Read any Internet marketing article, forum or tutorial these days and you will find that the one thing all the experts agree on is that you need to have lots of good quality content on your web site. It sounds like good advice does not it? But what precisely does it mean?
Simply put, content is all the text copy and graphics on your web site. Good content can be defined as information that your visitors will find helpful and that is relevant to their needs. Good content will also enable search engines to crawl and index your web site under the key phrases that your customers are searching on. After all, there's no point in having a brilliantly written sales message within your web site content if your potential customers never find it!
Good content will mean different things to different businesses and exactly what constitutes "good content" depends large on the goal of your web site and the products or services you offer.
Web site content can be loosely divided into the following page types:
Core Web Site Pages
These are the mainstay pages of your web site. These are the pages that explain who you are and detail the products, services and information that is available through your web site. The best place to start with "good content" is making sure these pages are as complete as possible and answer all of a user's potential questions.
Typical pages that visitors expect to find on every web site are:
· About Us
· Products and / or Services
· Contact Us
If you are not experienced in writing sales copy, it is worth considering hiring a professional copywriter to write (or rewrite!) The text for your web site pages. A well-written page tailors the style and voice of your message to appeal to your particular customer type. It can make the difference between just getting web site visitors and getting visitors that convert into paying customers.
For more information on writing content for your web site download our guide "Writing Text That Sells". To read an excerpt click here: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_3.html
Make your web site's core pages your first priority before looking at adding other content. Ensure that they are clean, concise and easy-to-read, complete and informative. Ask yourself the questions that your customers may ask, do these pages answer these questions, or at least clearly lead to additional complementary pages that contain the answers to these questions?
Complementary pages are the pages that enhance and expand on your core site pages. These are the "additional information" pages that are your opportunity to really set yourself apart from your competitors and help you make a sale.
For product sites, you could include independent product reviews, printer-friendly product specification pages, product comparison tables, customer feedback and recommendations and help pages that go exceeded customer expectations.
For service sites, these pages may detail your expertise, experience and qualifications, your proven track record, existing customer testimonials, common myths and misconceptions about the services you offer, or do-it-yourself tips for situations where a professional is not needed.
Supplemental pages can also offer additional information about industry recognition, associated bodies you belong to and rewards you may have won. They can include mission statements or even statements of your commitment to customer service, lowest price guarantees, etc. These pages are not critical to the operation of your web site, but their content can help differentiate your site from others in the field and establish credibility with your visitors. The object is to give them reasons to choose to do business with you rather than your competitors.
Writing Content for Search Engines
It is well known that if you optimize your web sites content well, the lion's share of your visitors will come through the search engines. We also know that key phrases and links to your site are the two things that affect your ranking in the search engines. Your key phrases tell the search engines what you do, and the inbound links tell them how important you are. This combination is what determines your relevancy. And relevance is what the search engines are after.
There's a lot of information available about how to incorporate keyword phrases into your HTML and Meta tags, and how to establish inbound links to your web site. Both topics are covered in depth in our guide "Start at the Beginning" (click here for an excerpt:
Http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html ). But that's only half the battle.
Search engines do look at your tags, html coding and links, but they also look very close at your text content. If the key phrases you have used in your tags and links are not used in your text copy, your site will not be indexed for those key phrases and your customers will not find your web site listed under the key phrases that they are using .
But writing key phrase rich content without compromising readability and flow is not easy. Readability is paramount to attracting and retaining visitors and after all, it's the visits that buy your product or service, not search engines.
By following these simple guidelines, you'll be able to overhaul the content of your web site and ensure that it's pleasing to both the search engines and your visitors.
1. Divide and categorize.
Once you have decided which pages to select your core pages and which are complementary, further divide your complementary page into categories. For example, divide your products into types (ie: digital cameras) then subdivide them into smaller groups (Konica, Fuji, etc). This way, you'll be able to incorporate very specific keyword phrases into your text content, thereby capturing a very targeted market. If you're working on an existing web site, re-title each page with its key point, offering, or benefit using your key phrases.
For further information on the best way to select targeted key phrases, download our guide "Start at the Beginning". Click here to read an excerpt: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html
2. Use Key Phrases rather than Keywords
There's far too much competition to waste time trying to optimize for single keywords and they are rarely, if ever, really indicative of what your web site is about. Research has also shown that Internet users are becoming more search-savvy and are searching using more and more specific key phrases. They're learning that by being more specific, they find what they're looking for much faster and do not have to wade through oceans of irrelevant results to find it.
Although using key phrases rather than single words may mean that you get fewer visitors, these visitors will be looking for exactly what you are offering and are there before more likely to convert into customers.
3. Pick the most relevant Key Phrases
Do not try to include every key phrase on every page. Focus on one or two key phrases on each page and make sure that they are relevant to the product, service or information content that is being offered there. Try to include the full key phrase in the copy using the words in the correct order but do not over use each phrase and do not let them detract from the overall readability or flow of the text.
4. Use Key Phrase text in Links
If you use your key phrases in text links to relevant pages within your web site, when the search engines look at your site, they'll see that the pages are related. So on product page A, include a text link to product page B. For example, on a page displaying Fuji Digital Cameras, you may add a link at the bottom of the page that says, "You may also be interested in Konica Digital Cameras "He said. If you link this text to a page entitled "Konica Digital Cameras" the search engines will see this as a "vote" from page A for page B's content about Konica Digital Cameras.
5. Use Key Phrases In Headings
Search engines, as well as customers, reel on headings to scan your web sites information. Headings are given quite a lot of weight by search engines when categorizing your web site, so although it sounds obvious, make sure your headings are in text rather than graphic format and try to include your primary key phrases in them. If possible, also break up your content using subheadings through out your page. This will not only improve the readability of the page, because it will help customers scan your information, but will also provide some secondary key phrase opportunities.
Just remember not to overdo it. It's not easy to find the balance between content written for search engines and content written for customers, but if you take the time to implement the steps above, having well written content on your web site will pay huge dividends over time.