If you want to rank well in Google search results, you’ve got to have great content. If you want to grab and hold people’s attention when they first arrive at your site, you have to give them great content.
If you want to keep them coming back or convince them to make a purchase, you must present great content. But what is great content? The simplest answer to this question is that it is something that the other guys don’t have, and which you’re doing better than they are. Google has somewhere in the range of 650 million websites to choose from in returning results for any given search query.
While they’re not all in competition with you, a lot of them are. For example, the search query “flu symptoms”returns 67.4 million results, while a more narrow search, one with local intent, like “restaurants near me” is likely to return results that number in the hundreds of thousands.
When you separate the wheat from the chaff, you may only really be in competition with a few hundred, a few dozen or even just a handful of other websites, but you still have to answer Google’s question, “Why should you rank ahead of these guys?”
There is no official checklist for creating great content that will rank well on Google, but one thing is abundantly clear from any examination of the statements that the company’s representatives have made over the years.
Content, to be considered great, should be something that the end user would enjoy or find useful. What this will look like in your case depends on your market, your target audience and similar factors, but that is the guiding principle to follow.
There are, however, a few points that you should evaluate on your site to make sure that you’re taking full advantage of the opportunities that may be available for you to improve your website’s content:
Your Website’s Content – Give Them What They Came For
Use landing pages, FAQ pages, blogs etc. to answer questions that your customers are asking. What are they asking? You know from your interactions with them on a daily basis, or you can find out from your sales force and customer service staff.
You can also run 1-3 question surveys with your customers to find out what they would like to know about your products, industry or company. Other tools include Google’s Autocomplete feature (try entering a broad keyword related to your products and see what Google suggests as the rest of your phrase) and their Keyword Planner Tool (available through AdWords) which can help you identify search phrases that get substantial search volume in your niche.
Developing content on your site targeted at answering these questions can be a great way to increase the value of your site’s content.
What Is Content?
Be creative about what you feature as content. For too many, the word “content” means written material, but there’s more to it than that. Use photos liberally, not only because they can be more eye-catching but also because it is entirely true that a picture is worth a thousand words in explaining subjects covered in your content.
Make sure to include ALT tags, an SEO markup which can be applied to images which succinctly describes the photo for the benefit of search crawlers. You should also take any opportunity to feature video on your site, whether it’s embedding an interesting YouTube video or featuring video hosted on your servers. Other examples can include infographics, PowerPoint presentations, white papers, etc.
Cater to the User
Make your content as user-friendly as possible. If it’s a blog or article, have a look at the formatting to make sure that your audience will be able to easily navigate the text and see whether what they are looking for is there.
Avoid posting a massive wall of text, and instead, break it up into easily handled paragraphs and bullet points where possible. Include formatted headers for your paragraphs, since these help users identify the most relevant sections of the article, and also because search engines look for the H1, H2, H3 etc. tags in the HTML of the document as signals to determine what the page is about, which can help you rank higher for your target keywords.
Make It Clear and Simple
Keep in mind at all times what you want the user to do. Want them to call your office, submit a contact form, sign up for a newsletter or make a purchase?
Make it as easy as possible for them to understand this and to find the features on the site which will allow them to do this. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to get them to read every last sentence on the site before they will be willing to take action — in many cases, the amount of time spent on a website before making a transactional decision is shorter than you would think.
And don’t worry about being too aggressive or blatant about what’s going on; you can certainly overdo it, but most people err in the opposite direction and miss out on opportunities as a result. This all ties into the question of improving content because your site visitors will feel more at ease and certain about your site when you lay out a clear roadmap for them, and this also helps search engines to follow the paths through your site to see what’s there and what you should rank for.
Feature your phone number prominently on the page, and perhaps more than once on the page. Make it easy for people to find your street address and any forms they will need to contact you or share their information with you. And be clear in the language you use and how you present your information what you want your users to do and how they can do it.
At the end of the day, there are no secrets or tricks you can use to improve your site’s content, and you just have to invest enough work, thought and creativity into making things better. Look at what the other sites are doing and figure out how you could do it better.
Try out your ideas and carefully observe the numbers to see what’s working — and what isn’t. And put yourself in the shoes of the people you are trying to reach, ask yourself what you would want to see and look at your site from that viewpoint so that you can tell yourself — honestly — whether you would like what you see.