Can SEO Content Be Reader-Friendly?
Are you responsible for creating Web content like blog posts and articles that are search engine-friendly? Here's a gentle reminder: In addition to writing for Google, Bing and Yahoo algorithms, please remember to write for your reader (and scanner).
There's more to really good content than key words and word counts. It should also be genuinely useful and reader-friendly.
While recently completing a bazillion online searches for a project I'm writing, I was surprised by how often I landed on content that seemed to ignore me, The Reader.
A basic premise to keep in mind as you are writing content is that those searching online typically are looking for one of two things: the answer to a question or the solution to a problem.
And people don't want to spend a lot of time and effort searching for it. So, here are 10 quick tips that will help you help your readers easily find the solutions they seek.
1. Get Organized and Be Specific
While you may start with a broad topic (toilets), hone in on a specific topic of specific interest to your audience (DIY toilet tune-ups). Then consider what's important to tell (and show) a do-it-yourselfer about toilet tune-ups.
2. Keep Sentences and Paragraphs Short and Scannable
Keep paragraphs to about six lines or less and sentences one and a half lines or less. Example:
Use short sentences. Content is read differently online than in print. Few people read word-for-word online — most scan. Short sentences and paragraphs are more easily scanned, and more quickly digested.
3. Use Numbered Lists, Checklists, Charts, Bullets, Infographics and Images With Captions
Using these tools to organize information will make it easy to scan. Example:
How to Improve a Toilet's Flushing Power
Use a small mirror to check the small holes (flush passages) under the toilet bowl rim to see if they are plugged with mineral deposits or gunk. Poke each passage clean with a piece of wire. You can use a wire clothes hanger. After cleaning all the passages, flush to remove loosened deposits. Repeat the process, if necessary.
4 Easy Steps to Improving Your Toilet's Flushing Power
1. Check the small holes (flush passages) under your toilet bowl rim using a small mirror. See if they're plugged with mineral deposits or gunk.
2. Poke each passage clean with a piece of wire (such as a clothes hanger).
3. After cleaning all passages, flush to remove loosened deposits.
4. Repeat the process, if necessary.
Put the most relevant information first in sentences, bullets and paragraphs. Example:
Using a clothes hanger, poke each passage clean.
Poke each passage clean with a piece of wire (such as a clothes hanger).
5. Headlines Should Sell Your Content in 4 to 10 Words
Succint, to-the-point headlines set clear reader expectations. Disappointed readers quickly abandon content and undercut your credibility. Example:
10 Best Job Interview Tips for Job-Seekers
6. Be Genuinely Helpful
Readers who have questions or problems often want how-to help. Example:
Follow These 4 Proven Steps to Prepare for Your Job Interview
7. Use Subheads
Subheads break up dense walls of words and provide a road map for the content that follows. In reference to our headline example, some good examples of subheads include:
How to Research a Potential Employer
How to Research a Hiring Manager
How to Research a Job Opportunity
How to Pull It All Together and Prepare for Your Interview
8. Provide Links for Readers Interested in Getting More Detail
Use a second color (such as red, which pops off the page) to draw the eye to links, CTA buttons and phone numbers. Example:
This can be achieved by linking to videos demonstrating product features and benefits. Example:
Use of you and your will connect your reader to your content better. Example:
A closing thought about the content you write from Kim Keller, popular blogger, educator and PR pro. “Remember, you’re starting a conversation with someone you want as a customer. It’s a relationship, and no relationship can survive if you don’t spend time together. Respect their time and make it worthwhile.”
Apply these tips to your own website and watch your traffic and conversions grow!