SEO Content – No, No, No

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Newpaper Ad Image

Writing your SEO Content just for the search engines is the biggest mistake you can make in your small business SEO. Yes, your content needs to exactly what the search engines are looking for, but that’s not nearly enough.

Let’s ask the real hard question. If you held an event for your business to attract visitors and one thousand people attended, but no one bought a thing, would you consider it a success? You would have spent your time, money and resources to attract those people, but it would have been a waste of time.

Let’s take it a step further. What if 90% of those people looked at your place of business and turned away before even entering? That would really be a disaster.

Keywords Are…

Keywords are phrases that you expect people to use when they think about your business. When they come to your site based on a keyword, they expect to find relevant content. Dry cleaners in South Beach is an example we’ll use. Now, many dry cleaners know how to create a print ad. They’ll include their name, hours, telephone number and services like one-hour dry cleaning, dry cleaning large pieces, 10% off Wednesday and so on. Why include those items in their ad? Because they know people are looking for them. Keywords are advertisements! They won’t run their ad in Jupiter for their South Beach cleaner; they’ll run it close to home.

I go to many small business websites where I find less information on the page that an SEO expert sent me to, than in the ad described for the dry cleaner. If it’s there, I can’t find it easily. I’m not willing to search through a website to find the hours of operations, or if they offer one day service. Are you?

Let’s say I’m staying in South Beach and I need my suit pressed. I do a quick search with the term, “same day dry cleaning in South Beach”. I type in the term with the quotation marks to see if anyone is specifically targeting that term. They’re not. Not a single dry cleaner in the whole Miami area is targeting same day dry cleaning in South Beach. Why? Because they are more concerned about being ranked for “dry cleaning in South Beach” (1,238 results) or “dry cleaning in Miami” (68,500 results).

If I’m looking for a simple thing like a dry cleaner for something I want done specifically, why can’t I find it? Because, SEO experts will write SEO content for the search engines, not for paying customers. Remember the quip that a search engine has never bought a thing. Customers buy.

What’s Most Important to Your Customer?

When you hire expert content writers, you’re taking a big chance that they’ll miss the little things that you know about your business. They will be doing keyword searches and find that there are no searches listed in Google for same day dry cleaning in South Beach. There are no searches listed for dry cleaning in South Beach. So, what do they do? They look for a big search terms like dry cleaners Miami that show about 2.400 search per month.

So when you and I go searching for a dry cleaner in South Beach, no one figured out that that’s how we search and targeted it in their website content. Google would love that if you serve South Beach, you optimize your website pages for the terms that people are searching for every day. In this case, they are forced to come up with an answer. Really, they are approximating the best they can. Why not help them? On top of that, Google says that half the search terms entered are unique. It’s because people search exactly for what they want.

The common sense that was present when the print ad was created, disappeared when the SEO content was written. The website visitor or customer was forgotten.

Please, Please, Please Write for the Customer

If you remember nothing else about writing content for your website, remember to write for your customer. Whatever page you’re writing, write it for the customer first and then go back and add your targeted keywords if necessary. By writing for the customer, you will be optimizing for local SEO without trying. You’ll be writing about what they’re looking for.

Here’s a big SEO tip. Find a copy of the Yellow Pages. Go to the listings for your type of business. Write down everything that they are advertising and the information they’re displaying in their ads. These are the things that they are using to attract customers. Shouldn’t you being using them too?

For local content writing for small business, start as though you had a 2 x 2 inch display ad. What would you say? What if you had a half page, then a full page? What if you wrote a brochure about your business? This will give you the content for your site and what you customers are looking for.

Google Fires a Shot Over The Bow for SEO Content?

Does Google Have Your Attention Yet?

Google’s Panda update changed 11% of its search results. Some big sites, like EzineArticles.com and HowTo.com were affected. Bad news for them, but good news for you and me.

Quality SEO Content

Quality content is about both search engine optimization and customers. It was only a short time ago that copied (scraped) content and shallow, rather stupid content, could rank in Google. Now Google has fired a shot over the bow with Panda. They are not at full war yet.

Google’s goal is to provide the best search results for visitors. This is not out of the goodness of the hearts. No, it’s because Google sells advertising (AdWords), and if the content they send people to view is poor, it reflects on Google and no ads are clicked. No ads clicked means no revenue.

They are aggressively targeting poor content. Their mission is to kill it by removing it from their search results. With the hundreds of Phds and other smart people working there, they will get there eventually.

Google Bing and Yahoo! Mission

The big three search engines are advertising platforms. That’s how they make their money. It is and will always be about the money. Google has about 65% of search traffic, but Bing has been gaining recently. Yahoo! is now using the Bing search engine, so the results will be almost identical. Many SEO “experts” say to ignore Bing and Yahoo! and just focus on Google. I’m not willing to leave 3-4 out of every 10 searchers out.

Google has fired its shot, but Bing and Yahoo! will be right behind. The quality of your content matters and will matter more in the future.

What Does Good Content Mean?

Don’t take my word for it. Google has published explicit guidance. Now I don’t believe that Google can check for all these things today for every site, but I believe they will continue to working on it and get closer every day. Here’s part of what Google says:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

These are the highlights, but there’s more. Read the post at Google’s WebMasterCentral –> What counts as a high-quality site?

Future Proofing Your Website

None of my websites have suffered from any of the Google updates in the past two years. I have written close to a thousand posts and articles in that time. All my content is original and will stay that way. I take the time and effort to assure that content is useful to the visitors searching for the keyword terms targeted by the page.

Yes, I target specific keywords, but I make sure the content matches the keywords and is useful to the visitor.

To future proof your site; make sure you SEO content is of the highest possible quality for visitors. Visitors will be happy and so will Google and the other search engines.

Content for SEO

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Content for SEO – The Cornerstone of Your Marketing

 

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Site design, site structure, links and content determine your traffic, but your content determines whether people stay long enough to respond to your call to action. SEO success without conversion success is largely a waste of time and effort.

Conversion is the action target for the page or post. The action target is what you want people to do. In real estate, a phone call is the desired action. To lead to that action, the phone number must be prominently displayed. Often, mentioning it again at the end of the page or post will reinforce the desired action. Asking open ended questions in the content can lead to the reader picking up the phone and making the call.

Other forms are conversion are capturing an email address through a form, registration for the use of site services, visits to a store or restaurant.

The point of the content is to inform the visitor, but also to lead them to your desired action.