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12 Best Practices for Writing Website Content

12 Best Practices for Writing Good Website Content

It is imperative for a company to be creating compelling and attractive content if they want to obtain organic visibility for their site. The search results on Google have become too competitive to expect to drive users to your site without thorough and compelling content.

You might not be sure what to write about, and for many people it is their first time writing web content. If you are looking to craft content that will rank for target keywords, then your page should appeal to readers and search engines alike. This is done by grabbing your reader’s attention and then providing exactly what they are looking for.

This is easier said than done, and the steps to writing effective content can be broken down into a list of best practices every writer should follow. By following these steps closely, you will be enhancing the readability and SEO effectiveness of your content.

Table of Contents

 

What is Web Copy?

Web copy is any kind of body text that exists on your website, often located on unique pages and responding to specific purposes and queries. It is the primary factor Google uses to evaluate the quality of your pages and website as a whole. Good content will:
  • Sell your brand’s products or services
  • Engage with your audience
  • Convey a clear purpose
  • Respond to your user’s query directly and clearly
It is important to keep the points above in mind when writing content. You should be writing directly to your target user. You should know what they need from your content, and you should ensure you are providing that and nothing more or less. In addition, your website also has the business objective of selling a product or service. Depending on the type of content, your call to action (CTA) will be obvious and engaging or it will be more subdued; but you should have a CTA of some kind no matter the type of content you are writing.

Why is Good Content Important for SEO?

Good content is necessary if you hope to rank on Google for any kind of keyword. It is how Google best understands the purpose and quality of your page. Users may respond to visual assets or interactive elements, but text is how their questions are answered. It is also how you best communicate your brand’s value, as well as your product’s value. Good content should answer a question thoroughly, provide completely accurate information, and drive users further toward a conversion. When website owners or writers new to web writing begin crafting content with SEO in mind, they often start trying to rank on Google using unethical practices, which is referred to as black-hat SEO. All of these tactics have been attempted by many sites over the past 20 years, and Google has become very skilled at detecting and penalizing this behavior. The most common black-hat SEO tactics include:
  • Keyword stuffing: Trying to place your target keyword too many times on the page.
  • Thin content: Content that is not thorough or effective in responding to user needs.
  • Link Exchange: Trying to obtain inbound links by reaching out to other sites and exchanging an inbound link to and from their site.
  • Spammy and/or affiliate links: Any kind of links that direct users to a site that is not relevant. Often, it is used to get more links pointing to your own site, or it is a product of link exchange.
  • Link schemes: There are many schemes that have been used to try to get more inbound links to your content. This can include listing links to your page hundreds of times on a separate page, using a subdomain to direct hundreds of links to your primary site, or using hidden text to place links to a target page all over other pages.
  • Article Spinning: This is the process of turning one article into multiple articles, so that you can take advantage of the value of ‘fresh’ content. This usually leads to poor-quality content and the tactic can be detected by Google.
 

12 Best Practices for Writing Web Content

The following best practices should be used when you are writing new content for your website. This list is broken down into three phases of writing: pre-writing, writing, and post-writing. As you are writing, refer back to these tips and make sure you are following guidelines every step of the writing process.

Pre-Writing Tips

It is very important to devise a thorough plan for your content before you even begin writing. This will ensure that you are really pursuing a valuable opportunity, and that you don’t lose sight of your SEO objectives along the way.
1. 

Define Your Purpose

Before you begin writing, define the end goal you will be striving for. Identify your target keyword(s) and build out an outline of what you want to speak to. This will help with creating content that aligns with your business goals and responds succinctly to user queries.
2. 

Define Your Audience Interest

You should be writing directly to your target audience. In order to do that effectively, you should properly understand that user before you begin writing. Answer the following questions about your target user before you begin writing:
  • Who are the people coming to my website? (i.e., gender, age, parental status, etc.)
  • What kinds of problems are they looking to solve?
  • What keywords are they using to search for my product or service?
3.

