When hiring someone to build a website for your business, there’s obviously a lot to consider both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. Though design and visuals tend to take centre stage during the planning phase of an average web build, one big decision you’ll have to make is whether to write your site’s content yourself or hire someone else to do it.
At first it may seem obvious: “Why would I pay someone else to write my content when I’m the one who knows my business best?”. The answer to this question is more complicated than you may expect: In order for your site to be ranked favourably by Google and appeal to the widest possible audience, your content must be both engaging and strategically written with keyword phrases relevant to your business and location.
What does this mean? Essentially, there’s a style in which you can write your text that will give your site a higher likelihood of being indexed by Google. Known as “on-page optimization” in search engine circles, this method relies on the strategic dispersal of keywords that are related to your field of work, both in the body text and the various “tags” that lead people to your site. If you write your content passively in the style that you would write anything else, you may not only be missing opportunities to get discovered on the search engines, but could be unknowingly provoking Google penalizations. Here are the fundamentals of on-page optimization:
A title tag is the blue clickable hyperlink that represents your website on a search results page, and is arguably the most important piece of real estate in terms of attracting traffic. Whichever keywords you use in your title tags help search engines determine what your site is about, and are cross-referenced with your body text to ensure that they’re relevant to the site’s overall subject matter. Google tends to truncate any title tags longer than 65-70 characters, so it’s important to use the real estate wisely with properly researched keywords.
A meta description is the blurb of text that appears below the title tag on a search results page, essentially acting as a free advertisement for your site. You have approximately 160 characters to describe the content of the page you want the searcher to click on, and if you choose to leave the field blank, Google will automatically populate it with text from within the body of the page. Since Google doesn’t index text within meta descriptions, you have a bit more freedom to write in an unrestricted way.
Keyword Density (Within Body Text)
This is where things get slightly tricky. Google imposes strict penalties on any site that they feel is trying to game the system, with one of the most classic offending tactics in their eyes being “keyword stuffing” (overusing a keyword repetitively). If you create your content yourself, you run the risk of unwittingly using a keyword too many times, even if you’re writing naturally. You also must write each page in a way that is relevant to its corresponding title tag, so if you happen to accidentally go off topic in the body text, this can also result in penalization.
Outsourcing your website’s content writing is a wise decision that goes hand in hand with the design process. If you’re at all skeptical of your ability to adhere to the rules of search engine optimization, it might be a good idea to seek outside help.