What is good content and are you providing it?

Posted on February 21, 2012

We constantly say it here, but it’s worth repeating: A solid SEO strategy starts with having decent content to link to. If there’s poo at the end of the trail no one’s going to want to follow that scent. Good content is going to engage your audience and is going to grow in popularity organically. It’s going to make getting good links less of a uphill battle and is going to give users a positive impression of your business. You need to put effort into the foundations before any advanced SEO work can truly start.

Good content needn’t be Shakespeare or next summer’s best seller, it just needs to be interesting to your audience. Even very niche topics can be of interest to a surprisingly large audience on the Internet. The first place you are going to need good content is on your main website. If you sell electronics for example, do you provide rich unique descriptions or do you just copy and paste some specs from the manufacture that are on a million different sites? Do you explain technical terms to your users? Do you use words that users are searching for or just industry terms? Of course good base content isn’t restricted to e-commerce product pages. Have a look through your website’s pages and ask yourself honestly if the words on the page are interesting and helpful. Do you know what the page is about just by skimming it? Is it enticing? Would you forward that link to a friend?

A very common way to add extra information to a site is via a blog. It allows content to be added that would look out of place within the main site but still allows you to communicate your brand and engage your visitors. Thinking of blog posts can be difficult but once you know where to look, finding content isn’t actually that hard. Once you get a readership you’ll be surprised at what topics people find interesting. A technique that it’s starting to be popular on newspaper and magazine  blogs is to focus a post on one particular aspect of an article from the main site. For example there might be a large report covering many areas and the blog post will pick out just  a subset to focus on. This gives the original article a new spin and also chunks it up into more manageable pieces (web visitors have a notoriously short attention span). This technique also allows you to come up with content that perhaps appeals to a wider audience and incorporates catchy, link-bait titles (slightly sensational and likely to be shared forwarded or “liked”, think tabloid headlines) while also retaining the authority and reputation of your source material.

This is all well and good but you’re probably not a national media organisation. You can use the same technique though. Do you produce annual reports? Is there an area of your business in there that would make for an interesting focus? Has your company been mentioned in someone else’s article? Is your business area in the news at the moment? Could you give your perspective on the issue? You are far more likely to get links for interesting, relevant timely content – keep your eyes open for it.

It doesn’t just have to be written content though. Increasingly sites like Pinterst are allowing good visual content to be surfaced by users, and search engines are getting better and better at discovering non-text information. Keep your eyes open for interesting stories you can share with your customers and ways your can present them and you’ll soon have a solid content base.

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