Get Your Web Content Read With These 5 Brilliant Content Writing Tips!

Get more people to read your content

So, content is king, right?

But how many times have you written that really powerful piece of web content but no one cared to read it talk less of sharing it!

Yes, content MAY be king, but the truth is, no one wants to labor on a piece of content and all it achieves is a few visits now and then. Such a situation is not only frustrating but demoralizing.

But, not to worry, there is help.

There are some very exciting findings about website reading patterns and usability which, if used well, can help you create content that people will be eager to read and share. In this article I want to draw your attention to these findings and how you can use them to up your game.

So, let’s begin by looking at…

How People Read Content Online

Back in 1997 Jakob Nielsen and John Morkes discovered through a study that 79% of people online will scan your web site while only 16% will care to read it word for word!

“They don’t. People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences.”

Now, you say, that was 1997! But the truth is, that has not changed today. In fact, with more and more people using mobile devices to access the internet and with so much more taking people’s time, you can be sure that more and more people NOW scan rather than read your content.

And of course, the W3School agrees with this finding. In an article titled: “Web Site Design” they affirmed the fact that users scan rather than read through a web page:

“A typical visitor will NOT read the entire content of your Web page!

No matter how much useful information you put into a Web page, a visitor will only spend a few seconds scanning it before he/she decide whether to leave or to stay.

Be sure to make your point in the very first sentence of the page! After that, try to keep the user occupied with short paragraphs, and new headers down the page.”

From these and many other findings it is clear that that writing content is not enough of itself. Getting people to read that content must form a BIGGER part of your content writing plan.

Here are some suggestions on…

How to Get More People to Read Your Content

1.    Improve Your Website Load Speed

It is interesting to know that while websites’ load speed has increased significantly in recent times at about 7.72 seconds on average, website users on the other hand expects your website to load within the first 2 seconds!

To prove how important this is, Amazon and Walmart did separate tests and the results were instructive. While Amazon reportedly increased revenue by 1% for every 100 milliseconds improvement to their site speed Walmart increased conversion by 2% for every 1 second of improvement on their site!

It doesn’t matter whether you are blogger or ecommerce site you need to take a cue from these two online giants. Use the suggestions on Yahoo! Yslow and Google Page Speed to improve your site load speed if you want more people to read your content.

Also hosting your website on a CDN webhosting platform can also be of great help when it comes to improving site load speed.

Besides, you should use a small number of quality, optimized graphics, and keep your page content down to two, or at the most three MS Word pages.

2.    Write In Inverted Pyramid Style

What is the inverted pyramid style of writing? It is simply a turning around of the usual writing style where you start with an introduction, background information, findings and then finally presenting your conclusion or recommendations last.

When you write your web content with such a style it means your website visitors will need to read a lot of information before they reach your conclusion and recommendations – a BIG reason for them to abandon your content in a matter of seconds!

It is advisable however, to turn this around and write your summary first, and then add the details. Doing this will help in getting their attention quite early and will be able to convince them to scroll for more of your content.

3.    Write Scannable Text

This is the suggestion of both Jakob Nielsen and John Morkes and the W3School. If 79% of online users will only scan your web content then that is what you should give them.  A simple way to do this to write in short sentences and paragraphs, and break up excess information into different pages.

Here’s what Jakob Nielsen and John Morkes recommends:

•    Highlighted words
•    Meaningful sub-headings
•    Bulleted lists
•    One idea per paragraph

4.    Be Less Promotional And Subjective

The tone and style of your writing has a lot of influence on how people will read and use the content. When Nielsen and Morkes measured the effect of different styles of writing on five versions of the same website the following versions had the following improvement in per cent according to their test readers:
.
•    Concise version with about half the word count as the control: 58%
•    Scannable layout with the same text as the control but easily scanned: 47%
•    Objective language using neutral rather than subjective, boastful or exaggerated language: 27%
•    Combined version using all three: 124%

From the above it is clear that planning your content and approaching it from the angle of a “helper” rather than someone peddling some goods will greatly improve the readership.

5.    The Eyes Have It!

Another finding that should interest you here is the findings of a study called Eyetrack III carried out in 2003 and 2004 by Eyetrack. Though the study was for news-type sites, but the findings are also applicable to bloggers and small business web site.

From the study it was discovered that online users followed our left-to-right Western Culture writing style. The study found that the eye pauses and reads the first few words of a dominant headline first, especially when that headline is in the upper left and sometimes the upper right.

