21
Apr
11

10 Step SEO # 8: Content (Again?)

Cast your memory back—ah the flush fresh weeks of April, that one beautiful day when March lambed out, all the way back to that first Thursday of March, and our second installment of 10 Step SEO. Remember? Sure you do. It’s the one headlined 10 Step SEO # 2: Content.

Well guess what. Now we’re all the way up to #8. And the topic is—wait for it—CONTENT AGAIN!

What?

Yup. Content again. That’s because either content is so important it’s worth doing twice; or because there are multiple places in the SEO timeline where you should address it; or because I’m kind of psycho and like to mess with people. All three are correct!

On March 3rd,  I told you all about content as a concept, as a tool, a vehicle for expression, and an SEO necessity. Today, I’m talking about content in slightly different context:

Content as a way of life.

When I consult with a new online business with a great idea and a lot of energy, it’s always tough to sell them on content. Most business-minded folks don’t have much time for writing, and many of them don’t do it well and don’t like to it regardless. So what they want to do is find a bunch of words somewhere—like the descriptions their wholesale vendors supply—and call it good. Well it ain’t good for SEO and it ain’t good for conversion-to-sale. What I try to sell them on is the notion that content is how your business talks to the world and to your customers.

I mean, think about it.

Would you instruct sales people working the floor to restrict what they say about your products to only what they can read off the package?

Nah, probably not. And you should think about your web content the same way. Should you use the descriptive stuff that came with the products? Sure: weights, colors, tech specs, and stuff like that are great and why not take it straight off the product database for free? But if you also use the product description text from the manufacturer, you’re missing a great opportunity to distinguish yourself from the competition and to sculpt the page’s search profile in ways that will increase traffic and sales. Create unique content on every page with carefully chosen keywords in mind. It will pay off.

The next thing is, once you’ve done that, you’re not done. You will need to create fresh content whenever you add product. Fresh content whenever you launch a marketing campaign or event. Fresh content when the seasons change. Fresh content around holidays. Fresh content when sales are up, and fresh content when sales go slack. You need your website to be alive with content. You want there to be something new whenever a returning customer visits. And whenever a search spider visits.

Not everything new, of course. That would be confusing and expensive and just plain weird. Here’s a rule of thumb. On the home page, at least 20% of your content should be newer than one month old. 5% should be newer than one week old. For category pages, 10% change per month. Product pages can actually stay pretty static, but if you use some dynamic feature to display “other products you might like” or “current specials” you can get those pages to show 5 or 10% fresh content also.

Which brings up the topic of using dynamic content to simulate freshness. That is to say, if you have a widget on your page that cycles through a database field’s content weekly, or daily, or on page refresh, that can help keep a page looking fresh. But don’t let it be the only thing you do. Because crafting fresh messaging that is on-target, on time, and on track can keep your best keywords on top.


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