As you probably are aware, Google announced significant changes in their algorithm over the last few months. However, what does this mean for your dog walking or pet sitting business? You need to adjust the way you write your content for your website. Tools like Grammarly and WordPress plugins like Yoast will help you write search engine optimized content based on Google’s style guides. It is not a total secret. Google gives us tons of advice on what they like and what they do not.
What You Should Do
Be human. Be consistent. Let your personality show. When writing blogs, use active voice instead of passive voice. Be memorable and even a little bit funny. How do you make Google Happy?
- Use a friendly and conversational tone, rather than a formal tone.
- Don’t be super-entertaining or super-dry. Aim for something in between and remember that the purpose of your content is to provide information to someone who is looking for it.
- Keep your sentences short, clear and concise.
- Use simple words that your users will understand.
- Use standard American spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar.
- Implement descriptive and effective link text.
- Read your content out loud before you publish it to ensure your content sounds natural.
- Use transitional phrases to make sentences flow.
- Use the relative pronoun ‘that’ where you might normally keep it out.
- Clarify antecedents
- Don’t be too culturally specific
- Use Google’s wordlist to find the right words to use
- Use internal and external linking
- Use proper heading tags to help Google understand your content flow
- Optimize and properly names images, but don’t over do it.
What you should avoid
In Google’s style guide, they offer many suggestions on what you should avoid adding to your website. What should you stay away from:
- Technical jargon and buzzwords
- Content that is too cutesy
- Placeholder phrases like “please note” and “at this time.”
- Choppy or long-winded sentences
- Starting sentences the same way
- Unnecessary jokes and funny lines that aren’t closely related to the topic
- Exclamation marks (unless you have an extraordinarily exciting moment)
- Taking metaphors too far
- Off topic verbiage or confusing information.
- Using ‘click here’ in anchor text instead of using descriptive anchor text.
- Overdoing politeness and overusing the word ‘please.’
- Too many dangling modifiers or misplaced modifiers
- Keyword stuffing and Blackhat SEO that violates Google’s terms of service.
These are long lists that may seem overwhelming. Write better content that Google will notice and trust by following these suggestions. Remember, the most important part is that you are communicating useful information in a clear and concise way.
Erika Godwin is the President of Barketing Solutions and the Co-Founder and CMO of ProPet Software, an industry-leading kennel management software. Erika has over 8 years of experience with WordPress and graduated from Elmira College in 2009 with a BS, Business Administration- Marketing and Management.