16 Tips To Write User Friendly Content That Ranks High On Search Engines
In the previous chapter – “7 – Step Method For Generating Website Content”, we learned how to collect information for our website and a high-level understanding of writing content. In this blog post, you will find all the tips to write user friendly content that ranks high on Google and other search engines.
The goal of this chapter is to teach you to write content that website visitors love and get hooked on to your site. Keep this on top of your mind – If your users are happy with the content, so is the search engine. The key is quality content.
Tips To Write User Friendly Content
- Tip #1: Write Fresh, Unique and Updated Content
- Tip #2: Give Information As Quick As Possible
- Tip #3: Write Content In A User Connecting Tone
- Tip #4: Choose Wording(s) In A User Connecting Style
- Tip #5: Make Your Content More Educative And Less Promotional
- Tip #6: Make Your Content Grammatically Free From Errors
- Tip #7: Break Down Bigger Paragraphs Into Smaller Chunks
- Tip #8: Use Bullets In Your Content
- Tip #9: Use Words That Are Common In Usage
- Tip #10: Use Font Size That Is Pleasant To Reader’s Eyes
- Tip #11: Use Appealing And Readable Background & Text Colours
- Tip #12: Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
- Tip #13: Make Your Webpages Printable
- Tip #14: Enrich Your Content Through Engaging Objects
- Tip #15: Allow Users To Generate Content On Your Website
- Tip #16: Have Powerful Call-To-Actions
Understand the fact that, you are not the first to write content on a specific niche. There are hundreds of thousands of people who have written it much before you have even thought about it. Why should readers choose yours over others?
Yes, the answer is “Fresh, Unique and Updated Content” that is missing in others’.
For example, if you are writing a blog post on “10 Recommended Foods For Fast Weight Loss”, apart from naming those ten recommended foods, why don’t you educate your readers on the science involved behind weight loss. Or you can educate them on the difference between fat loss and muscle loss – a bonus for reading your blog post.
The key is to avoid mixing up the topics. First focus on your main topic – “10 Recommended Foods For Fat Weight Loss” and later in the post, you can add a sub-title or a separate heading that says – “Do you the know the science behind weight loss” or “Do you know weight loss is not equal to fat loss” or with a more catchy headline.
This extra information is what sets you apart from the rest of the crowd. You will be trusted as an expert in your field and visitors return to your website for more information. Also, they would refer your site to friends/family.
People land on your website to look for information that can quickly help solve their problem(s). Give your website visitors the content they are looking for as quickly as possible without having them to dig deep into your site.
In case your website contains thousands of pages of information, give website visitors an informed way to reach to the page that they are looking for, through easy to navigate and self-explanatory anchor text or tabs. The best way to do this – is to implement a sophisticated “site search” option into your website that returns links to the desired pages. (Think of amazon.com )
In the event of not getting the required information right up on the website will instigate users to click on the back button of their browser leading to increased website bounce rate. This is a negative signal to search engines about your website.
Also, several kinds of research have confirmed that website visitors who had a negative user experience will never return to your website again.
The ‘tone’ is expressed by your use of syntax, your point of view, your diction, and the level of formality in your writing. Your website content should be written in a tone that matches with your audience type. Single tone does not fit all. To get your visitors hooked to your website for a long duration, get your tone right for the intended audience.
Let us consider a few examples:
- If your website sells T-Shirts for college going graduates, the tone of the website content can be ‘humorous’ or ‘joyful’.These tones in writing focus on the positive emotions that are experienced in the moment of an action – in this case by wearing your T-Shirt.
- If your website sells online courses, the tone of the website content can be ‘Formal’ and ‘Serious’. These tones are often used for an academic standpoint requiring the more structured form in writing and presenting more facts than opinions. It also encourages readers to focus on the content as the concepts being offered are important.
For a more detailed understanding of tones visit the website: 9 Types Of Tones In Writing
IMPORTANT NOTE: A mismatch in tone and audience type can leave away with more unhappy website visitors
The words that inspire a male customer is totally different from a female customer. The words that impress a hard-core technology person is totally different from those that impress an experienced administrative person. The words that attract a college student is not the same as the words that attract a working professional. The words understood by a common man is totally different by those understood by industry insiders (For example, the word(s) ‘Xerox machine’ for a common man is ‘photocopier’ for an industry insider).
Therefore, choose words that inspire, attracts and impresses your customer segment.
For example, for an adventure sports company, the website should focus on words such as adventure, trips, solo driving, muddie, daring, risky, late night, dark forest etc. so that it arouses interests in the adventure.
