People don’t read online. They scan. Sometimes gravitate. I swear, one time I think I saw a searcher float, but she was drinking.
OK, all jokes aside, people don’t read your web pages. They either scan them – if they’re scannable, or leave. Only some of your scanners will actually stop and read something if its piques their interest. Otherwise, they scan and move on.
So how do you gather their interest? Well, first, you have to attract them to your page – either through a well optimized pay per click campaign or a well optimized organic search listing. Let’s assume organic for a moment.
You first need to make sure that your page title is optimized and says exactly what you need it to say to get the click. Remember, your searcher is on the SERP at this point and has not even been to your web page. You must get them there. You have two tools:
- Page Title
- Page Description
Your page title should use your keyword and say exactly what users will find on your page in a way that doesn’t bore them stiff. Succinct is the key idea. Your page description should be a little longer, not much, and achieve the same purpose. Searchers will use these two items to make a decision as to whether they should visit your site or not, and you have about five seconds to get their attention.
Assuming they click on your link and visit your web page, what will they find? Here’s what they should find:
- A well optimized, attention-getting headline, very visible, at the top of the page
- Several subheads spaced far enough apart down the page that scanning by scrolling is easy; and it would help to have each subhead optimized with your keyword
- Bullet points; ordered and unordered lists make scanning easier and give your readers a synopsized view of your points, allowing them to see at a glance what you consider important (make sure these are optimized with keywords)
- Information of special importance should be called out and shown its level of importance with block quotes, bold, larger font, font colors, and italics; these elements should be used sparingly, but used effectively can make your web pages more attractive and give your readers something to scan aside from your main body text
Don’t just give your readers information to read: Give them well optimized web pages they can scan. Readers who want more information can go back over the finer points and read the full page after they’ve had a chance to scan it.