Even if you’re not a techie, you may have heard something about the big changes regarding Google’s search results. The short version is that they’ve changed their algorithms (i.e. the method they use to determine the quality of a site’s content), and now the search engines are even better at determining good content from bad (e.g. stuffing an article with so many keywords that it makes it virtually unreadable).

If you write your own content for your blog or website, this is good news. It means that you have a fairly decent shot at getting your site to the top of the results when someone uses a search engine. So the one-person entrepreneur (who writes regular, quality content) has a chance to gain more viewers – READ: customers – despite being up against larger companies that may even have a marketing department.

So how do you write great content? Consider these guidelines:

  1. Post regularly. This keeps your page fresh and your readers interested. You don’t need to post every single day, but try to set up a schedule (e.g. Monday, Wednesday, Friday) to create a routine for yourself and to help your regular readers know when to expect new content.
  2. Establish yourself as an expert. If you’re not an authority on the topic, find someone who is. It’s fine to regularly interview guest experts. It’s also fine to run guest columns – if they can promise you the same piece isn’t already all over the Internet.
  3. Write for a local audience. Internet users have become more search-engine savvy with every passing year. Many now look for businesses in their region by adding a city or state to their query (e.g. “family fun Arvada”). Incorporate geographical words in your text and if possible, use the city and state in your date stamp. You can also add links to other sites relevant to your location (e.g. the Arvada Chamber).
  4. Use photos. Be sure to name your image so the search engine can read the keywords (e.g. “ArvadaMap.jpg rather than 8048.jpg). In addition, use keywords in your caption, your behind-the-scenes description of the image, and your alternate text (for when the image won’t load).
  5. Update old content. There are lots of ways to refresh existing content. You can add new content (e.g. “UPDATE: The Affordable Tax Bill DID pass.), use a new date stamp (where possible), change the headline to reflect the update and add new links to external sources. Be sure to allow your readers’ comments to get added to the searchable content, which can help refresh your site.