• September 2011

Nancy Wigal Knows Life Is Good = A Rocking Website

By Nancy Wigal
Search Engine Academy Washington DC

I always love it when I walk down the busy streets of Washington, DC, and see folks wearing those “Life is good” shirts. It seems to me that the people who sport them truly feel good about life, and it always makes me smile when I see one.

It also makes me think: How can we smile and think, “life is good,” when it comes to our websites?

It’s not a secret. Quite simply, the key to a great site is great content. The sort that is meaningful, factual, and relevant—and that appears on every single page of your website.

Here are some of the basics to get you started.

You want to answer your readers’ questions before they ask. So take a look at your site and be sure that you have included the obvious:

  • Who you are as a company, with details about your professional background—as well as bios and photos of the team that works for the firm.
  • What you offer, in terms of products, services, value-added benefits, and other educational information about your field and area of expertise.
  • How we can obtain your products and services. Don’t forget your email address, phone number, and mailing address if you have a physical office.
  • What the price is for your products and services. Yes, this is a little dicey, but it’s important to give people a range so they know if they are in the ballpark of affording what you offer.
  • If you are selling products, and have a shopping cart on your site, be sure to let readers know when they can expect delivery, the return policy, and other relevant shopping details.

Does this to-do list seem confusing or complicated to you?

If so, you aren’t alone. I’m often amazed at how many websites don’t have this basic information to help me decide if I’m going to dig deeper into a site. I always advise my clients to start with the basics when I’m helping them develop effective search engine strategies.

Google, Yahoo!, and Bing all give guidance worth following to bolster your search engine rankings.

Google: Know that all search engines, particularly Google, value great content on each page more than any other element or factor. [Click here for details about Google’s rules.]

Yahoo! and Bing: These search engines also emphasize the importance of providing great content for web visitor.

In a nutshell, your readers should be able to answer yes to the following:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond the obvious?

While the guidelines use the words “article” and “topics,” they apply to the content on any web page. If you can answer “yes” to any or all of the above questions, you are well on your way to providing great content for your target audience! Be sure to read the rest of the guidelines.

Learning from the best

Here are two examples of well-written web pages that fulfill Google’s “good content” guidelines:

  • Bruce Johnson is the author of Heart to Heart: 12 People Discover Better Lives After Their Heart Attacks. Bruce did comprehensive research to tell people how dangerous it is to ignore heart attack symptoms. Click on the link to read about women and heart attacks. There’s solid information here that readers can use to get a basic understanding about women’s heart attack symptoms. Bruce makes learning about heart attack symptoms compelling by relating his own story about how lucky he was to survive his heart attack, which he was initially dismissive of because he thought he was simply having heartburn after eating a greasy hamburger!

Jon Kula owns and operates the Center for Neuromuscular and Massage Rehabilitation (CNMR) in Washington, DC. Jon believes in educating his patients so they can build on the success of their rehab efforts once they are discharged from his care. The content on this page offers proven techniques for reducing or eliminating neck and back pain.

The Bottom Line

If your writing team follows these guidelines, your web pages will be read more often, visitors will stay on your site longer, read more pages, and contact you faster to see how your business products and services can solve their problems.

When this happens, be sure to smile and tell yourself, “I need to wear one of those “Life is good” shirts!”

About Nancy E. Wigal

Nancy Wigal owns and operates Search Engine Academy Washington DC, an organization that trains and certifies anyone with a website on the search engine optimization (SEO) techniques necessary to have their pages show up higher in Internet search results.

With two-, three-, and five-day SEO training and certification courses, as well as customized SEO-training packages ranging from four hours to two days, you and your team will learn the latest and most comprehensive ways to increase traffic to your website.

For more information, call 202.725.1422 to see what SEO training is right for your organization, and visit www.search-engine-academy-washington-dc.com online for course offerings and registration information.