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Writing Right for the Web: Engaging Visitors and Improving Search Engine Visibility on Traditional Websites. University of Nebraska - Lincoln August 10, 2011. Today we discuss the optimal presentation of content on your “traditional” website…. C opywriting, basic content presentation, and SEO.

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University of nebraska lincoln august 10 2011

Writing Right for the Web:Engaging Visitors and Improving Search Engine Visibility on Traditional Websites

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

August 10, 2011

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Today we discuss the optimal presentation of content on your traditional website

Today we discuss the optimal presentation of content on your “traditional” website…

Copywriting, basic content presentation, and SEO

2

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


What we are doing today 5 steps

What we are doing today… 5 steps

  • Content… essential to scan quickly

    • Examples of easy-to-scan pages

  • Writing like a direct marketer

  • Web-friendly online publications

  • Displaying content on the page

  • Better search engine visibility

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Major reason people go to your website

Major reason people go to your website…

Complete a task

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


6 key truths about the internet

6 key truths about the Internet…

  • People are impatient

  • People are impatient

  • People are impatient

  • People are impatient

  • People are impatient

  • People are impatient

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Major reason people go to your website1

Major reason people go to your website…

Complete a task

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


The golden rule

The Golden Rule…

5 seconds to connect

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Website is a series of online magazines

Website is… A series of online magazines

Admissions, alumni, athletics, friends, donors…

Content, style, frequency will differ…

As it does for print magazines

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Web content editor and friends http www bobjohnsonblog com web content editors

Web content editor and friends…http://www.bobjohnsonblog.com/web-content-editors/

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Not a place for great literature moby dick on the web

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”

I must go to sea when:

–I'm depressed or melancholy

–I stop in front of coffin warehouses

–I follow funerals

–I have a powerful urge to knock people's hats off

Continue the adventure here.

Thanks to Kathy Henning, Communications Specialist, Seattle Pacific University

Not a place for great literature…Moby Dick on the web

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Step 1 web readers are scan readers

Step 1…Web readers are scan readers

If people can’t scan your pages, people won’t read your content…

Eliminate dense blocks of text…

Change big paragraphs to small paragraphs, add subheads & bullet points

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Not so engaging on this page http www cofc edu about index php

Not so engaging on this page…http://www.cofc.edu/about/index.php

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


No unbroken text blocks here http www cofc edu academics index php

No unbroken text blocks here…http://www.cofc.edu/academics/index.php

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


T oo much content here http www suny edu sunynews

Too much content here…http://www.suny.edu/sunynews/

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


New improved version http www suny edu sunynews

New, improved version… http://www.suny.edu/sunynews/

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Easy to scan blog style news stories http www tamus edu

Easy to scan blog-style news stories…http://www.tamus.edu/

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Easy to scan annual giving report https apps carleton edu giving report 2010

Easy to scan annual giving report…https://apps.carleton.edu/giving/report/2010/

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Easy to scan for brand message http www smith edu about whyissmith php

Easy to scan for brand message…http://www.smith.edu/about_whyissmith.php

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Easy to scan for top tasks

Easy to scan for top tasks…

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Web readers scan for care words

Web readers scan for “care” words…

Words that get attention & engage the visitor…

Write from the viewpoint of your audience…

What are the “Carewords” that get attention?

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Carewords for exec mba prospects unc kenan flagler business school

Words people cared about…Top 25%

Advance your career

Balancing work, home, and school

Career advancement

Cost

Best school possible

Prestigious, well-recognized degree

Words that didn’t rank high…Low 25%

Accessible faculty

Experience of faculty

Corporate sponsorship

Shaping leaders

Class diversity (industry or experience)

Format of program

Carewords for Exec MBA prospectsUNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Carewords shape top content http www kenan flagler unc edu programs emba index cfm

Carewords shape top content…http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/programs/emba/index.cfm

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


H eading meets link expectations http www kenan flagler unc edu programs emba advance balance cfm

Heading meets link expectations…http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/programs/emba/advance/balance.cfm

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Step 2 write like a direct marketer on your website

Step 2…Write like a direct marketer on your website

Brief…

Clear…

Compelling and Persuasive

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Avoid old style marketing copy

“Rolls-Royce has an obsession with quality appreciated by discerning customers”

Rolls-Royce campaign before David Ogilvy

Sounds like…

“Committed to academic excellence”

“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”

Rolls-Royce campaign after David Ogilvy

Sounds like…

The real world

Must be true

Avoid old-style marketing copy…

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Can t make claims like this anymore names changed to protect the guilty

Can’t make claims like this anymore…(Names changed to protect the guilty)

  • “For more than 60 years, XYZ University has maintained a prestigious reputation for the quality of its engineering program. Today, the WXYZ University engineering degree remains the “gold standard” of excellence in engineering education. Students graduating with our degree will enter the marketplace armed with skills that are backed by the XYZ University heritage of unmatched quality in the academic preparation of engineering professionals.”