The words you use to form sentences as part of your website content should drive strong emotions within website visitors to try out your adventure holidays and sports.
Sooner, or later, the end goal of every website is ‘conversion’ (getting visitors to make a purchase). Do not fill your website with promotional content urging visitors to make a purchase. This does more bad than good – lose long term customers.
Instead, write content that is more educative, informative and seems less promotional. Your website content should make visitors realize the benefits of your product/service and how it could solve their current problem. Do not sound too pushy. Let your visitors decide on the purchase.
Understand – Quality content that is educative and informative will drive visitors to become your long term paying customers. Amazon.com understands this very well and that is the reason they have a customer review section on every product page. Their formula is – Let visitors decide whether to purchase or not.
Having grammatical errors in your website content indicates to your potential customers that your company is sloppy or simply unreliable. As a result, you lose your reputation and trust.
Many research and studies have shown that having just a single spelling mistake on a website can decrease a company’s online sales by half. It means, in place of 100 sales, you will achieve only 50.
It is wise and worth the effort to proofread your website content thoroughly (either manually or using tools) before publishing.
Bigger paragraphs of more than five sentences is a bad style of presenting written content. Readers might find it as too much information to manage at one go. The best-written article or text content gives readers a break or pause to digest a small piece of information, then move on to the next – in the form of short paragraphs.
Paragraphs are so important in writing, that it indicates readers where to stop, analyze and digest a given piece of content and then move to the next. This brings in a sense of enjoyment in readers. Paragraphs give structure to a piece of writing. They are a way to organize your thoughts and to give clarity to your ideas.
A paragraph should contain a max of five sentences and a minimum of 3 sentences depending on your content. Readers need planned pauses or breaks when reading long articles or papers in order to understand the presented ideas.
Since paragraphs are used to explain your ideas in stages, it is a best practice to express one or two ideas related to a particular topic in each paragraph. Trying to explain too much within a paragraph can leave your reader confused and your argument will be diluted.
Content with bullet points has a better chance of being read by your visitors. Website visitors decide to get engaged with a particular content by just skimming through the bullet point content. Having bullet points on your content helps in the following ways:
- A nice written bullet point can become an anchor to get your visitors to engage with the rest of the content.
- Bullet points make it simple to read what you have written.
- Bullet points make finding important information a gust.
- From an SEO point of view, search engines add more weight to content with bullet points. On the contrary, Beware! Filling your page with bullet point lists will weaken their impact on readers and the purpose is negated.
- From a writer’s perspective, it makes writing more easier.
Unless you are preparing a legal document or writing papers for submitting a Ph.D. thesis, it is not advisable to use words, that are uncommon in an individual’s regular speech. Reader’s find it irritating to use an online dictionary in an adjacent tab in order to understand your content. They will better prefer moving on to somewhere else to find the information required, that is presented in a simple, up to the point, yet understandable format.
Avoid this: “Mr.Jaques is an opulent and brawny person”
Use this instead: “Mr.Jaques is a rich and physically strong person”
One of the factors that contribute to an effective reading experience is the “Font Size”. The actual font size that fits all readers is always debatable. With the rise in content consumption on different types of mobile devices, it has become even more challenging to decide on a particular font size that is appropriate for all readers.
But, for sure, too small a font size or too big a font size is definitely a bad practice. As a website owner, it is your duty to research on an acceptable font size that fits best for the maximum of your readers.
The best way to finalize on your font size is to choose between industry accepted font size – which is somewhere between 12 pixels to 16 pixels, and create a poll among your target audience (say 20 people) and leave it to them to choose one.
I found the below two articles interesting on font sizes.
- 16 Pixels Font Size: For Body Copy. Anything Less Is A Costly Mistake
- What’s the best font size for the web?
Apart from the size of the font, a reader’s experience also depends on the color combinations used on your website. Though color combination is an important element for a successful website design, it is one of the most overlooked aspects.
Several kinds of research have identified the fact that almost 60 – 70 percent of a website’s acceptance or rejection by its readers depend on the color combination. A good color combination on the website establishes an unseen deep emotion within the reader’s mind making the person stay longer on the site.
For a successful color combination for your website, you got to start from your audience. There is no one color fits all policy. The color combination that looks attractive for a teenage reader may not be impressive for a mid-aged working professional. That is the reason, you got to choose your colors carefully based on who your target customers are.
A simple google search for “Colours And Their Psychology” will yield many standard results which can be used as a base for your website color selection.
