As a writer who’s been working in the online space for more than 15 years, I specialize in building online brands, and staying on top of what’s going on with SEO is an important part of my job. Helping my clients’ websites show up on search engines is part of every project. I read a lot–ebooks and white papers, etc. from a range of sources. Of course, the SEO rules change by the day, and you never know whom to believe.
Creating extraordinary content has become nonnegotiable
I was recently reading an SEO white paper, and a user had asked about the best way to build an effective link-building strategy, wanting to know if that was a good use of his marketing budget. The author’s answer? “If you’ve got a website budget, hire someone to write for you.” According to Ron Medlin, CMO, 98toGo, the recent algorithm updates have made it clear that “we can no longer game the system. While link-building done correctly is still valuable, creating extraordinary content has become nonnegotiable.”
They’re preaching to the choir
Of course, this is what I’ve been telling my clients for years! Good content not only makes you look like the industry expert you are, it will help your website show up in search engines. But content—even well-written, insightful, smart, funny, clever and authoritative content—is a hard sell. It’s not sexy. People tell me that no one’s going to read it and it’s not important. What? You have a huge investment in your business, and your website is often the first place people go to find out about what you do. Your website says a lot about you—that you can organize information, create a professional appearance and a successful user experience. That you can write. Or not.
Badly written content reflects the quality of your work
I’m a writer, so I’m probably a little more critical than most, but when I look at websites with badly written content, I think the owners are idiots. Not only are they showing potential clients that they’re really crappy writers, the more important message is that they either don’t know any better or they don’t care. Are these people with whom I want to do business? Probably not.
By not hiring a writer and developing compelling content, you’re missing important opportunities to showcase your expertise.
- One thing people rarely do is make their bios interesting and personal. If people read anything on your site, it’s going to be your About section. As potential clients, we really want to know about the people with whom we may be working. Make it personal. Make it compelling. Make people want to work with you.
- I also advocate including case studies—they’re powerful ways to demonstrate how you help your clients solve problems. Good marketing these days is all about storytelling.
- A regular, sustained blog is another way to highlight your skills and experience, and it’s a critical part of keeping your website updated with fresh, interesting content. It can be repurposed to other channels, as part of your content marketing program, even as it’s contributing to your SEO value and showing you off as a savvy, interesting business owner.