/ February 21, 2011

Content is king (part one)

In the first of a two-part blog post our search marketing/SEO team looks at the relevance and need for good on-site content

Content is king. While monarchists may look to differ with this statement, an online / search marketeer will no doubt be nodding his or her head in agreement.

Content has become such an important factor in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) over the last few years that it is now forming a part of every marketeer’s armoury. Whether you’re working on-site or off, content can be a major player in the success of your online business.

Ensuring that your website is ‘living and breathing’ is essential. Fresh (and refreshed) content and copy will keep the search engines interested as well as giving you opportunities to ensure your keyphrases and pages are optimised and in order. The Google Caffeine update made having regularly updated copy something that you couldn’t afford to ignore. With the search engine crawling the web constantly, an index is produced in real-time (therefore search queries are being compared to a new version of the internet) as opposed to a version that could be up to two weeks old.

Onsite content

The content and copy that you have on your website is of the utmost importance. It tells the visitor who you are, what you do and what you offer. Well written content can also give you the chance to make an impression (that is controlled by you) on the visitor as well as directing them around your website with the customer journey and sales journey in mind.

There is no hard and fast rule around the style that an online business should look to emulate – formal, informal, friendly, professional; and there are many examples across the internet of all of these. You know your business, whether the service or product you offer is along formal lines or if you want to present a more friendly relaxed approach. Choose your tone and then make it consistent across your site. When dealing with on-site content, uniformity of brand style is imperative (the only exception of course being Terms & Conditions, no one wants these full of puns!).

We’re talking about the basic content for your website, the essentials that help the visitor around your website and informs them of the service / products you offer. The main aim of this content is to push the visitor towards your chosen Call to Action and to make the sale and encourage repeat visits.

However, the on-site content that really interests us when we sit with our Search Engine Marketeer (SEM) hat on is what will bring more quality traffic to your site, (focused traffic that will be directly relevant to what you are offering) and will help positioning in search engine results pages (SERPs):

Linkbait

If it’s inbound links that you’re looking to generate or gain more traffic to your website, then you’ve got a few choices:

Blogs

Blog (short for weblog) – a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption.

Blogs are of the oldest and most recognisable terms that has entered out daily language since the internet exploded globally. They are a fantastic tool for the online marketeer and they’re accessible and usable for everyone – from the stay at home mum to the company CEO. Regularly updated, they keep your site fresh and allow you to speak directly to your customer.

Why Blogs are good for SEO

Blogs have inbound link magnetism. If you’re writing quality interesting / informative material and also pushing your blog out over the internet through the varying social media channels, over time you’ll find people not only want to read it but can find it too! The knock-on effect will be the collection of lots of lovely inbound links to your blog page, ergo your website.

RSS value

RSS feeds give you extra visibility and are also an easy way for your readers to subscribe. Get in blog directories and RSS feed search engines to really open your blog to the world and generate additional interest to your site and gain potential inbound links.

Deep linking and direction

Within your blog, as you have full control on what it contains, you can create fantastic opportunities to deep link into your site (through natural text links and anchor text e.g. talking about our SEO and PPC Management page). This gives you the chance, through the choice of content and indeed the  words used within the copy,  to promote a page or product and get customers to the pages you want them to see.

Guides and tips

Another easy to achieve and valuable piece of on-site content is to add guides and tips. Easy to do because this is your website, so you should be an expert in the product / service of your site! Valuable because it acts as linkbait to your site as well as giving the added benefit of being useful and informative – therefore helping the customer experience (and journey through the targeted linking that will of course be included in your tip or guide).

Forums and feedback

User generated content as additional content for your website it worth its weight in gold. You expend no time or cost in writing it and it means that your website/forum is generating emotive responses in the visitor, so much so they want to join your community or comment on your business. Forums can of course create links into your site (just be aware of the spam posters who just look to link out from your site) and generate user loyalty / interest, while giving you a chance to address visitor queries and comments personally.

A feedback facility is another great way to get content written by your customers. Offering this chance for the customer to respond (as long as you have the confidence in your product/service to not generate negative reactions…!) is another easy way to regularly have your pages ‘refreshed’ and to inspire word of mouth interactivity.

So, when you review your website, make sure you really consider what your website says and how – it could be the defining factor regarding the impression made upon your visitors.

Read part 2 of our Content is king blog.

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