What Should a SEO Program Include? – Part 5

Content Development

As we mentioned in part 4, proper Search Engine Optimization keyword research & analysis is extremely important, but unless there is effective SEO content developed to back them up, your SEO program isn’t going to see the results that it should.

At one time SEO was very easy.  You could easily manipulate what Google thought of your various webpages and move up the rankings easily.  Google’s algorithm is now extremely sophisticated (250-600 changes/yr) which means that as a small/medium business owner can’t devote the time to be able to keep up to these changes and how the content on your website needs to be written from a SEO frame of mind in order to leverage your targeted keyword list.

The content on each webpage needs to follow a number of ‘rules’ in order to be seen as relevant.

The three most common SEO content development mistakes I see in regards to SEO content fall under opposite sides of the SEO fence.  Some do nothing.  Some do too much.  Some do nothing but have too much of it.  Let me explain.

If your page has nothing on it, or next to nothing, it isn’t going to been seen as relevant in any way.  How could it?  If you were given a pamphlet of a specific product/service with just a few words and a bunch of pictures, how would you rate it as a piece of information?  I spoke to a landscaping company one time and we discussed their website.  They had a TON of pictures of the work they had done.  To tell you the truth, it was a great looking website, but there wasn’t enough content, or depth of content, on each webpage for Google to really be able to say that it was an authoritative page that searchers could rely upon.  They said that the pictures said it all, but Google can’t tell if their pictures were of landscaped yards or pictures of your family’s Christmas portrait.  If you only have 50 or so words of webpage content/text, Google won’t see your page as being important enough to rank ahead of those with more information.

Having too much content on a webpage can be just as damaging to your rankings too.  How many times do you see a page with paragraph upon paragraph upon paragraph of content on it?  Google sees this as too much information generally.   My interpretation is that Google doesn’t figure that webpages aren’t the place for an essay on a specific topic unless it has been ‘set-up’ with another page as a lead in.

The other approach I see all the time is duplicate content.  This is essentially where a business doesn’t want to do anything original so they ‘steals’ content from somewhere else.  Bad.  Google wants to give credit for quality content which means creating your own content (if done properly) will mean your site will be seen in a more favorable light.  Duplicating content will mean that your site could be penalized.  If you aren’t first with the content, Google will make sure that you are seen below the original.  That generally means your competition.  This can be quite a pain for E-commerce sites who quite often take the OEM product description and use it.  Original content is always better and there are ways to minimize the negative effect of e-comm content, but that is too detailed to cover here.

While all webpage content development is aimed at good quality Search Engine Optimization, you can actually OVER optimize your content.  Google sees this as an effort to spam them.  Think about it this way.  If you meet someone who is a great guy, but then he proceeds to tell you exactly just how good he is, your opinion of them plummets.  Google actually dedicated an entire series of specific algorithm changes named Penguin to combat this issue.

In an effort to save time, a number of companies simply copy their marketing material onto their website and call this content development.  While that may work, take into consideration that marketing material generally speaks to a prospective client while writing for SEO purposes takes a different approach.  Some of the terms may be different (more searchable), the audience may be at a different stage in the buying cycle (researchers vs. purchasers) or that information may have been gleaned from elsewhere and may be seen as duplicate, or at least not different enough from other sources.  This isn’t to say that you should keep your marketing material off of your website, it just means that it shouldn’t be used as the primary content of your site in order to be most effective from a SEO perspective.

As its place amongst the 3 primary elements of proper Search Engine Optimization, SEO content creation/development has additional components to keep in mind such as, the amount of content on a page, where the keywords are, how they are ‘emphasised’, the overall page message/theme and how many keyword phrases are noted.

Are there any other elements that you take into consideration while creating content for your website?

What should be involved in a SEO program/project? – part 1

SEO Program: Set Your Online Goals – part 2

SEO Program: Technical Website Analysis – part 3

SEO Program: Proper Keyword Research – part 4

SEO Program: Content Development – part 5

SEO Program: Website Links/Backlinks – part 6

SEO Program: Analysis – part 7

SEO Program: Website Design – part 8

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