How to Write Good Website Content – Out Loud

Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. This week, I’m sharing a super simple yet incredibly powerful tip to help you write better content for your website.

Your website content is arguably the most important factor in how you show up for searches. Without awesome, relevant content that answers the question a searcher is asking, you’ve got no hope of showing up as a search result.

You’ve probably heard that “content is king” before – it’s been a popular catchphrase for years. If you’ve been watching these videos for a while or you’ve seen me speak at a conference, you’ve definitely heard me say that the 2 most important elements of SEO are content and inbound links.

So if content is so darned important, how come so many websites still have flat out awful content?

The answer is simple – most people forget the human element. They’re so obsessed with writing content that’s unique and that contains the right keywords for Google that they forget that they’re really writing the content for human users.

First of all – there’s no such thing as a duplicate content penalty.

Whaaaat?

Yep – it’s crazy how many people get it wrong. Google doesn’t penalize for duplicate content – it rewards unique content. So if you have duplicate content on your site, it’s not hurting you, but it’s not helping you either.

Everything on your site should be there because it makes your site better for human users, not “because it will rank on Google”. When you write content, stop worrying about being unique, or about having the right keywords to rank in Google searches. That’s the old school way of thinking, and it won’t help you in today’s world. 

Instead, you should be trying to write the best answer to the potential question or questions that people might be asking. If you’re writing something that’s truly relevant and useful that’s also about your business, it’s inherently going to be unique. You won’t have to worry about it.

This week’s tip will help make sure your content is awesome. Your content needs to sound conversational – like something you would say face-to-face to a customer who just walked in the front door. So the tip for the week – read everything out loud!

When you’re writing content, or even checking content that’s already on your site, read it out loud to another person. Don’t just think the words in your head, physically say them out loud. When you read the content out loud, you’ll immediately hear when something doesn’t sound conversational.

I worked with a car dealership in Dallas several years ago and when we started working with them, their home page content sounded something like this:

“If you’re looking for a Ford pickup in Dallas, then come our Ford pickup supercenter in Dallas to buy your next Ford pickup if you’re in the Dallas area. We sell more Ford pickups than any other dealer in Dallas that sells Ford pickups, and we have the best prices on Ford pickups in the Dallas area.”

Now the guy who wrote that content was probably all “Woo hoo, boss, we’re really gonna rank for Ford Pickups in Dallas!”

But any human who read the site was thinking “What the hell is wrong with these guys?”

When you read your content out loud, you catch those things that sound awkward and you know you’ve got to make some adjustments. Your conversational content will perform much better in search results and your customers will love it too.

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Greg Gifford is the Vice President of Search at SearchLab, a boutique marketing agency that provides Local SEO and PPC to SMBs all over the US and Canada. He's got over 17 years of online marketing and web design experience, and he’s one of the most in-demand conference speakers at digital marketing conferences all over the world. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Cinema and Communications, and has an obscure movie quote for just about any situation.