Offer quality content and services

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site's reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.

While the content you create could be on any topic imaginable, here are some recommended best

Good practices for content

Write easy-to-read text - Users enjoy content that is well written and easy to follow. Avoid:

* writing sloppy text with many spelling and grammatical mistakes.
* embedding text in images for textual content (users may want to copy and paste the text and search engines can't read it).

Stay organized around the topic - It's always beneficial to organize your content so that visitors have a good sense of where one content topic begins and another ends. Breaking your content up into logical chunks or divisions helps users find the content they want faster. Avoid:

* dumping large amounts of text on varying topics onto a page without paragraph, subheading, or layout separation

Use relevant language - Think about the words that a user might search for to find a piece of your content. Users who know a lot about the topic might use different keywords in their search queries than someone who is new to the topic. For example, a long-time baseball fan might search for, an acronym for the National League Championship Series, while a new fan might use a more general query like. Anticipating these differences in search behavior and accounting for them while writing your content (using a good mix of keyword phrases) could produce positive results. Google AdWords provides a handy Keyword Tool that helps you discover new keyword variations and see the approximate search volume for each keyword. Also, Google Webmaster Tools provides youwith the top search queries your site appears for and the ones that led the most users to your site.

Create fresh, unique content - New content will not only keep your existing visitor base
coming back, but also bring in new visitors. Avoid:

* rehashing (or even copying) existing content that will bring little extra value to users
* having duplicate or near-duplicate versions of your content across your site (more on duplicate content)

Offer exclusive content or services - Consider creating a new, useful service that no other site offers. You could also write an original piece of research, break an exciting news story, or leverage your unique user base. Other sites may lack the resources or expertise to do these things.

Create content primarily for your users, not search engines - Designing your site around your visitors' needs while making sure your site is easily accessible to search engines
usually produces positive results. Avoid:

* inserting numerous unnecessary keywords aimed at search engines but are annoying or nonsensical to users
* having blocks of text like "frequent misspellings used to reach this page" that add little value for users
* deceptively hiding text from users, but displaying it to search engines

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