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Direct marketing style helps people scan

Direct marketing style helps people scan…

  • Short sentences… 5 to 10 words

  • Short paragraphs… 50 words or less

    • One sentence paragraph is OK

  • Sub-heads…

    • Active words, not labels

    • Flow from the primary page heading

  • Bullet points

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Direct marketing style helps people connect

Direct marketing style helps people connect…

  • Newspaper copy words…

    • “walk”… not “ambulate”

    • “confuse”… not “discombobulate”

    • “beat around the bush”… not “prevaricate”

    • “view”… not “purview”

  • Personal language style

    • “You” and “your” are great web writing words

  • Visible prompts to take an action

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Marketing style that works http www wm edu about index php

Marketing style that works…http://www.wm.edu/about/index.php

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


High visibility action steps http www waldenu edu tuition and financial aid htm

High visibility action steps…http://www.waldenu.edu/Tuition-and-Financial-Aid.htm

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Repeat the call to action http www mbaregis com

Repeat the call to action…http://www.mbaregis.com/

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Words increase action http dustincurtis com you should follow me on twitter html

Words increase action…http://dustincurtis.com/you_should_follow_me_on_twitter.html

  • I'm on Twitter… 4.7%

  • Follow me on Twitter... 7.31%

  • You should follow me on Twitter... 10.09%

  • You should follow me on Twitter here... 12.81%

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


The web is an informal place so make things as personal as possible

The web is an informal place, so make things as personal as possible…

The “you” word is fine…

Include a name for phone & email contact…

Use a name at the end of an auto response

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


You friendly transfer credit page http degreecompletion stedwards edu x157 xml

“You”-friendly transfer credit page…http://degreecompletion.stedwards.edu/x157.xml

  • Write like this…

    • “Request a transcript from each college you’ve attended.”

  • 16 times…

    • Use of “you” or “your” on this page

  • Abolish…

    • “The student must…” language

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Step 3 major print p ublications as pdfs or flip tech challenge natural law

Step 3… Major print publications as PDFs or “flip tech” challenge natural law…

If you can read the text, you can’t see the photos

If you can see the photos, you can’t read the text

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


The big three mistakes

The “Big Three” mistakes…

Alumni magazines…

Annual reports…

Admissions viewbooks

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


The pdf format doesn t work well

The PDF format doesn’t work well…

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


An example of getting it right http magazine uchicago edu

An example of getting it right…http://magazine.uchicago.edu/

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Every university can do it http alfredmagazine alfred edu http magazine biola edu

Every university can do it…http://alfredmagazine.alfred.edu/... http://magazine.biola.edu/

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Resist calls to flip technology http issuu com umson docs university of maryland nursing

Resist calls to “flip” technology…http://issuu.com/umson/docs/university_of_maryland_nursing

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Step 4 putting content on the page

Step 4…Putting content on the page

Contrast…

Font type and size…

Scrolling

Links

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Special attention to the first sentence in a paragraph

Special attention to the first sentence in a paragraph…

The first sentence can stand alone…

Craft the first sentence to capture attention…

One sentence paragraph is OK…

Keep paragraphs to 50 words or less

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Strong first sentence stands out http clas uiowa edu students handbook restart

Strong first sentence stands out…http://clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook/restart

  • “ReStart is the academic forgiveness policy of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.”

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Black text on white still works best

Black text on white still works best…

Black text on white (or very light) background is best…

Avoid low contrast between text and background whatever the color combination

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Serif or sans serif

Serif or sans serif?

Sans serif is easier to read quickly…

Verdana, Arial, Calibri are popular sans serif fonts

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Font size

Font size?

10 point or 12 point… Don’t make people squint

Fonts are different at same sizes… (Verdana)

Fonts are different at same sizes (Arial)

Fonts are different at same sizes (Calibri)

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Or let readers pick their font size http www4 esu edu admissions index cfm

Or let readers pick their font size…http://www4.esu.edu/admissions/index.cfm

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Scroll or don t scroll http www useit com alertbox scrolling attention html

Scroll or don’t scroll?http://www.useit.com/alertbox/scrolling-attention.html

OK to scroll when content of continuing interest is unfolding…

When topics change, might be time for a new page

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Writing links that work http bit ly 2dxrht

Writing links that work…http://bit.ly/2dxRHt

  • Place the link at the point of action…

    • Often at the end of a paragraph

    • Sometimes at an item within the paragraph itself

  • Make the link obvious…

    • Underline the link like this

    • Use blue as the color

  • Make sure link expectations are met

    • A list of academic majors

    • Not text about the majors

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


After content block call to action link http www susqu edu admissions default asp

