High Quality Content
The single most difficult part of creating a website is developing content. It used to be that you could throw some words on a page and it would rank in the search engines. This is not so any longer. The search engines are smart and they are looking for fresh, authoritative, and intelligent content. Repeating the same words and phrases over on different pages or directly copying content from another site are quick ways to get your website penalized. This is called duplicate content and it is one of the most common penalties you can get.
As your site is created, your website company will either write the initial content for you, or they will ask you to write it. If they write it for you, it is imperative that you make sure it is unique and that it accurately describes your business. Be on the look out for descriptive words that you may not be allowed to use in your copy, such as expert or specialized. These are common words used by copywriters, but some advertising rules in certain professions do not allow them. You are the one who will get penalized in the search engines, or worse you could get in trouble with your governing body. As a side note, some web companies state in their contract that any content they write for you belongs to them. Therefore if you terminate your relationship you lose the right to that content. This is something to be concerned about because if they do write good, ranking content and you decide to leave them because of poor customer service or some other reason, that content can easily be given to your competition. These terms usually have a large buyout amount that you need to be aware of before agreeing to them.
If your web company asks you to submit content you may think finding it seems like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. You know your business, you know your brand and you know what you do, use this information to write informative and creative content for your primary pages. The basic pages of your website need to be descriptive and current. You can use your affiliations, education and experience as excellent unique information. As for your blog, you are a business owner; you know your business – write about it with authority. Whether it is recent events, changes in the law or interesting statistics of your industry – write about it. As a small business owner you have access to information others may not, so there should never be a shortage of topics to discuss. Current news events involving your industry are also great topics for content.
As for writing content there are some basic writing principals to follow. First, create headings or titles that ask questions and use important words that you would want your page or blog article to rank for. Make sure that if you have a keyword in mind, you use that keyword in your title and content, preferably towards the beginning. Also, keep the content short and easy to read. This doesn’t mean dumb it down, just don’t write a term paper. State an opinion and back it up. When you write you need to make yourself and your business the authority on that topic. Proof read and grammar check your content. Believe it or not the search engines will do the same, and poorly written content will be penalized. Add links to your sources and find images that represent your topic to add ‘beef’ to your pages.
The A – Z of Quality Content Creation:
Be Consistent & Creative
Be Fresh & Factual
Be Intelligent, Interesting & Informative
Be Likable & Localized
Be Social & Shareable
The goal of good content is to get it to rank in the search engines, but it has other purposes as well. Quality content can help your cost if you are buying ads on Google or Bing. It can help promote your offers and drive prospect conversions. Authoritative content may get picked up and referenced by other sources, resulting in good inbound links. Often times news outlets will contact small business owners with respected information to speak on select topics. If possible, get your content onto other authoritative domains. The links from good websites will help with the overall performance of your site. Your content is your online voice and should speak to who you are. When writing your content, remember the overall brand and image you envision for your business. Your content should relate to and promote that vision.
Optimizing your content will help with every aspect of your online presence. There are various ways to make sure your content is working for you. Your content needs to be localized. Write about current events in your area and make sure to reference the geographical locations. This will help with your local search results. Use semantic search principals to help ensure your pages show up for all relevant searches. Semantic search is essentially a shift in the search engine algorithm to understand the intent of the searcher, to show them more relevant results. This is a relatively new concept, but it takes the emphasis off of keyword content and places it on authority and relational content. Think of your content as a relationship graph with the search term at the center and all other related terms spreading out from there. Those tangential keywords are the semantic terms that you could use in your content to help it show up for a broader spectrum of potential searchers. This means that not only are keywords important, but words related to the keywords are just as important. You should also ask and answer questions in your content. This helps with more natural language searches that are becoming more prevalent with search engine users. Once the content is written there are the back end tools for optimization that your web company should use, such as tagging, microdata and schema mark up, as well as header and hyperlink structure. All of these things are interconnecting pieces to help make your content stand out among the rest and are important to the success of your website.