We don't often realize this, but we can train our website content to do tricks. Unfortunately, most website content just lays around all day. This is why you see high bounce rates and poor conversion rates on so many websites. About the only "trick" this content knows how to do is to roll-over and play dead. But, those aren't tricks at all. The opossum that streaked across the highway after getting hit by a truck can do that!

What I'm talking about is teaching your content how to "engage", "inform", "speak" (call to action), and "convert". Teach these tricks to your content and you'll see a whole new level of performance on your website.

The first thing to train your content to do is not to overstay it's welcome. Like a neighbor you enjoy having over occasionally, there comes a time when they must leave. In the same way, you can train your content to know when to stop talking and show the visitor the door to the next page or pages of your site.

Leave them wanting more... and then give them more

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

We often try to do either too much or too little with our content. The "old school" rules of SEO said you had to have a minimum amount of content. Is it 100 words...200 words? There is a minimum number of words you need per page, but it has nothing to do with counting. It's the amount of content that is needed for the text to move the visitor to the next step.

There are three simple rules to training your text when it comes to the quantity of text to be used:

1) There is no magic amount. Some pages require a lot of text, but some don't require much text at all. But, bear in mind, that all pages need some text. Text is what convinces, persuades, informs, and helps your audience decide that they want to buy from you.

2) Keep your text as brief as possible. This doesn't mean your text has to be short, just that you don't go for length when length is not needed or warranted.

No magic amount of text. Keep it brief. Use no more than needed to convert.

3) Use no more words than needed to convert. Your audience isn't just one person. It's many people looking at many items for many purposes. Once you start looking at personas and personalities trying to target everybody on a single page can be daunting. But, you don't have to hit everybody perfectly on a single page. Figure out what the next step is for each group, and provide that opportunity. It could be a link to an "About Us" page, a link to "Shipping Policies" or a "Buy Now" button.

The basic idea is to train your text to be minimalist while still providing ways for the reader to request an encore. They do that by clicking further into the site to get even more information, where, hopefully, that page is also trained to provide the audience what it wants as well.

Inconceivable ContentThis post was inspired from The Princess Bride themed presentation I gave in early 2010 at SEMpdx's Searchfest titled Inconceivable Content: The Dread Pirate Robert's Guide to Creating Swashbuckling Content, Pillaging the Search Engines, and Commandeering a Treasure Trove of Conversions. If you enjoyed this post you also might enjoy other posts inspired from the same. Search for "inconceivable content" on this blog to find them all.

August 18, 2010

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Excellent post once again. Whether you are using an SEO company or not, I think it's a good idea to set a maintenance schedule to update your content every three months. As well as checking there is no outdated content, it's a good opportunity to check to see if your content is achieving your conversion goals.

Great post, very well said - a lot of the "old school rules" seem to trip people up now. People get so caught up in presenting their website to search engines that they forget that the reason it is there is so real people will look at it. No visitor is going to count how many words are on your page and then make a judgment about your site. But if the site doesn't appeal to them and fit their needs, they will just leave and you will get nothing out of it.

As always, a good advice. Lengthy content is not appealing, keeping it simple is still the best rule, short but precise and directly to the point. Of course the result of this approach may still vary but I do hope that once I adapt this, it would be effective as well.

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > How to Train Your Content Not to Overstay it's Welcome