Readers will usually stop reading at five headlines regardless of the number used, but an unusual keyword will often get people to pause.  Curiously, they also found that smaller type encourages reading while larger type encourages scanning.

All of these points to the fact that you should put your most important content (graphics, logo, company name, texts images, etc.) at the top left quadrant.

Besides, a headline in the top left quadrant could be of great help in keeping your reader on your page for longer than a minute.  You should also know that the first three words of your opening headline are the most important therefore, put them to the best of use.

6.    How Credible Are You?

Another thing that Nielsen and Morkes uncovered in their study is the fact that people are looking for credibility when they browse through web content. Some of the things that will raise your credibility are high-quality graphics, good writing and using outbound links.

Your website visitors want to get straight facts and not some exaggerated claims. Please if you are not a good writer the best route to take is getting a professional web content writer to write your web pages for you.

Conclusion

Getting more people to read your content is more about writing concise content that is scannable. Your content should be written in an objective style that is straightforward and friendly. Beyond being useful your content should be accurate and should be heavy on both breadth and depth.  Aim to be a voice indeed instead of another noise on the net.

Over to you: How are you getting more people to read your web content? Share with us in the comments below.

How to effectively Write Content for SEO in a Post-Penguin Internet!

Write content for SEO?

Do you mean I should still waste my time on search engine optimization in the face of what Google is doing with its algorithm updates?

Is SEO still necessary in this era of Google Panda, Google Penguin, Google “Exact Match Domain” and all the talk about over optimization?

Is it not enough to simply write some great, quality content and wait for the traffic to come pouring in?

Writing Content for SEO is Still Very Important!

It is clear that many today are frustrated with Google and its many algorithm updates with many others concluding that SEO is dead! However, you need to get this straight, no matter what is happening, writing content for SEO is as important today as it was some three years ago!

For one, the search engines still remain the biggest sources of information online. Yes, many are, today using the social media sites to get the opinions of peers and friends but the search engines still occupy a very large position as information sources. This is not minding the storm blowing through the industry. Ignoring the search engines when you want to drive traffic to your e-commerce sites or blogs is therefore an un-wise decision as a business person.

Besides, the search engines still remains the biggest sources of free targeted traffic. If your business site or blog is professionally optimized and it ranks high on the search engines, you are not only sure of driving some of the most targeted traffic online but also doing so for free!

And, I truly love the sound of free!

Oh you do too? Lol!

So, you can see the importance of content for SEO?

Content for SEO - A super guide

SEO Is Not Dead; Still Write Your Content For SEO!

You must understand that Google is not in any way against SEO; Google is simply sanitizing the environment!

Right from the beginning, Google had always maintained that quality content and incoming links from highly relevant sites is the secret to ranking high on the search engines. But the problem over the years had been blackhat SEOs who instead of working by the rules decided to game the system creating poor, quality content and building fairly inexpensive links using linkfarms and private link networks.

But now, Google is saying, enough of blackhat SEO! So, what is dead or dying is blackhat SEO but search engine optimization as originally intended is still the same! There always have been and will continue to be one way to high search engine rankings and this is,

Creating fresh, high-quality, well-written valuable content that is optimized using the right keyword phrases and building high-relevant backlinks from the right websites.

You can quote me on that!

Recommended: “Is SEO A Dead Web Marketing Strategy?” (I wrote this back in 2009.  Please read it!)

So, the question is, if SEO is not dead and Google is not, in any way against optimizing your web content, how should webmasters and bloggers go about writing content for SEO and not fall under the hammer of Google Penguin?

How to Write Content for SEO in A Post-Penguin World!

1.    Commit To Quality And Value-Adding Content

Let me quickly dispel the wrong belief which many have swallowed hook, line and sinker over the years.

Content is not king; and never have been!

Before you throw stones at me, listen to this:

I can authoritatively say that the wrong notion that content is king is what has caused much of the problems of search engine optimization – article spinning, content scrapping, content farms and all the other automated content generating strategies that has over the years bedeviled the SEO industry, all were a result of this wrong understanding that content is king – the more the better!

But right now, Google is coming out clear that content is not king.

Did I hear you say, this is heresy?

Ok, let me make myself clear,

When Marketing online, VALUE and not CONTENT  is the real KING!

It is not a case of QUANTITY but QUALITY!

This is where many webmasters and bloggers have always gotten it wrong when writing content for SEO. Right now, if you want to rank high on the search engines and drive free targeted traffic to your sites and blogs, your content must be VALUABLE, of high quality and well optimized with the right keyword phrases.

