Writing Content That Converts [The Ultimate Technical Guide]
Content, copy, words, blogs, articles, lists, listicles, pages. These are the driving force of your website. One of the biggest struggles small business owners have isn’t writing content, it’s writing content that converts. The practice of writing converting content is more complicated than throwing something at the wall and seeing if it sticks. It’s complex, and we want to give you the ultimate guide on writing content for your website so you never question your writing again.
Writing quality content has to appease the target audience as well as search engines. Neglecting to cater to these two will result in the same outcome: no visibility on search engines. Have no fear… your ultimate guide to writing amazing website content is here.
Write quality headlines/headers
What does it mean to write a quality headline? Your approach should change depending on what kind of page the headline is for. Different types of pages include landing pages, blogs, articles, services pages, etc. Let’s take a look at each of these.
Writing headlines for landing pages
When writing headlines for landing pages or service pages, you want to write with the end goal in mind. You should consider the target audience’s needs and desires and write according to that. Your landing page headline (H1) should clearly state what the page is about while catering to the needs of the reader.
If your H1 header is the name of your company, readers and search engines will have no idea what the page is about. Thus, resulting in a higher bounce rate (peace out), or search engines will simply opt to not show your page in relevant searches.
Your headline should be also comprehensive without being too long. It should also be succinct without being too short. I know, I know… what does that even mean? Ambiguity is the enemy. Let’s give an example.
But first, before writing your headline you should conduct keyword research. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to write your headlines.
Let’s say you’re writing a landing page headline for divorce lawyer services in Seattle, WA.
A bad example of a headline would be “Divorce”. A good example would be “Top Divorce Lawyer Services in Seattle”. The headline explains the page’s content, uses geo-keywords to help with local SEO, and is attention-grabbing enough to be worth a read or click.
You can also experiment with headlines. Another good example of a headline would be “Seattle Divorce Law Made Easy”. It explains the content of the page, appeals to the reader’s desire for a smooth experience, and includes geo-keywords for local SEO. The possibilities are endless. Just be sure to stick to the main points:
- Explain the content of the page (relevance)
- Appeal to the needs/wants of the reader (attention-grabbing)
- Cater to search engines with keyword research (SEO)
This is called “optimizing headers”. Your H1 should always follow these guidelines. While your H2, H3, etc, can all have a little more freedom. But should still follow a similar approach.
Note: You should never have more than one H1 on a page. This will confuse search engines and can result in a lower SEO health score.
Writing headlines for blogs and articles
You should approach writing headlines for blogs and articles in a similar way as landing pages but with a dash of fun. When writing your H1 for your blog (the main title of the page) you should try to be as attention-grabbing as possible without being clickbait-y.
We’re going to use this example from Search Engine Journal: “6 Major Changes to Content Marketing in 2022”. So what makes this a good headline?
It explains the content of the page, it makes you want to read more by using the words “major changes”, it uses urgency, and it caters to search engines by being clear about the topic “Content Marketing in 2022”. They really hit every mark on that one.
Optimize meta titles and meta descriptions
Meta titles hold a lot of weight for ranking your content on search engines. Meta titles are the titles you see as blue links on Google’s search engine results page (SERP). This title doesn’t have to be different than your headline H1.
The meta description appears below your meta title on the Google results page and doesn’t affect your ranking. Both act as an opportunity to promote your content in a short format. Here you should do your best to follow best practices, as well as convince readers why they should click your link.
How to optimize meta titles and meta descriptions
Rule #1 Write a unique title and description for every webpage. Duplicates are a big no-no in terms of SEO, and it’s crucial to evaluate your site’s on-page SEO with a free tool like Screaming Frog. This will give you a bird’s eye view of your entire website’s on-page SEO.
Rule #2: Write within the allotted character limit. The limit range for meta descriptions is 135 to 160 characters.
Rule #3: Include a call to action. Without a call to action, you’re missing an opportunity to guide your customer towards taking those important actions on your site (click, call, purchase, etc). The goal is to try and funnel your customer through the journey you want them to take (the customer journey).
Rule #4: Use the target keyword we researched at the beginning of this post. Using the target keyword in the title is essential for resonating with the reader and catering to the search engines.
Rule #5: Sell the reader on why they need to click your ad. If you manage to appear on the first page of Google SERP, you’ve got 9 links you’re in competition with. Not to mention, the likelihood of getting a click decreases exponentially for each position below the #1 spot. So positioning yourself as the authority in your field, or emphasizing reasons they should click your link is your best course of action.
