Get your site found on the web 1

Get your site found on the web: site content

On 30/12/2010

In SEO - search engines

One of the most important things to remember when you make a website is that its content matters more than anything else. Over time, the most important link-building work for your website will be done by others. The more content your site has, the more likely some of that content will appeal to a site visitor. Adding content to your website also increases the number and variety of key words that search engines can associate with it.

Content, content and more content

Adding content for its own sake, on the other hand, isn’t the way to go about building a successful website; your visitors won’t be fooled, and neither will search engines. When adding new content to your site, it needs to be original, and interesting. It’s important to avoid adding duplicated content - whether it’s your own or others’. Copying material from another website to add content to yours will not only see you on the wrong side of copyright laws, it’s also guaranteed to get noticed by search engines. Their algorithms are trained to recognize duplicated content, and penalize sites with excessive duplicated material by lowering their rank in search engine results.

Before you start to add content to your site, think and plan first. Try to imagine yourself as a visitor – avoid spelling errors and write for your intended audience, not for yourself. Add content that builds on and develops your existing material. If your visitors won’t be interested in what you’re adding, there’s no point adding it. Always think first about what your visitors are expecting to find when they arrive on your site, and write accordingly, using language adapted to their age, backgrounds and interests. Content that interests your visitors is important to a website’s long-term success, and also just happens to be the kind of content that search engines love.

Once you start adding content to your site pages, don’t forget that you need to create a network of links between them. These internal links help visitors find what they’re looking for, and to discover new things. They also help search engines to index your site, and to analyze it for relevant search terms.

What kind of content counts?

To return to an example we’ve used in the past, a Bath bed and breakfast website would need to provide information that’s relevant to potential visitors. They’d expect to find information about the rooms and services provided, details of room rates, and opening times. Each of these different aspects can be covered in sufficient detail on one or two web pages.

Providing this kind of essential information, some access maps and photos of the rooms and surrounds would be a great place to start adding content for a bed and breakfast website. But it’s also important to keep a website alive by continuing to build it over time. Once you’ve added your initial site content, you’ll need to keep adding to it regularly. If you stop working on a website after adding a few pages, you’ll condemn it to obscurity on the web.

One way to continue adding content regularly is to use a blog. Add posts to highlight changes to the business, and to provide handy information about things to do and see nearby. Note details of local events and festivals in a site diary, and encouraging guests and site visitors to leave you feedback in your online guestbook. Simple techniques like these enable you to continually refresh your site with new, relevant content that adds value to your site and encourages people to visit it. Keeping your site alive and growing by adding appropriate content also appeals to search engines, and helps improve your site’s ranking on search engine results pages.

Link building and site content are two of the most important elements to helping search engines figure out what your site is all about. Done correctly, they also help your targeted key words to rise in search engine rankings, improving your site’s visibility on the web. There are some other elements to look at when you create a website – we’ll take a look at them in closer detail next time.