The stuff on my website doesn’t matter that much, does it?
Well, no not really. Not if you want your website to just sit on the side of the road with a flat tire while the other sites go racing by. BUT, if you actually want your website to work as a tool for you, then yes, the “stuff” on your website matters that much.
Whether you’re creating a website for yourself with one of those free or cheap online makers, or you hire a pro to design your website, the content is going to play a key role in your site’s success. SEO isn’t a simple, one-time application task. It’s an ongoing effort of trying to keep up with search engine algorithms, keeping content fresh, finding the right keywords and making it all unique enough to help your target market find you, but not too unique that you limit your market. SEO is a journey. Not a destination.
But we’re focusing on the content. Let’s assume you or your designer have already started the SEO proccess: You’ve taken the time to get a list of killer keyword phrases and even tested them with an online tool like Keyword Spy or Google’s Keyword Planner. You’ve even taken the time to do self-searches to see what competition pulls up when you search these killer keywords, and picked the ones you can compete with and still benefit your product. Shnazzy. Now, it’s time to build amazing content around this prep.
First, try to unlearn anything you learned before. Whaaa? Yes, unlearn it. I know you’re tempted to fill your pages with so many keywords and phrases that Google or Bing won’t be able to pass your site up in a search. But, this just isn’t the case anymore. The algorithms are smarter. Just like your Momma, they can see through your tricks and have eyes in the back of their…screens. And also like your Mom, they want you to be happy being YOU. Point being, it’s time to be yourself. Be original, and try to be a genuine value to your viewers. Yes, keep those keywords in mind but make sure you are using them genuinely or Mom will give you a time-out and you’ll go to bed without any rankings.
You need to think like your potential customer.
What does your customer need from you?
What are they looking for or need help with?
How can your product or service help them achieve their goals?
What can they learn from you and your website?
How is your website a value to their time and attention?
Answer these questions as you write and design your site, and you’ll have yourself pages full of useful content. And Mom (Google, Bing, Yahoo…) just may reward you with a cookie. (did you catch the pun?) You’ll also be adding the right kind of context to your keywords which makes those search engine algorithms very happy.
But we promised Website Content Best Practices, didn’t we.
So, here are a few Website Content Tips to keep in mind when you’re creating the “stuff” for your website.
Do NOT, we repeat, NOT copy and paste. Oh, we know it’s tempting. You sell four versions of virtually the same product but the only difference is color or speed. How creative and original can you really get?? But I’m sorry, this is a big no-no. Copying and pasting creates duplicate content, which can really hurt your search rankings. So while it may be hard to stay original with every manufacturer description, this is a great time to give effort to that creative bug inside your head.
Variety is the spice of life. Yes, even on the internet. Having unique product page content is important, but let’s take it a little further. Give some original effort to the story on your About Us page. Do you have a list of people who love to brag about you? Dedicate a page to their testimonials. Maybe have a boring, but useful, page with your return policies, care instructions or Frequently Asked Questions. And don’t forget how creative you can get with your blog posts, videos, guides and podcasts– All of which can be tied to your social media for even more attention!
Keepin’ it fresh! No, not Ziplock baggie fresh. Fresh as in, new. “New is always better.” -Barney Stinson (any How I Met Your Mother fans out there?) While Barney may have discovered that his rule of anything new always being better wasn’t necessarily true for everything in life, it certainly applies to website content. Search engines are businesses. They want to make money. They do that by keeping their viewers happy with genuine, valuable, up-to-date resources. This is why the internet continually scans website content. So if you build yourself a store and just let it sit there, it might lose value and ranking fast. So set yourself a routine: Plan a regular publishing plan for fresh content. Update your product reviews or descriptions. Make sure you’re blogging. Give your site new images. Get a calendar to post all of your company or even community events. New is always better.
Content plays a large role on the success of your SEO efforts and your website. Keep your SEO efforts in mind throughout the entire design process of your website. Effective content, better accessibility processes and proper information are all key components for strong SEO. If these aren’t kept in mind during the development of your website, you’ll end up backtracking and retrofitting. Apply these few best practices to the development of your website content and you’ll be well on your way to bringin the most qualified shoppers to your site!