Why Content is More Important than Keywords
One of the mistakes that search engine marketers make is concentrating too much on the SEM aspects of web content and not enough on basic readability. You can see this in the conversion rates of web content. People are savvy to garbled, keyword-driven content. And if your average web surfer does not yet know that those keywords are put there for a reason, web surfers are certainly getting more savvy…and more cynical. So your best bet is to first craft your content with readability in mind, not just to trick search engines into ranking the content. Search engines may be tricked, but real, live people won’t be.
Web content is a much different animal than other types of writing. Personally, I don’t understand how anyone can read an entire novel on an e-book reader. Believe me, I’m a person who spends an enormous amount of time, but reading on a computer can be tiring on the eyes and increase people’s short attention span. This isn’t a small thing. The Atlantic even had an article recently, titled “Is Google Making us Stupid?” I mean, there have been days where I’ve spent so much time online clicking around between sites that when I get out in the real world, I actually have the instinct to click things so I can get them instantly – you mean I actually have to drive in this traffic? Can’t I just click a link and end up somewhere else?
This short attention span disorder must factor into web content creation – I would say even before you craft keywords to put into that content. When people come to a site they’re looking for well-crafted information. Web content is a strange kind of artform: it needs keyword/search engine friendly without being overly obvious about it. The idea, of course, is to sell products, but people will most likely to buy something from a site, or click on affiliate links, if they trust the information on the site.
Web Content Layout & Title Tags
“Trust” is pretty subjective, but there are some basic things every website owner must do. Web content needs to be instantly informative. The first two paragraphs are crucial. In fact, I would recommended back-weighting your keyword phrases into the lower paragraphs of an article so the first two paragraphs are less awkward and get immediately to the point. Web content needs to be in short, easy-to-read paragraphs (like this blog post). It’s amazing that people still try to cram in a bunch of information in huge paragraph blocks, as if this gives the content more authority. Actually, it just makes it more unreadable.
Web surfers also want the content to be relevant to the title tag. Many web surfers look to the title of the article more than any other feature: more than meta description or the first sentence of content. The title tag signifies that the article is going to cover exactly what the surfer is looking for – the major reason that a site should be populated with articles with a whole lotta title tags.
But if the article is only vaguely related to the title tag – and doesn’t get to the meat of the point within the first two paragraphs (if not the first two sentences) surfers are going to quickly retreat back to Google and look at something else. You know that’s true because you’ve probably done it yourself. If your content is not directly related to your title tags, your going to lose viewership and respect from people who might not come around again when they’re looking for information.
Other things that help make a site easy on the eyes:
- Bullet points
Web surfers will scan a site quickly if it has the information they need. Bullet points are great for two reasons: they make the content look authoritative and they make it easy for surfers to find information quickly. If people find what they’re looking for quickly, they could then move on within the site and see what it has to offer. Another trick to bullet points: they don’t have to be grammatical like other content, so you could use the bullet points to add a keyphrase. Then again, be careful: too obvious and it can make the content stand out as a keyword farm.
Calls to Action
The last balancing act in web content is calls to action. It’s not enough to put links in content that links to other content on the site. Many people (me included) read through many of these links, especially now that so many links are just embedded advertisements. However, describing those links – and in the process describing why a site is an absolute authority on the topic – is a good way to inspire confidence and inspire readership. Just look how this goes: Seo Hosting has the best SEO tools available online as well as informative SEO articles for beginning marketers and experienced SEO professionals. See how easy that was?