Search Engine Optimization : SEO BOOK.
Buling Up Your Site Complete With Content
Content is often a very important factor in getting a high ranking
in the search engines. Content, in the broadest sense, is a geeky Web
term that means "stuff on your Web site." A content-rich Web
site is one that contains lots and lots of information for people to
see, read and use. For search engines, content has a more narrow definition:
words and lots of them. So if you are interested in search engine optimization
, you should concentrate on the text part o your Web site's content.
You don't need to care about pictures, video or sound at least as far
as the search engines are concerned - because those forms of content
don't help you get higher rankings. You don't need flash animations,
either because although some search engines are starting to index them,
most do not. Moreover, flash animations generally don't contain much
indexable text. You may find that your competitors have Web sites stacked
full of content. They have scores of pages, perhaps even hundreds of
pages, full of text that is nicely laden with all the juicy keywords
you are interested in.
Three Methods For Creating Content
You can compete in the search engines several different ways. You can
create well-optimized pages, get lots of links into your site, target
keywords that competitors have missed, or put content on your site.
In some cases, when going up against a well-entrenched competitor, you
may have no choice but to fight on several fronts. You may find that
you must do something stack your site with content. You may be wondering
at what point you should stop adding content. Compare your site to competitors
that rank well in search engines. All major search engines now use some
kind of link popularity to rate Web pages. If you are sure that your
site has more well-optimized pages than those competing sites, it may
be time to stop adding content. Instead, you may want to focus on getting
links into your site and thereby raising your Google PageRank.
There is some good and bad news about creating content. The bad news
is that the obvious way to create content - writing it yourself or getting
someone else to write it for you - is a huge problem for many people.
Most people find writing difficult, and even if they find it easy, the
results are often less than appealing. Perhaps you know someone who
can write well and you can convince this person to write a few paragraphs
for you. You can always pay someone for content, but the problem with
paying is that it costs money. The good news is that you can use some
short cuts to create content, tricks of the trade that can help you
quickly bulk up your Web site. Here are three different ways to get
content for your site:
· Write your own content.
· Convince someone else to create your content.
· Find existing content from somewhere else.
Writing your Own Stuff
The obvious way to create content, for many small-site owners anyway,
is to start writing articles. That's not a terrible idea in many cases.
Thousands of sites rank well using content from the sites' owners. If
you use the write-it-yourself approach, keep the following points in
· Writing Content is Time Consuming, even for good writers. You
may want to evaluate whether you can devote the time to writing and
maintaining your own content and then allocate time in your schedule
to do so.
· Many people are not good writers. Not only is the writing process
time consuming, but the results are often rather pathetic.
· If you do write your own stuff, pleeze spill chuck it. Then
have it edited by someone who has more than a third-grade education,
and then spill chuck it again.
Do not rely on a word processor's grammar checker. This tool is worse
than useless for a most writers. Grammar checkers are of benefit only
to those what already has a good grasp of grammar.
Summaries of Online Articles
Here's a quick way to get keywords onto your page:
· Use the search engines to track down articles related to your
· Create a library area on your Web site, in which you link to
· For each link, write a short, keyword-laden summary of what
the article is all about.
The advantage of this kind of writing is that it's fairly quick and
You may want to include the first few sentences of the article. This
comes under the gray area of copyright fair use. What really counts
is what the article's owner thinks. In most cases, if you contact the
article's owner, the owner is happy to have you summarize the article,
excerpt a small portion of it, and link to his or her site. Most people
recognize that this is good for them! You may want to approach the owners
of the sites you are linking to, to ask them to add a link back to your
site. Ideally, you don't want to link out of your site too much, though
don't get paranoid about how much is too. Just be aware that linking
out of your site leaks PageRank out of the site.
Reviews of Websites
Similar to the last tactic, you can link to useful Web sites and write
short reviews of each one.
Write short reviews of products related to the subject matter covered
by your site. An additional benefit of such a program is that eventually
people may start sending you free stuff to review.
Convincing someone Else to Write IT
You may find that having articles written specifically for your site
is rather appealing for two reasons. First, someone else does the work,
not you. Second if it doesn't turn out well, someone else gets blamed.
One approach, assuming you cant force someone to write for you, is to
pay someone. Luckily, writers are cheap. For some reason, people often
have a bizarre idea of a glamorous writing life that's awaiting them.
If you work for a large corporation, you may be able to convince a variety
of people to write for you, people may assume its actually part of their
job. Spread the work throughout various departments - marketing, technical
support, sales, and so on. It may turn into a decent amount of content.
