Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of a two-part series. Read the first installment now.
You have finally made it to the coffee shop. They are open, and the air is filled with the smell of ground coffee that tempts even the biggest coffee haters to order a hot cup of java. But enough about the coffee shop’s ambiance. Sure, we like the atmosphere, but why are we really here?
We are here for black liquid gold. The stuff that adds the bounce in our step. In the case of my boss, the sweet nectar that makes him feel like he can communicate with the living. That’s right—the coffee. Because no matter how great the place feels, if their coffee taste like tar, you’re not going to come back.
When users visit your site, it can be a similar experience. They are looking for what you have to offer. They don’t want to wait, and they don’t want to have to guess. They don’t want to be confused by the mess that is your site.
There are several ways to improve your site, and content is one of them. Before you freak out about the level and quantity of content on your site, here are some pointers to keep in mind.
So imagine this: You order a latte, and the barista hands you an empty cup. You look around, wondering if you have to create your own concoction, which—if you’re like me—you have absolutely no clue how to do. But there is no station to fill your cup; nothing to help you reach the goal of the one perfect cup of pick-me-up.
You ask the barista where your coffee is.
“Oh,” she replies. “We just have the cups. We haven’t gotten around to getting the coffee yet. Aren’t the cups pretty though?”
You have to admit, they are the prettiest mugs you have ever seen. But what good is a mug if you have nothing to put in it?!
That is what is it like when you visit a site that has no content on it. Don’t get me wrong, the mug is a requirement for the coffee, but for the mug to be worth anything, you have to have something for your mug to hold.
Keep this in mind when you launch a site. It is great when it is visually appealing; however, it should give the user the information they seek.
So there you are, waiting in line before the sun has risen. In my opinion, if the sun isn’t up, humans shouldn’t be either, but that concept has not been well accepted by supervisors I’ve had. Anyway, you finally get up to the counter and place an order for a caramel macchiato.
“Sorry,” smiles the barista. ”We only serve smoothies.”
“But…but,” you say, pointing at the sign on the window that clear states coffee.
You turn and leave. Your first reaction is complete and utter confusion. You were looking for coffee, you saw a sign that said coffee, and you went in. Why don’t they have coffee? Then you get angry. Why DON’T they have coffee?!
Like this ridiculous coffee shop, some people think by casting a wider net they will get more conversions and paying customers. But that is not true, especially on the Internet. When someone is online, they don’t even have to burn the extra calories to walk out of the shop; they just have to hit the back button. Don’t be one of those coffee shops with no coffee.
Develop content and target markets that can benefit from your product or service. Don’t try to rank for things that are not related to you. I despise clicking on a link in the SERPs and being led to a totally irrelevant page.
As mentioned earlier, the reason people come back to a certain coffee shop is because of the quality of the coffee—unless you’re Starbuck. But until you reach the expanse of Starbucks, you had better focus on quality. There have been times when I have not finished a coffee I paid for because I didn’t care for the taste. If I am willing to throw something away that I have invested in, imagine how much easier it is for me to get rid of something that I have not.
As a business owner operating a website, you have to keep this in mind. You must provide the user with something they need in seconds or they will leave. It is so easy to click out of a website. Remember this!
It is also a good idea to remember that you are writing for a user, not the search engine. This gets a little tricky. You want to generate and upload content in a way that the search engine crawlers will easily be able to decipher what you are saying without sacrificing the user experience; the search engine doesn’t pay your bills. Focus on the customer and give them high-quality content to work with.
Personally, the sweeter the coffee, the more I am going to like it. This means that when I’m asked if I want whipped cream on my coffee, my answer is “Does Old McDonald have a farm?” I kid, I kid. I’m never that sassy in public.
Just as whip cream is the finishing touch to my coffee, so are meta descriptions and title tags the finishing touches of your content. Now, if you have been in SEO for a while, you understand that Google has publicly said that they no longer take meta descriptions into consideration. This is fine and good, but it does not mean you should abandon the idea entirely.
Above is an example of a search query. Now, if you have used Google to search for results, I think it is safe to say you have used title tags to enhance your user experience. This what a searcher sees of your webpage when they do a relevant search. Title tags and meta descriptions can convince someone to select your page or pass it by.
This may seem pretty important, but notice I listed it towards the end. Title tags are the more important of the two, but you need to have great on-page content before you start trying to get people to land on your site. It goes back to the relevance topic; if your title tags are great but your content stinks, all you are going to get is an extremely high bounce rate.
My recipe for a great title tag is something that will make sense to the user. Don’t keyword stuff it. No one is going to look at a title tag that says, “Coffee Benefits, Great Coffee, Coffee and Health, Coffee, Best Coffee,” and think, “Now that is as credible site!” People don’t like it, search engines don’t like it, no one likes it.
You may already have a ton of content on your site that you are looking to refresh; however, it is more likely that you have run out of ideas. I mean, you have to create good content for EVERY page; it’s easy to run out of new ways to capture the users’ attention. But before you throw your hands up in desperation, know that there are several guides to help get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes it is taking what you have and giving it a little twist.
So as I sit here ready to start the day, now that my coffee cup is empty and I have started to feel as if I function at a normal level, I’m looking forward to the new content that is being developed. Content can help you out in terms of SEO, but it is more important to keep your user in mind. After all, it is the content that makes people return and convert. If they can find what they need and want, they won’t go elsewhere.
If you came here for the coffee, I suggest you visit this coffee loving blog. That’s right, a blog dedicated to the goodness of the drink.