After content block, call to action link…http://www.susqu.edu/admissions/default.asp

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Easy to scan links within a paragraph http www usfca edu about why

Easy to scan links within a paragraph…http://www.usfca.edu/about/why/

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Step 5 writing for search engine visibility

Step 5…Writing for search engine visibility

The most important element is relevant content that people want to find…

“Organic search”… fix your website first

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Important google change in 2011

Important Google change in 2011…

  • “Panda” raised the value of web content editors everywhere…

  • For example…

    • “Removing low quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content.” (http://bit.ly/k2uUZX)

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


23 high quality questions to ask http bit ly k2uuzx

23 “high quality” questions to ask…http://bit.ly/k2uUZX

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Especially for web editors

Especially for web editors…

  • “Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?”

  • “Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?”

  • “Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?”

  • “Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?”

  • “Would users complain when they see pages from this site?”

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Key metrics for quality content

Key metrics for “quality” content…

  • SEO specialists are watching two measures of “quality” content…

    • Time spent on website pages by individual visitors

    • Number of pages visited on a site

  • Recommendation for high education sites:

    • Check & compare “bounce rate” from entry page to academic program content

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Find the top landing pages

Find the “Top Landing Pages”…

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


4 simple steps to success

4 simple steps to success…

  • “Eternal” SEO success points:

    • Good title tags on your pages

    • Good body copy

    • Great content

    • No barriers on your website to block the search

      • No broken links

      • Links lead to the expected content

        • Danny Sullivan, editor, SearchEngineLand.com

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Write for the person visiting the site not for search engines

Write for the person visiting the site, not for search engines…

Use keyword words that real people use…

Add content carewords that people want to read

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Don t stuff keywords

Don’t “stuff” keywords…

The page title and description, primary headline, one subhead, twice in the text…

More and the page won’t seem well written

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Tips for success http bit ly ayzqph

Tips for success…http://bit.ly/ayzqPH

  • Title tag:

    • 8 to 10 words – 50 to 80 characters

    • Main key word at or close to the start

  • Different title tag on every page

    • If not, Google may think content is the same

  • Meta tag:

    • Write for the person visiting the page, not for search

  • Primary heading (H1)… one per page

    • Write a “carewords” headline for the visitor first

    • Then try to work in a primary keyword

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Try this to help with keywords http freekeywords wordtracker com

Try this to help with keywords…http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/

  • Check these results:

    • Distance Learning

      • 5,630

    • Online degrees

      • 2,471

    • Online accredited degrees

      • 1,404

    • Online college degrees

      • 1,097

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Results for online mba degree

Results for “Online MBA degree”…

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


An online mba program http www worldcampus psu edu imba shtml

An “Online MBA program”…http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/iMBA.shtml

  • Title tag

    • “Penn State – Online MBA degree program”

  • Page heading

    • “Penn State’s Online MBA”

  • First sub-head

    • “The Penn State iMBA”

  • First sentence

    • “Penn State’s online MBA degre…”

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Change headlines on press releases http news bbc co uk 1 hi entertainment 4879230 stm

Change headlines on press releases…http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4879230.stm

  • Print version

    • “Tulsa star: The life and career of a much-loved 1960s singer.”

  • Website version…

    • "Obituary: Gene Pitney.“

      • Steve Lohr, "This Boring Headline is Written for Google," The NY Times

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Keywords with google http bit ly dadad4

Keywords with Google…http://bit.ly/dAdAD4

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


In summary

In summary…

5 second scan rule…

Write in direct marketing style…

Use words people care about…

Limit PDFs and “flip” technology…

Write for people… search engines will find you

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


The yahoo style guide http styleguide yahoo com writing

The Yahoo! Style Guide…http://styleguide.yahoo.com/writing

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Highlighting the carewords path http w ww gerrymcgovern com nt class web writing htm

Highlighting the “Carewords” path…http://www.gerrymcgovern.com/nt/class/web-writing.htm

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


Writing right on my blog http www bobjohnsonblog com writing right for the web

“Writing Right” on my blog…http://www.bobjohnsonblog.com/writing-right-for-the-web/

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


U sability test results http www useit com papers webwriting

Usability test results…http://www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


B ooks to keep moving forward

Books to keep moving forward…

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


University of nebraska lincoln august 10 2011

Thank You!Bob Johnson, Ph.D.PresidentBob Johnson Consulting, LLC226 Chauncey CourtMarshall, MI 49068 248.766.6425 [email protected] Carewords Research for Online Marketing Success: http://www.bobjohnsonconsulting.com/customercarewords.html

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC


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