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SEO Starts With Content

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Post SEO Starts With Content   Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:09 pm

SEO Starts With Content

Knowing the audience your web properties are targeting will help ensure that you spend your (always) limited SEO resources wisely. An understanding of this target audience should be determined with the available content in mind. In some cases, the content available will drive the target audience. Other businesses and websites though, will have to implement a plan to develop the right content for their target audiences.

The general rule in SEO, is that the more unique content you have, the better. This content can either be a library of documents, videos, photos, and increasingly, even audio files. Given that the vast majority of the searches people perform are informational searches, the more information you can make available the more likely it is that you will capture the audience.

The amount and nature of content you have readily available, or are going to develop, will affect not just your site architecture and size, but also your keyword, market and other competitive research. The main search engines will use the content on your site to help them have a 'better understanding' of what your site is about in general, but what each unique page focuses on.

The term 'understand' is used loosely in the preceding sentence, since search engines are essentially just machines. That said modern computing and software does allow a fairly decent approximation to the way a human mind would understand the information you have. A modern search engine for example, will be able to tell the difference between a dentist's and a heart surgeon's website. It is most unlikely too, that a person searching for an optometrist will ever have either of these two websites presented to them in the SERPs. At least not in the first few pages anyway.

Search engines are increasingly becoming adept at inferring meaning and associated terms from whatever content a site has. So, a person searching for a 'doctor' might be shown results that use the term 'physician' instead. You can never be too explicit in describing the content you have on your site though. The more exactly your content matches the literal query terms used by web searchers, the better they are going to perform in SERPs, all other things being equal. Any SEO effort therefore, is going to have to spend a lot of time on this 'on-site' content optimization.

The available content, how it is structured, and how it is described will also have an impact on any link building efforts that might form part of the SEO strategy and plan. The success of any link-building effort will be directly linked to the type of content being promoted. Given that any such link building is in the hands of third parties, you have to give them a fairly good reason to link to your content, and not to the competition.

For example, consider a site A, that has numerous pages of content on a specific topic, say Widgets. Similarly though a dozen other sites already have equally up to scratch articles on the very same topic, and have been online for much longer, meaning that each one of these sites has been in the search engine indexes for longer than Site A. While Site A might be able to attract a lot of incoming links it is unlikely to ever catch up with the incumbents and establish itself as the leading or authoritative source on the Widget topic. Unless it adds content that is novel, or with a unique twist, it is quite unlikely to ever attract mindshare, leading to links, leading to better SERPs. An example of how it could differentiate itself, might be by being the first site to offer free video, or maybe audio versions of its pages on Widgets. Alternatively, it could focus on a tightly defined niche. An example might be just Green Widgets, or maybe Widgets for kids.

Focusing their content development on just a small niche, and becoming the authoritative resource in that niche, could eventually be more profitable for site A, than trying to take the existing and established competition head on in an SEO battle.

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