We've known for a long time that quality matters to Google. In a post Senior Google Engineer Matt Cutts made to his blog, "quality" was mentioned several times as being important to Google. Quality matters when it comes to content, and it matters when it comes to links.
However, building content and links doesn't have to be painful. Web site owners tend to think of content in a very limited way.
So, let's open up our creative minds and think of all sorts of ways of adding quality content to a Web site.
A few things to remember:
Let's Get into the Fun Stuff: Quality Content for Your Target Audience
1. A calendar of events. This is ideal for sites like real estate sites to show upcoming open houses; book stores to promote upcoming book signings or writers' meetings; collectors' sites to show meetings across the country, etc. Be sure to allow visitors to send in their own event to be posted to the calendar.
2. Maps. Consider real estate sites, hunting or fishing sites, camping sites, hotels, or any outdoor recreational sites for maps. Be sure to add content at the bottom of the map that describes the map and outlines its purpose as it relates to your site.
3. Before/after experiences. This is perfect for products or services you're selling where customers can write in and discuss how this particular product or service helped them. These could turn out to be mini articles, or use them as testimonials.
4. Pictures from your customers. You could set up a special place where past customers could post their pictures and journal entries on your site. This is ideal for vacation sites, recreational sites, wedding sites, baby sites, photography studios, etc. How could you use this idea on a Halloween site? On a flower site?
5. Online coloring sheets. Use your imagination here. If you set up some coloring sheets about your vacation property, kids could color those sheets and post them online before their trip in their own special online area. After the trip, their parents could post pictures and a journal of their trip. This is their "Web site" about their trip, all hosted on your site as a perk for booking through your vacation site. What are they going to do with this information? They're going to tell their friends, Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Edna, etc. They're going to link to it. You can use this perk as part of your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) when differentiating yourself from your competition. You'll be building one-way links from your past customers, plus visibility for future customers. Win/win situation. You'll think of many ways of adding coloring sheets (or similar creative activities for kids) to your site, if your site is the type that would work for kids.
6. Blogs or forums certainly add fresh content to a site.
7. Articles or new pages of interest to your target audience. Write new content on a regular basis � once or twice a week should be your goal.
8. An expert Q&A on the main page of your site. Get an expert to answer questions, and post one question/answer a week (or a day � whatever you can handle) on the main page of your site. Have past Q&A's in a searchable archive on your site.
9. Product reviews. If your industry has products or software to review, consider writing candid reviews of those products. Publish the reviews on your Web site as well as publish them in a few of the online publications. Readers are always interested in totally candid reviews, where the writer lists the positive as well as the negative aspects of a product. If you have a landscaping business, how could you use this idea? What products do you, as an expert, prefer to use, and why?
10. Short tips. If your product or service lends itself to short tips, write up a series and publish them on your Web site. Send them out in your newsletter. Get your readers to send in tips as they use the product. Offer a discount off additional products if they submit tips.
11. FAQ's. FAQ's are content � content that your target audience wants to know. As you get questions from your readers, add additional Q&A's to your FAQ's to keep them current.
12. How-to guides. People love "how to" guides. If you sell online plumbing parts, why not have a "how to" guide on installing a new toilet? Make it easy on your customers, and they'll come back to you again and again. Create a series of "how to" guides. Be The Toilet Guy on the Net. May not sound too glamorous, but if you're highly visible on the Net and are converting traffic to sales, you can afford to be glamorous OFF the Net!
13. Content that solves a problem. Why do people visit the Web? To look for information or to comparison shop. If you can solve problems for your visitors, you're giving them just what they're looking for online. For example, let's say that you sell Oriental rugs. Your potential customer might be looking for decorating ideas for her office. Her office is very small, and she's trying to think of a way to add color. Most of the wall space is taken up with windows and metal bookcases. You've created a series of content that shows pictures of problems/solutions that your oriental rugs have solved, including one with an Oriental runner. Not only does the content have pictures, it also has text describing each problem and the corresponding solution. Your potential customer found your page in the search engine results.
