Even the average business owner can create content that will help their website rank better. Here’s how:
Google updates continue to reward websites that have compelling content.
We’ve seen evidence that pages that are useful and relevant to consumers can make it to the top of Google search results, even when the website has relatively poor optimization and few inbound links.
Many of the articles I read on promoting websites with content are for other marketers, but what about business owners who work with their hands or have a brick and mortar business?
How do you use content to promote your business if you’re not a writer or content marketer? You have a business to run, sales to make, purchase orders to fill and deadlines to meet.
You want your business to show at the top of search results just like everyone else, but you don’t have the time to write weekly content.
That’s good because most of you would do it wrong anyway.
Consider this; how excited are you to read your mortgage broker’s blog each week? Can’t wait to get your fill of fifteen year amortization rates and new Fannie Mae guidelines?
If you’re a plumber, are you sending a weekly newsletter to your customers with plumbing tips and your grandmother’s favorite recipes? God, I hope not.
It sounds harsh, but nobody cares about a plumber until they actually need one. Even then, consumers are unlikely to read a plumber’s newsletter or blog.
They just want someone to come out as quickly as they can to fix a leaking pipe before their Simon and Garfunkel collection gets soaked.
So if you’re a contractor, plumber, lawyer, doctor, salon owner, accountant, pet shop owner, software developer, realtor, insurance professional, sales agent or restaurant owner, can you get content on your website that is good enough to get you more business? Sure you can.
The first step is to get it right on your website. The content on your home page, service pages, product pages and landing pages need to be compelling and extraordinary. Here’s how to do it:
Concentrate on Improving Lives
As a blogger, I try to offer as much useful information as I can that?improves the lives of my readers in some way.
You don’t need to write weekly blog posts in order to do that as well. You can add that stuff to your service or product pages.
Even if you work in a boring industry, you can create content that is so extraordinary and compelling that other websites will be compelled to link to it and Google crawlers will find it useful enough to rank it well within search, driving more visitor traffic to your business.
Compelling and extraordinary content alone is enough to give your website a boost in search results. If it’s good enough, Google will notice.
Make Your Content Mean Something
If you’re in any of the industries I described above or similar line of work, perform some research on competitors in your area.
Check out their websites and see what they’ve written on their pages. I guarantee you that most of it is garbage.
They all write the same clichés: we’re committed to excellence; a name you can trust; we’ve been in business for 35 years; meet the team; we’re a family owned business; go with the best; you deserve the best, Boston’s premier family law firm…bla, bla, bla.
Good job on the social proof with US News, but the headline is unintriguing.
The previous paragraph lists portions of real headlines that I easily found with a quick local business search.
Other than the fact that most of them are about the company rather than the consumer, they’re just plain boring. We’ve heard them so many times that consumers have become desensitized, rendering them useless.
The paragraphs that typically follow headlines like that are equally dull.
It turns out that business owners hate writing so much that they either copy content from other websites or they just fill their pages with words, putting no effort into them whatsoever.
That’s a mistake because guess what? Consumers are reading your content. If you want to pull them in, it’s got to be unique, relevant and engaging. It’s got to mean something to them.
To find out what is important to consumers you need to ask them.
Pay attention to what questions they’re asking during sales calls and service visits. Conduct surveys to find out what their most pressing concerns are.
The better you answer those questions on the content of your pages, the more compelling your website will be to them—and to search engines.
Balkan Trails is a client of ConversionXL (no wonder they’re doing it right). Above, you can see they do a really good job at explaining exactly what they do.
Their headline is crystal clear and they explain it further in a subheadling that is compelling and unique. Hopefully, what follows below the fold is some equally intriguing content.
Break Up Your Content
Never have text on your pages that is too long because most consumers scan pages. They don’t read long text unless they find something that catches their attention.
That’s why you need strong titles that address their concerns followed by subtitles and paragraphs that go into further detail.
We’ve found that keeping your readers engaged and on your site longer has a positive impact on search results.
Use Bullet Points
Bullet points are a good way for visitors to quickly determine if they are in the right place or not. You can address particular concerns in the bullets and then link to content that is more detailed.
There are many ways you can do this. Ask your web developer for ideas.
It’s not about you. It’s about them.
Consumers don’t care about you. They don’t’ care how long you’ve been in practice or that yours is a family owned business or that you give to charities.
Your visitors?have a need and more than anything else, you need to address that need.
Yellow is where this website mentions itself or refers to its features. Green is where it mentions the consumer or benefit to the visitor. They’re way too focused on themselves. Consumers don’t care. Please note I was kind. Some of the consumer mentions are just smoke screens that refer back to how good this company wants you to think they are.
This is a lot more difficult than it sounds, but resist the temptation to write about your own accomplishments.
