celsius to Fahrenheit— search engines, like Google, do a pretty good job of taking you to accurate, reliable sources. But what if the information that you’re seeking is a little more esoteric? Or it’s on a controversial topic with lots of different opinions and approaches? How do you know that the information that you’re getting is complete and truthful?
Who’s Writing Web Content and Why?
Writing website content that’s accurate and comprehensive is a labor-intensive process that can involve hours of research, writing, and editing for even a single page. That means that the owner of the website either has spent a lot of time filling their pages or hired a web content writing service to do it for them. So, why do companies think it’s worth dipping into their precious time and profits to put free information out over the Internet. The short answer is that they have a message that they want to get out to their readers. The long answer is more complex and multi-tiered:
- Advertising – The internet provides a relatively low-cost way of advertising goods and services. Content writing for websites ties the information that people are seeking to the companies that they might find useful.
- Reputation – Companies pride themselves on their credibility. By writing content for the web and then posting it on their blog pages, they can demonstrate their expertise in their respective industries.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Google and other search engines rank search results based upon the likelihood that webpages will answer the user’s search query. In order to do this, they send out small pieces of code called “web crawlers” to scour the internet and find the most relevant pages. By using SEO practices for website content writing, your audience is more likely to be able to find your webpage.
- Connection to Customers – If the goal of any communication is to solidify a connection, the mission of content writing for websites is to provide a link between potential customers and the people and organizations that can provide them with good, service, or information that they want.
With this in mind, most businesses want to know what constitutes quality content.
Website Content Writing Guidelines
There’s no doubt that there is some well-written, grammatically perfect web content that no one will ever see because it’s lost in the vast universe of web content writing. And if you don’t want that to happen to the content writing on your site, you’ll publish search-engine-optimized content, but what is SEO content writing? To get an overview of the type of content writing that Google tends to prefer when ranking websites, we should go to the source.
Google publishes guidelines for writing content for websites. They can be extremely useful when writing web site content for your own page or for a client’s website.
- Make Your Site Interesting – The more people come to your site, the higher it will tend to rank—particularly if your bounce rate is low. Having interesting ideas and novel concepts is the surest way to attract and hold viewers.
- Know What Your Readers Want – If you have a site for your business, choose topics that potential customers will want to read about and would be most likely to come to your webpage as a good source of information.
- Write Easy-to-Read Text – It’s a sad fact that literacy levels in this country are not always commensurate with the highest level of education completed. With this in mind, your web content writing should be easy for your target audience to read. Naturally, if you’re writing about technical topics, you may need to use words and describe concepts that are beyond the understanding of most people, but the potential customers you’re trying to reach shouldn’t have difficulty reading your information.
- Organize Your Topics Clearly – When most people click onto a website, they scan the headers to see if they’re likely to find what they’re looking for. Use headers, subheaders, and bulleted lists (like you see here) to describe what’s to follow in the text.
- Create Fresh, Unique Content – Your content should be accurate, concise, unique, and fresh. If you find that there’s not a lot of available information on the internet on a particular topic in your industry, that’s an opportunity. Google can also recognize when a site has gone stagnant, so review and update your information regularly. Having a web content writing service post blog pieces is an excellent way to introduce new topics and information on your page.
- Optimize Content for Your Users – Google has a number of metrics that gauge whether or not your site is giving users what they want. Google tracks the number of users who view your page, how long they stay on each page, how often they return, et cetera. There’s simply no way to get the search engines to give you higher scores in these areas without engaging your readers. SEO requires a long-term approach and you’re going to have much better results if your page enhances the user experience.
Things to Avoid When Content Writing Websites
If there are good content writing practices, there must also be bad content writing practices, right? There are, in fact, many practices that can hurt SEO and some that can get your page banned by Google.
Web Content Writing That Will Hurt Your SEO
If you’ve read through our Website Content Writing Guidelines section, you’re probably already aware of some of the things that will hurt your SEO. Many of them, are just the opposite of the bulleted list of suggestions that will help your SEO. Your content writing won’t be as effective if:
- Your website is boring or unoriginal
- You’re providing information that has little value to your readers
- Your content writing is confusing, disorganized, or poorly written
- You fail to break your text up with headers, subheaders, bullets/numbers, and paragraph separations
- You rarely update your page, allowing the information to stagnate
- You write your content to catch the attention of search engines (more on this in the next subsection)
Black-hat SEO Techniques and Google Banning
The term “black hat” refers to techniques that are designed to get more users to a webpage. Google publishes a list of unauthorized techniques, and if your site is found to be using them, it can be warned, suspended, or banned. If your site is suspended or banned, it won’t be searchable in Google. A reputable website content writing services won’t use black-hat techniques, which have mostly been rendered ineffective by search engine algorithms.
Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works
Whether you’re writing content for your business’s website or you’re a wordsmith crafting website content writing samples for freelance gigs, the skillset for producing effective SEO content are the same. You may experience a little bit of a learning curve as you try to balance the kind of writing that your readers will enjoy and the optimized content that will be picked up by a search engine, but as you hone your craft, you should find that the two dovetail nicely.