Start With The End In Mind: Writing For The Search Engines

Content is king!!

Read that headline three times and then read it again. In a lot of my posts here, I have emphasized the importance of on-page and off-page optimization and various other issues involved in increasing your rankings. But today, I want you to understand something that is so fundamentally vital to the success of any search engine optimization campaign that if ignored, you will fail. And that is your content.

Content is the most important thing in your strategy. What you put on your website is the basic building block and the strongest weapon you have in your arsenal. The reason I say that is this: How many websites do you see at the top of the search engines that have no content? You might have to think on that one, because you almost never see them. That is because when you are looking for something using a keyword or directory service, Google and the other major search engines direct their keyword searches to those websites that are relevant to that particular data. And when you have a website that has nothing on it, there is no data to report to the user; therefore it gets lower rankings in comparison to sites that do have content related to their search.

The same goes for a website that has very little information or a site in which the search engine spiders can’t see your information (such is the case with Java and Flash programming). If your site doesn’t have enough information or information that the search engines can see, you are quite possibly missing out on traffic from the search engines. In the case of Flash programming, the content is encoded into a flash animation (a .swf file) and is presented when an event occurs (i.e.: someone clicks a button or scrolls over an area on the animation). Flash websites are wonderful, don’t get me wrong and they are a unique way to present your information. But it is a limited technology because it prevents the information from being indexed by the search engines.

Typically, I stay away from designing those types of sites because I would be doing them wrong by allowing them to suffer in the area of search engine marketing. And if you do have a site that is designed in Flash, don’t panic. You can still be an active promoter of your site by having an alternative site for users who wish to not view it in Flash. That will give you the functionality and professional image of Flash, but also the benefits of search engine optimization. And in the meantime, while you are adding that feature, you can improve you rankings through article submissions, links-backs and participating in forums.

Another thing to consider when looking at the content of your page is the overall theme. Now, I am not talking design and layout, I am talking relevancy. You cater to one or more specific niches and you want it to be easy for those interested in what you have to offer to find you quickly. There is no better way to do that than making sure that a majority of your content is related to what you do. You must reduce the amount of tangential content and increase the amount of relevant information. The best way for this to happen is to tailor your site content around your keywords. Certain keywords can be similar throughout the length of your pages, but in general, you need to have a different set of keywords and a different description for every page that content is present. The search engines like variety and they will reward you accordingly. But you must be able to write original content that uniquely describes your information or product and at the same time tailor it to compete with others.

Many have indicated that often times the search engines ignore the keywords and focus only on the content because the content is what matters. So if you really want the best success, you need to make sure your website can compete with others on the same playing field. When it comes to design and layout, you need to start with the end in mind and in the end writing for the search engines is what’s best.