Why Keep Creating Content for Search Rankings?

If your existing website content strategy is based on a 5-page brochure copied from marketing collateral printed in 1997, you may have difficulty achieving long-term website visibility in organic search engine rankings. A reputable SEO consultant should consistently be recommending new content development for your search engine optimization strategy. This post breaks down thoughts on why traditional website content development is so important to your small business search engine optimization strategy.

For those that have a limited time:
Essentially, the reason SEO’s recommend content development boils down to the fact that links improve search rankings and quality content is the best way to obtain quality links. If you want more detail, you may want to read further.

Content for Your Website
Writing content for your website means taking the 5-page brochure-ware away and giving the online reader something of real value. Brochures are meant for the person with 15 seconds of time waiting in a lobby that they don’t even really want to be in. Online, readers have more time to investigate your products and services, understand your company and try to figure out why they should trust you in the first place.

What is “Content”?
Instead of paying someone else to brainstorm ideas for content generation related to your website, consider these factors when developing a content generation strategy.

  • What types of information will help support and improve the opportunity when someone finds my website to actually pick up the phone, send an email or fill out a contact form>
  • What can I provide to enforce the security and reliability of my products and services?
  • How can I distinguish my business and experience (or company’s experience) as an expert or highly qualified resource in my industry.
  • What distinguishes my website and my company from the competition.

Specific Content Suggestions for Small Business Websites

  • Detailed product and service information supported by FAQ’s, customer support detail, guarantees or warranties (if applicable) and detailed descriptions of the purchasing process (especially if the process is online).
  • The appearance of organizational affiliations like the Better Business Bureau and Trustee as well as professional memberships and certifications (and make certain to get links back from these organizations as well)
  • Articles, Tutorials, “How-to” Guides and other information that will be valuable to your potential customers.

The Link Building reasons for quality content generation are simple.

  • Good content makes the ability to ask for a quality link more likely to be accepted. In addition, it increases the opportunity for providing more specific resources applicable to the web owner being solicited.
  • Good content provides an opportunity to distinguish yourself in your industry, which passively attracts links from other website entities referencing resources and information.
  • Exceptional content can create massive link opportunities, especially in today’s internet environment. Uniquely valuable articles, guides and tutorials can be submitted to popular social media websites like Digg and Reddit, or vertical communities and forums that attract users specifically looking for information you are providing.

How Do You Figure Out What Type of Content To Write?
If you agree that content is what generates better opportunities for obtaining inbound links, the next question is how to figure out what type of content is most likely to succeed. Here are some thoughts on where to look for ideas related to content generation:

  • Analyze your competition’s websites. What do they do that is good and bad and where can you provide a better resource. How and why do people link to them?
  • Analyze websites that rank higher for the keywords you desire to be found for in search. What resources do they provide that you can add or create that will either be complementary or better in terms of either context or idea. What websites are they obtaining inbound links from and why?
  • Browse forums, groups, blogs and message boards related to your industry or where your customers are likely to go. Find out what they are asking and answer it on your website. (Contribution based strategies are also good for link building, but that is another topic)
  • Pay attention to high traffic, user-generated content websites (Social Media resources like Digg, del.icio.us and Reddit) to understand what information is “popular” amongst these groups and to get ideas on what or how you can create something of similar value. Equally important is understanding what types of resources offer little value or just are not important.

Extending the Content Concept Beyond Traditional Website Development
The general ideas presented here are specific to traditional website development, meaning content that can be created using standard web page programming and software (WYSIWIG editors and HTML basically). There is so much more that can be done when it comes to link building, creating and improving website presence and generating quality content, beyond the realm of HTML and Macromedia Dreamweaver, but this post could take pages to complete (that was how my first draft was going at least).

Other things to think about that involve content development outside of traditional website development:

  • Your usage of Press Releases
  • Creating a blog strategy
  • Developing product data feeds for portals like Froogle, eBay or Yahoo Shopping
  • Contributing content, articles, ideas and advice on community based websites

Content goes beyond the static web page and into a more collaborative online environment, but in any situation, website owners must put fingers to the keyboard and create more than just form submissions and email solicitations when it comes to building links and website presence. Business owners must determine what strategies and techniques will be most appropriate and valuable for their specific situation. My recommendation is that the small business first start looking at what can be done within their own website structure in order to develop new content, designed to generate inbound links, which improve search engine rankings.


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