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July 6, 2012

How to Build a Relevant Website Through Content

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Does your website content scream authority and relevancy, or does it just scream? Too often, websites are a jumbled mess of unrelated, disconnected topics that make it hard for search engine spiders to crawl, and users to navigate. When you theme a site through your content, you make the user experience better, and your site more relevant for the people who are searching for the products and services you sell online.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the things you can do with your site’s content to create an organized website and increase visibility in the search results.

Why Content Theming?

Search engines want to serve up the most relevant results for any given query, and many factors are taken into account. At Bruce Clay, Inc., our methodology is based on the notion that it’s not just the relevancy of a single Web page, but also the entire site. The more you can position yourself as a subject-matter expert on the things your business does, the easier it is for the search engine to deem your site as the most relevant for a query.

For example, if your site is about “cats,” you’re likely competing for relevancy with the musical “Cats,” as well as sites that host funny cat pictures, like ICanHazCheezburger.com. So if your site is about the animal, how are you going to make it relevant and authoritative on the subject? The answer is, through lots of well-organized content.

Getting Started with Organizing Your Site

Theming your site consists of keyword research, internal linking structure, quality content, on-page optimization and more. For the purposes of this post, we’re going to take a high-level overview of the content portion of this topic; more in-depth, step-by-step information on linking can be found here.

Start with trying to uncover what subjects your site is/should be about. Use your Web analytics and your PPC campaigns if you have ‘em; add keyword research and you’re on your way. A little more on this:

Garfi-Fluffy Persian Cat Looking Angry
  • Analytics: What are the search terms that are currently driving traffic to your site? If you can see what your site is being found for, this could give you clues into its current relevancy and its potential. This is if it makes sense for the business. Let’s say you have a carpet business, but you often dote on the company mascot, “Frank The Fluffy Cat” in ramblings on your site’s blog. You see in your analytics that the term “fluffy cats” is driving way too much traffic to your site. This is when you might want to rethink your content strategy.
  • Pay-per-click: What are the terms your company is bidding on currently? If you think you want to be relevant for those terms in PPC, why not carry that to your content themes? SEO and PPC should ultimately work in harmony, using the same types of keywords in both campaigns to further reinforce what your brand is about.
  • Keyword research: One question: What is your business about? Some people become petrified when thinking about keyword research, but it starts with a very simple concept that you, as the business owner or employee, know a lot about. Brainstorm a list of things you believe your business is about, and use that as a starting point for further keyword research.

Creating Themed, Organized Sections of Your Site

Once you have your keywords, start drawing out plans to how you will structure your site. There are many ways to establish a clear theme; using BCI methodology, we recommend each section of the site has a landing page supported by no less than four subpages of content with at least 450 words each.

A quick note on word count: 450 words is a general best practice for informational pages, meaning no less. It sometimes requires much more. This depends on how much you need to say on the topic in order for it to be an in-depth look at the issue.

In general, the landing page is assigned your more generic keyword terms, and the supporting pages are assigned the more long-tail keywords. We look at theming a website the same way you would write a college paper, for example. You have the main topic of the paper supported by subtopics that all contribute to the main theme. (The illustration below can help you get a visualization of this.)

The following is a slide from our SEO training course that illustrates how to go about theming a site. This example, uses “cars” as the main subject matter of a website. This image shows how the subject themes support one another, with the main topic supported by several subpages of that topic. This structure ultimately serves as the basis for the site’s navigation. In this image, each of the triangles represents a subsection with multiple pages in it, structured in a hierarchical manner.

Diagram  Showing How to Build Relevant Website Content

In order for a section to exist, the pages and topics must be connected in some way. This can be accomplished through physical theming (through the directory) and virtual theming (through the linking and navigation). Some content management systems have limitations that don’t allow these SEO tactics to be applied, making it extremely difficult to set up a relevant site in this manner.

Depending on the limitations of your CMS, you may have to choose between one or the other (connecting the content via directory or linking). This is something that should be planned ahead of time, as the way the content will be linked together is an important part of building a theme.

Writing Authoritative Content

In theory, the theming of your site has many simultaneous steps. Again, we can’t forget how important the internal linking structure is. We go more in-depth about that topic here. But, if you’ve mapped out where your content will go, and you’ve assigned the keywords to your page. It’s time to start writing content.

One word of advice here: never write content for content’s sake.

