The single most important part of your website is the content, this is as true now as it was when Bill Gates said ‘Content is King’ back in 1996, it always will be no matter what new trends or technology come along at the end of the day it’s your content that makes or breaks your site.
Content includes the copy, images, videos and graphics that make up your website, from the standard pages to blog or news posts everything that users can look at and read counts as content. It has a huge effect on how the site is perceived by users but also by search engines such as Google, this means that content will have a large impact on how many people get to your website from Google but also on how the users interact with it when they land on your site and ultimately how likely they are to follow through to purchase or contact you.
Google not only reviews your websites and its content, but it also keeps track of users behaviour such as bounce rate and the time spent on your website to get an impression on how users themselves rate your content. Simply put poor quality content or content that’s too heavily optimised for search engines won’t read well and users won’t spend long on the site. Google includes this information when determining websites ranking in its search results, so it’s important your content is up to scratch and keeps the end-user in mind.
Its importance means you should be regularly reviewing your content, both existing and planned future content, to ensure it’s working for you in the best possible way. This includes both the overall feel of the content, things like the language used and tone of the copy, who you are targeting, as well as the technical side – ensure that it works and there are no errors.
Tone of Voice/Target Audience
Your target audience is key to how you write your content, it will influence the tone of voice as well as the keywords you are focusing on, so getting it right is important. Reviewing your target audience regularly will help ensure your content is always appealing to the right people, helping you to attract visitors and convert them into sales.
Keywords are phrases/words that people may use to search in Google for your website, by reviewing these and tailoring your content to include popular versions you can help to increase the ranking of your website. You should review these to ensure that you are using terms that your target audience is using, this means looking at your terminology to make sure you’re not using anything too technical or using specialist industry terms your audience may not know.
A good example of this is with commercial property marketing, agents often refer to smaller (relatively speaking!) warehouse units as ‘sheds’, end-users, however, would not know this and would not use it to search, making it a bad keyword to target. A shed would also bring you into competition for ‘garden sheds’ which is what most people would expect to find when using that search term making it incredibly difficult to rank for. Instead, targeting keywords like ‘warehouse’, ‘commercial space’ or ‘business space’ would be more beneficial.
Keywords are important and should be considered when writing content, but it’s important not to ‘keyword stuff’ which is when you force keywords into content or add lists into your content trying to tick off as many as you can. This is because Google is constantly improving its search algorithm. It aims to make it as useful for users as possible and, as part of this process, it’s constantly improving its method of ranking websites based on user experience. Simply put your content needs to focus on the end-user, it needs to be readable and appeal to users first. If you try to force keywords into the copy, to the detriment of readability, both users and Google will pick up on this and it will negatively impact your overall ranking. If that’s not bad enough stuffing keywords in is known as ‘black hat’ and these types of techniques for trying to trick Google into ranking your website better can lead to your site being removed from the listings altogether!
The key takeaway here is to write good quality content that benefits your users.
The quality of your content is something Google uses for ranking factors, this includes the spelling of the copy itself – this is also something that end users will use to judge you and your business even if it’s subconscious. This means that regularly checking your copy for spelling is a must, you can use online services that scan your site or simply check it over by copying it into a word processor.
With automated tools remember to check the results it gives you as they are very good at giving you false positives, check over the copy corrections and make any that are suitable.
Contact details can be one of the main reasons people are looking on your website, to get an idea of how many are looking for your contact details review your Google Analytics figures for the number of hits your contact page gets. When reviewing your site check to make sure your contact details are clearly displayed, they should be in ‘standard’ locations that users are used to searching, such as the header or footer.
The types of contact details should also be reviewed, adding in details such as your address and phone number can give your brand more trustworthiness and adding in social media links or even live chat can help appeal to more tech-savvy users. In contrast to this, some details can give a negative out of date impressions such as fax numbers, or the now-defunct Google+ social media service.
Broken links on your website can come from a variety of sources, not checking initial links when creating content, links to a website which has then since taken the content offline or the website itself is offline; internal links to other resources or pages that have then since moved are all examples of how links can be broken.
These broken links will negatively affect users experience on your website which in turn will affect Googles view of your site and eventually your ranking. Scanning over your site as part of the review will give you the opportunity to find and fix any broken links, or remove them from your site altogether.
When reviewing your content don’t forget about images, these could be in the content itself or part of the design such as image sliders. Evaluating them as part of the site review will let you locate any that are out of date or look for opportunities for displaying new images to give users a ‘fresh’ opinion of your website and its content. All too often we see websites that have not been updated since they were built, case studies and slider images are a powerful way to attract users and you should make the most of them.
While reviewing images don’t forget to look over your social media and other digital resources to keep them all consistent and maintain a strong brand image.
Reviewing your content is a perfect opportunity to create an ongoing content plan, to help you add new content to your website and to give you targets and timelines for content creation. When reviewing your site if you find any holes or areas that could be improved add them to your content plan. This will spread out the job of updating the content so you can do it bit by bit, making it much more achievable.
The other benefit this gives you is as a reminder to regularly add content to your site, this is something that will help with your Google ranking, as part of its score on your website is regular content additions.
Website Health Check Guide
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