Writing user-friendly content that ranks on Google in less than no time is mission impossible without knowing the golden guidelines. The following are the top 15 tips to create content that attracts customers and boosts your rankings.
Everyone thinks that writing for the web is a breeze; it’s enough to outline a jumble of words, it will rank on Google by divine grace, and there will be a bunch of idiots ready to spend their precious time on reading any old rubbish.
If it was this simple, I would not be writing this article and would instead be laying in the sun in Copacabana. Instead, I’m here to give you the top 15 tips to write killer web content for your restaurant website or any other site effectively.
I will tell you how to optimize your piece to rank higher on the search engines and bring customers to the threshold of your business.
Read every single line of this article carefully as it may change the fate of your business.
Ready? Let’s cut the talk and get down to it.
What does ‘writing for the web’ mean?
As I’ve already said, writing quality web content is much more complicated than you might think. This is because you should not only create content that can surprise users and keep them reading, but also make it digestible and likeable by search engines.
Finding the right balance among persuasiveness and SEO (search engine optimization), might be a daunting task if you grope your way around. What you need are three things: competence, knowledge and patience.
I cannot teach you the last two things; you should already know the subject you intend to write about as well as your target, and spend time creating a high-quality content.
What I will do is suggest the best practices, rules and tips for writing on the web to make the content rank on Google, and ultimately be more persuasive to your potential customers.
15 practices to write persuasive and SEO-friendly web content
Whether you like it or not, if Google doesn’t love your content you will go nowhere on the net. To make Google fall in love with your piece, you should first make it understandable and indexable by the spiders.
I highly recommend learning the best restaurant SEO techniques to optimize your website.
Then, you can proceed to the writing stage by following these rules:
1. Have an editorial plan
Well, you’ve created a SEO-friendly website, you have inserted a blog section within it, and now you just have to write. But before starting, you should ask yourself a question: what is an editorial plan?
Think before you ink
It is a strategy aimed at optimizing your publication. With your editorial plan, you plan and create a path for your content. In practice, you ensure that the combination of vowels and consonants you call writing can be successful.
You can play it by ear and bump into a fortunate combination, but a time will come when the problem knocks on your door. It is then that you will regret not having an editorial plan.
However, your plan should be flexible, not rigid. No matter how well done, you editorial plan should be able to adapt itself to unexpected occurrences.
Everyone has a good plan until they get punched in the face. Mike Tyson
I like to define the editorial plan as the boxing ring; the ropes delimit the field of action but are flexible and follow the fight.
If you’ve planned to publish in the next 6 months a series of content related to the cake recipes, but you see that no one has read the first 10 articles you sent out, it means you should review something in your plan. Don’t go ahead with blinders on.
Use the free tool Google Calendar to organize your content. If your are looking for a more complete software, you can use Kapost.
2. Write for your target, not for yourself
This is one of the most common mistakes when writing for the web. Your piece is not an address to your ego, but to your target. Every line you write should be devoted to your target.
If you are creating a landing page for your restaurant, don’t sing your praises. Don’t write self-celebratory things like “We are the best restaurant in the city” or “Here is the best pizza in town.” It’s just pathetic.
Rather, speak about the real benefits (if any, otherwise close down) your customers will get by coming to your restaurant. For example, the beneficial properties of the natural ingredients that you are using. Or your amazing child-friendly space with a big parking lot just in front of it.
3. Keep it simple but not simplistic
A good piece dismantles the complex to make it easy to understand. It communicates things in concise and simple words; there is no reason to use a big word when there is a simpler one available. Also, avoid the use of jargon and buzzwords.
This doesn’t mean you should assume that your audience are dumb; instead, assume that they know nothing.
Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple. Woody Guthrie.
Consider also that reading online is more difficult than doing so in print. There is a faster scanning involved and therefore shorter words and sentences become even more important.
Today we all read while on the bus, queuing at the post office, at the stove while we prepare the dinner, and in other fairly awkward situations. The reading of an online article or post is rapid.
4. Don’t hum and haw
The opening of your post is critical because here you have to capture the user’s attention. Try to put yourself in the reader’s shoes; they only have five minutes available and are trying to figure out how to use them. What they will do is read the first few lines and if don’t find them interesting they will simply leave the site.
I recommend enclosing a small summary of what you are going to talk about and then get straight to the point. This way the reader will not face hundreds of vowels and consonants to understand if it’s what they were looking for. Rely on the method of the inverted pyramid; put the most important information at the top and the least significant at the bottom.
5. Be as specific as possible
Don’t write “dog” but “English Cocker Spaniel.” Details make the contents vibrant. Besides this, explain your point of view to your readers with supporting evidence; don’t just tell your audience that you feel something, explain in detail the reason you feel it. Don’t say “a lot” – tell “how many.”
Along with making your article more persuasive, details make it more attractive to the search engines.
6. Avoid the wall of words effect
One of the things that scares away users from a website is a frightening bulk of words that don’t allow the eye to “breathe.” Within the wall, words become heavy bricks with no meaning.
