Great website content is always there (day and night) to promote your business, collect leads, answer questions, and collect valuable customer information.
Also, great content has lasting value, because it will drive traffic (leads) to your website for years to come.
With that in mind, website content needs to be optimized and improved. "Where do you start?", "What exactly should you optimize?" and "How frequently?" - these are all questions we will answer in this post.
8 Simple Steps To Improve Your Website Content:
1. Think Long And Hard About Your Titles (And Optimize Them)
The title is first on our list because the importance of a good title cannot be emphasized enough.
A unique and enticing title has the power to transform a poorly performing webpage into a lead generating all-star.
You may have noticed that major publications (New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, TechCrunch, Inc., etc.) continuously optimize their titles. In other words, they may publish an article with one title before quickly changing it to something else. In some cases, this title change is done in a matter of minutes, and in most cases after a few days of analysis.
Data and analytics can quickly tell us how well the title (and content) does in real time, and more importantly, enables us to predict how well the title (and content) will perform over the next few days and months.
Title writing tips:
- Has to appeal to your audience (not everyone)
- A title has to describe the content (and pique the interest of the reader)
- Don't use fear-mongering and click-bait
- Mysterious titles don't perform well, so avoid them
- Never strive for a perfect title, because you can always change it later
- Having the right keywords in your title is essential, but never stuff your title with too many keywords
How often should you change/update your webpage title? As a general rule, we typically recommend our clients revise their poorly performing webpages every quarter. In most cases, this means updating the title, content, keywords, and CTAs (call-to-actions).
2. Meta Description Is Still Important
Simply put, "meta description" is the summary of your webpage. In the early days of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), meta descriptions played an important role because search engines like Google and Yahoo needed extra help to decipher website content. However, these days all search engines use sophisticated algorithms and machine learning, so less emphasis is placed on the meta description.
Nevertheless, having a well thought out meta description will help search engines interpret your content. Also, a meta description is often the snippet of text you see in Google search results, so in many ways, it is as important as the title itself when trying to improve click-through rate and organic traffic numbers.
3. Use The Right Keywords
When you target singular keywords like “headphones,” you are competing for attention with companies like Amazon, Target, eBay, and so on - this is a battle you will never win.
However, if you optimize your content using long tail keywords such as “affordable bluetooth headphones” you are far more likely to rank higher and improve your impressions, click-through rate, and clicks.
Also, users that use long tail keywords are likely towards the end of the "buying process." For example, if someone is searching for “Headphones,” they are still in the early stages of the buying process - researching different options (e.g. Wired or Wireless).
However, if they are searching for “Affordable Wireless Bluetooth Headphones” they have already decided on wireless and are now looking at prices; therefore, they are far more likely to make an immediate purchase.
4. Add Depth To Your Content
Today, specialization and content depth are preferred over "general" and "shallow" content.
We are not suggesting core pages (e.g., About, Services, Pricing, Landing pages) be extremely detailed because in most cases they shouldn't be. However, "Blog Posts", "How To" articles, and other frequently published content pages typically perform better the deeper they dive into the subject matter. On the other hand, shallow pages (lacking detail, expertise, and unique opinion/voice) consistently have a higher bounce rate and lower average session duration - typical indicators of poorly performing content.
Every business is different, but as a general rule, we consider content under 500 words short form, 500-1,000 medium, and over 1,000 long.
5. Use Images
Our brains process images a lot quicker than text, so it should not be a surprise that webpages with images are easier to process, and consequently outperform "text-only" pages. Also, images give our eyes a place to rest - this is especially important on long pages.
How many images should you use? Our general rule is 1-3 images per webpage. However, this is just a general guideline. For example, "How-to" pages often require more visuals (images, screenshots, etc.).
Always ask yourself "Is this image helpful or distracting?" - having too many images can be distracting in itself.
Finally, there should be some consistency with your images. Intermixing bold/colorful and light/subtle images can be distracting to many users.
6. Check Your Heading Elements (HTML)
Heading Elements give a page a hierarchical structure, so it is important for user experience, accessibility, and SEO reasons. The good news is that most modern websites and content management system (CMSs) enforce appropriate heading elements (h1, h2, h3, etc.). However, none of them are bulletproof, so double check your webpages.
If you are not familiar with heading elements, <h1> represents the most important heading, and <h6> represents the least important heading. For example, use <h1> for page titles, and <h2> and <h3> for sub-headings.
NOTE: We often see webpages with bold styling instead of sub-headings. Never use bold font/styling as a replacement for heading elements.
7. Research Keyword Trends
Most keywords go through cycles, so it's important to keep track of them. For example, "Online Marketing" was surpassed by "Digital Marketing." We are not suggesting that you change your keyword strategy every time you see a new keyword gaining traction, but spotting trends early will allow you to capitalize on them.
Your content and keywords have to be relevant to attract traffic.
Finally, there is no shortage of keyword research tools, so options are plentiful (paid and free). The good news is, Google Trends is one of the best tools for analyzing keywords trends, and it's free.
8. Study Your Website Analytics
Trying to optimize website content without analytics is very difficult and in some cases impossible. How do you identify poorly performing content without analytics? You resort to "guessing", which leads to poor decision making. With analytics, it's simple - study average session duration, bounce rate, impressions, click-through rate, etc.
How do we tell if our new title made any difference? Again, by studying and comparing analytics.
Data removes "guesswork," "gut feeling," and "grey areas," consequently leading to better decision making.
Improving and optimizing your website (and webpages) is essential to lead generation. Especially if you are relying on Google and other search engines for the vast majority of your website traffic.
Content optimization can make all the difference to your SEO, lead generation, and conversion funnel success, so don't wait any longer. Start by identifying poorly performing content (using website analytics) and apply some of these steps to improve them.