PubCon: Feeding The Search Engines
Proper care and good dietary habits practiced by site publishers will help improve their standing in search; a PubCon panel discussed some good choices to make when feeding the search engines, and WebProNews was there.
We have a look at WebmasterWorld’s PubCon session on Feeding the Engines from a copywriting and content perspective. Quality content needs have not changed, and are even more important as more sites, more competitors, come online.
Jennifer Slegg spoke on the quality content issue, and the importance of building a unique voice. If people can only find your content at your site when sifting through search results, they will come back to you again and again.
That uniqueness means avoiding the problematic shortcuts other site publishers may employ. Slegg advised that any writers one might contract with for content are producing original work. It can be less expensive for the publisher to do the writing.
Uniqueness also means avoiding free article sites. Slegg said many if not all of that content has been published and republished again and again. No uniqueness there.
Slegg also touted forums as a good source for drawing original content from customers and others who use a website. Blogs can serve the same purpose, and an original authoritative one will draw links and interest from other bloggers too.
Don’t Forget IT
Session moderator Ted Ulle emphasized the IT side of site publishing efforts. He noted how it is essential to ensure the techies are aware of what the search marketing team needs from a web server configuration so search engines can properly index content.
Each page should have a unique URL a spider can access. If you want to play with a custom 404 page, make sure it returns a 404 header.
Ulle also recommended paying attention to menus. They are content, just like a product description, only more people will see a menu on a site. The information a menu provides should be valuable to the visitor.
Graphics should complement design and content, not dominate it. Gently encourage graphic designers to rein in their tendencies to show off what they can do if it doesn’t load quickly and benefit the site user.
Get Their Attention!
Byron White said site publishers should keep an eye on the competition. What are they doing well? Is it something the site owner should be employing?
White reiterated the theme of quality content. It is central to one’s link building strategy. Without it, other sites and bloggers aren’t going to link to the site.
He also encouraged the use of good headlines. A catchy headline captures attention, and if the writing backs up the quality of the headline, people will be glad they visited the site.
Heather Lloyd-Martin stated that writing copy for search optimization is the same as for conventional copywriting. Keyphrases should be sprinkled through a page, in its headline, body, and links.
Copywriters will have to go long on their writing, about 250 words. Shorter copy probably won’t cut it in a competitive field unless it has a lot of links. Those hotly competitive niches may require the site publisher to create a number of keyphrase-rich pages to help enhance their organic rankings in the Google and Yahoo indexes, among others.
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.