Given that search engine optimization has been around for some time, isn’t it time to start thinking beyond keywords, bullet points and listicles? Isn’t there anything new going on in the field of SEO? Something that’s easy to adapt and use, especially for small business owners who can’t afford traditional advertising methods such as TV commercials?
The truth is that keywords, bullet points and listicles still work, which is why people keep using them. However, there are other ways to optimize your website for search engines. If your final aim is to get more hits and to turn more visitors into customers, here are a few things you can try:
- Don’t Use Jargon: A lot of visitors who make it to your site might get turned off by the fact that you’re using jargon. Most regular people aren’t going to understand terms that are used within your industry. You might think that using these terms makes you look like you’re in the know but the fact is that people prefer websites where they can understand the content easily. No one has the time to try to figure out what you’re talking about. And it’s possible they might even feel like they’re being made to feel stupid, which you want to avoid at all costs. As this article from Business.com says, “If you go home and ask your spouse how the day scoped out and if they encountered any problems in navigation structure in getting anywhere, you may need to join a 12-step program.”
- Simple Sentence Construction: Along with using simpler words to convey what you want to say, you might also want to try simpler grammatical constructs. This doesn’t mean that you avoid sentence variety altogether. But avoid the kinds of sentences that go on beyond two lines. If your sentence is on the fifth line and you’re nowhere close to a period, it’s time to reconsider! This is because it’s hard enough for a writer to stay grammatical when a sentence becomes that long. It’s even harder for a reader to connect what you said at line one with what you’re saying at line five.
- Use a Readable Font: This is one of those things that ought to go without saying. So, unfortunately, it often does. Even now, after the internet has been around for a few decades, you still come across websites where the font is too small. Sure, the reader can always zoom in if they’re really interested in reading what you have to say. However, that’s going to take them a few more seconds. And in that time, they might just decide that it’s not worth their time. And what do you do about websites where the font is so complicated that people can read it but they just have no idea what they’re reading? The idea is to make your content easier to read, not more difficult.
- Layout: If you want to make your content more readable for your audience, you need to think about your layout i.e., how your words are displayed on the page. It helps if you don’t have too many words crammed into the same page. If you really have a lot of information for your reader, you can divide it into smaller parts, as suggested in this article from Digital Maestro. You can also give each section its own page. Let the reader have the choice of clicking on a link if they want more information about a particular topic. Additionally, it helps if your lines are not too long. If the reader has to read from one end of their monitor to another, it’s possible for them to get a bit confused about which line they’re reading. Instead, put in margins on both sides or add a few photographs to shorten your lines.
- Leverage your transcriptions: I've talked at length in previous articles on how you need to ensure that you're transcribing your videos, podcasts, and webinars. However, I still see this step being ignored on almost every website. Again, the search engine bots cannot crawl the content of a video or podcast. Thus, they can only use the written information to glean what is encompassed within that piece of content. So, spend a little extra to have a writer transcribe your audio and visual content. Then post those transcriptions alongside the content and you'll be shocked at the results you'll begin to see.
- Storytelling: Everyone knows the value of a good story. You must have noticed how storytelling, especially good storytelling, keeps you rooted to the spot. This is why people love to read novels and go to movies. But you can use storytelling in your website as well to improve your SEO. Although storytelling and SEO seem very different on the surface, this article from SEOHacker argues that they’re two peas in a pod. The stories don’t have to be very involved. They can just be little things that have happened to you, your company, your employees or your customers. Just a simple anecdote about how someone used your product to improve their life can help keep your readers interested. So keep an eye out for stories such as these. If the story moves you, it’s likely to move your readers as well.
- Real People Doing Real Things: Another thing that can grab your readers and turn them into customers is the sight of real people doing real things. What does this mean? At the most basic level, it’s about relatability. The people who come to your website have to feel like they can relate to what you’re talking about. So keep your stories real. Keep your images real. Your readers should be able to put themselves in the place of the people telling your stories and the people in your images. Writing and pictures that have been polished too much can be a turnoff because of the lack of relatability.