If you pay someone to write for you, get a simple contract saying that
the work is a work for hire and that you are buying all rights to it.
Otherwise, you don't own it and can use it only for limited purposes
that are either stated in the contract or are more or less obvious.
If you ask someone to write an article for your web wire and don't get
a contract giving you full rights, you cant later decide to syndicate
the article on the other sites or in newsletters. If an employee writes
the material for you on company time, the work is generally considered
a work for hire and the property of the company . However, if you have
a very small company with an informal employment relationship and the
writing is outside the scope of the employee's normal work, you should
probably get the employee to sign a contract.
Using OPC - Other People's Content
Writing your own content is the slow way to create content. Using someone
else's content - now that's the quick way. See the following list of
quick content sources for your site.
· Product Information: contact the manufacturer or distributor
of the products you sell on your site for marketing and sales materials,
technical documentation and soon.
· Web sites and email newsletters: Contact the owners of the
other sites and email newsletters and ask them I you can use their work.
· Government Sources: a number of sites provide free content
for the asking.
· Content Syndication Sites: A number of sites provide free content
for the asking.
· Traditional Syndication Services: Numerous companies sell materials
you can use on your site.
· RSS Syndication Feeds: this is a new, geeky technique for feeding
syndicated content into web sites.
· Open content and copyleft: this is an usual new movement probably
based on the old Internet maxim, information wants to be free.
· Search Pages: You can search at a site to generate a search-result
page with your favorite keywords.
· Press Releases: you may be able to find press releases related
to your area of business. These are copyright free, and you can use
them as you wish.
· A O&A area on your site: This is a way to serve your site
visitors and get keywords onto the site.
· Forums or message boards: With forums and message boards on
your site, your visitors create the keywords for you.
· Blogs: Blogs - from the term Weblogs - provide another way
to let people create content for you.
This list gives you a good idea of the sources of content, and the
"Hunting for Other People's Content" section explores how
you find evaluate and procure content from these sources.
Understanding Copyright - It's Not Yours!
When I speak to clients about adding content to a Web site, I sometimes
hear something like this: " How about magazine article I read last
week? Let's put that up there!" Or may be, "Such and such
a site some great information, let's use some of that." That's
called copyright infringement. It's against the law, and although serious
harm is unlikely to befall you in most cases, you can get sued or prosecuted.
So let me quickly summarize copyright law so that you have a better
idea of what you can and cant use on your site.
· As soon as someone creates a work - writes an article, writes
a song, composes a tune, or whatever - copyright ia automatic. There's
no need to register copyright; The creator owns the copyright whether
or not it has been created. Most copyright works, infact, are not registered,
which is a good thing. If they were, the Library of Congress, which
houses the Copyright Office and stores copyright registrations, would
be the size of Alabama.
· If you don't see a copyright notice attached, it doesn't mean
the work's copyright isn't owned by someone. Current copyright law does
not require such notices.
· If someone owns the copyright, that person has the right to
say what can be done with, um, copies. What this means is that you generally
cant take an article you find in a newspaper, magazine, or Web site
and use it without permission.
· In the United States, certain kinds of copyright infringement
are felonies. You may not only get sued but also get prosecuted.
· If you don't know whether you have the right to use something,
assume that you don't.
· You cant just take something and rewrite it. Derivative works
are also protected. If the result is clearly derived from the original
, you could be in trouble,
· Copyright has to be expressly assigned. If you hire me to write
an article for your Web site and don't get a contract saying that you
own all rights, or that the work was a work for hire, you only have
the right to place it on your Web site. I still have the right to use
the article else where.
A number of exceptions can prove very important when you are gathering
content, so listen closely:
· If it's really old, you can use it. Anything before 1921, is
free for the taking.
· If the guvmint created it, you can use it. The U.S. Government
spends millions of dollars creating content. This content is usually
not copyright protected.
· If it's donated, you can use it. Authors often want you to
see their materials. If they have given the public permission to use
it, you can, um, use it.
· It's only fair - Fair use explained. Copyright law has a fair
use exception that allows you to use small parts of a work, without
permission, under particular conditions.
Hunting For Other People's Content
Remember The Keywords!
When you are out on your content hunt, remember that the purpose is
keywords. You are trying to add keywords to your site. You can do that
· Find content with the keywords already in it. You want content
that has at least some of your keywords, though you'll often find it's
· Make minor edits to the content you get, to add more keywords.
