Getting found on Google

What are the keys to effective website promotion?

What is ‘SEO’ or ‘search engine optimisation’? Or as one professional SEO practitioner (half) joked ‘search engine optimism.

Being on the first page of Google for a relevant search term seems to be the holy grail of website promotion. And a goal that some business owners are prepared to pay a small fortune to achieve.

But achieving first page status can be a hollow victory. Unless your web site meets the expectations of the visitor sent via a search engine, the visit will be fleeting and no business will come your way. And every so often the search engines change the way they rank sites, and your number one slot can overnight become a number one hundred!

In the battle of effective website promotion, there is one key element that you ignore at your peril.

Great content that speaks to your target audience, frequently updated and added to will engage your prospects, attract search traffic and help you grow your business.

So often businesses invest most in the way their site looks, in its visual impact and pay too little attention to the words on the page.

So why do words matter so much on the web?

Great content hooks your readers. It attracts their attention. It informs them about your company. To the extent that you offer useful and interesting information that helps them solve their problems, they will be more likely to buy from you.

Great content, regularly added to, attracts the attention of the search engines. Add new material regularly and the search engines will learn to revisit your site more often. As a result you’ll find your site moving up the rankings faster than your competition.

Great content helps search engines do their job. The aim of a search engine is to offer their clients the most relevant answer to the query entered. By creating great content that best answers the search query you’ll find yourself naturally being placed to the top of the search results.

Great content brings together and makes accessible, the wealth of knowledge in your business. Publishing that knowledge on the web makes it available to your prospective customers and educates them on the range and depth of your service. By making your knowledge available in this was, you open up the possibility of new conversations with people you would never meet in any other way.

Great content will create interest in you and your company and a buzz on the social networks. On Twitter for example, many of the tweets link to content that people have found interesting.

The old adage that says a picture is worth a thousand words doesn’t really hold true on the web. Search engines depend on words. For us humans, pictures may attract us, but words are what will hold our attention and keep us coming back for more. Great content is king, and we ignore it at our peril.