In the age of video streaming, voice search and multimedia content, the importance of the written word in digital marketing is easily overlooked.
While there are all sorts of statistics flying around telling us how users would prefer to watch a video than read about a product, or how content gets more shares on social media the more images it contains, there remains one indisputable fact.
Overall, websites contain more text than any other type of content.
Text has a number of advantages over other types of digital content. Quick, easy and cheap to produce, it also results in much smaller file sizes than images, audio and especially video, which helps with rapid page load speeds and slick navigation.
Thanks in no small part to Google’s evolving policies on how it ranks web pages in search results, the past few years have seen a renewed focus on the quality of the written word online. Google now explicitly states that the old school SEO writing practices aimed first and foremost at securing high rankings - by stuffing content with keywords and links, for example - no longer work, and will in fact result in your pages being penalised.
Instead, Google now demands a ‘people first’ approach to written content. In short, it has developed its search algorithms so they favour text that would be considered useful, informative and high quality by the ordinary reader.
This is actually great news for brands, as it means you kill two birds with one stone - great written content both impresses your audiences and achieves your SEO goals. But what does quality writing online look like? Here are five features to always keep front of mind.
Accurate spelling and grammar
There used to be a throw-away attitude to written digital content - it was mostly viewed as a means to an end, and it didn’t really matter if you paid attention to the niceties of correct spelling and grammatical accuracy. This has now become a big no-no - one of the first things search engine bots will penalise a page for is poor spelling and grammar. Aside from SEO considerations, bad spelling and grammar also conveys an unprofessional, slapdash attitude that reflects poorly on your brand.
The mechanics of how people read from a screen are slightly different to what happens when they read from a page. Long paragraphs, long sentences and large unbroken chunks of text can be difficult to follow online. White space is your friend in website copy, and using plenty of headers, section breaks, box outs and images makes sure information is easy to scan quickly.
As already stated, Google has actively moved to discourage any kind of throw-away approach to written digital content. One of the ways it has done this is by creating algorithms that reward in-depth, well-researched website copy. Good SEO practice can no longer rely on posting blogs for the sake of it. They will only have the desired effect if they are viewed as informative and genuinely useful to the readership.
Longer is better
There is plenty of debate over how much text is the optimum amount for a web page. While some analysts still argue the merits of brevity, the focus on greater depth is seeing longer copy perform better in search. While the overall focus has to be on quality and not just writing for the sake of it, expectations about how much you should write per page are changing. Whereas a few hundred words was usually deemed sufficient a few years ago, nowadays the starting point should be at least 500, and often significantly upwards of that.
Some types of content date very quickly. A write up about an event, for example, will be interesting and relevant to your readership for a short while afterwards, but after a few weeks will become ‘old news’ that is unlikely to generate any more interest. Evergreen content is the term used to describe ‘timeless’ copy that readers are likely to return to again and again, maximising the results you get from it.
If you are looking for top quality copywriting that will impress your readers and satisfy your SEO requirements, Ultimate Creative can help. For blogs, static website pages, product landing pages, ebooks and much more, contact us today to discuss your needs.