You don’t have to be a web guru to understand when your website isn’t doing you much good. You’re getting few visitors. Or you’re getting lots, but it’s not generating any business. These might be signs it’s time to consult a content writer for SEO.
“Okay, Matt,” you say. “What do you mean by ‘content?’ What’s writing got to do with traffic? And what the heck does SEO stand for?”
Let’s back up a step. I do believe we’ve stumbled on the first sign you could use some help.
1ST SIGN: SEO ISN’T IN YOUR VOCABULARY
SEO stands for search engine optimization. This means giving search engines like Google and Bing the information they need to connect what people are searching for to what you are offering.
Imagine your target audience (customers, clients, donors, etc.) aren’t online. Instead, they’re driving down the road. Your website is like a billboard. What it says needs to connect with what they want.
Here’s the kicker: Search engines are filters that decide what “drivers” see outside the window.
That means you can’t just put up a pretty billboard and expect everyone to see it. You have to be precise enough in your language that search engines understand they should show it to specific people who they think want to see it.
Without SEO, your “billboard” – your website – is practically invisible to your target audience.
2ND SIGN: YOU DON’T THINK IN TERMS OF KEYWORDS
“Why wouldn’t Google understand what I offer?” you ask. “Don’t I say so plainly enough on my site?”
Sure. Google understands that you sell … candles, let’s say. It sees you, candlemaker.
But if 50 other businesses sell candles, and:
- They’ve had their websites longer than you, or
- They post new content more often than you, or
- They have a content writer for SEO that has connected with specific niches,
You’ll be the first candle business listed … on page 6. Few will see you behind all your competitors.
People aren’t just searching for “candles.” They are searching for “Yankee candles” and “wickwood candles” (it’s WoodWick, but they often get it wrong) and “ear candles” and “diamond candles,” and so on.
Maybe your site shows up on the first search engine results page (SERP) for “yankee candles” in your area. But maybe you sell WoodWick candles, too, and you’re on the sixth page for that because you don’t have enough content about that brand on your site.
These are niches. Search engines will first show sites optimized for the niches people are researching.
If you’re not thinking in terms of keywords, your billboard might as well be miles away from the road.
3RD SIGN: YOU’RE NOT SURE WHY WRITING FOR THE WEB IS UNIQUE
Your website can and should contain far more words (thousands, millions even) than a billboard (about seven). But you’re certainly not squeezing them all into an immovable rectangle.
Your website is more like a book full of useful information … but if you are thinking of a website as linear, to be consumed like a book, that doesn’t fit with how people interact with web content.
Your website both kinda is and is not a lot of things:
- Your website is not an advertisement, but it should have home page content that gets people’s attention.
- Your website is not a brochure, but it should have secondary pages with detailed information for people who are considering doing business with you.
- Your website is not a manual, but it should have blog posts for people who want to learn how to do things, or it may have a mini-“manual” – an ebook – available for download.
- Your website is not a sales letter, but it should have at least one persuasive landing page that encourages people to take an additional step.
Writing for the web means incorporating all these types of content and connecting them to each other.
It’s like a … a web, you might say. (Ha ha.) Not much linear about it.
Once you have successfully reached people with your keywords, your website is no longer much like a “billboard.” It’s not just about getting their attention. You have to hold their interest.
In everything you write for the web:
- Be brief. Get straight to the point.
- Make it attractive. Include images, video, etc., and avoid long blocks of text.
- Give them something to do next. Always include a call to action, or link to more content.
For example, this blog post is divided into brief sections and short paragraphs. It has a nice feature image to help communicate the topic.
And am I going to invite you to take a simple action at the end of it?
You bet I am.
4TH SIGN: YOU HAVE NO METHOD FOR PICKING KEYWORDS
Those keywords above didn’t just come out of my head.
- I know that, as of the time of writing, 368,000 people per month are searching for Yankees candles, on average.
- I know ear candling is super popular, to the tune of 60,500 searches per month.
- I know as many people type in “wickwood” by mistake as “wood wick.”
I also know competition is fierce for the core keyword “candle,” but “diamond candles” not so much. If you’re a Diamond Candles distributor, we might want to focus on that niche instead of trying to compete with Yankee Candle, Wikipedia, Amazon, Etsy, etc. for “candle.”
I know this because I use an SEO tool called Serpstat*. Do you need to use it, too? Not necessarily.
A lot of the data Serpstat gathers up is from Google AdWords, whose keyword tool is free to use. I won’t go into the details of what’s different between a paid service and AdWords here. That’s not my main point.
The point is to have a method. Make sure your keywords match what people are searching for, but not so many people that little ol’ you can’t possibly attract them.
*(They’re about to change the pricing structure, so I might be changing!)
5TH SIGN: YOU’RE ONLY THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT FOLKS TO READ
When you don’t shape your content around what people actually search for online, you’re just engaging in wishful thinking.
Look again at that list of keywords above. Your candlemaker persona might be thinking, “Ear candling? I don’t sell those, and I don’t want to write about a procedure to remove ear wax!”
But think about this logically, point by point.
- People who do this believe it will help with earaches, sinus infections and stress and tension, to name a few possible applications.
- Okay, so they’re interested in health and wellness.
- Wait a sec … you sell scented candles. That’s aroma therapy, i.e. health and wellness.
- Might there be a crossover in audiences?
This article about ear candling is on the first SERP for that keyword. It does not recommend doing this procedure. It goes over all the risks.
Then it recommends alternative treatments.
Gosh, what if it wasn’t Healthline writing this article, but you – a candle retailer? What might YOUR recommendations be, eh? Aroma therapies using YOUR candles, of course!
This is why folks like you hire a content writer for SEO. We think about what you don’t want to. What you don’t have time to.
You don’t want to think about what people are searching for, or why. (“Ear candling? Huh?”) You just want people to buy your candles!
6TH SIGN: YOU’RE NOT SURE HOW IT ALL FITS TOGETHER
If you don’t know how your website works or what it’s supposed to do, you need to hire a content writer for SEO.
They will help you do two things.
#1: Write your website content so it makes sense to search engines.
If you don’t make it clear to Google, Bing and other search engines what it is you do, sell, or know, they won’t show your website to people.
You can still show it to people “manually,” of course. You can post links to social media. You can email links to people. You can put it on your business cards.
But without SEO, you’re missing an awful lot of traffic who can’t see your “billboard” from the road.
#2: Write your website content so it is compelling to people.
It’s not enough to get search engines to show your website to people. Once they find you, they need to quickly recognize why they should stick around.
Any good content writer will understand that SEO is only the beginning.
To keep human beings around, you have to provide easy navigation, a clean look, appealing images and artwork … and at the base of it all, the right words that encourage your visitors to do what you want them to: BUY, DONATE, SUBSCRIBE, etc.
Are you showing the signs of needing to hire a content writer for SEO?
If so, click or tap here to contact me. Let’s light up that billboard of yours.
Hey … wondering how all this content marketing stuff fits together? You’re blogging, but you’re not sure about email marketing. Or you have a website that’s doing nothing for you. I’d like to help … for FREE. Hit the button to learn more.