What You Think is Right About Your Website Content May Be All Wrong - Warm Thoughts Communications
Article

What You Think is Right About Your Website Content May Be All Wrong

by Ben Gutkin, VP Marketing Services, Warm Thoughts Communications

These days, “less is more” seems to dominate design. Pictures and short videos rule, especially when we are targeting millennials. And while this may be true in many cases, we’re seeing a serious miscalculation when applying that general approach to website copy.

There are two dominant factors that affect your website’s ability to help grow your business — a) your content, and b) your ability to convince search engines that you are the best answer for customers searching for businesses and products like yours.

Because we manage more than 100 websites in the propane and oil industries, we have access to an incredible amount of data that tells us what works and what doesn’t for your type of business. If all you care about is whether your website looks pretty to you, then go ahead and make it short and sweet. But if results are driving your thinking, you will be interested in understanding why having more of the right kind of content on your site is hugely important.

Nobody reads all that copy. So what?

Determining the right amount and kind of copy on a page is a careful balance between the needs of your visitor and the requirements of the search engines. Overlooking either of those audiences can make your website ineffective.

Let’s begin by looking at the user experience. Does anybody really read all that copy? No. But they scan it to find what matters to them, and this varies from customer to customer. According to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group, the average visitor reads just 20% of the words on a page. This doesn’t necessarily mean write less. It means that you better have good persuasive content that is aimed at prompting them to take action with you. When we write copy, we begin by considering the following:

  1. What do we want our visitors to conclude as a result of visiting the page, and what do we want them to do?
  2. How aware are they of the solutions that exist to solve their problems?
  3. What information do they need in order to take action?

Depending on the answers to these questions, the copy may be long (i.e. explaining how price protection works), or short (sign up to find out about our latest promotions). But it always needs to take into account the 800-pound Gorilla in the room — Google.

Google Rules.

Unless you only want your existing customers to visit your site, you need to play by the rules of the search boss — Google. Their algorithms affect whether you show up when someone types in “propane tank information” or “water heater replacement near me,” or “safe use of propane.” You get the picture.

It turns out that Google LOVES lots of copy. So even if it is not entirely necessary to get the point across to customers, it is needed to impress the boss.

According to a 2017 study by AHREFS, a web data analysis company, there are about 1,000 different keywords that can result in a web page being ranked in a Google search. (Keywords are simply those terms that customers are using when they search for something associated with your business.) Meaning that potentially a thousand different searches could all result in that page being at the top of the results. Short content misses out on the opportunity to use many keywords that could drive customers to your site. In fact, by search ranking standards, a 250-word page is considered “short” with successful pages carrying as many as 1,000 plus words.

What is your Quality Score and why does it matter?

Google assigns a quality score to each page on your website as part of its effort to ensure the integrity of its own product. If you are running a pay-per-click or AdWords campaign to supplement your “organic” leads, the quality of your content (as determined by Google) significantly impacts your cost-per-click in your AdWords campaign. In other words, if the crawlers deem your content to be good and worthy of the users’ searches, your cost per click will be lower than another company bidding on the exact same words as you. High quality score is simply not possible with short copy.

Finally, according to Snap Agency, content with a higher word count is more likely to get more social shares, which is an ever-growing factor in the Google algorithms.

Bottom line: the right amount of the right copy not only increases your ability to attract “organic searches,” it reduces the cost of your paid search.

How to make this work for you?

We make our decisions about copy length based on a number of factors including:

For example, if you are interested in attracting new business, it is more important that your propane delivery page ranks high. Payment options, a less searched subject, is relatively less important. So, if we were building your website, you can expect to see long copy on the propane delivery page and much less copy for payment options.

Even more important, before we write anything, we analyze which keywords connected to your business rank highest and use these words in your content. We don’t just rely on 3rd party tools for this. We can review the history of tens of thousands of searches on our fuel websites to ascertain which ones work best.

Long content makes good design even more important.

None of this means that design is unimportant. In fact, making longer content easy on the eyes and intuitive to navigate requires even more skill than simply throwing pictures up. It takes real design savvy to communicate your brand’s strength while delivering copy and calls to action that turn into leads and longer time on site. But the payoff is well worth it.

If this seems challenging and complicated to you, you’re not alone. Many web design companies will design a perfectly nice website for you. But they fall completely short on understanding what to write, how much, or why. If you’d like us to evaluate how your site stands up, call us. If you are in good shape, we’ll tell you straight. And if not, you owe it to yourself to get it right.

P.S. This article clocked in at a big 1,095 words. If you’ve made it all this way, I guess I’ve made my point.

Ben Gutkin is VP Marketing Services for Warm Thoughts Communications. He has advised dozens of the nation’s leading energy companies and associations on improving their web presence, search capabilities, direct response advertising and return on investment during his 20+ years with Warm Thoughts.

You can reach Ben Gutkin online or call our office at 201-330-9276


CONTACT US
WHERE WE ARE
4 Brighton Road
Suite 300
Clifton, NJ 07012
HOW TO REACH US
201.330.9276
201.223.1555
GET IN TOUCH
Fill out my online form.