The value in adding unique SEO content to your websites remains, at the risk of becoming cliché, vital for search engine optimization. Aggressive marketers know this, but many have, over recent years, lost their way – wandering instead into the world of quantity over quality.
Early in 2011, when Google decided that a shake-up was needed to improve the ‘browsing experience’ of its users, it set free a Poirot-type Panda, trained in the detection of websites that are poorly constructed, difficult to navigate, and which have with poor quality, keyword stuffed, rehashed, irrelevant and badly written content.
So what does it take to ensure your website delivers the ‘browsing experience’ Google rewards?
Know Your Audience, Understand What They Want, And Give It To Them
If your website has been created to satisfy a personal need for creative expression, the following will be of little interest to you – just keep on doing what works for you: you have no-one to answer to, certainly not the search engines.
The visitors who are coming to you by following a direct link or by typing in the url (a ‘navigational search’), then chances are they are ‘warm’ visitors. They are already interested in what you have to say; perhaps you have been referred by a current client or customer.
But if you want the search engines to deliver them to you, then its important to know what they are looking for, the search terms they are using, and to be sure that the SEO content on your website delivers it to them. People who are using search engines have clear ‘intent’, including to:
- Buy: a product or service
- Confirm: legitimacy, authority, legality
- Find: a person, product, solution
- Treat: an illness or health problem
- Learn: ‘how to’ or ‘about’ anything
- Solve: problems and arguments
- Understand: issues, cultures, nature, news
- Fix: computers, furniture, televisions and broken nails
So, what is the intent of those searching for your identified keywords or phrases, and how do you fulfill the need to deliver the type of ‘browsing experience’ that Google, in particular, rewards?
Intent: Commercial Research
Those searching with commercial intent are looking for information about you as the business owner, the business objectives, your products and services offered. They may be potential clients, JV partners, journalists, competitors – or even Google staff.
While the content created for these searchers may not directly translate into a ‘sale’, it could likely have a great impact on the direction of your business. Unless your site is a one-page sales letter, then being aware of these searchers and delivering the information that YOU want them to see (rather than what they will find on another site) will go a long way to managing your online reputation.
Intent: Information Gathering
Informational searches are looking for quick answers, e.g. today’s weather, the lyrics to a song, how many actors have played “Dr Who”. If your website is providing such information (collecting perhaps advertising revenue as its raison d’être) then you need to be sure to deliver what sought. In the case of lyrics, quotations and other material that cannot be rewritten, you will need to add unique content to each page, perhaps as an introduction.
These searchers are looking for information that will result in them taking an intended action: e.g. to purchase, phone, email, download, subscribe. Providing easy-to-find, worthwhile content that clearly delivers the information they seek, and the means to complete the transaction easily, checks two of the search engines’ boxes for a quality site.
The sites that satisfy searchers have the following traits. They:
- Are well, yet simply designed, and accessible to modern browsers
- Are easy to navigate and use, with a clear hierarchy and text links.
- Contain content that is relevant to the query: pages should accurately describe your content and ensure your keywords are included.
- Have information that is unique, credible and legitimate
Advances In Link Analysis Thwart Chronic Backlinkers
Search engines once put great store in the number of external sites linking to a site – counting those links as virtual ‘votes’ for the site’s value. While the principle remains, the link analysis algorithms are much more sophisticated – the uniqueness, quality and relevance of the sites linking in have their own value.
Links from sites with original, well written content are therefore more valuable than those from article networks and directories. In fact, Google Webmaster Guidelines clearly warn against participating in
“…link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or Page Rank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or ‘bad neighborhoods’ on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.”
Content that creates interest, discussion, republication and subsequent links from third party sites (like social media and online media rooms) is important in how a search engine ranks the site for relevant queries.
Duplicate Content: From The Panda’s Mouth
The topic of duplicate content is perhaps one of the most talked about by internet marketers. Everyone has an opinion or strategy, but the only one that counts, in the case of Google’s search results, is Google’s. To that end, reading the Duplicate Content page in the Google Webmaster Tools Help will deliver the answer.
The best way to avoid the wrath of the big G, and what can be the business-breaking removal of your website from the search results, at least as far as content is concerned, is to have unique and relevant content on your websites. By all means have that content rewritten (completely rewritten, not just the title and first and last paragraphs!) for use elsewhere, but maintain a high standard for your key sites.