I’ve always said that search engines look at three things:
- Keywords in content – do you use the search terms your potential clients use on your pages?
- Popularity as defined by links – do other, quality sites link to your site?
- Freshness of content – are you updating your site regularly
I just read a statistic that increased my interest in fresh content. Google’s VP of Engineering recently reported that 20 to 25% of the queries they see are brand new. He was talking about how Google uses context to understand searches. (You can see more here: http://tinyurl.com/2xsaoa.)
I think it also feeds into a popular idea of the long tail search engine optimization. The long tail search focuses on multiple-word phrases [st paul dry cleaning open Sunday] as opposed to single phrases, such as [drycleaners]. (Here’s more info on the long tail search http://strategizer.wordtracker.com/.)
If you are a drycleaner in my town that’s open on Sunday, you could see where showing up for the first search is even more important that showing up for the second if you are focused on making a sale.
In some ways the goal is easier when you just pick the most popular terms and focus on using them, although the competition is getting increasingly fierce. I think the best way to reach those or long tail searches is to provide as much information as possible.
On traditional web sites this can be somewhat difficult as there is realistically only so much space for info. That’s why I’ve been becoming a bigger and bigger fan of blogs. Blogs are easy to maintain. Each blog acts as its own page in terms of SEO – so that if you write all about your adventures in dry cleaning on Sundays, you can do well for the search above. And writing about your industry and what interests you and your clients, I think you increase the odds of using other long tail search terms.
Also each blog post feeds into providing fresh content for the whole site.
Writing blog posts takes time – and sometimes it makes sense to hire that out – but I think in terms of SEO it can be money well spent.
Kind of long this week – I hope that’s helpful.