Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Can copy be too much of a good thing?

Toby Kesterton at LeadGenerators writes:

These days, most sensible online marketers are fully paid-up members of the Keyword Enhanced Copy (KEC) fan club.

When done correctly, KEC works as well for search engines indexing sites as it does for humans needing reassurance that they have come to the right place. Provided the text is well-written enough to please people reading your page; what’s not to like?

Today I’m looking closely at how much Keyword Enriched Copy you should write for your site.

I’m interested in two points in particular: firstly whether you should write a small amount of pages that are highly optimised for search engines or a lot of text that is perhaps not so highly optimised; and secondly whether you should put up a lot of text at once or put up a smaller amount of text every month and incrementally build up the number of pages.

The optimum would of course be to write a lot of pages of well-enhanced copy, but if this is not possible (remember that researching and writing KEC can be a very time-consuming process) I think it’s better to err on the side of writing fewer pages that are better enhanced.

The mass of pages that were not written incorporating much KEC would rate in the search engines to some extent, but on a fairly random, scattershot basis.

Properly optimised and targeted pages pay off in the long run, and over time you would be able to write new pages for the desired topics.

Rising from this is the question of how long each article should be. Which is the better tactic; to outsource the work to an external copywriter to write short pieces or to get expert staff to write longer essays?

An external copywriter is experienced and can write in a search engine friendly style, but would have to learn about the particular topic to write good text, whereas company staff can write about the subject easily enough but have plenty of time pressure.

Let’s move on to the important question of how often to add new content. Search engines like to see evidence that a site is constantly adding new content.

The theory goes that if you add new pages or new content every month, then this shows the search engines that your site is still a going concern, and they will consequently be prepared to rank you higher, as they estimate that your chances of providing the solution to a particular search are high.

The danger of putting up 60 new pages every six months as opposed to ten new pages every month is that the engines will look very favourably on your first update- but then register the lack of new content and downgrade your site.

We know that search engines prefer a natural content growth but does anyone have experience at putting up too much new content? Has this tripped any filters for any readers? Please get in touch if you have any thoughts on the matter – we’d love to hear your views.

Toby Kesterton, head of search engine optimisation, LeadGenerators

1 comment:

Darren Cronian said...

I’ll use the overused phrase “Content is King” simply because it is, and if I may use my own experience as an example - I've run a travel business for four years, and it's been a long drawn out battle to get top rankings, compared to my travel blog which is only 18 months old, and has more links pointing to it, in a shorter period of time.

It’s simple to understand why this is the case – people want to link to interesting, unique content – content that they know their readers will want to read, so they link to it – a travel business website which is simply offering a service is not going to be interesting to link to, so you have to fight both tooth and nail to try and get links to the website.

There’s no easy solution to this other than try and provide unique content on the website offering a service, so people will link to it – ask other travel companies for links – write articles and submit them to article submission websites – submit your website into web directories.

Only a few years back I remember when the website was really threatening the search rankings of some top travel companies, because keyword density was important – you wrote the content with the keyword terms in place and without a ton of links you could rank well for competitive keywords.

Nowadays, search engine optimisation has changed, and the search engines are using other factors, including links to your site, authority sites (e.g. dot travel domains) and sites that are adding new content regularly.

Be warned though – adding too much content in a short period of time WILL get your website filtered from Google – how do I know this? I’ve been through the horrible experience of three months, of no traffic from Google in 2004 due to adding new pages in a short period of time to the website.

Times have changed – so it might not be as easy to get filtered, but it’s worth bearing in mind.