You have heard many of us here at Marshall Communications tout the notion of “great content” for your website. We are very passionate about this because it is so very important for the visibility of your site in search engine listings. But what is great content? What does that really mean or entail? We thought it might be a good idea to put on our scuba gear and dive into the topic a bit deeper for you.
- Great content is unique. It is written by you or members of your talented team. The writing comes from your ideas, opinions, and experiences and it is said with your particular style of writing and personality. You may have done some research beforehand, but your words are not plagiarized and if you do copy a segment of text from someone else, you properly reference it.
- Great content is focused and purposeful. Whether it is a page on your website or a blog post, the writing should have a core theme. And then go deep. Take time to include details you think will add value for your readers. It’s OK to explain what something means or to offer alternatives. Empty “fluff” and words that simply take up space on a page should be avoided. Think about what you want to communicate, write it, rewrite it, and distill it to a rich, thoughtful, readable format. Your readers will be more interested and be thankful. And don’t worry about length. Depth of topic, readable formatting, and authenticity of ideas – these matter more than the number of words. Don’t write a book, of course! But people will read something that matters to them.
- Great content provides answers, solutions, and direction. Many, many searches on the Internet start with “How do I…,” “Where can I…,” “What does…,” “What is…,” “When should I…,” etc. Not all of the content on your site needs to be focused around these, but a well-designed FAQ section of your site, a resources section, and blog articles can add these valuable pieces. When you can successfully address your Web visitor’s needs and questions you will find that you have a repeat visitor and potential customer.
- Great content contains interesting visual references that support the copy. Let’s face it. Most of us are visual creatures. We love interesting pictures. Images that help convey your topic in interesting and fun ways get your reader immediately engaged and capture their attention.
- Great content has a “call to action.” We all like to be polite. Aggressiveness is not one of the more adored human traits, especially in business. However, Web study after Web study has shown that when you tactfully (and most often visually) simply tell your Web visitor what they need to do, it makes their experience on your site (or in your email) less stressful and easier. In this instance, words can sometimes get in the way – so include a creative image that serves as a call out. Make it simple. Tell them what you want them to do. Examples are: “Sign up for our email newsletter,” “Start your free trial today,” “Download our helpful guide to…,” etc.
- Great content is optimized for search engines. No matter what you publish, take a little time to research keyword phrases about your topic. You can visit google.com or bing.com and start typing in phrases you think may be important and look at what appears in the search suggestion bar. You can also look at search phrases in Google Webmaster Tools and, if you participate in Google’s AdWords pay-per-click program, you can use the Keyword Planner. Find a few phrases – a few ways of saying the same thing – synonyms, related words, different adjectives, etc. The goal here is not to “stuff” your content with keywords, you simply want to make sure that your readers walk away clearly understanding what the theme and purpose of your content was.
- Great content is mobile friendly and socially shareable. If your website, including your blog, isn’t mobile friendly, you will find yourself deep underwater with an air tank that is about to run out. Google laid down the law about mobile website compatibility in April 2015. Your content should also be made easily shareable on social media. Allow people to share, re-post, Retweet, and like all the great content you so painstakingly take time to create.
- Great content is fresh and responsive. Google cares about and monitors the “freshness” of the content you create. They know when a page hasn’t been updated in two years. They know that the average time between blog postings is three months. They know if they have seen your Web copy before (and from someone else’s website). And when your Web visitors are searching for an answer or a service or a product, they don’t want to see a three-year-old date posted next to your search engine listing. Keep your content fresh. Write about new or trending topics when possible. Update previous blog postings if the information in it has changed (happens frequently with how-to type of posts or articles); don’t write a secondary updated piece of content (this could be duplication and this is a “bad thing”).
Now that we have regaled you with what great content is, let us quickly tell you how it helps your business.
- It makes your customers happy. If you help them, they will come.
- It makes Google (and Bing) happy. It increases your page foot stamp and findability in the search engines.
- It makes your brand happy. People will recognize you as a trusted expert and authority.
- It makes your bottom line happy. You will get more phone calls, customers, and sales.
- It makes Marshall Communications happy. Because all this content creation is easier to do with an experienced marketing partner and we love working with businesses like yours.