SES: Online Success Begins With Great Content

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In case you haven’t been paying attention over the years, content is king. If you’re just joining us, that means that no amount of technical tweaking or search engine gaming can replace quality content, whether "content" for you means writing, audio, or video. That’s what they come for, that’s what they stay for.

(Our on-scene WebProNews staff has passed along this latest news from SES San Jose 2007. If you can’t be there, you need to be here with WebProNews this week, for videos and reports.)

Panelists at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose, California, reminded the crowd of this media tradition, and gave some tips on how to make the most of your website content.

"Inbound links are an essential SEO component," said Jeannette Cezanne, vice president of communications for eWay Direct. Though the conversation is about content, how do you suppose links are generated? People link to great content, and the more that link, especially if they’ve already established an authoritative presence, the more you get noticed.

Because, and if you don’t know this already, then you may be in the wrong business, nobody links to lousy things unless they are lousy themselves. Simple narcissism prevents it.

Therefore, says Cezanne, "content should never be a last thought or an afterthought." Great content answers the question "so what?" and provides a call to action to answer that question.

She recommends creating content that:

1.    Stays on theme
2.    Provides users with a logical path for site navigation
3.    Provides high conversion rates
4.    Is a combination of business, marketing, and creative writing
5.    Is action-oriented
6.    Encourages users make a purchase
7.    Encourages users to request more information
8.    Encourages users to sign up for product information
9.    Encourages users to subscribe to newsletters or RSS feeds
10.    Encourages users to read a whitepaper

You can do all this by crating content that is focused on the end-user – that is, they get something out of it. And to know what they want to get from it, requires you knowing your audience in general – who they are, why they come, and why they come back.

(Just as an aside, grammar is important, as well as spelling and punctuation, as either being substandard makes your organization look unprofessional.)

But it also involves writing content that is pleasing to search robots, or spiders, as they are more commonly called. This falls in with usability, which Cezanne says isn’t just a design issue, but a content issue as well.

Jakob Nielsen
would probably agree.

And while you’re making content for both people and for spiders, remember these five tips, offered by Dave DeVries, marketing manager for Microsoft US Small Business Center:

1.    Identify your audience and their needs
2.    Choose your new keywords based on search volume trends
3.    Audit existing content, determine what works and what doesn’t, who the primary and secondary audiences are.
4.    Build and promote content

SES: Online Success Begins With Great Content
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