Last Updated on March 21, 2022 by Alex Miller
Special “Content” Edition
If there is one firm and hard rule in the world of SEO it is that the content on your site is of major importance. Perhaps it is the most important aspect of managing your site. This is true for a couple of obvious reasons:
Firstly, and most importantly, the value of the information that you are providing to the public is what is uppermost in the mind of site visitors. Looking for the information that they need is why they are there.
Secondly, great content, in-depth and written by people who are qualified to speak on the subject helps to “convince” search engines that your site is a website worthy of getting traffic. Search engines have a huge stake in referring searchers to sites where they will have a good user experience, and all other things being equal they will tend to rank a site with better quality content more highly than sites with less valuable or poor content.
Deleting Content Pages? Not Necessarily…
One mistake that beginners sometimes make is to simply zap pages with poor content right out of their site. But that may not be the best course of action.
Why not? Because even a poorly-written page might be bringing you site traffic. How so, if the content is poor? Well, you may be getting traffic because of links posted somewhere that people are clicking. People may be looking at some other page on your site and clicking an internal link to go to this page. Some pages may get traffic only at certain times of the year. Also a page that is getting any traffic may be worth keeping if the small amount of traffic ultimately converts well to sales.
What to do? As removing pages willy-nilly can actually hurt your site, what you need to do is perform a site content audit. “Good content” can take many forms and some are not always obvious – even a single link in an author bio can bring you clicks and ultimately, conversions.
I Have Great Content, What Now?
There’s more to site management than just posting content and waiting around for someone to notice it. What if no one ever does? All that time and effort will have been for nothing.
Once your content is posted — and if it is truly stellar — then you need to think about how to let others know it is there.
In particular, you need to think of the people who are in your niche/industry who have some sort of online following. We call them “amplifiers” for a reason: they may just be willing to tell their audience about your research. These are the people who post YouTube videos, host podcasts, who are on social media sites passing along links, tweets, etc. These are people who can bring the world (their world) to you in very short order. Make your content something valuable enough that amplifiers will find it a no-brainer to share it and talk about it.
What Do Images Have to Do With Content?
Let me introduce you to a great tool: Google’s AI Image Analysis. Here is a link where you can try it out. Most sites have some type of images (infographics, charts and graphs, product pictures, etc.). How might search engines like Google “understand” these images, and use them to “understand” what your site is all about? For example, would Google see lots of images of political leaders on a site and understand that this site was a political site? A general news site? Something else?
Using this tool, you can see what types of keywords and topics Google is currently associating with a particular image, and you can then focus on choosing the images that most closely match your intended keyword targets.
SEO Work = Spreadsheets
If you know anything about doing SEO work, you know we’d all be lost without the ubiquitous spreadsheet. Seems like everything we touch involves a spreadsheet in some way.
Let me turn you on to some great tools you can use – it uses Google Sheets and they will help you to automate daily SEO tasks. At this link you will find tools that include the following:
- Content Brief Generator
- 404 URL Mapper
- Title & H1 Analyzer
- Cannibalization Checker
- Sitemap Finder
- Sitemap Scraper
- HTTP Version Control
- Status Code Checker
These guys have it going on and we totally recommend them!
An Important Part of “Content” – Title Tags and Page Snippets
An overlooked part of your site content picture is how your page title tags are written and what snippets of content are returned when users search.
But not to fear: Google has given us PLENTY of information on what they consider best practices in this area.
At this link (over at Google Search Central – an area you should read through in-depth sometime) you will find help on such subjects as:
- Best Practices for Writing Descriptive <title> elements
- How Title Links in Google Search Are created
- Avoiding Common Issues with <title> elements
Here are a few common-sense guidelines on page title tags: do a thorough crawl of your site and make sure that every URL has title tag information (look for what is in the <title> HTML element in the coding). Next, other than generic branding (“XYZ Company”) don’t duplicate title tag wording. Make them unique and don’t jam them with too many keywords.
After fixing any issues with your title tags, at this link you will find a lot of information on page snippets:
- How Snippets Are Created
- How to Prevent Snippets or Adjust Snippet Length
- Best Practices for Creating Quality Meta Descriptions
Keep in mind that Google is still struggling with what content to put in a search snippet. Sometimes they don’t use what you want them to, but try to do everything possible to follow best practices, as Google will surely improve in this area over time.
Page Content That Must NOT Be Changed
The WWW (World Wide Web) is just that – worldwide. And people speak (and write) in a variety of languages – not just the one that your site uses.
And that’s a good thing because web browsers are capable of translating web pages into a variety of different languages, which allows others to navigate your site. This means an increased audience and more site traffic.
The trouble is that “translation” by machine is an imperfect science. And that can be a problem for certain types of content on your site.
For example, TOS or similar pages may contain disclaimer text, guarantees, scope-of-work statements, liability limitations, and other kinds of wording that could get you into hot water if they are not translated correctly. Also, your company branding, the tag line of ads, service marks (℠), and the like may need to be kept intact.
How can you do that? If you can edit the HTML in your page code, you can look for your paragraph identifiers (<p>….</p>) and make sure that you include the “translate=no” attribute to the text snippet. You can give this link to your developer to help them code this up for you.
That’s all for now… see you next time… for more things to know about SEO!