In some cases, you shouldn't edit the content because you'll be expected
to use the content without changes. In other cases, you may be allowed
to modify the content.
· "Chunk up" the article, breaking it into smaller,
Web-friendly pieces and separating each piece with a heading.
Newspapers often modify content they buy, A syndicated column you read
in New York may be different from the same column run in a paper in
Los Angeles, because newspapers will cut and modify for space reasons
or because they don't like the way something is worded. When adding
content, you are generally interested in adding pages with a variation
of keywords sprinkled throughout.
Does your web site sell products that you buy from a wholesaler or manufacturer?
If so, contact your source find out what materials are available: brochures,
spec sheets, technical documentation, or user manuals. In many cases,
the material may be available in Adobe Acrobat PDF files. You can post
these files on your site within seconds, and they will be indexed by
some search engines - Google, for instance, however the ideal approach
is to also convert the work to HTML, files because you have more opportunities
to insert keywords - in the TITLE, DESCRIPTION, and KEYWORDS tags and
so on - and to stress keywords by putting them in bold, italic, <H>
tags and so on.
Web sites and Email Newsletters
The Web is full of content that it's about to sink. Why not grab a few
articles you like from other sites or from the email newsletters you
subscribe to ? If you ask nicely, many people are happy to let you use
their content. In fact, many people use content syndication as a strategy
for site promotion. They want people to use their stuff, as long as
the sites using the material provide attribution - meaning they clearly
state where the material is from and who wrote it, and provide a link
back to the site of origin. Asking for permission is quite easy. Simply
contact the owner of the article you saw on a site or in a newsletter,
and ask whether you can use it. When you talk to the article's owner,
make sure that you praise the article. also clearly state that you will
provide a bio at the bottom of the article and a link back to the owner's
site. Those of you who own your own sites have it easy. You can simply
save the email response from the article's author as evidence of permission
to use the article. Those of you working for large corporations with
legal departments have a bigger problem. Your lawyers, working under
the principle of "common sense is dead", will expect you to
get the article's author to sign a 32-page document providing permission,
declaring that he or she has the right to give permission, and signing
over exclusive and lifetime rights to the article and any spin-off toys
or clothing derived from it.
Where can you find these articles? For Web sites articles, search at
a search site for sites that are likely to have the type of information
you need. I suggest that you avoid sites that are directly competing.
Also keep your eyes open for newsletters while you are doing your web
search, or look for appropriate newsletters at some of these sites.
· Coollist: www.coolist.com
· EzineHub: www.ezinehub.com
· ListTool: www.listtool.com
· Tile.Net: tile.net
· Topica: www.topica.com
Try searching for a combination of one of your keyword phrases and
the words article and newsletter.
This source is huge with a surprising range of information. However
you should be aware of some important exceptions:
· The Government may still hold copyrights on works that have
been given to the government - bequests or assignment of some kind.
· The law is a U.S. law, making U.S government works copyright-free.
Most other governments hold copyrights on their works.
· In some cases, works that non-government agencies create on
behalf of the government may or may not be protected by copyright -
the law is not clear.
· Works created by the National Technical Information service
(NTIS) may have a limited, five year copyright protection.
· The United States Postal Service is exempt from these regulations.
The Postal Service can have copyright protection for its works.
· In some cases, the government may publish work that were originally
privately created works. Such document are copyright protected.
Even with these exceptions, vast quantities of juicy government content
are available. Not only will you find the sorts of documents useful
for your purposes - text heavy documents that the search engines can
read - you'll also find other materials that may be useful for your
site, such as videos. Here are a few good places to find government
· FedWorld: www.fedworld.com
· Government Printing Office: - Catalog of U.S. Government Publications:
- New electronic Titles: www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/locators/net
· Library of congress - Browse Government Resources: lcweb.loc.gov/rr/news/extgovd.html
· CIA's Electronic Reading Room: www.foia.cia.gov
· U.S.Historical Documents Archive: www.ushda.org
· FBI's Electronic Reading Room: foia.fbi.gov
Content Syndication Sites
Content Syndication sites are places where authors post their information
so that site owners or newsletter editors can pick it up and use it
for free. Why? Because in return, you agree to place a short blurb at
the bottom of the article, including a link back to the author's Web
site. Here are a few places to get you started in the wonderful world
of content syndication:
· Bull Marketer: www.bullmarketer.com/free_content.htm
· GoArticles.com: www.goarticles.com
· Purple Pages: www.purplepages.ie
· Stickysauce: www.stickysauce.com
· World Wide Information Outlet: certificate.net
Some Websites have their own syndication areas = libraries
from which you can pick articles you want to use.