Coming to the colors of the text, the industry standard is always black. And it appeals to people of all ages. Make sure, whatever color combination you choose, the text is visible for the readers. Avoid color combination such as “Light Colours on a White Background” – for example – yellow text on a white background is a bad idea.
Do not forget to cross verify your finalized color with your target audience. A poll among your target audience (say 20 people) would reveal many interesting facts.
Approximately, 75% of all the internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Google has confirmed that mobile friendliness is one of the major factors that it considers to rank the website higher on search engine result pages.
The looks and functioning of the website on the mobile should be as easy and pleasant for the user as it is on the desktop. To know how to make your website mobile friendly, you must read this chapter on – 10 Tips To Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
If your content is of high quality, or, in simple words, if readers find your content very much informative and educative, they tend to have a printed version of it. The problem with most of the websites is – the webpages are not printable – or – too often sections of text and images gets cut off when printed. In certain cases, printing a content filled webpage results in a plain white sheet coming out of the printer.
If you wish to add more pleasure to your reader’s overall website experience, you need to make your webpages apt for printing. Few tips to make your webpages printer friendly is:
- Create a separate HTML page for printing
- Cut out content that need not be part of the actual text like ads, irrelevant headers, and footers, menus.
- Make sure the images part of the main content is inlined within the print area
- Use fonts that are universally supported on all computers, so that printing is not affected
- Testing your webpages with several different printers can help you organize webpages in a much better manner
- Create two CSS (cascading style sheet) files – one to view pages on the desktop and the other while sending your page for printing.
Engaging objects could be images, videos, audios or anything other than text content.
Engaging objects in conjunction with the text will make your website content more interesting. Engaging objects will play a supporting role to the text content in order to emphasize the topic being discussed.
For example, if your website content is talking about – “10 dangerous side effects of smoking”, adding images of various body organs being damaged, along with the text content will help readers relate to the topic being discussed in a more realistic manner, thus enhancing user experience. The effectiveness of the topic being discussed is improved with images.
Similarly, if your website or webpage is talking about the recipe to prepare a chicken burger at home, adding a supporting video will make your readers stick on to the site for long. This sends a positive signal to the search engines about your website content which helps in search engine rankings.
Allowing users to generate content on your website helps in two ways:
- As search engines like fresh and updated content, the purpose is being served by your customers – Your website is always updated with fresh content. This is from an SEO standpoint.
- Users start engaging with your website – as a result, your brand is more likely to stay on your reader’s mind. Users are more likely to share your website and brand names with their family and friends. This is from a branding perspective as well as the SEO perspective.
Content can range from – allowing customers to write product reviews( think of Amazon.com), answer questions posted by website users (think of Quora.com) or writing blogs on your site (think of Medium.com).
A Word Of Caution: When allowing users to generate content, as a webmaster you should have control over the content being published. You should not allow content that can diminish your brand image.
Text and engaging objects are one part of the story. But, the content writing strategy is not complete until users convert. Conversion depends on the nature of your business niche. It could be simple newsletter signup, contact form submission, clicking on an interesting hyperlink, adding items to cart or making a purchase. All these are called Call-To-Actions (Allowing website visitors to take some actions that leads to conversions).
“Call-To-Actions” and “Content” go hand in hand. It makes no sense having one without the other. “Quality content” leads to “call-to-action” by website visitors. On the flip side, “Quality content” without “call-to-action” is a missed opportunity.
The placement of “Call-To-Actions” on your website or webpage should be strategically planned based on your business requirements without comprising on the user experience.
Congratulations! You are done with the seventeenth chapter on “16 Tips To Write User Friendly Content That Ranks High On Search Engines”. Hope you enjoyed the reading.
All the best for your next chapter on “Understanding Structured Data In SEO – A Beginners Guide”. In the next chapter, you will learn how structured data has increasingly become more important for ranking your websites high in search engine results. Also, learn how to generate structured data and increase the click-through rate to your website/webpages.
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Subhash.K.U is a Professional Programmer turned Digital Marketing Enthusiast. He is the most sought marketing consultants for small and medium scale businesses. He founded Subhash Digital Academy to teach professional digital marketing skills to students, entrepreneurs, and working professionals. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is an Oracle Certified Programmer. He also holds certificates of Google AdWords, Facebook Blueprint and Hubspot Marketing. He is the co-author of the best selling book – Cracking The C, C++ and Java Interview published by McGraw Hill. He is now penning another book on the subject of marketing and entrepreneurship.