3 Ways Content Can Boost SEO in 2012

[Note: ]Booyah Advertising is a full service online advertising agency. We manage every aspect of selling a product or service online, including: Paid Search, Display Media, Social Media, SEO and Creative Services. Our clients hold us to strict performance goals and we consistently deliver. We were founded in 2001. Today, we are about 50 people. In 2011, we managed about $70M online for clients such as Gap, DISH Network, Fiji Water, Vail Resorts, Blockbuster, Teleflora, Dirt Devil, Little Tikes, Vitamin Shoppe and many other local and national brands. Learn more at www.booyahadvertising.com.

Google and other search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithm triggers that determine where to rank keywords in the natural search results. These constant updates mean search engine optimization strategy must also evolve to help websites maximize their ranking potential and stay relevant in natural search. A decade ago, sites could get away with hidden text, overstuffed meta tags and voluminous keyword coverage to rank for just about any keyword term they wanted. Needless to say, things have changed.

In 2012, content generation has taken a front seat in Google’s algorithm and has impacted website ranking strategies in various ways. In this discussion, we’ll cover three ways you can take advantage of strategically implemented content on your website to help give your primary keyword targets their best chance of achieving premium rankings.

Silo Structured Content

Google and other search engines prioritize components of your website when indexing your keyword targets. Certain elements like the navigation, footer and link text get more value for keyword matches when search engines determine which keywords to rank on your site. When we speak of silo content, we talk about leveraging the first of those –navigation.

As you consider the way your website is structured, you want to envision columns of content that drill down vertically from generic to specific. The keyword targets you use in your primary navigation buttons should be your most generic keyword phrase targets, while the sub-navigation categories beneath those topics expand upon that keyword with matching keyword phrases.

How Silo Content Should Be Organized

Let’s say you’re a stationery shop. Your primary navigation categories might be Stationery, Paper, Invitations, Cards and Business. A well-executed silo structure for those groups could look something like this:

In this sample, each sub-category targets a more specific keyword phrase that’s a direct variant of the keyword phrase topic we identified in our top navigation.What you create with this technique are silos of information that take users naturally from generic to specific concepts.

This can be extended at the sub-category level for even more impact:

Your Holiday Invitations silo (a sub-silo now contained within your Invitations Silo) has 6 sub-pages about unique holiday invitations that live beneath the Holiday Invitations page specifically.

Spreading another layer of 6 sub-sub-categories beneath each of the original 5 sub-categories in the Invitations Silo means our Invitations page is the top of a pyramid containing 30 unique and keyword focused pages about Invitations that are all distinct and valuable in their own right.

These pages are structured to create sub-silos within the original silo making each navigation element in our second tier a silo-starter as well. These cascading silos create the type of wide and deep keyword coverage that search engines tend to rank in the top spots of natural search queries.

When considering your website content structure, determine the top generic keyword categories in your business model and then use sub-categories like we’ve shown here to cluster your content into silos that group a large swath of related content into a connected and strategically optimized silo of content. This will make it easier for both users and search engine robots to find and digest your content.

Keyword Placement on Website Pages

Once you’ve gotten a navigational structure in place that’s assisting keyword coverage with organized silos of  content, the your next step is to identify which elements of a website page matter most for keyword insertion.

Keyword representation is particularly beneficial when included:

  1. Inside the title tag
  2. Within the 1st 100 words of the body copy
  3. In H1 or H2 tags
  4. In the remaining body copy

In our Holiday cards example above, the page optimized for Holiday Cards might meet these expectations by:

  1. Having a title tag like: “Holiday Cards For Any Occasion!
  2. A sentence in the first paragraph like: “Holiday Cards are a wonderful way to stay in touch with your loved ones throughout the year.”
  3. Use an H1 Tag on the page like: Unique Holiday Cards
  4. While using keywords like these in your body copy: buy holiday cards, custom holiday & and business holiday cards.

A word of caution when optimizing your body copy. It is never a good idea to “over-optimize” your pages such as doing all of these things simultaneously:

  1. Having a title tag like: “Holiday Cards”
  2. A sentence in the first 100 words reading “We have holiday cards, custom holiday cards, business holiday cards, corporate holiday cards, summer holiday cards, spring holiday cards, happy holiday cards and personalized holiday cards in our holiday cards section.”
  3. Using an H1 tag of “Holiday Cards”
  4. With 12 more exact matches for holiday cards in your remaining body copy.

Pages that are over-optimized have been targeted by many Google updates and were even called out specifically by Matt Cutts as a component in upcoming Google algorithm updates. The best way to approach content on your website pages is to create unique and compelling content for your users first, and then review it for opportunities to include well executed keyword representation and SEO strategies as we’ve outlined above.

Content Freshness

With the evolution of real-time information sites like Facebook and Twitter, we’ve become more and more   accustomed to instant updates on everything from actions in congress to family vacations. This evolution has impacted websites with regular content updates, article sections, blogs or new page additions in that they’re seeing a bump in ranking strength against the competition for being the “freshest” information resource in their industry.

It’s important that you consider the final part of that phrase – in their industry. There are informational websites that should adhere to producing hundreds of pieces of content a week like political news sites, TV review sites and sports reporting sites.

There are other sites that should strive to generate five to ten pieces of content a month like a reporting software site, a landscaping site or a stationery site.

The variance is something you can monitor by looking at who sits above you for keyword phrases you care about and see how often they update their site with fresh content updates on pages, blog posts, articles or new pages in their navigation.  Whatever content addition schedule the competition maintains is a schedule you should try and match, or even better, exceed!

Ways to Keep Your Website Fresh

  • Blogs are a great way of getting new content on your website and the most commonly used content generation strategy.
  • Updates to content on pages you already have can help as search engines find reasons to re-index your static website pages.
  • Starting a section of articles for your users with original content you create is a way to add pages to sites that are tightly structured.
  • Your navigation is another place to look for ways to add content as you grow silos and sub-category groups to cover more keyword targets.

However it makes sense for your website, there’s no question in 2012 and beyond, creating new content is a strategic way to appeal to search engines and users alike.

If your website is looking for a competitive edge in SEO this year, the above strategies are 3 of the best ways to channel your website marketing energy if you want to stay as competitive as you can with keyword rankings in the natural search results.

About The Author: Booyah Advertising is a full service online advertising agency. We manage every aspect of selling a product or service online, including: Paid Search, Display Media, Social Media, SEO and Creative Services. Our clients hold us to strict performance goals and we consistently deliver. We were founded in 2001. Today, we are about 50 people. In 2011, we managed about $70M online for clients such as Gap, DISH Network, Fiji Water, Vail Resorts, Blockbuster, Teleflora, Dirt Devil, Little Tikes, Vitamin Shoppe and many other local and national brands. Learn more at www.booyahadvertising.com.

Get Instant Access To Our Free 4-Step Tutorial

Learn how we created our highest-converting landing pages (and how we rapidly produced our best-converting "lead magnets")

Click here to subscribe to my mailing list