People often ask me if optimizing their content is worth the expense (both time and money). My answer is, unequivocally, “yes”. Sometimes, the reason is quantifiable in dollars. You can add up the savings with an abacus or a calculator. Sometimes, the reason is more esoteric. After all, how do you quantify cognition? And all of the time, the reason has to do with your brand. Here are my top three reasons to spend the time and money to optimize your content.
Reason #1. Optimized content is easier to read.
When you optimize your content, you eliminate words that don’t add value to the sentence. You also apply magic secret #1 – you make your sentences shorter. Recently, I had a customer joke with me about how much “smarter” his company sounds because their sentences are longer. He was being facetious. No one sounds any smarter because they used 57 words in a single sentence.
For example, which of the following options is easier to read:
For more than 15 years, our sister company, Acme Consulting, has been serving companies and organizations just like yours, helping tens of thousands of people both prevent and resolve their repetitive strain injuries while teaching them how to adopt healthy lifestyle choices through on-site ergonomic consulting services. (49 words)
For more than 15 years, our sister company, Acme Consulting, has been serving companies and organizations just like yours. Our onsite consulting services have helped tens of thousands of people prevent and resolve their repetitive strain injuries, while teaching them to make healthy lifestyle choices. (19 words + 26 words)
Here’s another example:
The magnitude and direction of these effects are difficult to predict, though for most kinds of questions, the fundamental conclusions one would draw from the data will be similar regardless of mode. (32 words)
And no list would be complete without some (too many) words from the U.S. government:
If you already have Medicare Part A and wish to sign up for Medicare Part B, please complete form CMS 40-B, Application for Enrollment in Medicare – Part B (Medical Insurance), and take or mail it to your local Social Security office. (39 words)
When you are creating content, think about each word. Does it make the sentence more informative, descriptive, or interesting? Is each word required? If you eliminate the word, how does the sentence read? My hunch is that usually your sentence will be better off without the extra word. I’m positive that your sentence will be easier to read if it is short.
Reason #2. Optimized content is easier and cheaper to translate.
In most cases, sentences that are difficult to read in English are exponentially more difficult to translate. Ambiguity is the bane of existence for many translators. Give a translator short, simple sentences. In return, you’ll get a translation that makes sense.
There are two reasons why optimized content is cheaper to translate.
- Translation is priced by the word. Fewer words equal less cost. The entire story is more complicated. But, in simple terms, the fewer words you have to translate, the less you spend on translation.
- Simple content is less likely to be incorrectly translated. Incorrect translations lengthen the review process by increasing the number of review cycles. More review cycles cost more hours and dollars. If you’ve caught the problem before the translations are published, you’re in luck. Incorrect translations that are published can be expensive to fix. The cost isn’t just correcting the words. The larger cost is from potential damage to your brand.
Which takes us to reason #3.
Reason #3. Optimized content protects your brand.
Reason three is the most difficult to quantify. What is your brand worth? The answer is, “A lot!” Complicated content that is difficult to understand in every language, hurts your brand. No brand ever suffered because people understood the message. When your content is wordy, complicated, and unintelligible, your customers are more likely to scratch their heads and move on. And no one wants that.
There are many other reasons to optimize your content. What are some of yours?