Even if you have been a copywriter for decades (as is the case with this writer) it’s always a valuable exercise to audit your work and find ways to improve the quality and performance of your content. There’s an awful lot of competing content out there and you need to cut through the noise – without resorting to click-bait headlines or shady SEO techniques. From perfecting your keyword targeting to selecting the right imagery, here are some top tips for improving the quality and performance of your content.
Include the right keywords
This should include both your main search terms and also your LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords. LSI keywords are the related words and phrases that help search engines understand your page intent, thereby helping them to index it more effectively. This blog can help you find your LSI words if you are unsure.
Remember to select your keywords and search terms based on your audience’s search intent – their goal or purpose for a search online – and don’t overdo it. If you’ve ever landed on a keyword-stuffed article, you’ll know how unpleasant they are to read. Plus, you could risk ranking penalties from Google et al.
Top-load your content
The first few sentences, as well as your headline, need to grab your reader’s attention and make them want and need to read on. This doesn’t mean crafting a sensational, click-baiting header that has no relevance to the content themes. It means explaining what the reader can expect from the article, and why they should care, in a concise, entertaining and informative way.
Make it valuable, useful and relevant
The chances of publishing the only available content on a subject are unlikely, so you need to make sure yours shines and that your objectives for publishing the content are clear. If you can’t justify your reasons for creating the content, why should your audience care? As mentioned above, shock tactics should not feature in your content arsenal. If your content answers the questions your audience is struggling with or offers something valuable to them, you’re on the right track. Publishing up to date, useful content remains one of the key search engine ranking factors, as does the way you present your information. Which brings us neatly on to the next point…
Make your content easy to read
Quite simply, it doesn’t matter how informative and insightful your content is if it melts your reader’s retinas five lines in. Here are some tips on how to format your online content:
- Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and concise.
- Use a font style and size that is web-friendly and accessible.
- Include clearly-worded subheadings and imagery to break the content up.
- Use bulleted lists (like this one) to clarify instructions and improve the overall readability.
- Use relevant imagery that adds genuine value (more on this shortly).
- Highlight important points.
Make sure it looks great on all devices
I find it helpful to assume my reader will be consuming the content on mobile and using the above formatting tips to make sure it is easy to read on any device. Keep your link text short and don’t use pop-ups unless absolutely necessary (e.g to contact a live rep).
Get your metadata right
Your meta title and meta description are powerful tools for driving high-quality traffic to your site so it’s worth putting the work in to get them right. As before, don’t resort to extravagant, aggrandising headlines or false promises. If your content is valuable then a snappy description of what the reader can expect, a sentence of two about why they can’t afford to miss it, and a strong call to action is enough.
Use imagery that adds real value
There are a zillion stats out there about how using the right imagery improves engagement rates and doubtless, you’ve recently enjoyed a blog or e-book with an image that enhanced your content experience or an infographic that explained a concept far more effectively than the copy. It really is worth taking the time to source the right images and position them well in the content. If it doesn’t add value, keep looking, and remember it’s got to look great on all devices.
>Top tip< Try including your most important information directly below the images as this is when readers are most receptive.
Include a powerful CTA
You’ve put in all the hard work attracting and engaging your reader, so don’t risk losing them when they get to the end. Depending on the nature of the article and the stage of the sales funnel the reader is at, you could offer a free download such as a guide or checklist, or suggestions for other articles they might enjoy.
Keeping in mind your content goals – to increase conversions, promote your brand and build trust and loyalty – include a prompt to get in touch, preferably to an individual at the company, rather than a general mailbox, or direct the reader to more useful information about your offering and why you are the right choice for them.