Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “Content is king.” Heck, I wrote a whole post about it a while back. Being familiar with the phrase doesn’t mean we know what it means, though. There are tons of companies out there offering search engine optimization (SEO) for your website. You know what they look at first? Content.
The content of your site is what tells your story. When someone visits a search engine looking for what you offer, that search engine picks through the content on your website to determine how likely a match you are for this specific search. Then, they use an algorithm that ranks those results and ultimately determines where your site falls on the list. What does all that mean? It means even if you’re the perfect fit for the given search, you may not show up on the first page of results. You may not even show up until the 7th or 10th page! Why? The search engine didn’t recognize your site as a good match because the content didn’t lend well to the algorithm.
Let’s look at some different considerations.
Improve Your Content Quality
Are you a good writer? It’s OK if you’re not; lots of people aren’t. If you are, great! If you’re not, get someone to help you! Search engines look at the quality of the content to determine its credibility. This can be as basic as grammar and spelling and as advanced as uniqueness vs. other sites.
A site filled with writing errors (e.g. poor grammar, misused words, improper spelling, etc.) will rank low in quality. Even the writing style is analyzed. For example, a site that uses the passive voice too much will rank lower in readability. (Read more about that here.) Take time to proofread your content. Then have an expert proofread it. Then proofread it again!
Another consideration is the uniqueness of your content vs. what’s out on other sites. What makes your story stand out? What gives you a competitive advantage? If your story is essentially the same as every other similar site out there, there’s nothing to bump you higher in the algorithm. Be different!
The next thing to think about is keywords. What are your potential customers searching for when they start typing in Google? If you were looking for you, what would you search for? It sounds funny, but it’s important to consider. Choosing the right keywords is important.
Once you know what those keywords are, you need to incorporate them into your content, so the search engines find them when running their algorithms. Be sure to include them at least once in the opening paragraph. There’s no magic number of times to use them, but the sooner they appear, the better.
A great way to discover your relevant keywords is through predictive search results. Head over to your search engine of choice, and start typing what you think your customers might be typing when they’re looking for you. What predictive words does the search engine add? Those predictive words are added because they’re frequently searched. That means they might be good words to incorporate into your content if they’re relevant for you.
Remember to also use everyday terminology on your site. If you’re a medical doctor with a rather specific specialty that comes with a technical, hard-to-spell and pronounce name, be sure to also use layman’s terms. Your potential patients probably aren’t going to remember that specific term and will search for something more generic. If your site only uses the technical terminology, the search engine may not even make the connection.
Keep it Fresh
No, you don’t need to change your front page content daily. In fact, doing so won’t help you at all. However, it is important to add new content from time to time. Search engines love “fresh” content. Things that are current and relevant will rank higher in the algorithm. I read an article once that called this the “hurricane effect.”
Type hurricane into your search engine. Go ahead; you can do it now. As of my writing this article, there is not an active hurricane. Thus, when I search for the word hurricane, the top results are all informational: What is a hurricane? Hurricane preparedness. National Hurricane Center. If there was an active hurricane right now, though, I guarantee the top results would all be about that specific storm. They might include news stories, weather reports, and updates or changes to the path. Those other informational sites will fall lower in the results. Several weeks down the road when the storm has settled, the results list would go back to the informational sites first.
To help keep your site “fresh,” then, it’s a good idea to post relevant content as it’s happening. This can include things in the news, new technology advances, or changes to laws that affect your industry. If it’s a buzz topic right now, you can use that to your advantage and get in on the increased traffic.
An outside set of eyes is always a good recommendation when it comes to writing good content. If you need someone to help you write, or if you just need someone to take an outside look, contact me today. I’d be happy to help!