Content Sites Sell

Content sells and the more the better.

Website after website proves that content is the most valuable commodity. Not only for ranking, but for converting browsers into customers.

People are going online to find information and they expect it to be free — provide that information to them and either capture their email address with a free offer, or offer links to products that you recommend.

Jack Humphrey (Content Site Building) is a real cheerleader for content sites.

From his Secrets to Creating an Authority Site paper,

“Serve your market and you will beat everyone else in your niche that aggressively optimized (tricks) the engines. … Search Engine Optimzation (SEO) has been replaced for good. Their impending negative reaction and pooh-poohing of what we are saying will be deafening because it IS true and they are scared.”

That seems a little over the top to me, (how many people have said SEO is dead?) but he is correct in saying things are changing and content is at the center of what’s happening.

Consider these changes:

1. If you have a small site, i.e. less than 10 pages, you will probably not get ranked on the first page.

2. If you are simply re-selling someone else’s products, you won’t get ranked. (i.e. Google penalized ‘thin affiliate sites’)

3. Frequent updates have been important for a while and are getting more and more important for ranking all the time.

4. Blogs are taking over — Technorati tracking graph of weblog growth shows 3 blogs are updated every second.

5. Shopping cart sites still have a place in the overall scheme of things but they are under pressure. I would much rather read all about stereo system components and advise from an electronics expert and then consider his recommendations than figure it all out myself.

So how do you make a new content site, or convert a product or service based site into a content site?

1. Research your keywords and come up with a list.

2. Each keyword is a category and in that category will be articles based on a family of keywords. Think of it as a grocery list. There are categories like, meat, dairy, and vegetables. Each of these categories is going to be a section of your content website.

Within each section are sub-sections. In the meat section there are types of meat like beef, chicken, fish, and pork. These are going to be sub-sections, although they could be pages, depending on how comprehensively you want to cover your topic.

Within each of those categories are more sub-divisions – in the chicken section there is organic chickens and whole chickens. And so on…

3. Organize your keywords into a hierachy or family, and map it out like a tree. This gives you the blueprint on how to structure your site. Think ahead 6 months or a year.

4. Taking each bottom level keyword, research, think about, and expand the keyword into an article title.

5. Work on one branch of the tree at a time, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Write articles yourself or hire a writer to write content for you and start feeding content into the site in a bit at a time.

On each content page, place links to related products that you have. Remember less is definitely more – keep it simple and narrow down the choices in navigation. Browsers are going to read or skim an article from top to bottom. Make sure you have a choice for them at the bottom of the page. Remember they are looking for free stuff. If they get to the bottom of the page and see a link to purchase something beside a link to more free stuff their choice is predicable. Take off the links to free stuff and unnecessary navigation links.

Place an article on your site only once. If you have to put text on your site more than once, use the robots.txt files to exclude indexing and use the noindex META tag.

How much at a time? Think about percentages of the total number of pages. If you have 50 pages, now and add 75 all at once, that is 150% and Google is going to notice that and you will be penalized. There is no magic percentage, as long as you start off small and build up slowly and keep a steady percentage every week.

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