Posts Tagged ‘seo content


Content Isn’t Everything….

….it’s the only thing.

I mean, really. With the launch of Google’s newest update (codename: “Panda”), that’s what all the SEOs are talking about. Content, they say, is now the most important site element!

Newsflash. Content has always been the most important site element. And always will be. What’s more, everybody has always known this. Remember “Content Is King”?

Then why all the buzz now? Simple. Almighty Google has declared that content is the new backlink. You gots to have it, if you wants to play. And not just any old content, either. According to the Goog, it’s got to be

  • Original
  • Useful
  • Substantial

Which all just another way of saying, “C’mon people, if you’re not making the internet better, you’re making it worse.”

Your content must be unique to your site. No more copy and paste, no more sitescraper bots, no more one article published to 500 different domains. There are some important exceptions (like using manufacturer’s descriptions in your product copy), but for the most part, if you didn’t write it or commission it exclusively, it ain’t original.

And why not? If you go to the trouble of putting information out there on the web for all the world to see, why shouldn’t it be in some way—any small way—worth somebody’s time. This doesn’t mean every word on every site has to be deeply significant. Just in some way useful. Informative. Provocative. Funny. Cute. Entertaining. Nasty. Instructional. SOMETHING.

All of this useful, original stuff also needs to be something more than twelve words and a pass-through. For text content, there really isn’t any sort of word target (despite what you hear from a few SEOs) but there should always be enough to make a complete point, or thought, or at least a full paragraph. Images can be substantial all by themselves, but the criteria is very subjective. Does an image standing alone in the center of a page accomplish anything? If not, well, maybe you should consider filling up the space around it with some meaningful commentary. Or something.

I guess the true upshot of all this is:

Nobody really knows what Google means by “original, useful, and substantial.” But they’ll damn sure know when it’s not there.


10 Step SEO # 2: Content

This is the second of our 10 part how-to on SEO the easy, 10 Steps Program to Search Engine Marketing Nirvana. Nothing in this method is guaranteed to work, or to make you rich, or to grow hair on a cue ball.  And, no, it’s not as easy as, say, instant oatmeal. But if you follow these steps, you will find you and your website in a much better place, search-engine-wise.

Step 2. Content
So now you have selected a few keywords. If you’ve done it right, you’ve got 2 or 3 keywords for every main and category level page. These keywords are relevant to your site’s purpose, and chosen to (hopefully) reflect the sort of things potential visitors might use in a search engine when they are looking for the stuff your site is about.

First, you will want to sort the keywords on each page so you know which of the 2 or 3 is your absolute best shot at traffic. Decide right then that that keyword is your topic.

The next step is to write.

Write about your keyword. That does not mean “repeat your keyword x times.” It means, tell your audience what the keyword means, what its value is, what’s good about it, why its on your webpage, what it can do, where it comes from, why it’s better than other things like it, and on and on. Write as much about the keyword as you can, without getting repetitive or straying too far afield. Try to use the keyword as often as seems natural, and see if you can get the secondary keywords in there, too.

When you’re done, you should have at least 500 words of decent copy about your keyword.

Edit it. Cut out everything that’s unnecessary. Cut out everything that’s sounds dull or off-topic.

For most home pages, aim for 250 words of clear, concise, relevant content about your keyword. For top level and sub category pages, anywhere from 50 words to 2000…. whatever it takes to get your message across. There are successful main category pages that are nothing but the primary keyword in an <h1> headline, and then rows of product pictures with captions.  Others rock the scene with enough text to make a decent book chapter.

Sorry, I know that really kind of oversimplifies the process. For people who struggle to write (and there are a lot of very intelligent people for whom writing is anything but automatic) putting down 250 words of usable text content is torture—don’t even start thinking about writing content for 100 or so categories, as well.

Luckily, that’s where 1,000,000 unemployed English majors come in handy.  Using freelancers to write your web copy can be a cost-effective solution to content creation. But there are some things to thing about.

  • Only use reputable copywriters. Seek references and ask for samples.
  • Hired writers do not know anything about your business or industry or product or service. Just assume that. Good ones will do enough research to make their copy credible. Always be sure to tell them anything upfront that will prevent them from writing 2,000 words down the wrong path.
  • Never publish hired content to your site without a) reading it thoroughly, and b) editing for spelling, grammar, and to make sure your keywords are used correctly, often enough, and not too often.
  • Beware of unscrupulous freelance writers who sell the same (or only slighted varied) content to more than one site. Make damn sure it is understood and written down and signed that all copy you pay for must must must be original and unique to you.

And then, once you’ve got your entire site copywritten, you can move on to the fun stuff. Next Thursday, Meta tags.

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