The web is comprised of information; or content. Every web page online is a living document of information that contains a specific piece of information with an intended purpose. Search engines crawl and index pages that are unique and provide value to their visitors. For example: a publisher writes content for a user (or audience) and users are often searching to solve a problem or answer a question.
Content comes in many forms including text, audio, video, images, and other formats. This is ever changing and requires a little initiative to produce content in the format users are expecting. Music videos are a perfect opportunity to reach your audience in video format because you’ve already produced that content. Detailed instruction manuals may be delivered via PDF or a web page with a Flash embed to interact with while building something.
Search engines have been providing multiple forms of content for the last few years (particularly Google) through universal search engine results pages (SERPs) that include links to other web pages, videos, news results, blog posts, PDF files, images, retail store information (Google Places), shopping for products online, etc.
Content is produced for many reasons including:
- Introducing concepts
- Providing messaging to engage customers
- Associating your content with other like content on the web
For example: a sporting goods store should write content that discusses sporting goods products (baseball bats & gloves) vs. information that discusses software (Windows/Mac & minimum computer requirements).
This is important to improve rankings and visibility online because you begin to look like other sporting goods stores online and the search engines use this information to segment what pages, blogs, news, videos, etc. to deliver to their users when they’re searching for answers or solutions to their problems.
The great thing about creating content is that it’s completely within your control. You know your products and audience, you have pictures or video, product information, marketing messaging, etc. that can be compiled into an informative piece of content. You can also create sales content, support and customer service content, knowledge bases, forums, blogs, etc. This is critical to engage further with your audience and create an active site that search engines will crawl and index for their users.
Take this opportunity to make yourself attractive for incoming links and increase the indexability of your pages. Search engines will crawl your site more frequently, your chances of ranking higher will increase, click-thru rates will improve, your audience will engage further with your brand, and you’ll be building a resource online that will drive additional visitors and potential customers.
A few examples of how to create content include:
- Writing content on your blog, product, or other web pages
- Publish white papers or ebooks for download
- Create videos or podcasts to engage your audience
- Publish slidedecks of higher level concepts
- Upload detailed schematics in PDF form or with a link to interactive portions of your site
- Launch a contest whereby the winner(s) receive free product
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