Content Strategist: How to Optimize your Website’s Copy BEFORE handing it off to the UX/UI Designer

This post is for gig contractors looking to work as a content strategist for a website buildout. We will be talking about Hub, Spoke, Clusters and Authority, Optimization and Copy Structure needed Prior to the Prototype stage.


Pretend that you have to create a website without tabs or a menu bar. And pretend you aren’t allowed to use loose anchor links.


If someone was to land on your website and there was no header or footer and no loose links floating around saying things like “back” or “next” or “request a quote” or “call us” or … you get it… How would the reader be able to navigate and move through your site?


If they can’t navigate your site without a menu or loose anchor links, then neither can a human being or a Google bot. Menus and loose anchor links should be the last step in setting up a website because while they may seem helpful, they can actually hurt a UI/UX Designer when it comes time to layout a prototype.


Structure


You will be compiling all of the information into one document and structuring it kind of like an essay.


Title


Header 1 (H1)

H2-H4

Body


Header 1 (H1)

H2-H4

Body


Header 1 (H1)

H2-H4

Body


Header 1 (H1)

H2-H4

Body


And so on...


There is only one title in an essay and that title is the main topic. On a website, the main topic of conversation would be the client’s business name. But on websites, we don’t put the client’s name as every page’s title. We use the H1s as page names and possibly the page’s title tag… but that will be explained later.


What we put under these pages matters a lot. There are SEO best practices that come into play here.


Just like an essay, the subtitles (or H1s) support the Title’s overall message.


Everything we do on a webpage needs to make sense not only to the reader but to Google as well. If you are in the business of supplying concrete to contractors and homeowners and you are always talking about construction supplies, you may be misleading the reader or bot. Sure, you probably offer construction supplies, but unless you are a construction supply store, it should never be the main focus.


Instead, it becomes a supporting topic.


This is where Pilars, Hubs, Spokes, Clusters and Authority terms come into play.


Pillar


A pillar page is a very long page as it’s well over 2000 words and has a lot of sections. A lot of times web developers add anchor menus and tabs so when a viewer clicks on the tab, they are directed to a certain section of that same exact page.


Hub


Hub pages should be created last… and can even be skipped in the prototype stage if a developer is also a UX/UI designer. Hub pages act as a directory page for different pages of the website. They are not long in length–word-wise (unless you have a massive website)–and have plenty of easy to use call-to-action buttons or widgets/sections.


Spoke


The spoke pages are where you will be spending most of your time in this stage. The spoke pages, if viewed visually from a layout perspective, circle around the hub pages like a bicycle.


Hub pages connect to lots of spoke pages because they support the information on the hub page and from there the spokes connect back and forth between and even to each other, should it make sense. A hub page can be the homepage but it doesn’t have to be. The homepage can act as a secondary hub page if you want it to… Homepages can have a lot of drop offs if too many incoming links are going to it for when people view it they drop off not finding what it was they were looking for.


It just depends on what your conversion optimization plan is. Do you want your homepage to be your biggest “directory” or do you want it to act as a welcome landing page? If you wish for some other pages of your site to be your hub pages, and you also want your homepage to be a hub page, then be sure to connect your homepage to all of your other hub pages!


Cluster


Then there are clusters… Clusters are spoke pages that act as its own hub and spoke layout. Sections of a section.


Authority


Websites can have more than one hub page and of course lots of spoke pages, and clusters of spoke pages, but of these pages there will be an authority page. An authority page is the page of the website where you wish other websites would reference or cite to. Sometimes websites prefer to let their blog posts be their authority pages. If you see that most citations are going to a spoke page or a particular blog, then it may be time to turn that page into a hub page so that drop offs don’t occur.


Blogs


Additionally, a blog section is a hub and spoke cluster, and sometimes a pillar system of its own. Think of it as a second website. While the main blog page is a directory, it doesn’t need to have all of the blogs pointing back to it… but rather categories, hashtags, authors and cluster groups would be linked to and from and posts of course.


Getting started


We create secondary hub pages, landing pages and hub pages last. We also create blog pages last. This will ensure that your spoke pages and spoke hub/spoke clusters are set properly.


Before you start, you have to have your copy! Always start with the written copy first! Copy is the foundation of everything. Words… am I right?


So go back and structure your essay first. Forget about your hubs, homepage, landings, privacy policies, contact pages and blog pages and work on the spokes first and cluster spokes. Make sure they are 100% ready to go before prototypes are created.


And I’m not just talking about your services and products and contact information… it’s so much more than that.


You are going to start with thinking about your copy in two ways; 1) a real life person reading it and 2) bots, especially Google bots reading it. You have to make sure both the human interaction and the bot interaction understand what they are reading.


If you do not structure both the frontend and backend properly neither will understand what they are reading about.


So again, go back to your school days of writing a story or an essay. Write it all out like a company biography and follow these steps:


  1. Gather what you have and add to it. Go back to your roots… if you are wanting to be a content strategist you have to know how to and be good at writing copy. Start there! Forget for a moment anything about optimization and be sure that your essay is well written and structured. You won’t be able to complete optimization unless you have this rep completed.