Geeky Stuff you must Understand: Many syndication systems use a simple
yours. Thousands of people are syndicating content or using syndicated
content, partly for search engine reasons. People syndicating the content
want to place their links on as many Web pages as possible for two reasons:
· So readers will see the links and click them.
· So the search engines will see the links and rank the home
And people using the syndicated content are doing so because they want
content, stuffed with good keywords, for the search engines to read.
In many cases, both the syndicators and the people using syndicated
content are wasting their time because the search engines aren't placing
the content, aren't seeing the keywords, and aren't reading the links!
How do you avoid this problem?
Java or Iframes.
· You can use server-side inclusion techniques, such as server
includes, PHP, or ASP. If you are not sure whether a technique is server
side or browser side, ask a knowledgeable geek - you want an inclusion
technique that loads the content into the page before it's sent to the
browser or searchbot.
· Use manual inclusion techniques - That is, copy and paste the
content into your pages directly. Plenty of content relies on manual
inclusion, and you may even get content owners who are using automatic-inclusion
techniques to agree to let you manually copy their content.
As long as you are aware of the syndicated content's pitfalls and how
to avoid them, It's quite possible to find syndicated content and make
it work so that you reap the search engine benefits of having that content
on your site.
The Problem with Automatic Updates: Another problem with content syndication
sites involves automatic updates. Automatic updates allow the content
owner to change the content immediately. E.g. sites that provide weekly
or monthly newsletters use automatic updates. This technique allows
the content provider to update the content on dozens or hundreds of
sites simply by changing the source file. The next time a page is loaded
on one of the sites using the syndicated content, the new information
appears. But if you are adding content for keyword purposes, automatic
updating may not be such a good thing. If you find an article with lots
of nice keywords, it could be gone tomorrow, Manual inclusion techniques
ensure that the article you placed remains in place, and allows allow
you to , break up the article into chunks by adding keyword-laden headings.
Traditional Syndication Services: Content Syndication is nothing new.
It's has been around for hundred years. Much of what you read in your
local newspapers is not written by the paper's staff; it comes from
a syndication service. Some syndication services will sell you content
for your site. Here are a few places you can find commercial syndicated
· AbleStable Syndication: ablestable.com/content/syndication.htm
· Featurewell : www.featirewell.com
· Magportal: www.magportal.com
· Moreover: www.moreover.com
· The Open Directory Project's List of Content Providers: dmoz.org/Computers/Software/Internet/Site_Management/content_Management/Content_Providers
· OSKAR Consulting: www.electroniccontent.com/conFinder.cfm?cat=beauty
· Pages: www.pagesmag.com
· Thomson Gale: www.gale.com
· United Media's Uclick: content.uclick.com
· YellowBrix: www.yellowbrix.com
RSS Syndication Feeds
RSS is one of those geeky acronyms that nobody can define for certain.
Some say it means readily Simple Syndication; others believe it means
Rich Site Summary, or RDF Site Summary. What it stands for doesn't really
matter. All you need to know is that RSS is the next big thing in content
RSS systems compromise two components:
· An RSS feed, a source of content of some kind.
· An RSS aggregator, a system that takes the information from
the feed and drops it into a Web page.
e.g. Google provides RSS feeds of its news headlines. You can install
an RSS aggregator on your site and point it to a Google search. The
page will then contain recent searches on news headlines. First you
need is an aggregator, An aggregator range from fairly simple to very
complicated - and that's assuming you have some technical abilities
in the first place. Before you go to the trouble of getting an aggregator,
decide whether there's enough suitable content to make it worthwhile.
Although RSS will almost certainly be very big in the future, at the
time of writing most of the RSS feeds tend to be a little geeky. So
if your subject area is macramé and knitting, I suspect you may
find a dearth of material at present. Also, often RSS feeds merely pass
a link to material on another site, in which case you won't benefit
much. Make sure that you are getting the actual material passed to your
site. Check these RSS sites:
· Blogdex: blogdex.net
· Fagan Finder: www.faganfinder.com/search/rss.shtml
· Feedster: www.feedster.com
· Lockergnome: rss.lockergnome.com
· myRSS: www.myrss.com
· NewsKnowledge: www.newsknowlege.com
· Sundic8: syndic8.com
and other browser-side systems for inserting content, RSS aggregators
generally use server-side techniques, so the content is inserted into
the Web page before the search engines see it. If you decide you want
to go ahead with RSS, you need an aggregator. Try searching for news
aggregator or rss aggregator, and check out the following software directories:
· Freshmeat: freshmeat.net
· SourceForge.net: sourceforge.net
Open Content and Copyleft: Have you heard of open-source software?