Make sure the pages you are building out demonstrate the knowledge and authority of your brand. Make sure that you say enough on the topic so that someone doesn’t have to go elsewhere to learn more because your content isn’t as in-depth as it could be.

Your website is crucial to demonstrating your expertise on the topic, and you have to so it in a manner that respects your website’s visitor by providing the best information you can on a subject.

A couple tips when approaching the Web content writing phase:

  • If you’re the expert but not a writer, and still intend to write the content: Hire an editor to review what you’ve written. No one knows your subject better than you, but you still have to make sure you are upholding the integrity of Web content. It has to readable, structured and devoid of spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes.
  • If you’re hiring a writer to do the job for you: Don’t make “fast and cheap” a requirement in the bidding process. Quality content on its own is a skill (and add on-page optimization to the mix, it’s a skill set). Do you remember when you wrote papers in school? Do you think the teacher would be doing the students justice if she told them that whoever turned in the paper first would get an “A”? The same concept applies here. It’s what the content says, not how fast or cheap you can get it. Check out a recent post I wrote for more on creating quality content.

If you want to learn more about theming websites from Bruce Clay himself, our next SEO training course in California is July 16, and there’s still time to sign up.

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11 responses to “How to Build a Relevant Website Through Content”

  1. Nicolas writes:

    Hey, thanks for this article! I’m starting with Silos and any tips are highly appreciated. I only have one doubt, on another article (http://www.bruceclay.com/br/seo/silo.htm) says “To create the virtual silo, all five pages [category landing] would link to the [main] landing page” That’s not what it is on the picture :(, I’m a little confused now :P

    Thanks again and keep it up this excelent work!

  2. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hey Nicolas — I recognize you from our Facebook community. :) Thanks for your comment. Each section may have several subsections with landing pages. For example, all the subpages in the “All About Fords” section link up to their main landing page in “All About Fords.” Same goes for all the subpages in the “All About Ford Mustangs” section. Since the “All About Ford Mustangs” section is a subsection of the “All About Fords” section, the landing page for “All About Ford Mustangs” would link to the “All About Fords” landing page. The “All About Fords” section landing page would link to either the top-level navigation for that section or the home page, whichever is appropriate. Does this make sense?

  3. Kent writes:

    Make it short is – we use positioning strategy by using content marketing.

  4. Ignite Visibility writes:

    Wow, what a great post. You really can make an entire website centered around a content strategy. But its all about what that content is centered around and the business model to make some money off it :) Unless you are just in it for fun. Good read!

  5. Nicolas writes:

    @Jessica Haha I’m a little ashamed now for being recognized =P, thank you for your answer :D, just to be sure: does that mean a Landing page links to a subcategory page (in the same Silo obviously) which in turn links back to the same Landing page?

    Thank you again and sorry for asking so many questions :P

  6. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi Nicolas,

    We love it when we see familiar faces across our communities! Thank you for being a part of them.

    And to answer your question, yes. Landing pages link to their subpages and vice versa.

  7. Jessica Lee writes:

    @Kent, can you clarify what you mean? Thanks.

  8. Jasjotbains writes:

    Hi Jessica !
    One question. If I want to have 2 entirely unrelated topics on my website, can I keep them at different locations? Like I can have one topic on the main site and the second topic in a directory? Do I need to link back to the directory homepage or the main homepage?

  9. Maneet Puri writes:

    @Jessica Lee Thanx a ton for writing such an informative content. Relevancy today is a myth that survives only in discussions, which is why I was glad to see people like you imposing such informative posts :)
    Sticking to the information and following the basics is what we all are supposed to do, for results will always be fruitful, if you are ethical in your approach!

  10. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hey there! Thanks for your comment. If you haven’t set the site up yet, you could create two different sections of the site, and disallow one section because it’s essentially diluting the theme of your site (but then you’d have to make a determination about which one is more important to rank for). If they are both important, then you should consider having two different domains. If you already have a ton of content on both subjects within the site, it gets tricky, because then you have a bigger task ahead of you separating it out. Does that help?

  11. Web Design Company Brisbane writes:

    I couldn’t agree with this article more! Very sound advice. When assisting our clients to create a content strategy for Brisbane business websites, we ask them ‘tell us something we don’t know’ so that we can find out what their particular niche of expertise is. Detailed information centered around a unique topic seems to be far more valuable than generalised broad information. Thanks for the great article and g’day from Brisbane, Australia! :)



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