How to Build a Relevant Website Through Content
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 content 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; for more in-depth, step-by-step information on linking, visit our SEO siloing how-to.
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:
- 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.
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 (for more details on that topic, see our SEO siloing how-to. But, if you’ve mapped out where your content will go, and you’ve assigned the keywords to your page, then 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 be 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 15, and there’s still time to sign up.
For even more details regarding the basic pillars (keyword research, internal linking, etc.) of SEO that weren’t mentioned here, visit our SEO Guide!