Doing SEO has always been a balancing act if done correctly. On one hand, you’re expected to work your “Google magic” for clients and get those high rankings. When it comes time to audit content, however, this can get tricky, particularly when your client wants hyper-minimal content.
“We don’t want too much text.”
Of course there are many aesthetic benefits to a minimalist site design. A few beautiful images, a little necessary info and a clear path to conversion. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?
Look, I get it. Your designer told you that too much text isn’t going to get read and just mucks up the look and feel and the flow. I’m not going to argue design with a designer, but if search engine traffic is going to be a big part of your business I don’t know how to be any more clear about this.
“You need some f*#$ing content!”
There’s this interesting technique that’s been going on for a while with link builders and inbound marketers called skyscraper content. Skyscraper content is content that covers a topic so thoroughly that it becomes the fricking internet bible for that topic. Why do marketers use this technique?
- Google loves it. Think about it from Google’s perspective. People use Google because it delivers you fantastic results. So, when someone searches for a topic like “link building tactics” or “how to choose a college” Google is going to side with someone who puts together a resource that provides the best information on the topic. (Search for both and see how many large list pages and skyscraper content shows up, I dare you). That’s why you use Google, right? If you searched either of those topics and got a paragraph and a couple of pretty pictures, you’d start using duckduckgo instead…
- Users love it. Look at the two searches mentioned in the first point here. If I’m a beginning link builder and I’m looking for information on ways to build links the more thorough the content the better right? If you start building lots of good content in your niche you’ll gain the admiration (and search traffic) of Google and you’ll begin developing brand recognition from users who regularly find your site when they search. The first listing in “link building tactics” is Point Blank SEO. I regularly refer back to that site now because over the years it has continuously put together amazingly thorough content on link building. That’s how you win the internet folks.
“Minimal design is cool, just pick your spots.”
Back to the point on minimal design, I’m not entirely against this, but you also need to think strategically about where and how you use content. A couple things to consider:
- Pages with only a couple paragraphs of content (general SEO rule of thumb is a minimum of 300 words) is going to struggle to rank for just about anything, especially something competitive. So, make sure your home page gives you room to talk about your main keywords, or don’t expect your home page to rank for anything but your brand name.
- Make strategic decisions on what “target” pages you want to drive search traffic to and which pages are “support” pages. Target pages are how you lure people in, support pages help you achieve your end goal (sign up, buy a product, etc.). If you have a clear understanding of which pages will do what, you can find a balance between pages that can have your streamlined, low content designs (your support pages) and your target pages which will help fill the top of your lead funnel. If you’re selling toilet bowl cleaners, then make sure your target pages take a cue from skyscraper content and really deliver the goods on everything you want to know about that brand, make or model of toilet bowl cleaner and you’ll clean up (sorry, I couldn’t help that).