Home Service Contractors: Take a Closer Look at Your Website Content
By Ben Gutkin
A “less is more” philosophy seems to dominate design these days. Photos and short videos rule, especially when targeting millennials. While this may be true in many cases, we’re seeing serious miscalculation when applying that general approach to website copy.
The two dominant factors affecting your website’s ability to help grow your business are your content and your ability to convince search engines that your company is the best answer for customers searching for businesses and products like yours.
Because RedBrick Digital manages more than 100 websites, our professionals have access to an incredible amount of data that tells us what works and what doesn’t. If your only concern is whether your website looks pretty to you, then go ahead and make it short and sweet. But if results are driving your thinking, you will be interested in understanding the importance of having more of the right kind of content on your site.
So what? Nobody reads all that copy.
Determining the right type and amount of copy on a page is a careful balance between the needs of your website visitor and the search engines’ requirements. Overlooking either of those audiences can render your website ineffective.
Starting with looking at the user experience: Does anybody really read all that copy? No. But they do scan it to find what matters to them, and what matters varies from customer to customer. A research study by the Nielsen Norman Group states the average website visitor reads only 20% of the words on a page. This doesn’t necessarily mean to write less. It means that your content had better be persuasive and aimed at prompting visitors to take action with your business. We begin writing copy by considering the following questions:
- What do we want visitors to conclude as a result of visiting the page, and what do we want them to do?
- Are they aware of the existing solutions to solve their problems?
- What information do web visitors need in order to take action?
The copy may be long (explaining how price protection works) or short (“sign up to find out about our latest promotions”), depending on the answers to the questions above. But it always needs to take into account the 800-pound Gorilla in the room—Google.
You need to play by the rules of the search boss—Google—unless you want only your existing customers to visit your site. Google’s algorithms affect whether your business shows up when someone types “plumber near me” or “landscaper in my area.” You get the picture.
Google LOVES lots of copy, as it turns out. Even if long copy is not entirely necessary to get the point across to customers, it is needed to impress the boss.
According to a 2017 study by a web data analysis company, AHREFS, there are roughly 1,000 different keywords that can result in a Google search ranking for a web page. (Keywords are simply those terms that customers use when searching for something associated with your business.) This means that potentially 1,000 different searches could all result in that webpage landing at the top of the results. In fact, by search-ranking standards, a 250-word page is considered short with successful pages carrying as many as 1,000 plus words. Short content misses out on the opportunity to use many keywords that could drive customers to your site.
The importance of your quality score
As part of its effort to ensure the integrity of its own product, Google assigns a quality score to each page on your website. The quality of your content (as determined by Google) significantly impacts your cost-per-click in your AdWords campaign, if you are running a pay-per-click or AdWords campaign to supplement your “organic” leads. In other words, if the crawlers deem your content to be good and worthy of the users’ searches, your cost-per-click will be lower than another company bidding on your exact words. High quality score is simply not possible with short copy.
Additionally, according to Snap Agency, content with a higher word count is more likely to get social shares, which—in the Google algorithms—is an ever-growing factor.
The bottom line is that the right amount of the right copy not only increases your ability to attract “organic” searches, it reduces the cost of your paid search.
How do you make this work in your favor?
At RedBrick Digital we base our copy length decisions on a number of factors including:
- What the consumer needs to make a decision
- What the crawlers need for the page to rank
- How important a particular page is for ranking purposes
If you are interested in attracting new business, for example, it is more important that your locations and services pages rank high. Payment options pages, a less searched subject, are relatively less important. So, if RedBrick Digital is building your website, you can expect to see long copy on your service and location pages and much less copy for payment options.
Before we write anything, we analyze which keywords connected to your business rank highest and use these words in your content. We don’t rely on third-party tools for this. We can review the history of tens of thousands of searches on our home service business websites to determine which keywords work best.
Long copy makes design even more important
Not to say that design is ever unimportant, in fact, making longer content intuitive to navigate and easy on the eyes requires even more skill than simply throwing pictures up. Real design savvy is needed to communicate your brand’s strength while delivering copy and calls to action that turn into leads and longer time on your site. The payoff is well worth it.
You’re not alone if this seems challenging and complicated to you. Many web design companies will design a perfectly nice website for you. But they fall completely short on understanding winning content: what to write, how much and why. If you’d like RedBrick to evaluate how your site stands up, call us. If you’re in good shape, we’ll tell you straight. And if you’re not, you owe it to yourself to get it right.
P.S. This article clocked in at a big 1,095 words. If you’ve made it all this way, I guess I’ve made my point.