Don’t be lost for words on the web

You’ve just launched a shiny new website, with a clean, striking design, powerful branding and beautiful photography to catch the eye. Congratulations! Now all you need to do is add words…

Sadly, words are often the last thing businesses think of when they plan a new website. Usually, they’re forgotten in the budget and just cobbled together from print brochures.

This can be a costly mistake. In some ways, words are the most important part of your website. Not just because they describe your products, express your brand personality, and make a vital connection with customers. But because without them, you simply won’t be found.

Search engines use the words on your site to decide your rankings. That’s not just the main body copy, but also hidden text such as meta descriptions, URLS, hyperlinks and ALT tags for images.

Brilliant photography, designs and animations aren’t even read by the search bots, unless they’re tagged with words. In short, the right words in the right places can make all the difference between being found on the web, and sinking unseen.

A couple of weeks ago, Borders Creative ran a website Visibility workshop with Business Gateway to give Borders businesses some ideas on how to improve their search engine rankings. More than 30 companies came to Ettrick Riverside, Selkirk, to hear about branding, pay-per-click, search engine optimisation (SEO) and other tricks of the trade.

As an experiment, we set up a simple landing page with nothing on it but words. The Olympic torch was due to pass through the Borders, so we created a page focused on the search term “Olympic torch Selkirk”. It was written in a few minutes, and included a short text and some links.

A couple of weeks later, the results were astounding. The web page had been picked up on Google and was No. 1 for “Olympic torch Selkirk”, ahead of Scottish Borders Council and even London 2012. It was No. 2 for a whole range of other searches, including “Olympic relay Selkirk” and “Olympic torchbearers Selkirk’” The page wasn’t even refreshed, or submitted to search engines or social media. So how was this possible? By choosing a tight focus for the page, and writing the right words, in the right places, in the right order. This is known as SEO copywriting, and along with other web-savvy techniques, it can make a big difference to your site rankings.

But your web content needs to connect with people, not just machines. That’s where creative copywriters really come into their own. They use powerful techniques including storytelling, metaphor and voice combined with the latest thinking in marketing and psychology, to help companies connect to customers far more effectively. This is particularly important on the web, where businesses need to reach out beyond the soulless screen and win people’s trust – not easy with only words and images.

With millions of websites all competing for attention, it makes sound business sense to use creative professionals for the best possible online impact. Whether photographers, marketers, web designers or copywriters, Borders Creative members know their stuff and are here to help.

For more on website visibility and professional creative services, visit www. borderscreative.com