Rule #6: Include your company name. Including your company name in your meta title (if appropriate) will help encourage brand awareness and recognition. If you’re an established brand, this could also help increase your overall click-through rate (CTR) because people know you. If your brand is more obscure, putting your company name in the title is still of some benefit. It can help people distinguish you from the competition and increase your notoriety.
Include your focus keywords in the content
It’s important to use your focus keywords in your content for several reasons. First, it tells search engines what you’re writing about. Without doing keyword research and using those keywords in your content, search engines will have trouble understanding the intent of what you’re writing.
Second, using your focus keywords in your content helps the reader understand the subject matter better. If your page is about German Shepherd dogs, but you never mention that anywhere in the content, you’re going to leave many readers very confused.
Include internal & outbound links when appropriate
Internal links are links to related content on your website. This encourages readers to explore your other content and spend more time on your site. Which is something every website owner wants.
Internally linking also acts as a show of confidence to search engines to your other content. It helps increase Page Authority (PA) which is ANOTHER ranking factor (no, it never ends). You should always internally link to your content with relevant anchor text. This helps search engines understand what your pages are about.
Outbound links are (you guessed it) another ranking factor since Google’s Panda Update. These types of links are links on your website that lead to another website. Linking to other sources helps show the depth of the topic being discussed.
They can also add value to the conversation when relevant to the discussion. If that wasn’t enough, outbound links help your readers verify your claims. Positioning you as a trustworthy source of information.
Outbound links aren’t always appropriate or necessary, though. Especially on service pages for your small business. So don’t freak out if you can’t find a good use for them on every page of your website. More often than not you’ll find outbound links being used in articles and blogs where attribution is just the standard.
Build backlinks to your content
Backlinks are perhaps one of the most important elements of SEO. Links from other websites leading to yours are called Backlinks. This type of link is a ranking factor and tells search engines that your content is viewed as valuable by others.
The more backlinks you have from other sites, the more likely you are to rank for certain keywords. Without them, ranking for keywords for higher keyword difficulty will be an impossible feat
Building backlinks is no easy task and is considered an advanced SEO skill. There are endless ways to build them and earn them. If your business requires ranking for higher-difficulty keywords, you may want to consider backlink-building services. For help building backlinks for your website, you can contact us to learn more.
Implement schema markup & structured data
Schema markup is a term that refers to structured data (stay with me) that helps search engines read your website. It sounds extremely boring and pointless at first listen. But it’s quickly become one of the easiest ways to appear at the top of the search results. If you’re not using this feature, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to rank.
Some different types of schema markup are:
- Knowledge Panels
- Local Business
- Top Stories
- Featured Snippets
- People Also Ask
- and FAQ
In the photo example here, SEMRush has utilized the Featured Snippet. The query: “what is schema markup”. The answer appears in an easily digestible format at the top of the search results. Advertisements will always appear first before anything else.
Depending on your skill level, utilizing schema should be relatively easy. If you’re interested in using this feature on your website but not sure where to start you can contact us for more help.
Put the important content at the top
Organizing your content in this fashion has been referred to as “The Pyramid Method”. This involves putting the most newsworthy info at the top of your page. Followed by important details and other related information.
This method of writing is totally optional. But it can help encourage readers to stay on your page and continue reading. It can also help readers digest your content in a way that just makes sense. For those who are skimmers, this also helps them get the information they want without scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page.
Simplify your writing
Not everyone is going to be an expert on the topic you’re writing about. Excluding when writing a research paper, you should simplify things as much as possible.
It’s important to:
- break up your paragraphs into easily digestible chunks.
- Use short sentences
- Avoid fancy words (indubitably).
- Don’t use industry slang. Instead, use common alternatives everyone will understand.
It’s already been confirmed by Google’s John Mueller that writing more words for a page, blog, or article doesn’t result in higher rankings. But time and time again pages with higher word count seem to rank better on search engines.
So how many words are recommended for a page or blog? Industry experts usually recommend somewhere around 1500-2500 words. However, not every blog or page needs to be this long in order to rank.
It’s speculated that more comprehensive posts and pages rank better because they provide a better experience for the reader. They also help to keep the reader reading and engaged with the content, resulting in lower bounce rates. Low bounce rates are a signal to Google that your content is of quality.
Another possible reason posts with a longer word count tend to rank higher is the fact that they receive more backlinks. When you have a quality piece of content that explains a subject in-depth, people tend to share that content around. The natural result of this is more websites linking to your page.
Look for inspiration from the competition
The best way to find inspiration for writing content for the web is through competitor research. Researching your competitors can be a great way to get inside the head of your target audience and see what kind of content they want to read.
