The third article in our SEO & Engagement series
In the past, people would talk about writing content for site visitors and writing content for search engines as if these concepts were diametrically opposed.
More than ever, typical website visitors/readers have less time and attention to expend on gauging immediate interest in your website. Likewise, it behooves you to cut to the chase as much as possible for today’s sophisticated search engine crawlers as they evaluate your site content and assign rankings for search queries.
Here are a few best practices designed to get your messaging noticed, to help ensure your main selling points are understood, and to encourage further engagement.
Lead off with your biggest differentiator.
Your homepage headline and intro messaging needs to establish your unique selling proposition (USP) right off the bat. Get right to the gist of what truly separates your company, service and/or products from the competition — before you get into the granular details of what you have to offer.
Establish scope with headlines and subheads.
The most effective websites today adopt the “skim, swim and dive” approach to presenting key information. Design the hierarchy of your site’s messaging to be scannable upon the initial visit. The goal is for your top-level headlines and subheads to sum up the high-level benefits of your company and offerings in a nutshell. This enables readers to quickly skim your content to decide whether they want to delve further on their own — and/or to pass a link to your content to appropriate co-workers and associates.
Enhance page readability with meaningful body subheads.
The key to making body content readable and understandable is to segment it into digestible chunks. For readers, this improves the comprehension factor during their initial readthroughs — while helping returning visitors to get back quickly to sections with the most value/interest for them. For non-human search engines, the body subheads structure provides additional signals to help clarify the topics/themes of individual pages — helping them to accurately analyze and index the content on your website.
Get your navigation titles and CTAs to work harder.
While a generic navigation title like “About Us” will certainly fit the bill, see if there’s an opportunity to sell-up your capabilities right in the title: i.e. The XYZ Company Difference, Our Success Story, Our History of Innovation, etc.
The same goes for call-to-action (CTA) buttons and links. Instead of falling back on the tried-and-true but generic “learn more” throughout your site, see if there are opportunities to take the lead with visitors/readers to nudge them to click through. A few examples: More About Residential Moving, How Our Supplements Work, Connect With A Process Specialist, and so forth.