It's software that is created through the contributions of multiple
individuals who agree to allow pretty much anyone to use the software,
at no charge. Another movement that doesn't get quite the same attention
as Open-source software is the open content movement. Open content is,
the content that is "freely available for modification, use and
redistribution under a license similar to those used by the open source/free
software community." Open content relies on what has become known
as copyleft. Under copyleft the owner of a copyrighted work doesn't
release it into the public domain. Stacks of Information are released
under copyleft. Start at these sites:
· Creative Commons: creativecommons.org
· Open Content List: www.opencontentlist.com
· The Open Directory Project's Open Content page: dmoz.org/Computers/Open_Source/Open_Content
You should really check out open content, in particular the open content
encyclopedias, which have information about anything. You can find these
encyclopedias on the Open directory Project's Open Content page.
Search Pages: The great thing about the search pages is that they have
the exact keywords you define, liberally scattered throughout. When
you conduct a search in a search engine - whether you are searching
web sites, a directory of magazine articles, or news headlines - what
does the search engine return? RSS provides one way to insert searches
- searches of news headlines - into your pages. Even though the page's
content will change continually, you don't have to worry about the content
changing to a page that doesn't contain your keywords, because the content
is a reflection of the keywords you provide. You may also be able to
find search pages that you can manually copy and paste. Sites that contain
large numbers of articles and a search function may be good candidates.
Run a search, and then copy the results and paste them into a Web page.
Press Releases: The nice thing about the press releases is that you
can use them without permission. The purpose of a press release is to
"send it out and see who picks it up". You don't need to contact
the owner of the press release, because there's already an implied agreement
that you can simply take the release and post it wherever you want.
You may be able to find press releases that have the keywords you want.
Where do you find these press releases? Try searching for press releases
at a search engine. Combine the search term with some keywords, such
as rodent racing press release. Press releases can be find at these
· Hot Product News: www.hotproductnews.com
· Internet News Bureau: www.internetnewsbureau.com
· M2Press WIRE: www.presswire.net
· Online Press Releases: prnewswire.com
· PR Web: www.prweb.com
· USANews: www.usanews.net
O&A Areas: after you get sufficient traffic to your site, you may
want to set up a Question and Answer or FAQ area on your site. Visitors
to your site can ask question - providing you with keyword-laden questions
in many cases - and you can answer them. A number of free and low-cost
software tools automate the creation and management of such areas. Search
the utility sites, as resourceindex.com, for these tools, and find a
friendly geek if you need help installing a tool. Make sure the search
engines can read pages created by any tool you install on your site,
such as FAQ tool or the BBS and blog tools I tell you about next. Find
a tool you like and then find out if Google indexes the pages in the
demo or sample sites. ? If not, ask the software author to point you
to a demo that does have indexed pages.
Message Boards: Message board areas can be very powerful, in more than
one way. Setting up a message board - also known as a forum or Bulletin
Board System - allows your site visitors to place keywords in your site
for you! A message board often draws traffic, bringing people in purely
for the conversation. BBS systems - even really cool ones with lots
of features, such as the ability to post photos - are cheap, often free,
in fact. They are relatively easy to set up even for low level geeks.
Don't underestimate this technique; if you have a lot of traffic on
your Website, a BBS can be a great way to build huge amounts of contents.
Search for terms such as bbs software and forum software.
Blogs: Blogs are sort of like diaries. They are systems that allow
someone to write any kind of twaddle - er, musings - they want and publish
this nonsense directly to a web site. Blogs provide another way to allow
your site visitors to crate content for you. On your rodent racing Web
site, for instance, you can provide a blog tool and allow anyone to
set up a blogging account. Make sure that you use the right blog tool.
It has to be one that creates pages that are readable by the search
engines. Search for terms such as blog software and blog tool. You can
use a tool such as blogger, which is owned by google and hosted on its
servers. You can integrate Blogger into your Website, which means that
you can automatically insert any blog page that's created. If you use
any tool that allows visitors to post messages on your site, you should
monitor the messages and delete inappropriate messages. Many search
engine marketers use such tools to post messages with links pointing
back to their sites.