There has been a huge shift in the way that Google handles the ordering of its search results in the past year, with the Google’s Panda and Penguin updates to it’s search algorithm placing a renewed focus on the content of websites. What Google means when they say ‘content’ is the wording used throughout your website, be it product descriptions, blog posts, articles or any other form of the written (typed) word for that matter. The days of being able to copy and paste content from page to page to boost SEO efforts are now long gone, what matters now is informative, descriptive content that Google’s crawlers can use to ascertain what exactly it is your site specialises in.
These changes may seem to be simply another hurdle thrown up by Google to make the lives of webmasters that extra bit harder, but in practice the changes needed should give your users a better experience on your site. After all, which site would you rather surf, an uninformative repetitive site, or an informative, interesting site? This is why a ‘content marketing’ strategy may be the only way to stay relevant.
So, where do you start making the changes necessary to make your site compliant with these new changes? Well, while Google wants content to be informative, featuring lots of keywords and concepts. What they don’t want is a paragraph which obviously only exists for the purpose of improving SEO rank. For example, below are two sentences for a fictional garden centre’s website, one of which attempts to be informative and useful, while another exists for the sole purpose of raising said website’s SEO capability…
“Daffodils are a great way to put some spring-time colour into your garden. Best planted in October, they will blossom in March to provide a wonderful sheet of yellow, orange and white across your flowerbeds.”
“Daffodils come in the following vairieties: Narcissus alcaracensis, Narcissus assoanus, Narcissus asturiensis, Narcissus bugei, Narcissus jonquilla, Narcissus longispathus, Narcissuspapyraceus, Narcissus poeticus, Narcissus pseudonarcissus”
It doesn’t take an SEO expert to realise that the first sentence is a lot more readable then the latter sentence. Although the second sentence may cram in more words related to daffodils, this is little use to users; Google knows this and consequently a website would be penalised for such transparent SEO efforts. If you’re finding that a lot of content in your site resembles the latter example, unless you rectify this, your site will be harmed with recent Google algorithm changes. Admittedly, writing new content isn’t always easy, especially if the nature of what your website is covering is rather ‘shallow’, but writing new and interesting content needn’t be impossible. The following ideas, if done to a half decent standard, can add variety to your content (thus aiding SEO efforts) and, more importantly, they might help some of your users…
• A Blog: This can cover anything from news in your selected field, to the day to day of your business. A blog is a great way to make your site seem more human, both to Google’s robots and your users, and best of all, users will re-visit your site to read your updates
• Glossaries: chances are that who ever is browsing our site, isn’t as much of an expert in your selected field as you. A glossary allows those less familiar with your field to become more informed with the lingo of your field and thus they are more confident in what they buying
• How to Guides: how to guides are a great way to add quality, informative content your site. Furthermore, they can be used to plug select items from your product range
But you needn’t stop with the suggestions above, if you feel anything else could add value to your site, then go ahead! Google loves sites that are informative and varied (without being spammy!), content creation needn’t be a huge chore!