SEO & Rich Media
What kind of website features help raise your ranking in the search engines? a blog? videos? current news and events? lots of articles? lots of pages? a slideshow on the home page? lots of photos?
Actually, all of the above can help - but in different ways. The type of content you choose to use partly depends on the people you’re trying to reach.
Blogs, newsletter archives, articles, and pages all provide two things search engines love: text-based content they can read, and freshness of the content.
You don’t want to just throw anything and everything into your site, though. You want to stay on topic to attract rankings for the right search terms, and visits from your target market.
When adding pages, articles, blog posts, or other text-based content, do your best to make the information original. There are plenty of online sources for buying articles – but search engines can tell if you’ve simply reprinted something from what we call an “article farm” and in 2011, sites that relied heavily on them got seriously downgraded. You’re better off hiring a good site builder or copywriter to help you with original, engaging and well-written content. Excellent site builders are usually good writers as well because they’ve had so much experience. Blogs are handy for writing in your own words. Keep it short, stick to the main topics of your site, and ask a friend or family member to proofread. Even professional writers ask others to review their writing before publishing.
Search engines don’t rank sites, they rank pages.
Frequently, people search using very specific words and phrases. Ten years ago you might rank well for “nut butter.” Today, people are quite likely to search for “organic walnut nut butter” or “hazelnut nut butter recipes.” So when you build or add pages to your site, emphasize your overall core topic (nut butter) but you could add more pages that address something very specific. It will help your rankings and it can help attract links to your site.
When it comes to photos and slideshows, just be sure to incorporate them as part of your pages and include text-based content as well. I’ll repeat, don’t make your Home page one big slideshow with “enter here” on it. That’s a guaranteed way to send both people and search engines away.
A slide show or photos don’t have a big influence on rankings, but they do matter from a marketing perspective. For example, if you are an artist or photographer then people want to see your work before hiring or buying. If you’re a consultant selling a service, then people will be drawn to good articles or blog posts you’ve written on your special topic. If you’re selling a product, then obviously people want to see the product in as much detail as you can give them. If you’re building an online community, you want information and news that interests people and easy, easy ways for people to communicate with each other and share what they’ve found with others.
There’s a special case concerning videos. Google owns YouTube. Videos show up in search results. Videos can be tagged with information that tells search engines what the video is about. Videos can have a positive effect on your SEO rankings, as well as provide your visitors with engaging, interesting content that they just might link to or share with others. Videos on your site are a win-win.
Fiona Dudley can be reached at www.weaversites.com for more information about Search Engine Optimization, Marketing & Advertising
Next week Fiona will talk about buying ads on the search engines and Local Search.