Find out how to develop content that's RAD—relevant, actionable and discoverable (based on our recent webinar; view the recording below).
It's a sobering fact: Of the “hundreds of billions of webpages” in the Google Search index, more than nine in 10 pages get no organic traffic from Google. To ensure your web content is as effective as possible, our content and digital leads assembled this checklist for creating web content.
You can also click the link at the bottom of the post to download the guide.
This RAD checklist will help you answer three key questions:
1. Why is this topic or idea important to my audience? (Is it relevant?)
2. How can they put these ideas into practice? (Is it actionable?)
3. How do I make sure they find it? (Is it discoverable?)
Here are recommendations for creating RAD web content.
While the ubiquitous myth that human attention spans are shorter than a goldfish has been debunked, web content should be written to a level where distracted people can read it. This doesn’t mean dumbing it down, but it should be skimmable, use plain language, be educational and include a call to action at the end.
- Think like a journalist by making sure the most important information is at the top (who, what, when and where).
- Always make sure your site has correct and consistent grammar and spelling. It affects your credibility with readers because, especially in health care, mistakes can cause mistrust.
- Use active voice.
- Use different types of content, such as infographics and videos, and make sure your content looks good, has a clean design with white space, and includes relevant images.
Webster’s defines this term as “capable of being acted on.” Use these tips to ensure your content offers useful information that is worth reading and putting into practice.
Take time crafting your headline. Headlines that use numbers (especially odd numbers) work, so write listicles when it makes sense (e.g., 5 Ways to Create Powerful Headlines). Use your keyword in the headline to help make your content both actionable and discoverable.
Make it obvious what your article is about. Puns and cleverness work well with print headlines but are not effective on the web.
Use the same words your readers are using to search. By using keywords that your readers use, you will help them understand the content and will help optimize it for search.
Users will still look more above the page fold than below it, so take the time to write a compelling introduction that includes your targeted keyword phrase.
Your meta description should provide a concise explanation of your content to search engines. Keep it between 150 and 160 characters.
Use links to help boost your content’s usefulness and credibility. We recommend .org and .gov sites, and link to your own resources where it makes sense—but don’t overdo links. Keep them relevant and useful, and don’t rely on links to fill in what you haven’t written.
A tip about linking: Make sure your anchor text tells your reader what you are linking to. In the example below, you would want to link "Hours and location" in the first example, not "click here" in the second.
Do this: Hours and locations for our urgent care are listed on our website.
Not this: For hours and locations, click here.
Paragraphs and sentences should be shorter than those written for print. Use online tools that measure readability, such as the Flesch-Kinkade Reading Score or any number of free online reading calculators like hemingwayapp.com.
Make sure you have a strong and relevant call to action on each page.
- Start with a strong command verb (e.g., download, subscribe, call)
- Always think: What’s in it for the user?
- When you list a phone number, make sure it's clickable so that those viewing on their mobile phones can click to dial.
Here’s how to make sure your content shows up when customers are searching for solutions.
- Focus on where you feel you can make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time by developing a keyword strategy for your high-potential terms—those ranking within positions 3–20 on Google and produce good search volume (30–50 queries per month).
- The goal is taking content that has already built authority with search engines and pushing that content over the edge to show up on the first page, ideally in the top three spots.
- As a starting point, optimize your page title, as that is the first phrase a user sees in search results, and it’s one of the most important factors that tells Google what your content is about.
- Make your page title actionable if possible. Treat it like an advertisement or a subject line and highlight why someone should read your piece of content. Include your brand at the end, and be sure to include your keyword.
- Do not keyword stuff. Google will penalize your site for this outdated SEO practice of overly incorporating the keywords you want to rank for.
- Consider using SEO tools that can provide you with guidance on complementary words to add to your content. (We use SEMRush.)
- Don’t forget to see what your competitors are doing and find ways to gain an organic traffic advantage through SEO.
Download the RAD Content Checklist
Follow these tips when creating content for the web.