I’m sure you know of someone, or seen pictures of people, who live in absolutely beautiful houses on the inside. We’re talking about marble floors, well-decorated rooms and spacious appointments throughout the house. Then you walk outside and it looks like a train wreck. Overgrown grass, lack of landscaping and paint on the house that is 20 years old. The type of house you’d drive right past without giving a second thought if you didn’t know much better. How many of you are aware that content layout follows this same type of behavior? You can have the best content in the world, but it doesn’t matter if you make it impossible to find and hard to read. People will just “drive right by”.
So how do we fix this? How can SEO work on the content presentation and make it user friendly and easy on the reader to not only find, but to read and hopefully take action? It all starts with great content, no doubt, but the following tips are ways to take that great content and help give it small, but measurable, boosts in the rankings.
First, look at your fonts. Some of us have a habit of using text that is just fine for younger eyes (since most of us tend to be younger), but which is impossible for older readers to see easily. If you are marketing products toward the over-40 crowd you have to design with them in mind.
I recommend sticking with a font such as Verdana with at least a 10pt font. Verdana has good spacing between the letters, is a little big larger than Arial, and the characters themselves are distinguishable. You should always stick to black lettering on a white background for maximum contrast and readability unless you have a darn good reason not to. Just think to yourself about all the potential customers that skip your site because they can’t see the text, or the contrast is impossible to read clearly.
Next, focus on the length. Notice how we write in short, succinct paragraphs? You should do the same. Nobody wants to read paragraphs that stretch on and on and on. Keep it simple and to the point for maximum reader digestibility. Studies show people comprehend and remember small pieces better. Keep the run-on sentences and 20-sentence paragraphs reserved for college papers!
Another practice you should be following when you do SEO is to make use of CSS. Not only does it help maintain consistency, but it also helps to make changes site-wide with a few keystrokes. At one time content length used to be an issue for search rankings, but thanks to widespread high speed access this is no longer a concern.
Now let’s talk about quality – I know you might think we talk about this too much, but quality content is the #1 thing you can do to get better rankings. Here is a list of things that I believe are cruicial:
- Keep it unique. Don’t re-use content and make sure anything you add can pass a service such as CopyScape. If your content isn’t unique you are going to suffer in the rankings.
- Unique page design. Don’t re-use the same HTML layout for site after site. The search engines are watching and take this into consideration.
- Unique titles and meta descriptions. Every page should have these. Your titles should be specific, but concise. Aim for 5 words.
- If you are re-publishing content you must add value to it. Don’t simple re-publish a review from Amazon and think the world will come running to your site. You must add value to it, otherwise why bother visiting your site when they can just visit Amazon?
Keep in mind that as I stated in the beginning, these ideas alone won’t help you much without first focusing in on your content. These ideas are like ingredients in a recipe – alone they don’t make much of anything, but put together they can make one heck of a delicious meal and well ranked site!