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SEO for Beginners: Part Two.
24 Oct 2011
Welcome to SEO for Beginners: Part Two! In my last post, I wrote defined SEO and highlighted a few key factors which can help improve the overall architecture of a website. In case you missed it, you can read it here.
I'm sure you have heard the phrase ‘Content is King’. Well this is becoming more and more the important as the search landscape changes. Content can mean a number of things from product descriptions to blog posts and general page information, but how should you go about making sure your content is sufficient?
First, you have to look at your homepage, which generally follows the simple template (depending on your industry): header, navigation, sidebar, and images linking through to new key products or services, and finally the footer. In the eyes of a search engine, apart from the section in the middle, this page is duplicated across the entire site and replaced with a list of products and images. There is also no textual content present to give the user more information about your brand and/or your products or to help search engines read your page. Search engines will just be able to see images (hopefully with alt text in place!) and categories in the main navigation sidebar and generic footer.
Why is this a problem?
If search engines and users are unable to determine your product, brand or service, how are they able to determine whether you are what they are looking for? With regards to spiders crawling the site, textual content helps them to decide on how relevant your page is to specific search queries. Historically this is the part where people just assumed that placing a paragraph stuffed with relevant keywords was the way forward; however, search engines are much more advanced and can spot this much easier now. It is therefore important to place content that will target the user rather than the search engines. You should also provide good quality information.
How can I improve my sites content?
As stated above, it is important to include homepage content - two to three paragraphs is usually sufficient. However, depending on the strength of your brand and your current brand presence, it is also important to ensure content is present on each category page to introduce the products. A good example of a site with good category content is ASOS. Although there is no content on the homepage, the category content is sufficient as they are aiming to push visitors directly through to category pages and buy products rather than browsing through the homepage. Another great example is Compare the Market as they have a very lengthy amount of textual content on their homepage, which is great especially in such a competitive market. Improving your site's content is not just down to on page information. There are a number of other ways to help:
Blogging is a great way to not only improve your sites content, but to engage with your customers, build a following and form community. It is a fantastic asset to any site and helps to build significant fresh and relevant information.
Customers often have questions which happen to be asked again and again. FAQ’s can eliminate calls and questions and speed up the buying process as well as creating textual content in the product area. In addition to this, it is fantastic for customer service.
3. Product Reviews
It is great when people give your products a good review, so why not show it off and include product reviews? It is also a good way to inform potential customers about product information from real people whether it is good or bad. Last but not least…..it creates bespoke and unique on page content!
With content also comes a warning! Many sites have inserted content which has been duplicated internally across their own site which causes issues, so be careful to ensure you content is unique to every page. In addition to this, many products sold are also sold by a number of other companies online, which results in a huge number of websites placing the same ‘product description’ on their site. Stay away from manufacturers' descriptions and create your own to ensure that your page is different from the others. Follow this advice and you will have yourself a bespoke page which is search engine friendly, but more importantly, helpful to your users!
Remember: quality is key and good content attracts good links. Be careful not to write your content for search engines and aim solely for your users by creating a natural and helpful website which will in turn help your search engine visibility. Any thoughts or questions? Please leave them below or tweet me -@NishaJagpal