USING CONTENT TO ENHANCE SEARCH
by: Cary Christian
We've talked a good bit the
last few weeks about search engine optimization and the power of including
powerful keywords in the content of your website.
No matter what you sell, whether it's software, kitchen appliances, sports
equipment, books, candy or services, content is difficult to write well.
Even writing compelling descriptions of your products is often difficult.
Worse, it may often be copied straight from your distributor's site, thus
guaranteeing you have the same content as anyone else selling your products.
You would all probably agree with me that writing copy for your website that
a) makes it stand out from the crowd, and
b) that is rich in keywords
would help you sell more by attracting more visitors and generating more
interest when they actually get there. I want to give you two ideas on how
to do this.
LOOK AT YOUR PRODUCTS THROUGH YOUR CUSTOMER'S EYES
Why do your customer's buy your product? Is it because your software has
more features than the next guy's? Or is it because your software makes it
easier for them to get their work done faster and get home to the kids at a
decent hour? Which reason would make you want to buy?
You may already be familiar with the concept of selling benefits rather than
features. It's a rather common concept in marketing because it works. But it
is surprising how many people ignore the effect of this concept on the
keywords they choose to emphasize when it comes to search engine
Look at the descriptions of your products or services. First, make sure you
are emphasizing benefits over features. Look at the sites of your
competitors and you'll probably find most of them are concentrating on
features. If you need to rewrite your descriptions to make them benefit
rich, do so. This is not easy, but take the time to do it to the best of
Now look carefully at your new descriptions that emphasize benefits. Look at
what keywords jump out at you now. Compare those to the keywords you THOUGHT
were the best descriptors of this particular web page. Are they different?
In most cases they will be worlds apart.
Perform some searches using these new keywords and see what kind of results
you get. Use Overture's search term suggestion tool to see how many searches
per month these new keywords produce.
Should these new keywords completely replace those you would normally use to
describe your site? Maybe, but probably not. More than likely you will
have found additional keywords that provide you with the following benefits:
1. You will be competing on keywords your competitors are likely
2. You will find that keyword-rich content is easier to write and
that your writing "flows" better when you're concentrating on benefits
rather than features,
3. Your content will be more pleasing to your visitors than the often
cold and boring lists of features that most sites provide, and
4. It will be easier for you to include and repeat your best keywords
when you're writing content based on benefits. (Even the feature-based
keywords will become easier to use).
ADD ARTICLES TO YOUR WEBSITE
Again, no matter what you're selling, you can produce or find articles to
add to your website. The more the better. Why?
Articles related to your products or services will be rich in the keywords
that people search for when they are looking for your products! The search
engines will periodically spider the pages of your site and index these
articles as you add them. They will produce traffic. Sometimes a LOT of
When you visit our site, you will find lots of articles. Sure, they are
there primarily because we are an informational site, but their effect on
search engine results weighed heavily in our deciding to include them and in
our making a commitment to add and modify articles frequently. In fact, we
are way behind in adding articles in my opinion. Look for that to change
very shortly. We get a lot of traffic from the search engines just by having
these articles on our website.
This traffic also highlights what people are really looking for when they
find our site. If it's something we do not provide but could, be sure we
will add that product or service when we see the search engine traffic
building. For example, we have noticed a TON of traffic drawn to a simple
article on a particular tax issue. We will be producing an entire ebook on
that subject soon. And all because we saw the number of people searching for
information on that issue.
We can also use this traffic information to help us develop better
pay-per-click search engine strategies.
So adding articles to your website has the potential of doing three very
important things for you:
1. It will make your site more keyword rich with less effort,
2. It will help you identify keywords people use to find your
products that you might not think of on your own, and
3. It will make it easier to create an effective pay-per-click
campaign if you desire to do so.
It is important to note that you do not have to personally write all the
articles you use on your site. There are many content sites on the web where
you can pick up articles to use that relate to your products. You can even
use news stories and press releases.
It is also a good idea to write some articles on how your products can be
used to realize the benefits you are trying to sell. A sales page often can
do no more than highlight particular benefits of using your products. Use
articles to explore these benefits in detail. Aim to produce an article for
every benefit you're trying to sell.
Going back to our software example, write an article showing how John Doe at
XYZ Company uses your product to save four hours per day in processing time.
If you run a service business, include articles that clearly demonstrate how
your services produce quantifiable improvements in results. Provide case
studies if you have them.
You should have a good number of "independent" articles on your site for
maximum drawing power, but there is nothing wrong with including articles
that specifically deal with your products and services and how you deliver
them. These articles are designed to sell and there is nothing at all wrong
1. Write about benefits, not features, and
2. Add targeted articles to your site.
Keep these two recommendations in mind and filling your site with rich
content will be far easier than you realize.
Copyright (c) 2002