Prepare for recovery in 2020 by optimising your website content

Wednesday, 3 June 2020  |  Posted in: Most Recent, News  |  7min read

Websites live and die by their content. Even the best designed and most functional website will struggle for users if the content is not optimised in a way that promotes user interaction and engagement. This became quickly evident during the Coronavirus pandemic as whole societies went into self-isolation and we all began to rely on the internet to an extent we have not had to before to shop, socialise and keep ourselves informed.

Businesses that best understood the role and importance of the content on their websites were the best prepared for this mass migration to digital and made the most of short-term opportunities.

Optimising your website content helps to make your website more ‘discoverable’ in search engines and ‘stickier’ for your users so it is worth taking the time to explore your existing content and look for optimisation opportunities. Here are three recommendations for optimising your content and getting it ready for the road to post-Coronavirus recovery.

 

Answer questions your audience is searching for

One of the main reasons people head to Google is because they need an answer to a question, this presents a great opportunity to optimise your content.

We recommend reviewing your Google Search Console, which collects every single search that you appear in, and find out what people are looking for when they find you. Once you know what searches are driving inbound traffic then you can optimise the user experience around those searches, making sure you answer the user questions with your content. If you can provide a good response then the value and importance of your content will be reinforced as more traffic gets pushed your way.

Another way to use questions as the basis for optimising content is to consider what questions you want a particular page to answer and then optimise around that. Sometimes this will be straightforward, Your ‘About Us’ page should answer the questions around who you are and what you stand for, but pages like your product pages are more nuanced and likely address more questions like:

  • What does this do?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Is it available in other colours?

As countries like Australia begin to lay a path to recovery your audience will emerge with new questions about your organisation and how this pandemic has changed it. What structural changes have been made to the business to help prepare for the next crisis? How have your products and services changed? What have you put in place during the pandemic that will now remain?

Taking the time now to think about what questions are likely to be asked and what parts of your website are best suited to respond to them will help in framing your recovery effort, attract new and returning users and make your content more useful and engaging.

When was the last time you checked your website was running optimally?

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Write for humans

Who is your content for? It seems an almost silly question but many websites still write content aimed at appealing to search engines to ‘beat the algorithm’. This dated way of writing content involved several tactics designed to make it easier for Google and other search engines to ‘read’ your website but these tactics often came at the expense of actual humans being able to read and understand your content.

This is a problem many are trying to solve and Google, in particular, is getting much better at what it refers to a ‘natural language processing’. Google’s algorithms don’t just look at keyword density but also at the context of keywords used to determine if the content is a good fit for the user’s search query.

Our advice is to produce content aimed at human users in a way that improves their experience on your site. Write clearly and concisely to make your content easily consumable and then give users the ability to engage with it. Taking this approach increases the ‘stickiness’ of your content while also lifting important optimisation metrics like pages/session and session duration.

As we move into a phase of recovery it is important to consider not only what your users need but also the way you phrase your content. At this time writing for humans means writing with compassion and empathy as this crisis has affected everyone in different ways. Hard-hitting retail content may not be the right approach right now, instead, try delivering information about special offers with compassion as an offer of assistance as while this may not be traditionally SEO optimised it is more likely to resonate with your actual human audience.

 

Distribute and publicise

Optimising your content does not stop once you have finished producing it, you now need to focus on distributing it to the largest possible audience.

Audience size is important as it is used as one indication of value, the more people visiting a piece of content the more valuable it must be. Clearly, it is not really as simple as this, there are a lot more variables factored into a calculation of content value (session duration, page actions etc.), but, it still serves as an approximation.

If, as already recommended, you have written your content to answer real human questions, then you are well on your way to having optimised your content for organic discovery. Posting your content to social media will also expose it to more people who, through their interactions can help it spread further again. Sharing your organisation’s content internally can also help employees and colleagues act as advocates for content, which appears to have a significant positive SEO effect.

Beyond organic performance, you are also able to accelerate your content distribution via various paid channels including social media advertising and boosting or by syndicating your content via third-party providers.

An interesting effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on content distribution and social advertising has been that the cost to enter ad markets has greatly diminished as many advertisers left the auctions due to the inability to continue to provide products and services. Even those that remained saw effects on conversion rates with many reporting that the drop in ad prices had seen increases in both reach and engagement but that conversion had dropped away. This mixture of effects has resulted in a great ad market for brand building as impressions are cheap. If you are looking to drive engagement with your content, now is the time.

 

Optimise the user experience

Producing content for the internet was once the domain of technical writers and SEO gurus who used tactics aimed at leveraging weaknesses in the algorithms of the search engine to get content ranked. These days are past and we are seeing the resurgence of good writing and content production aimed at human audiences and users.

The value of resilient and agile website content was made incredibly clear when the Coronavirus pandemic started to affect businesses and those that were prepared and could mobile content producers quickly were able to respond to the very human a need for information. As we now look to recovery content will need review and to be adapted to providing new information about your business, its products and services.

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