Are you making these 5 mistakes with your website content?

01 June 2017

You could have the prettiest and most expensive website in the world but if your website content is ‘broken’ then unfortunately so is your website.

Thankfully getting your content back on track is easier than you might think and starts with you taking steps to avoid the most common content mistakes below.

1. Only talking about yourself

If you were in need of roofing repairs and visited the website of a roofing specialist, which of these openers is more likely to sway you into getting in touch?

Need a Farnborough roofer in a hurry?
If you need help with your roof then you’ve come to the right place. We offer free quotes and affordable prices. Call us today on 0800 123 123 to arrange for one of our friendly roofers to visit you at a convenient time.

Or:

Farnborough roofing in Hampshire
Our dedicated team of Farnborough roofers are the best in the business. With over 50 years of expert knowledge between us, we can guarantee that our high quality work will be unrivalled in the local area of Farnborough. Steer clear of those cowboy roofers and stick with the people that know roofing the best.

The first example speaks directly to the customer, identifies the issue and offers up the solution. It even recognises that the issue may be time critical and offers a quick and convenient way to get in touch.

The second example I lost interest in after the first sentence. How far did you get?

A real world example:

Imagine the same scenario in a restaurant whilst waiting to be seated.

Would you be happy if the waiter launched into a long speech about how many NVQ’s the chef has? Or if he whisked you away on an involuntary tour of the building whilst your belly was still rumbling?

Of course not. This is why it makes good sense to show the same courtesy to your website visitors with your website content.

Mistakes to avoid with your website content

2. Writing for search engines

Content written for search engines is often keyword stuffed, heavily bolded and written in a forced and unnatural way like this:

Farnborough Roofing
Farnborough Roofing
& Co caters to Farnborough, Aldershot, Camberley and the surrounding areas such as Farnham, Ascot and Blackwater. So if you find yourself needing roofing assistance in Farnborough, Aldershot or Camberley then you can rely on the expert services of a Farnborough roofer.

This kind of content offers a poor experience to readers – resulting in less time spent on the page, fewer clicks and decreased interest in whatever the website is trying to sell / promote.

Thankfully, Google does take steps to filter out keyword stuffed / low quality content like this, but it doesn’t always get it right and people can still get away with decent rankings as a result.

Those days are numbered though thanks to machine learning from Google which aims to mimic how humans navigate websites and read content.

So if Google’s ultimate goal is to make search engines ‘see’ the web like humans do, why not write your content for humans to begin with?

3. Not having a call to action

Imagine for a moment that you are an estate agent (I know, I know) and you are showing a potential buyer around a house.

You could spend hours explaining all the awesome features, but ultimately the sale of the house revolves around asking the question – would they like to make an offer?

The same example applies to your website content

Rather than relying on your website visitors to know what to do next, you need to nudge them in the right direction for the best chance of a positive result.

So if you’ve just welcomed visitors to your homepage why not tell them where to go next? If you have a whole page dedicated to your new awesome product, why not tell people how to buy it?

It may seem unimportant or even condensing to tell people what to do next, but content with a call to action is consistently proven to perform better than content without – see the stats for yourself.

How to make the most of your website content

4. Not writing enough

Google needs to understand the purpose of each page of your website so that it can match those pages with the keywords people are searching for.  

It does this by looking for unique words and phrases within the text on your page to determine the overall topic / purpose of that page.

But…..

Google doesn’t just read the text you’ve written, it also looks at all the other text on the page.

This includes text already present on the page, such as text in the header, main menu and footer plus any text beneath the surface of the page, such as image file names and image descriptions.

This presents two potential issues:

  1. If you’ve only written 50 words of text on the page, but the existing text on the page totals 300 words, you run the risk of your 50 words not being enough to establish the point / topic of the page.

  2. Additionally, since most pages on a website tend to have a similar layout, this means that the same 300 words of existing text will be repeated on all pages with the same layout – and having only 50 words of unique text on these pages may not be enough to differentiate one page from the next, making them look like duplicates.

The risk of duplicate content

If you have two or more pages on your website that appear to be very similar to each other in terms of content then you run the risk of them being flagged as duplicate pages.

This doesn’t mean you will be punished, it just means that Google will only display one of those pages in search results and the rest will be ignored.

So if you had a business website with 5 pages, each talking about a different service, you run the risk of only one of those service pages appearing on Google and the rest being ignored.

The risk of thin content penalties

Pages with less than 300 words of unique content are generally considered to be thin content pages and receive lower rankings from Google as a result. If you’ve heard of Google’s Panda algorithm then this is exactly the kind of thing that Panda is looking for.

5. Low quality content

You don’t have to be an award winning writer to produce content that ranks well. You just need to be able to write content that is pleasant enough to read and hopefully error free. This includes:

Sticking to ‘one thought per paragraph’

Have you ever spoken to someone that jumps from topic to topic without giving you a moment to respond? It’s frustrating and normally results in you losing interest in what they have to say.

The same is true if you write a large block of text that tackles different subjects. The brain just tends to drift off without actually absorbing what’s being said.

Breaking apart your content into smaller bitesize ‘thoughts’ gives the reader a natural moment to breathe and absorb the information at a pace they are comfortable with.

Additionally, smaller passages of text tend to be easier to read on mobile devices, helping you to future proof your content in a world that’s going increasingly mobile.

optimise your content for mobile devices

Making sure there are no spelling mistakes / typos in your NAP

Everyone makes spelling mistakes – I’m the kinge of it…

Thankfully you won’t get punished or penalised by Google for a spelling mistake on one of your pages – unless of course they are literally riddled with them.

Spelling mistakes are more of a worry in situations when you misspell your brand name, phone number or physical / web address.

These details are known as your NAP (name address and phone number) and having a consistent NAP across the internet contributes positively to your SEO.

Fixing broken links within your content

Broken links are web links within your content that point to a website or page that no longer exist. They can also be links that you have mistyped.

Overall, broken links offer a poor experience to visitors – potentially causing them to lose confidence in your content and leave.

The general attitude of search engines towards content with broken links is, if you aren’t taking good care of your content and keeping it accurate, what use is it to anyone?

If you are concerned about broken links within your content you can either check them manually or use a tool like dead link checker to highlight them for you.

Then it’s simply a case of correcting the mistyped link or re-pointing at an alternative web page instead.

So what is the takeaway here?

You can invest in the best possible design, SEO, marketing and advertising for your website, but ultimately getting your content right is what matters the most.

Don’t cut corners by relying on cheap content writing services from websites like Fiverr or help from the mate of your uncle’s best friend’s cousin’s auntie to get it done.

It really is worth taking the time to write your content well, even if it means brushing up on your grammar or teaching yourself the basics of writing for the web.

There are even examples out there of basic websites outperforming the websites of big name brands simply because the owner of basic website wrote their content more passionately.

You should care the most about your business, which means that you are automatically the most qualified person to write about it.

I hope this advice has been useful and look forward to any questions or comments you may have.

Tagged with:

  • Content
  • Content Marketing
  • Content Writing
  • Local SEO
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • SEO
  • Website Content
Author -
SEO Manager Thomson Local

Rob has a decade of experience in SEO, Copywriting and Digital Marketing. He enjoys creative writing having previously written a humorous short book about life in retail as well as several film scripts. Like any self-respecting blogger he has a love of cats and enjoys a nice cup of tea. You can find out more about Rob via his LinkedIn and Writing Portfolio.

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