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SEO: Writing Better Copy for the Web

Last updated on: 2018

Digital

Writing for the web is a different process than for print.

On the internet, users never look forward to reading lengthy pages — they want to quickly find an answer to their problem and then move on. If they can’t at least find a start to an answer within a few seconds, they will most likely leave and try a different search result. This is why it is very important to make sure that your content can easily be skimmed and scanned by your users. Start by looking over your content and identify the areas where users may lose their focus, then use a bucket brigade.

What is a Bucket Brigade?

A bucket brigade is a group of words or a phrase that adds value to your content and helps users stay engaged. Do not confuse a bucket brigade with heading tags. The purpose of bucket brigades is not to title a section of your content, but to allow users to find the information they are looking for with ease.

What else are bucket brigades good for?

Other than serving as quick anchors to help users find the information they are looking for, if used effectively, bucket brigades can also intrigue the user about a piece of content (like the one used above this paragraph). Even if the user already found what they were originally looking for, this will often cause them to continue reading. By having users continuously engaged, you will increase the time they spend on your site and effectively decrease your bounce rate. Just remember, it’s all about the quality of your content!

Quality Content vs. Quantity

What’s better: a lot of content or high-quality content? The truth is, you need both. To achieve best results, it’s important to cover a broad spectrum of keywords and topics related to your website. However, if a user visits your site and your content is weak, chances are they will quickly leave.

Your bounce rate can affect your search engine ranking.

If users are quickly leaving your site, your bounce rate will increase. This lets search engines know that your content is not in line with what people are looking for, and, in turn, the engines start dropping your ranking. In the past, Google employee Gary Illyes explained that the search engine algorithm prefers websites that publish fewer, high-quality pages.

“As long as you have more localized pages, it’s natural that you will get better traffic. I mean higher and higher quality traffic from search engines in general. So from that point of view, yes, narrow it down as much as you can. Don’t create low quality and no value add pages. It’s just not worth it because one thing is that we don’t necessarily want to index those pages we think that it’s a waste of resources. The other thing is that we just won’t get quality traffic.”

You should delete some of your content.

Really? Yes — sometimes. Before you hit that delete button, though, do a thorough search and evaluation of your site. If your site contains outdated pages, outdated blog posts, outdated press releases, search result pages, duplicate or thin content pages, or even products without any sales; you want to make sure these are not coming up on search results.

Why? Because we already know users don’t want to see this content, the only thing we are doing by keeping it around makes our chances of the user bouncing out of the site greater.

How do we fix this? There are many ways to prevent this — sometimes, it’s as easy as going back and updating some of the content. In some instances, it’s best to simply hide it from search engines but in certain cases, we may want to delete that content if it’s not providing any value.

Learn more about SEO and how it can help your business here.

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Alex is a Developer at Taylor & Pond.