When speaking with small or medium sized business clients one of the common questions posed is “why do I need to need to add new content to our website?” In the early days of business websites it was common to repurpose your printed brochure, add some filler, grab some stock photos and call it a day. However as Google enters its 15th year, search engines and end users have become much more sophisticated, and business websites have a much higher hurdle to clear to rank for competitive terms.
Unless you have a generic or common business name, it’s a safe bet that you will rank for your company name. If the services you provide are local you will also rank for your company name and geographic terms like:
- Bob’s Fishing Center
- Bob’s Fishing Supply Store
- Bob’s Fishing Myrtle Beach
While this is good what you really want to rank for are the more generic terms like:
- Fishing Supplies Myrtle Beach
- Fishing Store Myrtle Beach
- Fishing Supply Near Me
To rank in Google for these terms you’re going to need to be a little more than a repurposed brochure.
The Basic Content Your Website Needs
One of the first things you need to accomplish is establishing that you are a legitimate and trustworthy business. You’ll need a home page, something that tells the world about you/your company, what services you are offering or selling, and a way to contact you. Lots of people look at these boilerplate areas and just throw a bunch of fluff and blah, blah copy to fill the page. The problem is if you didn’t care when you were writing it, no one is going to care when they are reading it, so take this opportunity to make an impression, prove that not only are you trustworthy, you aren’t like the other guys. Don’t think you can make an “about us’ page interesting … take a look at Lateral’s about us page, Sam Adams Beer History Page, or the about page for Spokes Pedicabs.
Creating Content Users Want to Share and Gets Links
Next you are going to need to add some editorial or informational copy that the people on the other side of the screen are looking for, find interesting or helpful, and want to share. Whatever type of product or services your customers will be buying they are going to have some questions before they make the purchase, you need to write pages targeted around these questions, or specifically the queries they type into the search engines. When you write this kind of content it’s easy to be lazy and say ‘good enough’ is ‘good enough’. However this isn’t what the users and the search engines want to see. Maybe what you’re selling isn’t as interesting as a new iPhone, but you will have to think of ways you can make it interesting, can you add illustrations, pictures or even better a video? Again don’t think you can make an interesting video about a boring subject … here’s a video on “How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich” that covers a lot of the mistakes people make when making a grilled cheese sandwich, and how to make your sandwich better.
The second part of creating good compelling content is that some people will share it, and other websites will link to it. If you spend any time on social websites like Facebook or Twitter take a look at what other people share and more importantly what they like. The things that get shared, liked, and re-shared are the things that are funny, informative, compelling, thought provoking, or are in some way outstanding and memorable. No one is going to share the lifeless boring good enough content you try to slide past them, but they will share what’s really good.
A secondary component of really good compelling content is it will generate links. If your content is so good that enough people see it and share it, chances are good it will eventually get links from blogs and other websites, and as Martha Stewart says, that’s a good thing. Search engines look at hundreds of factors when determining what sites should rank at the top, but some of the more important factors are the quality and quantity of your links, the user data that’s generated by people visiting/sharing/searching for your website, and the content that’s on the page. If you are writing good pages, with good content, that people are looking for, are sharing, and is generating links, you are giving the search engines the positive signs that you have a good website and that you deserve to rank.
Why You Need to Keep Adding New Content
Almost every industry has things that change on a fairly regular basis. If your website is about consumer electronics or fashion, the information can change every few months, but for most industries things take a few years to change. In an ideal world, you would review your content at 6 to 12 month intervals, and see what needs to be changed or updated, and then slowly trickle that new/revised content out to your website.
The second thing you should be doing is looking what new content you can create. You want to try to be ahead of the upcoming quarter, month or selling period when writing new content. If you are creating “how to” or instructional content for Thanksgiving you’ll want to get it up on your website two to three months before Thanksgiving. If you are producing something that falls more into the ‘infotainment’ classification you want to publish it within 2-3 weeks of Thanksgiving for maximum effect. The reason you need to do this often, and regularly is freshness. Not only do the search engines like sites that are adding new content, but they like sites that are generating new signals of user data, and new links.
So to wrap things up, look at the copy that’s on your website now, does your website have enough of the basic information to make you seem legitimate and trustworthy? Are you taking advantage of the opportunities to engage the visitors of your website and communicate of your unique selling point or points of differentiation? Next look at your editorial and informational content is that content as good as it can be, is it interesting, compelling, and shareable? Is your information old or outdated? Are you missing any opportunities to talk about or show your expertise about current topics? Are you taking advantage of talking about current events or front of mind topics that are relevant to your audience or customer base? Most importantly are you creating content that people like, might want to share, and has potential to generate links? Once you understand that this is what the search engines and users want, you’ll see why you need to keep adding new content to your website.