You can research content on your specific topic by Googling companies in your industry and seeing what kind of content they are writing. Remember NEVER to plagiarize. Instead, you can use competing websites as a jumping-off point for new ideas, or make your content better than theirs.
Did they forget an important piece of the conversation? Is their content good but needs to be expanded upon? There’s nothing wrong with taking a subject and doing it better than them.
If you take your content writing seriously, you can get a paid tool like Ahrefs’ content explorer for competitor research. Simply enter your competitor’s domain into the “Domain Overview” tool and let Ahrefs work its magic.
You’ll get a full breakdown of their website including:
- Referring domains
- Keyword rankings
- And Top Pages, to name a few…
From here you’ll want to look at two things. First, you’ll want to look at their “Top Pages”. Here you can see their pages with the most monthly traffic. You can even filter by URL and add a value such as “blog” and see their top-performing blogs. This should give you a pretty good idea of which content is working for them and what direction you’ll want to go.
Next, you’ll want to look at their “Backlinks”. Here you can filter their content by the number of backlinks per page. This is another metric that can help you identify quality content that other websites love to backlink to. More backlinks = better content.
Check your spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors
If you want your readers to take you seriously you should be constantly checking your writing for errors. Personally, I like to use Grammarly. Grammarly scans the text on your screen for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. It’s really a no-brainer.
Include visual page elements
If you write a ton of text without adding any fun visuals in it, it’s just not as engaging. There’s a lot you can add to your content to keep your audience engaged besides copy. Try adding some of these to your content and you’ll see your bounce rate decrease and “average time spent on page” increase. Some examples are:
You may not know this, but you can’t just use any photo on the internet as content on your site. Produce your own images, get a license to use a picture, or use license-free images. Pexels is a great resource for creative commons images.
Keep your goals in mind while writing
When writing content for the web (especially in-depth content) it can be easy to get off-topic and forget your goals. Ultimately, your goals should look something like this:
- Educate your audience and provide value
- Persuade your audience to take important website actions
- Drive conversions or website actions
- Calls, purchases, signups, appointments, form submissions
You can help achieve these goals by including calls to action (CTA’s) that lead to lead magnets. Some of our favorite lead magnets are:
- Ebook on how to achieve “x”
- Free audit / free estimate
- Case studies
You should always be trying to achieve these goals with the help of these tools. We recommend using these lead magnets to grow your email list. Writing in combination with email marketing is a great way to achieve your business goals.
Don’t be repetitive
In an attempt to avoid keyword cannibalization and frustrating your reader with the same information over and over, avoid this mistake. Repetition has its place. But failing to analyze your writing and correct for repetition is a problem.
A good rule of thumb: try to dedicate only one page to certain keywords, intent, and topics. If you use the same keywords and intent on multiple pages, this can result in keyword cannibalization. This will cause your web pages to compete with one another, effectively ruining your overall organic performance.
Don’t have duplicate content anywhere
Speaking of repetition, duplicate content is another mistake a lot of website owners make. Search engines see duplicate content as a negative ranking factor. So what is duplicate content and how do you avoid it?
With the exception of your H1 and meta title which can be the same, writing the same thing in multiple places on your website is duplicate content. Duplicate content should be avoided in the following areas:
- Headers/headlines (H1, H2, H3, etc)
- Meta titles
- Meta descriptions
- Bodies of content
Never copy and paste your content in multiple places on your website. If you have done this, don’t stress out. Simply use a tool like Screaming Frog or Ahrefs to scan for duplicate content and write something unique for every page.
Avoid being overly self-serving
At the end of the day, we’re all trying to grow our business. There’s no shame in that. But your content should always focus on solving customer problems and providing value. When you stray away from these principles and everything becomes an opportunity to sell yourself or your services, you’ve forgotten the purpose of writing content.
Return at a later date to make updates
You might find that after publishing your content, sometimes it doesn’t get the online visibility you were hoping for. It’s important to revisit your content at a later date and make updates. This would include:
- Testing new headlines
- Testing new meta titles
- Running new keyword research to find new opportunities
- Updating out of date information
Get more help with your content marketing
If you write a lot of your own website content you can use the above tips to become a content marketing expert and a technical master at your craft. Using these tips can help your content rank in search engines, convert readers into sales, generate leads, and build notoriety.
If you’re a business owner who likes the ideas in this article but doesn’t have time to implement each of them, consider working with us at CG Marketing Group. We provide expert digital marketing services, print marketing, and promotional products. Click below to get your FREE Digital Marketing Audit and Proposal today and start to change your website for the better.