By: Nikia Sayre, Organic Optimization Director, TruStar Marketing, LLC
Recently we mentioned using conversational content when optimizing your website for Local Search. One definition of Conversational Content is that it’s user-defined content that combines both talking and listening. When using this type of content in blogs and on your website, it makes you more approachable, and sounds like you are having a conversation with a friend, not making a sales pitch to a stranger. To say ‘you write as you speak’ isn’t exactly accurate, but it’s on the right track.
So how do you incorporate some of these tried and true communication techniques into today’s SEO practices, to come out ahead in local, voice, and organic search?
- Write According to Reader Purpose. The key to engaging, conversational content is to write for your customer, not for a keyword stuffing contest. We’re talking about intent, and how Google’s algorithms are able to figure out, from just a few words, what the customer is actually searching for. Knowing your customer and being genuinely interested in serving them is key. Anticipate your customer’s needs. What problems do they need to solve? What challenges do they face? How can you help? Talk to your customers, if you have the opportunity. Create personas to understand their needs, barriers and purchasing decisions. When you get to know your customers, you’ll be better able to anticipate the questions they have, and present your solutions for a variety of situations. The best performing websites are the ones who are answering their customer’s questions. Solving the searcher’s query matters the most! It matters more than even the best-performing individual keywords.
- Think like a human, not like a computer. This used to be easier, before we got brainwashed into trying to jam as many keywords into our content as possible. But honestly, we communicate like this all the time in our personal relationships, so we just need to carry that over to our marketing brains. Thinking like a human means answering the customer’s questions within your content, using words in a natural conversational manner, like you were talking with a friend. This is a great opportunity to engage your customer as you talk about your product or service on your website, just like you would talk to them in person. You probably wouldn’t come across as too sales-y, and you would definitely change your sentence structure. You can even interact with them online during the decision process, through chat, marketing automation and/or surveys. If it’s done well, they will feel important, like the experience has been personalized for them.
- Keep it stupid simple. Classic marketing writing contained long descriptive sentences, but spoken conversations use shorter sentences and phrases. When writing, use short sentences, with an average of 10 words. Keep paragraphs short as well, 2-3 sentences in each, with one main thought/point or idea per paragraph. Try to create content that answers users’ questions as quickly as possible. Keep your content simple and clear. The average Voice Search answer is only 29 words! Drop the jargon, and use natural language. You can use common slang and a more informal writing style, just don’t make it so informal that it comes across as unprofessional or disrespectful. The one caveat to this rule: the length of the answer should match the complexity of the content. Search engines will generally recognize when a long answer is necessary to answer a query. Just remember to keep it as concise as possible, since the engine is just looking for the best, most efficient (but complete and correct) answer.
Still wondering how to write conversationally? Listen to the way you talk to your friends. Listen closely to how others talk. Write as you are talking to a good friend, answering a question they might have about your product. Here are some other tips on writing conversationally:
- When writing, pretend that you are writing to one favorite reader.
- Make sure to read your content aloud – if it sounds like writing, start tweaking. How would you say that in a conversation with your friend?
- Use contractions like we’re, he’s, you’ll, etc…but use them correctly!
- Use an active voice, not a passive voice. ( I am, vs. you are)
- You can start a sentence with Because, But or And, because it keeps your sentences short and easy to read. (And when we speak, we start sentences with those words all the time!)
- Ask questions throughout the content to help engage the reader.
And last but not least:
- Long-Tail Keywords pull it all together. While individual keyword stuffing won’t work in conversational content, Long-tail keywords were made for it! Great content that engages your customers can only work if it is seen. The best way to make sure that your website or blog perform well in search is if there are Long-tail keywords constructed into your content. Long-tail keywords are used in Voice Search, to help communicate intent. The bonus here, though, is that they are already in a more conversational tone, so they are easier to work into your content.
Need help crafting concise, conversational content that engages your customers and maximizes your search efforts for Mobile First & Voice Search?
TruStar Marketing fuses the art of the brand with the science of analytical marketing to increase ROI. We specialize in Voice Search and Mobile First Website Strategies design and development for Healthcare, Financial & Insurance and Global manufacturing industries.
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