Update for 2018
As we all know only too well, Google is always keeping us on our toes and making updates to the way positions its listings. Google pushed out a large core algorithm update back in the Summer, and as a result content on websites is now more important than ever before, and it’s always been extremely important.
After seeing how things our panning out, we’ve decided to update our original article from May 2016 to bring you the recent updates. The recommendation for blog post length is now 450-500+ words. That’s up from between 300-350 words. It’s important to try and use your most important keywords in the first 100 words on the article/page.
If you have an important topic or landing page, try to produce a few (what we call) ‘power pieces’ which consist of approx. 2,000 words. You should include:
• Decent images
• Graphs where possible
• Citations and quotes with links to any websites with further reading (ensure you had a ‘rel=no follow’ to any links and that they open in a new browser window, leaving your site open on the main browser in the background
• Plenty of subheadings (make these using H2 headings)
• User-focused questions – what questions are users likely to type into Google?
Top tip – search for a question in Google and then scroll to the bottom of the page to the suggested alternative questions that Google recommends. These are based on what other people are commonly typing into Google, so there will be search volumes behind them.
For example, ‘what is the best sports car?’ – see image below.
Copywriting in any sense can be a challenging task; to write really good copy, you need to know your audience well and write in a way that keeps them engaged, while also compelling them to take some sort of action (whether that’s purchasing a product or making contact in some way). When writing content for your website however, not only must you endeavour to impress your potential customers, but you are also required to kiss up to the big cheese (AKA Google) if you want to earn yourself a place on the first page of those search listings.
However, one of the biggest mistakes a business can make when writing web copy is prioritising Google too much; often this results in keyword-stuffing (among a number of other questionable techniques) in order to push the website up in Google’s rankings. In reality though, all this does is make your content difficult to read, frustrating your visitors and causing them to leave the page immediately. What’s worse is that this can also affect your website’s bounce rate, causing your Google score to decrease even further!
So, in order to keep your readers happy while also playing by Google’s rulebook, you must make some compromises and try to find a balance between keyword density and readability. As Google places more importance on your heading text than body copy anyway, this is a good place to start with your keywords - aim to get them in here as subtly as possible, and then work on fitting them into your body copy.
The way you wrap your key words and phrases is also really important, and we usually recommend that each page of text on your website should contain between 300-350 words wherever possible. The reason behind this is that the more text there is on a page and throughout the site as a whole, the more information Google can use to determine whether your website is relevant to a search or not. If you’re struggling for sufficient material, a good way to increase the content throughout your site is to set up a blog section.
Blogging is a great way to loosen the reigns a bit and allow you to talk a little more freely about the different topics in your industry. Blogging also allows you to make regular updates to your website without having to make any drastic changes to your main pages. Even if you only upload one new blog post a week, gradually adding new content will prove your reputation to Google as a current and trustworthy source of information. We should mention though that the recommended word count for each upload is slightly higher, at around 400 words per post. We know that sounds daunting, but there are loads of great sites out there that offer ideas for new blog posts in almost every subject area you can think of. Of course you can take inspiration from other sources, but you must be careful to create content that is as unique as possible – if Google considers you guilty of copying text from elsewhere, you will be penalised for it.
- Readability is key! Make sure your content is human-friendly and easy to digest
- Know your audience and write your copy with the end-user in mind – how can you demonstrate that what you are offering can solve their problems?
- Insert your keywords where possible but don't go overboard
- Stick to the word count guidelines but also remember that quality trumps quantity
- Make regular updates and Google will love you forever