Yes, consumers want to make sure they are using the best company, but guess what? Every website claims to be the best company.
As much as you can, limit the number of times you use the words “we, us, our, me and I.” Rather, use “you and your.”
This will help you stay focused on serving consumers’ needs instead of bragging about yourself. Focusing your attention on the consumer helps them stay engaged. Search engines notice metrics such as consumer engagement and will reward you for it.
Consumer Benefits, Not Company Features
You’ve probably heard this before, but you need to focus on benefits, not features. I’m sure you remember it when you’re on sales calls, but why does all that stuff go out the window when it comes to your website? It shouldn’t.
Features are all the things that make your company great. That stuff is important, but that’s all most company websites contain.
Most small business owners?don’t know how to write about anything else. They leave out consumer benefits, which is the value consumers receive by choosing your company.
You must learn how to distinguish between company features and consumer benefits. Below is a chart that should help.
Use plenty of images. Make sure they are strategically placed on your page.
Most of your competitors are just placing random images wherever it seems to look good. That can be disruptive to the visitor and cause them to leave your website.
The most important thing to remember is that your images need to be used to support your content. They are not just more filler.
Images further your message and help you promote your product or service more clearly.
So if you have a salon, images of supermodels with unrealistic hair designs might not resonate with consumers, but an image of a real client in your chair getting a fantastic new hair style will knock their socks off.
Northstar is a moving company in California. You can see that the image above has very little to do with moving services in LA. In fact, even though it is an image of a crab, it reminds me of a slow moving snail. Is that how they work? Don’t try to be cute. Be specific. Be relevant. Be extraordinary.
Below, Pure Moving has got a much better image than Northstar. It is relevant and shows a real photo of their truck with two strong men carefully moving furniture. So good, so far.
But then they drop the ball with two very week headlines; …Professionals you can trust and why people love us…ugh. Watch a Video About Us – Really? That seems pretty vain. Where’s the consumer benefit.
Also try to avoid using stock photos whenever possible. People respond well to images of other people, but they should be real clients whenever possible. Make sure subjects are happy, smiling and approachable.
We’ve all seen these images or variations of them too many times. They have no value. They’re a waste of space.
Images that help to clarify complicated concepts can be very important because consumers may not want to read how your product works in text, but put that in the form of a graph or chart and you’ll have a great chance at moving them through your sales funnel.
Here, KIVA helps explain how their micro loan process works so you know exactly how your money is being used to help the underprivileged. Nice work, but they may be trying to be too cute. I’d test it. By the way, we love KIVA.
If you add a picture of your team to a landing page, ask yourself, “Would I hire these guys?”
This is especially true of contractors because you guys hate to smile.
You must remember, consumers are going to make a purchasing decision partly based on whether or not they can visualize you being in their home for a period of time.
Consumers also buy from those they like and trust so remember that when adding images.
Putting it All Together
Once you’ve updated your website with compelling, relevant and extraordinary content, Googlebots—as well as consumers and industry thought leaders—will start noticing. You’ll gain Google trust and authority.
When your website is trusted by Google, you will notice that when you post new pages, they will get top visibility much more quickly.
The speed at which your pages make it to the top of search results depends on a number of factors including the competitiveness of your industry.
We have found that once Google trusts a website, that often we can get visibility for new and existing pages within a matter of weeks.
Be sure you do everything else right such as engaging in an inbound link campaign and having strong title elements and meta descriptions.
Make sure your pages are easily crawled by Googlebots. A page that can’t be found, can’t be ranked.
How to Get it Done
You need to spend time on your content.
At our agency, we write all the content for our clients’ websites before we begin the actual design. I’m a professional copywriter as are some of my team members so we put a lot of effort into getting it right.
After the website goes live, we test copy over and over again to make it even more compelling.
If you are a small business owner, you have a business to run. You clearly don’t have the time, nor the desire, to write so I suggest you hire a professional sales copywriter to do it for you.
The most important thing to remember when hiring writers is that you get what you pay for.
There are a few places you can hire good copywriters.
Some businesses hire interns from the local colleges, but I’ve found writing at that level generally a bit juvenile. You need someone with sales copywriting experience.
If my company needs to hire independent contractors for writing tasks, we usually go to Upwork.
I also suggest checking out the Copyhackers blog for more information and resources for good copywriters.
They also have copywriters for hire, many of whom know how to write compelling sales content.?You’ll find the best of the best there.
There are a whole lot of persuasion tactics?and proven techniques to increase sales on your website that a professional copywriter should know how to do.
Writing good copy is very difficult, but if you nail it, you’ll not only see better search results for your company, but a higher conversion rate as well.
As always, if you have any questions or remarks, please add a comment in the section below.