You’ve purchased your domain and written up product descriptions, created an about page, and, of course, the homepage, but it seems that your website is hardly getting any views. You might even notice that you get a few visitors, but they seem to leave your site quickly without looking around. What’s the big deal? Obviously they can’t smell your breath or something like that, and, all-in-all, your website looks pretty awesome, so what could it be? Well are you providing content that Google wants to index?
It is quite possible that your copy is considered poor by Google, and needs to be ten times as engaging or that you need to put a little more elbow grease into the written content.
So what is poor content?
Poor content is content that has little or no value to the user. Google considers pages with very little or no content as poor content pages. But don’t fall into the trap of just producing loads of very similar content: non-original pages, pages with scraped and duplicate content, are considered poor content pages too. On top of that, Google doesn’t like pages that are stuffed with keywords either. Google has become smarter and has learned to distinguish between valuable and low quality content, especially since Google Panda.
What does Google want?
Google tries to provide the best results that match the search intent of the user. If you want to rank high, you have to convince Google that you’re giving the answer to the question of the user. This isn’t possible if you’re not willing to write extensively on the topic you like to rank for. Poor content rarely qualifies for Google as the best result. As a minimum, Google has to know what your page is about to know if it should display your result to the user. So try to write enjoyable, informative copy, to make Google, but first and foremost, your users happy.
We recommend writing meaningful copy about the keywords you’d like to rank for. If you keep a blog about your favourite pastime, this shouldn’t be much of a problem, right? If you write about something you love and know everything about, then it’s easy to show Google that your pages contain content that Google wants to index and share.
We understand that every situation is different and that it’s not always possible to write an elaborate text about everything. For instance, if you own an online shop that sells hundreds of different computer parts, it can be a challenge to write an extensive text about everything. But at least make sure that every page has some original introductory content, instead of just an image and a buy button next to the price. If you sell lots of products that are very alike, you could also choose to optimize the category page instead of the product page or to use canonicals to prevent duplicate content issues.
Google wants to serve their customers. Their mission is: to index all the world’s information and make it universally accessible. In addition to this, Google, of course, wants to make money, but if they want to make the world’s information accessible, they’ll have to show people results they are looking for – otherwise people would stop using Google.
What does that mean for my website?
So, we can agree Google wants to show people the best results, so if your website is the best in your market, Google wants to rank it high up in the results.
In order to do so, the technical design of your website should be excellent, the UX of your website flawless and all security aspects covered. Most important, however, is that the content of your website should be well-written and targeted at the audience your website serves. This approach requires rather advanced SEO writing skills.
To make sure your website is the best in your sector, the text on your websites should be nice and easy to read. Without making any concessions to the quality of your content, you should tweak and fine-tune your text to the specific demands of search engines. The process of online copywriting is very much like the process of writing anything else, so it’s hard work and inevitably some of us have more writing talent than others. Unfortunately, we can’t all be JK Rowling, but with a little practice, anyone should be able to write better online copy.
The very first step of good website copywriting has little to do with writing – you first need to decide what you’re going to write about. Which topics do you want to be found for? You’ll need to use the keywords you want to rank for, so the first step of copywriting is keyword research. Keyword research is what you do in order to list the keywords and key phrases which you want to rank for.
If you want to do high-quality keyword research, you’ll need a lot of time. Or a lot of people. Keyword research is a process which requires you to get inside the heads of your audience. You want to find out which words they are using. After that, you’ll need to analyse which keywords you should go after first. That’s difficult, as well as time-consuming.
Keyword research is something that needs focus and attention. It’s something you should take seriously. Without proper keyword research, you could well be optimizing your texts for the wrong search terms.
The second step
The second step of good website copywriting is linked closely to the first and in some cases should be completed in parallel or even slightly before. We are talking about search intent.
Search intent has to do with the reason why people conduct a specific search. Why are they searching? Are they searching because they have a question and want an answer to that question? Are they searching for a specific website? Or, are they searching because they want to buy something?
Over the years, Google has become more and more able to determine the search intent of people. And Google wants to rank pages highest that fit the search term as well as the search intent of a specific search query. That’s why it’s essential to make sure your post or page fits the client intent of your audience.
Four types of client intent
There are a few distinct types of client intent:
First, there is informational intent. Lots of searches on the internet are of people looking for information. Information about the weather, information about educating children, information about SEO. In this case people have a specific question or want to know more about a certain topic.
The second type of client intent is called navigational intent. People with this intent try to get to a specific website. People who search for Facebook are usually on their way to the Facebook website.
Ranking high on a navigational term is only beneficial for your organic traffic if your site is the site people are looking for. A few years ago, a company created a Google Analytics plugin and they ranked pretty well for the term Google Analytics. However, It didn’t drive any traffic to their site though. People searching for Google Analytics were looking for the Google Analytics website and were hardly ever interested in their plugin.
The third type of client intent is the transactional intent. Lots of people buy things on the internet and browse the web to find the best price or deal. People who have the intention to buy are searching with a transactional intent.
Some people have the intention to buy in the (near) future, but use the web to do their research. What washing machine would be best? Which web designer is the most helpful? (FHML Obviously!) These people also have a transactional intent, but will need some more time and convincing. These types of client intents are usually called commercial investigating intents.
The words people use in their search queries will give information about their client intent. If people use words as buy, deal, discount, they are definitely prone to buy something. Also, if people are searching for specific products, they probably want to buy it. If people are searching and use words like information, how to, best way to, you’ll know they’ll have an informational client intent.
How to optimize your content for client intent
You want to make sure that a landing page fits the client intent of your audience. If people search for information, you don’t want to show them a product page. At least, not immediately. You’d probably scare them away. If people want to buy your product, do not bore them with long articles. Lead them to your shop.
Optimizing your product pages for more commercial driven keywords is a good idea. If you sell fidget spinners, you could for instance optimize a product page for [buy fidget spinner]. Perhaps you also have an article about how to do tricks with fidget spinners. You could for example optimize that article for the search term [how to do tricks with fidget spinners].
It can be rather hard to determine the client intent of a query. And, perhaps different users will have a (slightly) different user intent, but still land on the same page. If you want to know more about the search intent of your audience, the best way is to ask them. You could conduct a small survey, containing questions about what people were searching for and make that survey pop up if people enter your website. That’ll probably give more insights in the client intent of your audience.
It’s crucial to ensure that the content you’re writing fits both the terms people are searching for, as well as the client intent of your audience. Make sure your post or page is informational, if people are searching for information. But lead people to your sales pages if they are prone to buying one of your products.
Well that’s all for this months post on copywriting, hopefully you will be providing the content that Google wants very soon, if you would like to understand more why not give us a call to discuss your requirements.