14. Historical data. Let's say that you sell steel pipes. What's the history of steel pipes? Creating a page outlining its history is quite appropriate. In fact, taking it a step further, creating pages that compare steel to copper and other types of piping; what causes rust; how strong is steel; how valuable steel piping really is (how steel piping is used in almost every building, etc.); how long will steel last; and on and on and on will create a whole section of extremely valuable content to a Web site. Here's the catch. Is this valuable to the target audience of the steel pipe company? Think of one target audience: vocational education classes all over the US. This would be a great resource for them. If they linked to this site, all of them being .edu's, wouldn't this be a great link popularity builder for the site? Think about that for a minute. We're talking about quality content and quality link building. Another example of historical data would be a hotel on St. Simons Island. The hotel could certainly provide historical data about the island on its Web site as well as tour information, etc. How could a site that sells mustang parts use this strategy? A site that sells wedding dresses?
15. Interviews � the easiest way of building content yet! Interview an expert in your industry. Send the expert a list of questions and let the expert answer in his/her own words. Don't change any of the expert's answers, except to correct misspellings or grammatical errors. Always be upfront with the expert, and always maintain the integrity of the article and yourself. Write a series of interview articles, and highlight them on the main page of your site.
16. Seasonal articles. Is your industry "seasonal" in any respect? If so, seasonal articles are always extremely popular.
17. Statistics. Offering stats on your site is also another way of adding content to a Web site. If the stats aren't your own, always indicate where you're getting them. Quote the source! How could financial or mortgage sites use this strategy?
18. An advice column. This can be used for a dating site, or it can be used for other sites as well. How could an SEO site use this strategy? How could a decorating site? What about a plastic surgery site?
19. Winners of the month. Let's say you have a site where you sell cut flowers. Get your Web audience to send in pictures of bouquets and arrangements they've made with your flowers. Post the pictures online. Pick a winner of the month, and have that winner's picture posted on the main page of your site. Give the winner a $25 gift certificate.
20. Using the flower example, create video tutorials for creating flower arrangements. Make sure you sell all of the materials they'll need to create the flower arrangements they can make if they follow the video tutorials.
21. Again with the flower example, have customers send in an outline of how they created their flower arrangement, the materials they used, as well as the pictures. Link to all of those materials in your online store. Be creative. Can you do something similar with your own Web site in your own industry? What if you had a costume site? An art site? Give it a few twists and use it on a hunting or fishing site.
22. Send out a monthly newsletter offering your own tips, tips from customers, sale items, holiday ideas, the winner of the month, etc. Encourage readers to post their ideas to the blog. Post past newsletters on your site for more content.
23. A biography about someone's life, if it relates to your industry. You can see how this would work well if you have a Civil War site or a used book store.
24. News events pertaining to your particular industry.
25. Community-related page, if this is a local Web site. For example, you could discuss local restaurants, little league baseball, school openings, etc., on community-related pages or a blog.
We've only just begun with ideas. It all depends on the industry you're in and the products or services you sell. Put your creativity hat on and brainstorm.
In Conclusion . . .
Remember to think "quality" when it comes to creating content. These ideas should help get you started.
And think about this point as well. If you start creating quality content, what is certain to follow? Quality links. Sites will begin linking to your content, because you're doing what you should be doing: giving your customers what they want to see when they visit your Web site. They want to see new and exciting "quality" information that's updated on a constant basis. You become the trusted source of that information.
Don't try to take the easy way out.
Success isn't dished out in soup lines. Success comes with hard work.
Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
Robin Nobles is the Co-Director of Training of Search Engine Workshops, where they teach "hands on" search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe. They also provide a networking community for SEOs called The World Resource Center for Search Engine Marketers and have expanded their workshops to Europe with Search Engine Workshops UK.
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