Wired magazine talked with the experts at OkCupid about web content — okay, really they were trying to help Optimus Prime find a date. It was all about his profile, though, which is web content, and it was data based, so it was definitely a learning opportunity.
You may not be a giant space robot (I’m willing to bet you’re not, in fact), but you can apply these lessons to your website for better results.
- Size matters OkCupid has found that women will accept almost anything — a mere 130 words, too little for search engines to work with, will prove to the women at OkCupid that a guy is a sentient being, and that’s all they ask. Men, on the other hand, are much more likely to talk with a woman who gives them more information. 800 words is the suggested length. 280 is the average. Homepage content at websites we’re asked to improve is often too short — we recommend a minimum of 280 well-chosen words, and 480 is better.
- Keywords rock There are limitless ways to say things, but using the words people look for makes all the difference. At OkCupid, these words are things like “chillin'” and “mouthwash.” I would never have guessed. That’s why we don’t guess: we do research. Then you need to include those keywords in natural text.
- Readability is key At OkCupid, a 4-6th grade vocabulary gets just as much response as a 10th grade vocabulary. While your keywords may preclude really sounding like a 5th grader, an easier read is better online. People scan more than they read, and they also skim for specific information. Make it easy.
- Specific details are essential OkCupid’s daters don’t want to read the same thing over and over. Neither do Google’s customers, the people who search for information online. Search engines will ignore generic stuff in favor of content that makes a specific point with plenty of detail. The more semantically related (“semantic” is about meaning) terms you have in your content, the more Google will believe that you’re a good choice for your keywords.
- Audience awareness drives conversion. The urban online dating crowd responds well to snarkiness; rural daters don’t like it. Search engines don’t care about your attitude, but your readers do. You have to know your audience well enough to be able to judge the best tone and mood for your website’s content. Quality web copywriting improves search engine rankings, brings traffic — and increases conversions.
We shouldn’t be surprised that general principles of web content apply to online dating services as well as professional and business websites. Whatever your business, your online presence runs on your content.