Friday, September 08, 2006

Content more important then ever

Toby Kesterton at LeadGenerators writes:

In some ways, this search engine optimisation game is getting easier.

Taking into account the advances in search engine algorithm technology, and ongoing research into semantic search engines, it seems as if the days when optimising a site for your human visitors is a completely different process to optimising the same site for search engines may well be coming to an end.

If, after all of the stylistic and layout work is completed, a search engine and a human visitor both rate websites according to the quality of the content, then we need to pay special attention to the copy on websites and in each of its pages.

For the time being, search engines are best served by selecting no more than three or four key phrases per page and incorporating them into your text, just as you should incorporate them into your title, headings, site tags and all the rest.

The question of how many pages you should write has also been discussed and resolved long ago. To recap, as long as the pages have different content on them, there should be no reason not to upload as many pages as possible.

So far, so conventional. The real question is who writes this content. To paint in broad strokes, there are two possible solutions to the question. Option one is to get your staff to write regular content for your site. Option two is to outsource your site’s content writing to one of the unique content provider companies that are springing up.

Both options have obvious advantages and disadvantages; if your staff are writing the content, then they will bring the assets of a thorough knowledge of the product, as well as being less costly than hiring an outside agency. Perhaps more importantly, you will hold the copyright on your text, and be able to tweak and amend it to improve its performance.

If you outsource your copy you gain time and expertise for functions such as dealing with customers. Your staff won’t be tied up writing the text for the site, and you’ll be putting your site in safe hands. The copy will be written much faster if you put a professional writer on the case, rather than adding it to the workload of your office staff.

On the downside, this will certainly be more expensive than keeping it in-house. More seriously, you may not retain the copyright on the text, meaning that if you find that the text is not optimised for the right keywords, or, more potentially damaging, if the content is not unique, you would not be able to amend the texts to improve your positions.

Which path you choose when writing your site copy depends to some extent on your site’s sector, size and ambition, and on the resources at your disposal. But in the new world of content driven SEO, if you want to be competitive in a competitive industry, then occasionally writing a page or two of content and updating your site every so often won’t cut it anymore.

Companies have realised that daily content updates that are relevant and interesting are not only necessary to achieve high ranking but deliver a good return on investment.

Toby Kesterton, head of search engine optimisation, LeadGenerators

1 comment:

Craig McGinty said...

There is a third source for content on your website that can have more benefit than just search engine results - your readers.

Give them the tools to write about your particular field and use your staff to guide and prompt article ideas.

This will create owenership of the site by the very people you are trying to appeal to.

And considering that readers are the ones whose language you are trying to hook into through keyword search phrases, then they will write using the words they themselves type into search engines.