Quality Content Begins with a Good Plan

by on May 17, 2011 · 1 comment

This is a guest post from Julie Trade-Levitch, President of SourDough Communications. Julie has over 15 years of experience in copywriting and helping businesses put together marketing and communications plans that get results.

There has been a lot of online chatter lately about Google’s recent updates to its algorithm. Referred to as the “Farmer Update” or “Panda,” this change has many website owners wondering if and how it will affect them.

Google Panda Update ImageFor those who have loaded their sites with duplicate or low quality content that they’ve purchased from content farms or other dubious sources, they are probably already feeling the hit with a significant drop in their Google ranking.

As a writer (I’m not terribly fond of the term “content provider”), I can’t say that I feel particularly sorry for those being impacted. Call me old fashioned, but I believe that online content should be written with quality in mind. There should be value for the reader. Oh, and it shouldn’t be plagiarized, either.

I’ve probably sounded like a broken record for years preaching to my clients that there is more to online content than strategically placed keywords and links. It’s doubtful that anyone at Google ever heard my rants, but apparently they listened to someone else who had a beef with poorly written websites that ranked well but delivered little or no value to readers.

For the everyday business owner with a website, what does this all mean? Simply put, adding high quality, original content on your site is more important than ever! In fact, it’s now the key ingredient to ranking well in Google. This is a big opportunity for those willing to take the time to grow and share content on their site.

To leverage this opportunity, you need an online content plan. Fortunately, developing a straightforward plan of action for your online content is much simpler than trying to fool Google with shady SEO practices. The benefits, beyond improved search engine rankings, are pretty good, too:

  • More Website Visitors
  • More Inbound Links
  • Instant Credibility
  • And Most Importantly, Increased Sales!

Hopefully, that’s enough to persuade you to consider creating a content plan for your site. If so, here’s what you need to do:

Define Your Content Requirements
Before you start cranking out witty copy for your customers, you will want to first think about what you need to be writing. Questions to ask:

What are your objectives with your content?
What is your market niche and target market?
What is your messaging?
Where will you be placing this content (website, blogs, social media channels)?

Then you’ll want to spend some time determining effective keywords and phrases based upon your answers to these questions. Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool is a good free resource for finding keywords.

Once you’ve compiled this information, you can begin to brainstorm ideas and topics for content that will start generating traffic to your site. Make sure to hang on to your content requirements too, so that you can review it on a regular basis. It will inevitably evolve as your business grows and will need to be updated from time to time.

Create a Calendar and Stick with It!
Because Google is rewarding sites with fresh content, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of publishing material to your site and blog on a regular basis. The best way to organize what you’ll be writing about and to stay disciplined with a schedule is to create a calendar. Whether it’s a once a week posts on your blog or daily mentions on your Facebook page; an organized system will keep you on schedule. Here are some more good ideas for creating a calendar for your content.

Be Consistent
While it’s great to mix up the types of online content that you’re publishing, you will still want to maintain a common theme and style of writing that runs through all of them. From blog posts and press releases to new website pages, there should be similarities in keywords and messaging both for the benefit of search engines and your readers.

Find Resources
For many business owners, writing is at the bottom of their “to do” list. Because it’s hard to see immediate ROI from publishing fresh content, it’s often back-burnered and sometimes forgotten altogether. If you’re now geared up to start creating more content, it’s time to take an honest look at your schedule to see if you have the time to make it a priority.

If you can’t fit it into your schedule, there are other options. But, please don’t hit up that content farm that advertises $5.00 articles! This is exactly the type of material that Google doesn’t want to see on your site. As the old adage goes, “You get what you pay for.” Instead, find a professional content provider who has some knowledge about your business and plenty of examples for your review. Many will work with you on an ongoing basis by becoming a seamless addition to your business and your secret weapon in improving your search engine results!

I hope that I’ve convinced you that online content is both important and attainable. With a smart plan and a little dedication, you can take a strategic approach to getting to the top of Google’s search results and beat out bigger players who have taken the easy way out with cheap, poor quality content. Hey, Google’s on your side, so take advantage of the opportunity!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

eileen lonergan May 17, 2011 at 10:21 am

Julie, these are excellent ideas! I read a post today on Duct Tape marketing that compliments your idea of Defining Your Content Requirements (and is a nod to a post on your personal blog): use humor, behind the scenes stories, be controversial, add tips and reviews. My favorite part of this article is BE CONSISTENT, this is just as much for your own discipline as for your readers expectations!

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