A lot of small businesses see their website as a kind of digital billboard. A place to advertise their wares and hopefully get the visitor to pick up the phone or hit that ‘add to cart’ button. 

The problem with this approach is that if you’re not offering valuable information on your site, search engines aren’t going to point potential customers your way. And if no-one ever makes it to your website, there’s not much point in having one, is there? 

So what should you do? Throw your hands in the air and give up any hope of competing with the bigger fish? Of course not. Apply these simple rules, and you’ll find out for yourself how great content can… 

  • Boost your SEO
  • Grow you web traffic
  • Generate leads, and
  • Grow your brand’s reputation 

7 rules for writing more effective content 

1. Aim to educate, not sell

When you type a question into Google, they don’t send you to a company that makes a product vaguely related to your search. They send you to the websites most likely to answer the question you asked. 

If you always keep this in mind when writing content for your site, whether it’s your homepage or a compelling blog post, you’re greatly increasing the chances that page will rank for the questions your potential customers are asking. And if you answered their question, you’ve already established trust and increased your chances of making a sale too. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t have any salesy content on the page, just save it for the end after you’ve provided content that offers genuine value. Check out our post on how to write the perfect call to action for tips on getting this right.  

2. Offer something different

Another way to help your content stand out is to offer something no-one else is. That could mean putting together an eye-catching and highly shareable infographic, giving a different take on an issue, compiling a step-by-step tutorial, or simply going into more detail than your competitors. 

This kind of content is especially good for your SEO, as its unique appeal makes it more likely other sites will link back to you as a resource. Search engines see this is a key indicator that your content offers real value.   

3. Keep the reader engaged

Even if your subject matter is a little bland, there are ways to hold the reader’s attention. Just using the word ‘you’ can help keep their focus! Other good techniques include asking questions which make them think and relating to their own experiences through real-world examples.  

4. Be original

Never steal content from other sites. Apart from being very uncool, plagiarism is a pretty reliable way to get your site punished by search engines. 

 5. Make content scannable and easily readable

When confronted with a lengthy piece of content, people tend to skim down the page and get a feel for whether it’s going to be useful to them or not. That’s why having just one big block of text is never a good idea. Break up your content with headings and subheadings, bullet points and numbered lists, and relevant images where it’s logical to do so. 

6. Back up any claims you make 

Linking to your sources when giving stats, facts or figures is good for two reasons. It makes you seem more credible to the reader, and it’s also good for SEO. Including external links in your content shows search engines you’re genuinely interested in helping the visitor find the information they’re looking for, not just promoting your own services.   

7. Write for people first, search engines second

There’s a huge difference between investing in some keyword research to understand your audience and sprinkling those terms in your content where it makes sense to do so, and stuffing your content full of keywords and phrases whether they’re relevant to what you’re talking about or not. 

Another crucial point to remember is that even today, after trillions and trillions of them, 15% of Google searches are queries that have never been searched for before. That’s pretty mind-blowing. It also means that putting yourself in your audience’s shoes and anticipating the questions they want answering may do more for your SEO than just relying on the same keywords your competitors are using.

Need a little help getting it right? Hunter & Scribe offers expert small business marketing assistance in Australia, with effective content writing a speciality. Get in touch.