  2. If your document wasn’t going online and was going to be written in a book or letter, make sure it stands alone well!

  3. From there aim to have 600+ words on all of your spokes (or for now all of your sections under your headers)… which will be written under your H1 subtitles. **TIP: if you are struggling to come up with 600 words, move this step to the end of this article...it will make sense later as you continue to read.**

  4. Research and find 2 different keywords for each page or each H1 section of your document. And be sure that these keywords are specific to the page itself and NOT the title or the company's name.

  5. Research and find 1 different website that is an authority site and is related to your page’s copy… a “source” if you will.

  6. Now while you are writing, be sure to add those 2 keywords in the sentences and not loose, so that they make sense and are not just placed.

  7. Then, take that other website and look at the title of that page. What is it? Figure out what that title is and write that title into your copy so it too makes sense in a sentence and paragraph. Be sure to add the hyperlink to that title that is written in your copy.


OK, so now you have copy under each H1 section that you will use to create your spoke pages from and each of these pages have 2 of their own special keywords/phrases and 1 outbound authority page’s hyperlink.


Now it’s time to determine what your hub pages will be.


8. Chart it Out


What will you call your hub pages? What are your H1’s called? Can you determine what a viewer looking at your hub page would want to learn more about should they land on it?


For example:


The Quality Concrete Products company is talking about Redi Mix Concrete, Precast Concrete, they offer Construction Supplies, want viewers to learn about their history and their staff, they offer jobs and have a lot of FAQs… these are their spoke pages. But who would want to know about these things? Well, Homeowners and Contractors, right? Sure! So, they want to create a Hub Page that directs Contractors to various spoke pages and another one for Homeowners that direct them to either the same or other spoke pages. And on these spoke pages, they want them to be able to continue to click on the web page itself (not a menu or loose links) to be able to go to other supporting spoke pages.


From here we can structure our site’s user paths and create a diagram. In this particular example, the concrete company also has a blog and as you can see it acts as its own cluster and more so acting like a separate site.






Go Back to Your Copy


So we have our spoke pages created and our diagram created… Now it’s time to build further on the off page copy and on page anchor links.


9. Set Headers and Title Tags


Take the two keywords you found and build them into the pages’s Headers (on page) and pages’s Title Tags (backend). You may find that what you thought the Pages’s Headers were going to be, now need to be adjusted for the keyword. You have them in your body but one of them needs to be in the Header. Then, typically that same Header acts like the title Tag… but not so much… Title Tags need to be cathay and unique to call a reader to read… but Headers may not work out the same way on a page. Just try your best to get them to match up a bit so when readers click a Title Tag on Google, and visit the page the Header tells them they came to the right place.


10. Set Meta Descriptions


Now take one of them that you didn't use in the Title Tag and use it in the Meta Description. The Meta description, like the title tag, is in the backend of the page.


11. Set Slugs


Set your slug… what will this page be called? Keep it short and simple. www.domain.com/supplies


Here is an example of how these elements appear in Search Engines:






Use SERPs to check lengths.


The best way to optimize your page title and meta description tag is to include your main keyword in the 4 following elements;


SEO Title

Meta description

Slug

H1 tag

-----

{Header 1 “Page Title” can also be “Title Tag”}


Title Tag:

{Title Tag/Keyword/Phrase} | {Company Name} | {Location} Max 580px

Slug:

/{title-tag Max 385px

Meta Description:

(Include the other Keyword/Phrase) Max 990px

Anchor Pages:

{Example, Example, etc.} (Add these internal anchor words into the copy so you can connect them later. Because we don’t have a live site, you can’t find their internal URLS so just highlight them for now. If you need to create more copy for this page, look to these Anchor pages for inspiration first) *Put an * next to the ones that you know are going to be Hub pages as you won’t build their copy at first

Page Specific Keywords/Phrases: {Example, Example, etc.} (Need 2 and Use Keywords/Phrases in sentences strategically placed in Copy as well as Title Tag and Description)

{Body, body body body….}


{Sub-header or “H2”}


{Body, body body body….}

{Sub-sub header or H3}


  • Bullets are great!

-----


12. Set Anchors


Now that you know what pages will be connected to the other pages, you can anchor them. An anchor link connects your pages to one another without a menu. Anchor links should not be loose. They should be written into the copy just like that outbound authority link.


**Tip Explanation: We find that sometimes it’s better to not worry about the 600+ count until after you’ve determined what pages will connect because you can use copy from one page to another, reword if of course, to help you along the easy because since you have to have those anchor links written out in copy that makes sense, you will probably use the copy from those pages.**


13. When this is all complete, then you can work on copy for the other pages such as the homepage, policies, blog pages, etc. and do the same steps for those pages as you did with the others. Because you left them for the end, you’ll be able to easily determine what they will have on them.


When this last, last step is complete, you will have optimized copy ready to be handed off to the UX/UI Designer who will create a prototype!


Yaysers!


If you have any questions please let me know!


Internet Marketing–Being Seen Online

SEO Diagram



Amanda Honeywell

HMG / HWD

Chief Everything Officer Design Obsessed


"I want you to look as good as you are!"

ahoney@hmgroupmi.com






15 views0 comments