Posted on October 28, 2014
You’ve undoubtedly heard how important content is for your website’s rankings, and you’ve probably covered the basics. You may now be wondering, Where do I go from here?
Let’s start with the basics; every website should have the following content:
- Homepage: Crawlable content that speaks to your website’s main goals and your business’ offerings
- Category Pages: Crawlable content that addresses each of your business’ offerings separately; don’t combine two or three services onto one page as that makes it harder for Google to understand what that page is about and rank it
- Product Pages: Crawlable content (if applicable), and if you sell something on your site, you want to have individual, SEO-friendly landing pages for each of your products
- About Us & Contact Pages: Crawlable content including: hours of operation, location, contact information
- Schema Markup: Ideally, the site should have Schema mark-up in appropriate areas such as contact information, location, product offerings, events, pricing, etc. Find out more at www.Schema.org
So, you’re reviewing the list and thinking, “Great, I’ve already got all that type of content on my site. I’m set.” Not so fast.
Yes, you’ve got content, but there are a lot of other potential areas to expand into if you dig a bit. Google rewards sites with quality content but they also want content that’s updated on a regular basis.
It’s important that you consistently add new content to your site and, more than that, it’s important that its content your customers will find useful.
If you’re not sure what your customers will consider useful, there are a couple easy steps you can take to find out, including:
- Your Customers: If you have internal search on your site, it’s a great place to find out what customers are looking for and what they are having a hard time finding on the site. Check your internal search results and see if you can identify patterns; if they emerge, use that data to help craft your content strategy.
- Your Competitors: Be sneaky, check out what the competition is doing and see if they have content that you lack. If so, consider whether or not it makes sense to add this content type to your site.
- Your Keywords: Search your keywords and see what Google populates in the instant search results. Are there keywords or phrases you could use to craft content pieces or create new pages?
- Search Terms: Review the terms customers are using to find your site through your Google Webmaster Tools account. Sure, it’s not as robust as Google Analytics data was but in this term not provided era, it’s a good option.
- Keyword Trends: Dig into Google’s Keyword Planner, or other keyword tools such as KeywordTool.io, and start searching with your core keywords. You can find trends and, often, consumer inquiries surrounding how-tos, DIY guides, fit guides, etc. These are all great opportunities for content development.
- Your Blog: Create a blog and post regularly. If you’re going to add a blog to your website, make sure you’re fully committed to it and have the resources available to fulfill that commitment. It’s better not to have a blog than to have one that’s not done right. Craft a strategy for your blog, and determine who your audience is and what you want to focus on. After your content strategy is in place, create a content calendar to guide your editorial focus.
- Content Forms: Remember, content can and should be more than just words on a page. You should have content in the form of text, video and image.
- Media Optimization: Be sure your videos and images are optimized and you’re following best practice naming conventions for your photos (keyword-keyword-most important keyword.jpg for example, 5x7black-picture-frame.jpg).
- Media Hosting: Videos can be hosted either on your site or on YouTube. If you opt to host on YouTube, ensure full optimization of your channel through the inclusion of keyword tags and a link to your website in the video description.
Websites all need content; however, not all content is equal. In order to win the Google rankings wars, you need to provide your customers with useful content on a regular basis.
If it’s not helpful, they won’t interact with it and Google will be less likely to rank your site for those terms. Google ultimately wants to deliver their users the best, most applicable content. Write for the user, not the search engine and follow these simple rules for success:
- User Engagement: Most importantly, answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” Think about your customer when crafting your content. You may think it’s interesting but your customers may not and if they’re not interested or engaged, they’ll leave your site and go somewhere else.
- Readers First: Don’t stuff your content full of keywords in an effort to rank. Write for the reader, not the spider. By writing for a person, you’ll deliver what Google wants. Read your new content aloud, and if it feels awkward, edit. Don’t just add pages of content for the sake of adding content.
- Quality Vs. Quantity: Always focus on the quality rather than quantity. If you start out with a goal of adding 10, 20 or 100 pieces of content, you may only find five or 10 great ideas and then start pulling together mediocre ones to reach your goal. That’s not going to help you in the long run.
By looking at content creation in new ways, you can uncover hidden content opportunities for your website. Local SEO can be challenging since you’re often competing against others who are targeting keyword_location queries.
By branching out beyond the expected, you can provide value to your customers and show Google that you’re an authoritative site. Get creative, dig into data and uncover new opportunities to really connect with your customers.