Content is King! Now that we have that out of the way, I will set about explaining what I think content means, why it’s so important, and how to ensure your website content bears the stamp of royalty. Feel free to disagree, contest, or add to the definition..
The role of search engines is to deliver the best quality, most relevant websites in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). As searchers, that’s exactly what we want too..
This year has ushered in the greatest changes in search relevancy ranking algorithms since Google’s establishment. These changes have wreaked havoc across the webscape, punishing sites that had hitherto been dominant.
The changes have been twofold:
1. on quality of content – Panda
2. on links schemes aimed at subverting search rankings – Penguin
At the same time, Google has rewritten almost every Webmaster Guideline in an effort to ensure that we all have an understanding of what to do, and what not to do. They have explained in greater detail than ever before what they want from you as a content producer, and what will almost certainly get you demoted.
How Write & Create Good Web Content
Good content may be categorized by multiple affirmative adjectives, which could include – engaging, informative, entertaining, unique, personal, amusing, educational, authoritative, persuasive and, above all – original.
Don’t cheat or steal… No copying, plagiarism, duplication, scraping or other nefarious shortcuts! The moment you copy other people’s efforts you are (at best) immediately second best!
What is Web Content?
Well, it’s not just what you “see” on any given page. The concept of good content must extend to the entire website, all its descriptive elements, and many of its functional aspects, including;
- Pages: headings, paragraphs, images, image alt text, anchor text & hyperlink titles
- Posts, Categories & Tags: ditto
- Navigation: link text, hyperlink titles
- URLs: file names on all pages, posts, categories, tags and images
- Business Brand: be unequivocal about WHO you are
- Location: if you serve a specific locality, be explicit about WHERE you are
- Spelling & Grammar: spell check and proofread
- Broken Links, 404 Errors:
- Call to Action: guide your visitors down the right path, don’t make them guess
Basically, good content encompasses each and every area and element that search engines uses to classify and categorize your website. There are many content quality signals that search engines use, so the more ticks you get in the credit column, the better off you are! Conversely, every failure to fix an issue is a tick in the debit column!
Copywriting & Web Content
Web copywriters don’t copy web content, and nor should you! Real copywriters create pages populated with original and authoritative material, personally written in their own style, specifically for the purpose of the page. The web page copy is aimed at a predetermined audience, written to inform, persuade and encourage the reader to take a pre-determined action or path.
Check Your Copywriting Efforts
Whether you write your own web page content or not:
- Do use your spell checker on all new pages!
- Get someone else to proofread pages for both grammar and punctuation errors!
- “You never get a second chance to create a first impression!”
Understand Your Market
Each market presents challenges, some more so, than others. Try to identify information voids, and fill them with useful content. There is much online advice on the concept of presenting yourself as a helpful expert in your field.
When it comes to preparing web page content, its also much easier to present yourself as an expert if you provide professional services, or if you are a tradesman etc. You can write insightful articles on your profession, or helpful DIY tricks and tips.
For an e-commerce website, selling manufacturer’s product lines, it’s much harder but certainly not impossible to create unique and original content. Just bear in mind that most of your competition will use the supplied product information verbatim! Therefore, simply by rewriting the default Product Descriptions, you immediately distinguish yourself as being out of the ordinary, different and worthy of reward.
For a bed and breakfast business competing on a local and regional level, you can achieve prominence by providing pages filled with interesting snippets of information on the local and regional sites of interest, attractions and activities in your area. Write it in a different manner and style to the currently dominant competing pages, add interesting images and links for additional information.
Every step you take to rise above the pack will be rewarded, because most website owners simply don’t make the effort.