Optimizing Website Content: It’s Easier Than You Think

Apr 17, 2007 4:55 AM  By

My clients often say to me, “Look at all the content I added to my site! Why aren’t my positions improving?” or “Why am I still not getting indexed? I don’t understand!” So I take a look at their site and do, in fact, see lots and lots of content… and it breaks my heart to have to tell them that all those hours they spent doing what they thought was the right thing, actually wasn’t.

Writing content for a Website is not rocket science—although when the search engines are as big of a mystery as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, it may seem that way. With a simple approach, writing content that is both search-engine friendly and visitor friendly isn’t as complicated as it might seem. In fact, it’s quite doable.

One of the most important things to take into consideration is how your site is organized. Try to remember the last newspaper article you read. The introduction paragraph had the clincher—that little bit of information that caught your attention and made you want to read more about it. Each following paragraph had its own specific theme, where the author got into much greater detail about the supporting facts of the subject matter. The final paragraph may have given you the means to contact the writer with questions, comments, and inquiries.

A Website should be organized in much the same way. Your home page should serve as your introductory paragraph, capturing your visitors’ attention and making them want to learn more about whatever it is that you have to offer them. Your interior pages should serve as your supporting paragraphs, with each dedicated to explaining the details of one component of your business. Your “contact us” page should serve as your final paragraph, giving your visitors the means to request more information or ask questions about your products or services, perhaps in a form of some sort.

By now I’m sure you’re asking, “What does organization have to do with writing optimized content?” My answer: “It has everything to do with it.”

Although the search engines crawl your site as a whole, your pages are indexed individually. If a page does not have a clearly defined theme, the crawlers will not find the content relevant to the terms that your potential audience is searching on. If your page is not found relevant, it will not be indexed.

Now that your site is organized, let’s talk about content. Remember that your interior pages should each have its own unique theme, dedicated to one component of your business. Let’s say that your business sells both widgets and widget accessories and also services them. This warrants three separate pages—one for “Widgets,” one for “Widget Accessories,” and one for “Widget Repairs.”

Let’s take it one step further and say that the theme content should focus on no more than two primary keyword phrases and be supported by a handful of secondary phrases relevant to your topic. So, for example, your “Widgets” page might have secondary phrases such as “Blue Widgets” and “Large Widgets.” Perhaps your “Widget Repairs” page would have “Widget Service” or “Widget Maintenance” as secondary phrases.

If you are not sure what the crawlers consider “relevant,” try Googling your primary keyword phrase and add a “~” (tilde) before it. In this case, you’d want to search “~Widget Repairs.” The search results will include the normal results, in addition to anything the crawlers associate with “Widget Repairs.” This is often eye-opening and can give you insight into the mind of the crawlers, in addition to some new ideas.

When you understand what the engines are looking for and take a practical and methodical approach to it, writing well-optimized content that is accessible to visitors and search engines alike is an attainable goal. Like everything else, you just have to know the ground rules.

Jennifer Zibrin is campaign strategist for MoreVisibility, a search engine marketing firm based in Boca Raton, FL.