Website Design 101 - Content Development - Chicken or Egg
by Brian Rideout • April 28, 2018
When designing a website and thinking about content development you've really got a Chicken or Egg problem. Which comes first? Great SEO content with lots of text to convince Google the site is worthy of high rankings? Or a very visual website with very little copy that will appeal to site visitors?
Yes, Google will tell you to build a website for your site visitors not search rankings, but let's be honest... Google is in the business of selling advertising. If your site doesn't rank well, they are really hoping you spin up an AdWords campaign and drive traffic that way. They don't make money off of the natural or organic search results.
"Great website content will always be a balance between content Google is going to love, and content your site visitors will love."
I think it's very important to write copy that will lead to high search rankings. However, how you present that copy to a site visitor on your pages is critical too. Very few site visitors want to get hit with paragraph after paragraph of text to read. They will say "boring..." and hit their back button, BUT you got them to the website with that copy. At BANG! we recommend an Executive Summary + Photo approach.
Start off with a headline and leading paragraph that will get their attention, be controversial, make a statement, maybe even a statement they won't agree with, but one that gets their attention enough that they keep reading. Maybe ask a question to peak their interest. Include a photograph for visual appeal, and provide that executive summary of what the page is about. They may get enough out of that summary that they stop reading, or they will continue reading if you give them a compelling reason to do so. Tease them...
"Read on to learn the secret to website content that both Google and your site visitors will love...."There is debate in the SEO world about whether or not website copy needs to be long to rank well. In reality I think the answer is it depends...
- How competitive is the keyword phrase you want to rank for?
- Is there a lot of other content already out on the Internet about the subject?
- If it's competitive and plentiful, what are you going to do different to attract Google's attention?
Google wants "Good Content". Content that answers the search query. Is a longer answer better? Depends on the question but I think Google tends to reward longer answers (read more words and longer copy) with higher rankings. Google's algorithms are getting smarter all the time, but I still think longer is better. There are plenty of studies done by SEO Experts that say an ideal length is pushing 2,000 words.
But for your reader, you've got to make those 2,000 words interesting! Honestly, they may never read those 2,000 words. Most would rather look at pretty pictures, or watch a video. Videos are a great idea. You get to put some content up on YouTube, if you get site visitors to watch the video on your website you increase time on site and improve your stats with Google there as well. In keeping with that theme... here's my recent video on V+C=P. That stands for Visibility (think Google search rankings) + Credibility (think quality design, HTTPS, social proof from reviews and 3rd party accreditation) = Profitability.
So are you still reading? This is word 578, by the way... Back to our premise... which comes first, great SEO optimized copy or a beautiful website. A beautiful website is great, but if no one ever visits, it hasn't done you a bit of good. If it doesn't rank for keyword phrases critical to your lead generation or sales success, you'll be constantly paying for traffic.
So my answer to which comes first, Chicken or the Egg, is the Egg. You've got to incubate that egg (create website copy Google will love) and wait for it to hatch (rank well) in order to get the Chickens (your site visitors) to arrive.
Agree or disagree? Let me know, I'd love to hear your thoughts.