content: The key to search engine ranking
What drives visitors to your website and keeps them there? Good
Content is Key
Good content is key to website promotion success. All the bells
and whistles in the world will not hold an audience like compelling
information. Ask yourself: Why would a visitor stay at my website?
What are they looking for? What do I have that they need? What holds
them there once I've got them visiting? You have to tell your story
in a way that will keep your visitors interested and coming back
Get Those Visitors
The first part of the process is getting visitors to your site
through search engine promotion and other traditional marketing
methods. As you increase your visibility, more visitors will come
to see what the commotion is all about.
Keep Those Visitors
The second part of the process is keeping them there. If you provide
quality information that is easy to access, you are giving the visitor
what they are looking for. Don't give your visitors a reason to
click away. Quality content means happy visitors, and with enough
happy visitors, you become an "authority" on your topic.
Having a site recognized as an authority means good ranking in the
Know Your Audience
So how do you get your visitors to stay on your site, and to return
to it? First, you need to understand your audience. Who are you
trying to reach? Create your pages with them in mind. Do you want
to reach a narrow audience, or will you try to reach all levels
of readers? Buzz words may make sense to you in your business, but
will they reach your target audience? If you are a high-powered
underwater basketweaving consultant, focused only on serious underwater
basketweavers, you can keep the discussion on your site fairly technical.
If, however, you really want to spread the joy of underwater basketweaving
to a wider audience, you may want to keep the tone more general,
giving newcomers to underwater basketweaving the information they
need to become as enthralled by basketweaving as you are.
Get Your Visitors Involved
So what kind of content do you need to provide for your visitors?
If you have a site selling gardening books, you will have lists
of the titles you have for sale, an order form, and contact information.
Everybody else selling gardening books will have these pages too.
How do you rise above the crowd? How do you stand out as the definitive
gardening book website?
One technique that you can use to good effect is that of writing
articles pertaining to your site's topic. After all, who knows more
about gardening and gardening books than you? Not only does this
give your visitors yet another reason to keep coming back to your
site, but it also allows you to reach out beyond your site. There
are many other websites out there looking for authoritative information
on your topic. Find those sites and submit your articles to them.
This creates a "win-win" situation: the other web site
gains the benefit of your knowledge, while you are further recognized
as an authority in the field. Getting a link from that site back
to yours brings more visitors to your site, and increases your site's
Keeping an archive of articles on your website builds your knowledge
base. You can refer visitors to your articles when answering their
questions. People searching for information on the topics you have
written about will find your articles listed in their search results.
Once they arrive at your site, maybe they will buy something from
you: if you know so much about planting bulbs, maybe your site is
the place I should buy my bulb-planting books.
What else can you add to this mix? Think about adding professional
gardening book reviews, a gardening book club, FAQ's about gardening,
gardening articles, a rating system for books, audience book reviews,
and other gardening-related topics. Adding this type of information
gives your visitors more reasons to keep coming back to your site.
Offer free tools, create a forum. Set up a newsletter for your audience
with your topic, adding in a discount for your product for newsletter
readers. Give your audience a reason to come back to your website.
What Results Can I Expect: Google PageRank
A primary example of how this works is Google's PageRank. One of
the most important aspects of ranking for Google and other search
engines is good content. Google wants their search engine users
to find what they are looking for, a successful search experience
for their users. The keywords included in your site are important;
after all, those are the terms your potential visitors are searching
for. Now not only do you have your catalog pages and ordering information,
but you also have a more in-depth treatment of the topics you have
addressed in your articles, book reviews, and other materials. More
keywords in more places means you have a better chance of matching
a potential visitor's search.
So how can you "rise above" the other online gardening
bookstores out there in the search engine listings? Link popularity
can be the next important piece that allows you to differentiate
yourself from the rest of the pack. All other things being equal,
search engines that pay attention to link popularity will list your
site higher in their results if you have more links coming back
from other sites which have a focus related to yours. In other words,
if your gardening bookstore has a number of backlinks pointing to
it from the websites of gardening clubs, nurseries, and so forth,
your site will be seen as more authoritative. The more authoritative
a website looks to Google through link popularity, the higher that
site will rank. After all, if all these other gardening-related
sites point to your site, they are demonstrating that you have something
important to say. That is another reason why it is important to
have your material published on other websites.
Maintaining good content is a stepping-stone for your visitors
to delve in deeper to your website. Taking the time to build your
content and provide for your audience will pay off in good search
engine ranking and returning visitors.
About the Author
Daria Goetsch is the
founder and Search Engine Marketing Consultant for Search Innovation
a Search Engine Promotion company serving small businesses. She
has specialized in search engine optimization since 1998, including
three years as the Search Engine Specialist for O'Reilly & Associates,
a technical book publishing company.