If you are doing research on optimizing your website or trying to get more traffic, then I am sure you have seen repeated information on the importance of "content optimization". Many individual's biggest fear is creating relevant content that is both informative for the audience as well as ranked by search engines. A few of the most common fears with writing good quality content that businesses run into is lack of time, subject, and purpose.
So why all the fuss about content, and why do search engines require content optimization to be successful?
The Truth about search engines
Search engines strive to be as human as possible, creating intricate algorithms that try to mimic human behavior and thought. But in the end, an algorithm is still just a program that sorts massive amounts of data with signals. What you really need to understand is how search engines work in order to find the purpose of your website.
What is the purpose of your website?
Because search engine algorithms have been created to function as humans, the focus of the algorithm is to see things as a human visitor would, therefore gearing your content toward things your particular audience is interested in would make your content have a higher ranking on search engines. Knowing your audience's needs creates a purpose. Finding the purpose of your business is the key that will help unlock direction of the content. Once you have a purpose, it is only a matter of choosing subjects and writing content that deal with that audience's needs.
An example of this could be made of a lawyer's website that specializes in DUI cases. We could begin by stating that the purpose of this particular lawyer's site is to generate traffic for 'DUI' cases. Now we can create subjects out of this purpose by writing content on 'DUI Defense Strategies', or 'DUI Manslaughter', for example. Both of these subjects are relevant to the kind of information people tend to look for while searching for help with DUI cases. Both of these subjects would be great content pieces that would help this site's search engine ranking simply through relevancy to the audience's needs.
Now to the meat and potatoes... Content is king.
Unique, inspiring, fun, informative, educational, useful, beneficial; content is king, and all the rest of that crap are just puff pieces. In order to even begin thinking about "Google's Quality Guidelines", you need to think about your audience's needs. Interacting with a website is somewhat of a one sided experience, and you need to cater to this by providing information your potential audience will need, want, or use.
Now that you fully understand the fear of owning a website, let's talk about how to conquer that fear. It all begins with building an outline or 'hierarchy' of the information that your audience would normally ask for.
- Hours & Operation
- List of Products and/or Services
- Previous Work (services)
- How it Works (products)
- Contact Information
Once you have the core of that information done, you can easily expand into other areas of importance, such as explaining detailed information on how specific products/services work and why the reader would need it.
With this system in place it becomes significantly faster and easier to write subjects with relevant content that allows your website to tap into a niche audience that already exists, while simultaneously raising your ranking and fulfilling the need of a particular audience.
Once you find the purpose and create a hierarchy of subjects, developing the content and finding time become easier.
Adding on bells & whistles to your website
There is no better experience for a web visitor, than for them to want more information and being able to find it without having to go to another site. Think about what users might want more of.
- Blog - Get them involved and interested in what you are doing. Whether it is telling an exciting story, talking about a potential update, or sharing cool ideas. Ask for feedback, sometimes this can help you understand what the audience wants more of.
- Specials - Everyone loves discounts and special offers. Be sure to set a specific date and time that visitors can expect for new specials to come out. For example, daily, weekly, or monthly.
- Social Icons/Widgets - You might have more followers than you know. It is easier for them to click "like" or "+1" on your site than it is for them to try and find your page on another network.
- Press Releases - Is your site being talked about in other places? Let your audience know. Sometimes having them read a positive third-party perspective can be helpful.
- Shopping Cart - If you are selling products out of your store, then giving access to your inventory 24/7 is a big benefit. Especially for someone that cannot make it during store hours.
- Forum - This is a great way to get community involvement on products or services that you have, and interacting with the community can help drive sales.
- Learning Center - Sometimes there are little questions that people just do not want to ask in fear of feeling stupid. Providing an FAQ or Learning Center can really help a customer be more comfortable with specific products or services.
Understanding the basics of SEO strategies
A good SEO strategy focuses on providing relevant and informative content for your target audience. Developing a complete outline of everything that your audience wants is key. The more focus the site has on catering to an audiences' needs, the better your rankings will be.
Congratulations! You have taken the first steps towards building a successful SEO strategy.