Analyze Your Competition

Once you have a good sense of the purpose of the content and the target user you are responding to, examine what peers are currently doing in the SERP to respond to the same purpose and user. Use your target keyword to browse Google results, and identify the content that best speaks to what you are aiming to create. Take note of everything they are doing, including what points that are covering and how they are addressing these points. You should aim to cover the same points, while also identifying any and all opportunities to craft new content that is not yet addressed.
4.

Write For Humans, Not Search Engines

Google has advanced far beyond the initial period when you could write content specifically for search ranking. Nowadays, your content should first and foremost be for humans. Write in a natural language, and make sure you are providing a valuable response to their needs. Actual search engine optimization can be done in the post-writing, so try not to even think in that mindset until the content is written.
5.

Be The Best Answer

Your content should be concise and clear. Google may prefer long-form content pieces currently, it is still your primary job to provide a clear and effective answer to queries. Focus on writing the best answer to serve the needs of your audience, no matter the word count.
6.

Enhance Your “Scanability”

Once you have written clear, concise content that feels and sounds human, you still need to consider the technical user experience on the page. A long list of paragraphs of text is not a good user experience, especially when a user is trying to browse content online. Consider different techniques for improving the visual layout of the page so it is more ‘scannable,’ which includes:
  • Headers and subheadings
  • Bulleted lists
  • Images and other visual elements
  • Quotes in larger bold text
7.

Use Links For Easier Navigation

It is important to use internal links to encourage users to move on further into your site. This should only be done in the most natural opportunities, and should flow naturally in the text. When it comes to discovery content like blogs, users are often not familiar with your brand or services, and you should think carefully about how you encourage users to visit a product page. If it is not natural, then users will not click the link and the content will come across as too sales-oriented.
8.

Avoid Grammatical Errors

Grammatical errors are not tolerated by search engines or users alike, although there aren’t any specific penalties enforced by Google. Any mistakes in spelling or grammar will make the content seem less reputable and authoritative. It will also discourage users from continuing with your content or further into your site. There are many tools to ensure you are not making any mistakes. Grammarly is a popular tool (and free Chrome Extension) for writers to catch any mistakes as they happen.
9.

Use Visuals and Multimedia

Text may respond to a query effectively, but sometimes a visual or multimedia element may provide additional assistance in conveying a complex idea. Multimedia elements are one of the many ranking factors Google uses to organize search results, as they serve as valuable tools to improve user experience and reader flow. If you’re in need of a platform to start creating visuals for your new website content, Canva is a very user-friendly tool for anyone to be able to craft compelling imagery without graphic design experience or expensive software.
10.

Make Your Call-To-Action Worth It

Emphasize the importance of backing up any statements you make your content, especially when it comes to describing your products or services. Be sure to leverage assets like customer testimonials and original research data to help demonstrate your expertise to your audience and drive customers to convert.

Post-Writing Tips

Many people think that once content has been written and reviewed for grammar and spelling, it is ready to post. Any SEO specialist understands that much of the actual search engine optimization is done after the content has been written.
11.

Optimize For SEO

Once your content has been written for humans, you should still review the content from the eyes of search engines. There are some SEO basics you want to make sure are being followed, including:
  • Are you using the keyword effectively? Make sure the keyword is also not being over-used.
  • Craft engaging metadata and page titles, using target keywords effectively.
  • Make your URL readable and clear.
  • Include any additional links, both internal and external.
  • Optimize all images for loading and accessibility.
12.

Keep Your Content Fresh

‘Freshness’ refers to how new the content is, and is most relevant to any topics that may require regular updates. You should be reviewing your content on a regular basis if you feel that the points may change over time, or if a significant event or discovery leads to additional required information. If a user is looking for information on a topic like this and notices that the content was published a year ago or more, they may not find the content as reputable. In addition, Google will reward freshness if the topic calls for fresh content. Another way to improve freshness is to update your links so they are pointing to the most up-to-date resources, both internal and external.
About The Author

SEO, Content Specialist

Craig was introduced to FourFront as a summer intern. Today, he applies his natural curiosity and creativity to all aspects of content development. Read More
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