Content Structure – It’s All In The Preparation

planning and strategyAs you know, the web is huge! In fact, it is more than gargantuan and there probably needs to be a new word invented to give a sense of the size of the darned thing!

It’s big.

So, with all those other web sites and pages out there vying for the top spot in a Google search result, how will your cute little web site get found?

Did you think that, as Kevin Costner said, you ‘Build it and they will come”? I’ll bet that more than half the people who’ve ever had a web design company create them a site were thinking just that.

Well, it’s not going to happen. Especially as there are others out there that know exactly how this web thing works and they know how to rocket towards the top of the results.

But we can all do the same with a little knowledge, savvy and – sorry about this – effort. Even those of us who have been churning out successful sites for a number of years can do well to remember some of the basics that we are too lazy to use.

We need to make substantial preparations *before* we get building the site. But, if your site has already been built, it can still be tidied up with four basic tasks.

Keyword Research

Experienced webbies will already know the significance of this but, I bet you five quid that we don’t research them as diligently as we should! And now it is so easy to do with free tools such as the Google Traffic Estimator (Google it!).

From here you will find keywords and keyword phrases that people are actually searching for online. One of the biggest mistakes online is to produce content that no one is looking for. Once you know what people look for in relation to your product or service and how they phrase their search, you can produce content perfectly honed to that search. Google will love you!

Web design companies do not generally understand this concept at all and think that the look and design is the important thing. But, unless you appear on that Google search page, they’ll never get to even see your site let alone be impressed with the design!

Keyword List

Once you start to find the keywords that you need to be targeting, write them down and develop a list. Ideally, you will create a page dedicated to each keyword or cover two closely related keywords on each page.

This is important. You cannot try and squeeze them all in to the home page content as it will not work. You should have a ‘landing page’ dedicated to the subject of that keyword so your customer can search for it, click on your result and then find information that is perfectly relevant to the words that were in her head when she entered the search term.

Think of Amazon. When you search for a Sony LCD TV model XYZ123, the result takes you to that very page. But, some others just take you to their home page and then leave you frustrated trying to find that product on their web site.

This may have you producing lots of content pages but they don’t have to all be made today. And search engines love fresh content being added like on a blog.

Competitor Research

Online you may not realise whom your top competitors are until you get researching. Decide from your keyword research, which are likely to be the top money earners or the ones that bring you the most successful result based on your goals.

Then, search for that keyword or phrase in Google and study the top five to ten. Don’t bother looking at Wikipedia, Shopzilla and those at the moment. Just study the real competitors and see what their listing descriptions say, what the title of that result listing says, what their landing page looks like, etc.

Do the same for all your important keywords. Yes, this does take effort but the results will be worthwhile. Did someone tell you that making money was easy?

Print them out. Make a list of what seems to come up often in the titles, the descriptions, the pages, the images. And see who appears consistently for the various keywords.

These are your real competitors so you’d better get to know what they are doing, what they do well, how they are doing it and then, only then, you will be able to figure out a plan to do it better.

Content List

From the previous three steps, you will have found what people will search for, what is worth being found for, who else is doing this, and what they are doing successfully.

And, from that, we can decide what needs to be on our web site.

First of all, put your keywords into groups such as product pages, product categories, customer service, FAQs, customer advice, branding, etc.

Then you can start to create the structure for the pages that your web site will need. This is the content and will become your strategy around which the web site can be built.

Of course there may be more pages that need creating, too. These can be mapped into the same content list and strategy.

And, if you already have a web site, you will need to start re-working those pages to better reflect these keywords and get a better focus.

This is important work and I will always start my web sites with this approach.

Preparation works. And, the more thoroughly you prepare, that more successful your project will become.

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