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Consumption of content on the web has changed since the birth of the World Wide Web. What was effective a few years back is now considered old-hat. With the conversion of technologies, web content is no longer consumed only on a computer. The typical visitor to a website lacks patience and needs to be engaged within the first few seconds. Good web content is that which is not only able to attract a reader, but also to engage and encourage the reader to return to the site.
The challenges of web content writers do not just end there. It is equally important that the content you produce features high in search results. If people cannot find your content, then it might as well not exist. Creating the perfect blend of high quality content that readers would love – and get it to rank high in search results is both an art and science. While this article cannot teach the art of writing, it will provide you with a few tips that will help you produce good web content.
When someone lands on a page, it needs to establish authority. For writers, knowing the subject that you write about is critically important. If you do not know the subject, you will not be able to bring in engaging insights into your content and readers will not get a sense of authority coming from the content. Do your research, arm yourself with the information to make your content factually correct and look to get a deep understanding of the subject. When you know your subject really well, it can suggest innovative ways of presentation that would “wow” your reader.
Write with the reader in mind. It is not enough to be able to express yourself. It is equally important – if not more – to be able to capture the interest and imagination of your reader. Even before you start writing, keeping an imaginary reader in mind can help you write content that will connect with the reader. Give readers what they need and not what you want to say – there is a difference between the two. The best web content is always written from a user’s perspective.
The first sign of interest from a potential reader is usually a search. Most of us “Google” whatever we need to find out. Your content needs to be on page one of search results for it to attract readers. Writing for search engines is not rocket science. Take care of a few basics and your content will have a good chance of ranking up there:
Keywords are a good indicator of what your target audience is searching for. The Google Keyword Tool is a good starting point. When you select suggested keywords, take care to pick terms that are directly relevant to the content. If possible, check for variations of the keywords and select 6-8 terms that are closely related and representative of the gist of your content. Once this is done, select the one keyword that represents the core of your article. This is your primary keyword
Once you know what your audience is searching for, you need to give it to them. When you write the content, make sure you include keywords meaningfully in the content. Remember, the best content is that which talks to the audience in THEIR language. If your content does that, it will be inherently search friendly.
Make sure your keywords are present in the page Title, Description, Headings, image file names, ALT text and body copy – wherever possible. This will help search engines associate your content with the keywords. In turn, it will help your content rank well.
There is no second chance to create a first impression. Your opening paragraph will, more often than not, create this first impression. It is one of the most important elements of the content you produce. You would be wise to agonize over your opening paragraph. Take pains to make sure it grabs and retains your readers’ attention and you would have got off to an excellent start.
Divide your content into sections, sub-sections and themes if possible. Divide the writing into headings and sub-headings. Users tend to scan through the content and headings tend to catch the attention. If these are well written, there is a good chance of your content winning the reader over.
Always write your heading last. By the time you are done writing your article, the heading will suggest itself. Try and also make sure that your primary keyword is present in the heading.
Keep it brief. Fewer words are sometimes most effective. Do not write just to get your keywords in the content a certain number of times. Every word should fight its way into the content and merit its place.
Content is no longer synonymous with text. Today content includes images, charts, videos, demos, presentations and much more. Give thought to the most effective medium of communicating what you want to say. Use images judiciously to create a visual balance. Use video as much as possible. Try and think beyond text as a way to communicate.
Do a thorough proof read. Ensure grammatical correctness. Eliminate typos and spelling mistakes. Edit with a fine tooth comb. Get a second opinion if you can. No one likes to read content that’s presented badly. Respect your readers by giving them content they would enjoy consuming.
Give thought to what action you want the reader to take on reaching the end of your content. The ending of your content should suggest the next course of action. If you want users to subscribe, make sure your subscribe button or form is visible prominently at the end of your content. Your content can lead your visitors to a desired action if you conclude well.
Kristi Yokley is the Director of International Business and a writer at VTech SEO. VTech SEO provides high quality outsourced SEO services, web design services and content services to growing businesses around the world. We also offer white label SEO services to web design firms, digital marketing firms and advertising agencies..