You could be the new William Shakespeare, but if you write heavy blocks of words no one will pluck up the courage to read it. Go for short paragraphs with no more than three sentences and 6 lines. White space is important to make the piece readable.
Use bulleted and numbered lists, bold and subheadings where it’s possible. Then add visual elements consistent with the content to facilitate quick reading. Bear in mind that although ease for fast eye scanning is essential, it is wise to not exaggerate – you are not decorating the Christmas tree.
7. Embrace semantic search
You are already aware that all webpages compete with other sites to get the best ranking on Google. In the past, it was enough to have your article full of keywords and a good amount of links from other websites pointing to yours to see the page climb the search results. You could reach the first page even with thin content if you had many external links.
Today, things are more complicated. While keywords and outbound links remain important, you must also consider the semantic field. Unlike the semantics associated with linguistics, which include all the words related to the one taken in question, here they are keywords that intercept researches and are relevant to a specific word.
The whole aim of these keywords are the secondary and related keywords. The first type always includes the primary keyword and are those listed by Google Suggest.
The related keywords differ from the secondaries in that they don’t necessarily contain the primary keyword. They wander off the main keyword at a semantic level but maintain a close relationship with it.
If you use software to find related keywords like Keywordeye.com and write “Sicilian mafia,” it returns “the business of private protection,” as there is a strong correlation between Sicilian mobsters and private protection.
When you are writing for the web, if you underestimate secondary and related keywords your chances of beating the competition are slim to none.
8. Write to one person
Imagine writing to just one person, so always use “you” instead of “they” or “people.” Involve your reader in your story and make them recognize and relate to an issue.
This person you’re imagining writing to should have the same characteristics as your target. If you are writing for your restaurant’s blog and you’re addressing the content to your customers, think about one of your regular customers that most represent the majority, and imagine you’re writing only to him.
This trick will help you be more persuasive and effective.
9. Test the readability
Words and short sentences are related to ease of reading. It has been amply demonstrated that shorter words and shorter sentences require less cognitive effort. The readability analysis can be useful to improve your piece and the conversion rate.
The most famous way to conduct a readability test is through the Flesch–Kincaid formula, the one used by Microsoft. The way in which you calculate the grade is by using the following formula:
F = 206.835 – (0.864 * S) – (1.015 * P)
F = the readability;
S = the number of syllables, calculated on a sample of 100 words;
P = the average number of words per phrase.
The readability may be considered high if the result of F is more than 60. It is average if F is between 50 and 60, and low below 50.
There is a mountain of software out there that calculates the readability of your article. I recommend using the free online tool Hemingwayapp. It also checks punctuation and the overuse of adverbs.
10. Promise a benefit
Why should the reader read your piece? The answer to this question lies in what Chip Heath and Dan Heath wrote in their book “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” recalling postcards as an example.
A postcard shows people on stunning white-sand beaches who are enjoying the warm rays of the sun and sipping cocktails, and places where you can conduct an easy life without problems. In short, postcards do nothing more than promise benefits.
That’s what you should do when you write for the web: speak in the first paragraphs about the benefits that the reader will get by reading your article. Are you talking about how to make a pizza? In the introductory paragraph tell your readers that at the end of the article they will be able to prepare a delicious pizza easily.
11. Use magic words
Shrewd copywriters know how words influence emotions and persuade the readers to take action. Certainly, different trigger words work better in different situations, and it depends on you understanding which work best with your target.
Test the 30 “trigger-words” suggested by VerticalResponse and see which ones get the best response.
12. Give it a great headline
The title plays a key role. With just a few words you have to convince the search engines to bring you up and users to read your piece.
Writing web headlines that work on the Internet may be a daunting task. Unlike books and newspapers where the only objective is communicating the subject effectively, on the net you should take into account the keywords with which you want to rank.
I suggest always putting your primary keyword in the leftmost part of the title, and use one of the persuasive title structures listed by Ann Handley in her book “Everybody writes.”
13. Don’t use internet jargon
Avoid all words burgeoning out from the internet and technology. Although writing for the web features the usage of simpler words, this doesn’t mean you should speak like a robot.
You are not chatting with your friends on WhatsApp – you are writing for an audience of potential customers.
14. Use active voice
Try to minimize the use of passive voice. This doesn’t mean the past tense, but is rather used when the focus is on the action. The phrase “The restaurant has been cleaned up,” is an example of passive voice.
As you can see, it is not incorrect. But if you transform it to active voice – “Someone has cleaned up the restaurant” – you will improve your writing as it sounds livelier.
15. Hire a proofreader
If you want to create above-average work, you should create an ugly first draft and then go through a re-editing process. In a few words, you start writing without going over it again, and then – after a couple of hours – reread and shape it.
You don’t have to be a good writer; you have to be an excellent editor of your own work.
Then, when it seems like it’s starting to take shape, it’s time to walk away from it. Get back to it the day after, when you will be fresh and able to spot all the imperfections that the day before didn’t catch. Finally, before publishing I highly recommend hiring a proofreader who can revise and re-edit your final draft.
Do you want to share some other good advice to write persuasive content for the web with us? Use the comment box below to let us know.