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Why Bargain Basement Copywriting is a False Economy

There are some things in life it’s a good idea to scrimp on. Growing your own vegetables will save you a pretty penny, turning down the thermostat and popping on a nice warm jumper will save you pounds come winter time, choosing supermarket own brand painkillers will help you cure those headaches for less. And then there are the things which it’s not so clever to be stingy with: parachutes, contraception, apology bouquets and, yes, web copywriting.

STROLL WITH ME DOWN MEMORY LANE…

Once upon a time, in an internet browser very close to your face, it didn’t really matter how much you spent on your content – at least not if all you cared about was making an appearance on page one. Content was content, links were links, keywords were keywords and the more you had of all three, the better your website did. Fast forward to the Big Two algorithmic updates: Penguin & Panda.

With the arrival of these two updates (designed to target link spam and spammy content respectively), your approach to links and content needed to change radically. I’m not going to delve too far into the nerdy SEO side of it all, but suffice it to say, both links and content now need to be ‘good’.

WHAT CONSTITUTES ‘GOOD’?

That’s a difficult question to answer, and not just because I’m busy reading Sartre (existentialists don’t seem to think that many things are good. In fact they don’t seem to think many things are things at all…maybe?). But to try to answer the question, ‘good’ (according to Google’s directive on content) means:

1. THICK’N’JUICY

Juicy copywriting that contains plenty of relevant information and a high word count is the way to go.

So-called ‘thin’ content is the arch-nemesis of Panda. That’s why your content needs to be nice and meaty. No two sentence pages, no duplicate content, no pages which are virtually indistinguishable from each other but target different keywords, no scrappy nonsense, no throwaway pieces. Instead include good, old-fashioned hefty pages full of useful stuff alongside well-written, well-researched, share-initiating posts. Don’t settle for tat.

2. ACTUALLY USEFUL

Bargain basement copywriting is as useful as a chocolate teapot

Similarly, don’t just fill your site with content for content’s sake. Every piece should be carefully tailored to serve a purpose for your target market. Whether you’re entertaining, informing or supporting them, just make sure that each piece of content you (meticulously) plan and put together has a purpose.

3. DOESN’T BOUNCE

The better quality your content is and the more useful it is to your demographic, the less likely visitors will be to bounce right off of your website. There’s some debate in SEO land about whether or not bounce rate is a ranking signal which affects your page rank; some believe, others don’t. There is a widely held view, however, that bounces accrued directly through SERPs (when a visitor clicks a search result then immediately hits ‘back’) are bad news for your site.

Even if this isn’t true, a high bounce rate shows that you’re doing something bad from a user experience perspective. Take a good hard look at your website, ensure your content is as “sticky” and anti-bounce as possible (high quality, usable stuff with eye-catching multimedia resources and lots of sub-headings are a recipe for this).

4. MADE WITH LOVE

It may sound a little gooey, but if you care about your visitors and you care about your content, you’re probably onto a winner. Panda is all about getting great quality stuff to the top of SERPs, so it makes sense to stop noodling about with Analytics and just create something awesome for your awesome demographic.

5. NOT SHODDY


Spelling mistakes, horrible formatting, syntax errors – there’s no excuse. None of this stuff will please that Panda or those extremely important people: your visitors.

If you still need a little more clarity on what Google thinks is good content, check out this golden chestnut straight from the horse’s mouth.

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

How can you put a price on meaty, perfectly pitched, unique and beautifully written content? Well, everything has a price. I’m not here campaigning for a pay rise or suggesting that you should start paying your talented freelance copywriters in South African blood diamonds, mostly because they’re pretty morally not cool. We do however accept Bitcoin and unmarked notes in briefcases.

My point is: if your content isn’t ticking all of the boxes above, it’s pretty much worthless. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve spent £10 or £100 on your latest piece of content, if it doesn’t fulfil Google’s expectations of good content, you’re essentially throwing money away.

To finish, lets do a quick recap:

Things worth scrimping on:

Vegetables
Presents for your least favourite aunt
Painkillers

Things not worth scrimping on:

Parachutes
Apology flowers
Website copywriting!

Want to find out more about our approach and our copywriting rates? Then drop us a line today.