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Content Is Crucial For SEO

June 26th, 2013 by

seoWhen I was a newspaper reporter, my notebook had lists of possible future stories for each Chicago-area suburb that I covered. Most of the stories were updates of other stories I had already produced. For example, I might have written a story about a real estate company considering building 500 homes. Whenever I interviewed people, such as mayors, who were knowledgeable about their town, I inquired regarding the several possible stories on my list.

Asking for updates is how I made a living for 15 years. The first story I wrote required lots of work. The updates often required far less work, but the pay per hour and per word were worth the price. The updated stories were valuable to people who didn’t read the original story; they also increased readers’ interest in the topic, and boosted my presence as a credible source of information in my community.

The principles that helped me as a reporter and writer apply to a website’s search engine optimization positioning. Many people who want their businesses to rank higher on search engine results are focused on keywords, metadata, blogrolls and backlinks, but they should also know that search engines such as Google make changes that make content more crucial than ever.

“The changes done to Google’s algorithm directly targets the vitality of authoritative, original content for every website,” wrote Julia Spence-McCoy in an EzineArticles.com article . “If you want to succeed, you’ll need to match what Google expects of the content they’re putting on page one.”

Websites Must Be Updated

Numerous academic and commercial sources advise people that one of the best ways to improve your website’s content is to update it. Michigan Technological University reports that updated content is “one of the best indicators of a (web)site’s relevancy.” Western Kentucky University and North Seattle Community College recommend adding a regularly-updated blog to a website.

Tips For Updating Your Blog 

  •  Write blogs commenting on relevant news stories. I saw a story today about how colleges are inadequately training prospective teachers. An education-related website should write a blog on this topic. David Waller, the president of Storeboard.com, which posts thousands of blogs annually, urges bloggers to focus on topics they are knowledgeable and passionate about.
  • Write blogs about company news. As a reporter, I learned that most companies expend little effort informing the community about new products and services, expansion plans, etc. Companies should have an employee responsible for news updates.
  • Share industry-related news on your blog. Companies that noticed that you shared their news might report your news on their websites.

Writing Tips

It’s particularly important to grab people’s attention because “visitors average around 5 seconds on a webpage,” according to the Take Note Writing blog .

My writing tips are similar to the University of Chicago’s “Writing for the Web” advice . They include:

  • Write conversationally. I always found asking the readers a question to be an effective lead.
  • Present information so it isn’t intimidating to readers and doesn’t require them to scramble for information. Long paragraphs can be intimidating. Making readers jump to the next web page for information that should end on the previous web page is inconsiderate. Subheads and lists are often useful.
  • Use active verbs.
  • Avoid technical jargon. On my beat, government officials talked like they expected everyone to understand their insider jargon. I translated their language into reader-friendly information. You should do the same.

Martin Z is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.

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