The post-Penguin internet is the era of VALUABLE content. But beyond that, your content must have the ability to inform the search engines what your content is all about. And this is where identifying and using relevant keywords in your content comes in. it is the keywords you use that will ‘guide’ the search engines to know where to place your content  in their index.

Forget to use the right keywords and the search engines will be confused about where to place your content. The result? When someone uses the search engines to look for information, your valuable content will be missing from the SERPs!

So, value rules, but quality, SEO optimized content stands out tall. You must note this when writing your content for SEO.

Unfortunately, not many business persons or bloggers knows how to write SEO optimized content without making that content sound gibberish to the site visitors.

But that shouldn’t deter you if you are in this category.  Nothing stops you from getting the help of professional SEO content writers.

2.    Join The Guest Blogging Bandwagon, But…

Please, note that BUT because you will be the better for it if you do!

Agreed, guest blogging has become a norm amongst bloggers and it is presently the surest way of building backlinks – which as we have said, are necessary for high search rankings – so, you should become a guest blogger.

But, there is a problem which I want you to note very carefully…

Guest blogging is indeed a good way to build backlinks, especially if you guest post on blogs like the WebIncomJournal.com which is a ‘do-follow’ blog (If you want to guest post for us simply follow this link!), but guest blogging simply because of backlinks will ultimately harm you in this post-Penguin internet.

Did you just asked, how is this so?

Then listen and listen very well. Google’s Penguin update is a war against linkfarms and any other un-natural link building system aimed at garnering search engine favor. To understand this you must understand how Google look at links.

When Google introduced links as a ranking factor back in late 1990s and early 2000, Google considered the fact that a link from another site to your site is a VOTE of confidence coming from the linking site. Now, if you know what a vote is, you will understand what Google wants here. Remember that comes from our idea of election into political offices.

So, let’s use the big one of the moment, the forth-coming United States elections.

What do you think President Barrack Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney should do to win the elections?

Convince the United States citizens to give them their votes, right? But what if they decide to use some undemocratic ways to get those votes? That’s against the rules right?

It is just the same with guest blogging. Remember, you are sort of paying for those links with your guest post. The only way they are different from other un-natural link paying strategies is that the host blogger agrees to the links because of your guest post!

So, how can you justify that link? One, provide value in your guest posts and two, guest post only on related blogs! This way, Google Penguin will be able to look at your links and give them a pass mark.

So, use guest blogging to build backlinks but make sure those links earn their true value.

I really hope I could give you some tips here on how you can achieve all you want with your guest posts, but this space will not be enough. So, I will ask you to download a free copy of my special report The Wordsmith’s Guest Blogging Manifesto! you will definitely thank me for it!

[UPDATE: While I was writing this I never knew Matt Cutts of Google did something in line with my thoughts on guest blogging. But following Veer Modi’s comment (see comment below) I went searching for “Google’s view on guest blogging for links” and I picked up this video done by Matt Cutts. Please watch it and see that my thoughts on this subject are not far from what Google is thinking! :)]

3.    Make Your Content Sharable

The third point I will advocate for writing content for SEO in the post-Penguin internet is to ensure that you make it easy for your blog readers or site visitors to share your content. You can do this by simply adding sharing buttons on your articles and blog posts.  If you are using the WordPress blogging platform, adding social media buttons and bookmarking buttons on your posts is simply a matter of choosing a plugin and you are set up!

Placing social media share buttons on your sites and blogs is not just about promoting your content on social media sites. Google and many other search engines are already using social signals for ranking sites. So, your expertly written SEO content will have more chances of ranking high if your blog readers or site visitors find your content valuable and they decide to share the content with their social contacts.

The more shares your content receives will determine, to a great extent, your SEO rankings. However, if there are no options to share your content; your valuable content would simply lose that opportunity to gain some power on the search engines!

Conclusion

Writing content for SEO in the post-Penguin era is not really some rocket science. You simply need to listen to Google and understand what the search engines want from you which is nothing but creating fresh, high-quality and valuable content, optimized using the right keyword phrases and building high-relevant backlinks to your content. If you write your web content with these in mind, ranking high and driving targeted free organic traffic from the search engines will be a child’s play to you!

Alright, that’s my watertight strategy for creating content for SEO in these times of Google Panda, Google Penguin and who knows what is coming next!

Share with us your thoughts on this strategy. Do you think this is ok? Are you using it right now?