April 14, 2011
In the world of SEO and Internet marketing, content is the reigning king. Content comes in many forms – blogs, videos, articles, white papers, posts on social networking sites and more. It doesn’t matter what kind of content your company is producing, as long as it is relevant, engaging and quality. Indeed, the Google Panda Update showed us that producing content that is anything less has the potential to negatively impact your website, aside from not providing any real benefit in the first place for you or your readers.
However, companies shouldn’t just be focusing on the content they create that gets published offsite; they also need to focus just as much, if not more, on the content that fills their own pages.
All the SEO efforts in the world aren’t going to provide any real advantage for a website if the site doesn’t help itself. This means the site needs to be well-optimized, have a solid structure and contain content that provides real benefit to the readers and that helps convert traffic to leads or sales. Visitors to a site that hasn’t taken the time to do these things often feel like they’ve been tricked into coming to the site. The link that got them there promised relevant information and instead they get a lot of generic, boring content. While having a large amount of traffic being directed to your site is great, seeing them go as fast as they arrived means something is wrong. Your site isn’t measuring up and your page content is the most likely culprit.
Your website’s content is what is going to convince visitors to stay and, hopefully, encourage them to act. So give them a reason to do just that. If a visitor comes to your site because they were looking for information, (perhaps an answer to a question) your content better give it to them. One way to make sure this happens is to create a FAQ page. Not only does the FAQ page provide answers for common questions people have about your company, it can have information about your industry in general.
Say you own an auto body shop and someone searches for “getting rid of paint scratches” or something to that effect. Your FAQ section can answer their inquiry by talking about common remedies they can try at home, while simultaneously prompting them to come into your shop if the damage is too great for a simple touch up. Not only have you answered their question, you have also placed your company in their mind as a possible solution to their paint problem. You weren’t just trying to sell them on your services, which can turn a lot of visitors off. They don’t want to be sold to, they just want the information they were looking for. Your content has to give them that information and convince them that your company has even more to offer.
If your industry has its own terminology, why not create a glossary for your visitors? Educating your target audience makes it easier to communicate with them. Some keywords your site may be targeting are probably industry specific, but not well known to the general public. How do you get people using those terms to conduct searches? You teach them. Companies that work in technology, manufacturing, medical or any other industry that relies heavily on industry verbiage need to educate their website traffic in order to turn them into customers. Plus, those glossary pages can become entry points for your site. When someone searches for “definition of cloud computing,” your glossary can answer their question and direct them through to your site.
A common problem many sites have is that they break their content up and spread it across too many pages. Yes, your company might offer a dozen different services and you want to rank well in the search engines for each of them, but does each service need its own page? Say you run a boutique marketing firm. One of your biggest draws is your social media management services. There are a lot of components that make up social media management – consulting, training, profile development, brand management and more. Do you give each one of these facets of social media management their own page of content? Are you going to be able to write enough quality content to justify those additional pages? Sometimes it is better to condense multiple pages of thin content into one or two pages of solid
You don’t want to make it hard for a visitor to find what they are looking for when they arrive on your site. Don’t bury the real information in webpage fluff just to get your word count up. Why write an essay’s worth of content for one page and make the reader search for what they want. Any content that is below the fold – the point where users have to scroll down – has less of a chance of being read because people don’t want to go hunting for information. It’s a fine line between too little and too much content on a page, and really good website content is developed over time.
The bottom line is that you have to create website content that provides as much value as offsite content. Content that gets produced elsewhere helps build your brand, but your site needs to measure up to that promise. Don’t let good traffic go to waste with inadequate page content. There is no guarantee that the “first draft” of your page is going to be the best. Sites have to monitor visitor traffic to see what is and isn’t working. Where is your content too thin? What pages need to be rewritten? Can you turn one page of content into two without losing value?
Good website content has to be clean, easy to read and understand, and provide real value to the reader. Just like offsite articles, guest blog post submissions and other forms of content marketing, your webpage content needs to serve a real purpose. If all your offsite content were to disappear and you were forced to rely on it, would your site content be enough to drive visitors to action?
Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, an Internet marketing and SEO consulting firm in Boston, MA. With over 12 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting daily updates to his blog, the Search Engine Optimization Journal (or SEO Journal) and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter. Contact Nick at 781-350-4365 or firstname.lastname@example.org