Content May Not Be Everything, But It's (Almost) The Only Thingby LinksManager.com/LinkPartners.com Staff © 2006, Reproduction without permission strictly prohibited.
All company and product names in this document are the property of their respective copyright and/or trademark holders.
|"Content is king" is neither a cliché nor a simple expression, it is a truism. A precept to live by if you want your website to retain its popularity with both end users and search engines|
In simplest terms, the Internet is the latest mass communications technology in a long line stretching back to cave-dweller paintings. The Internet is nothing more or less than a linear descendent of printing, telegraph, telephone, and broadcasting technology. The Web, on the other hand, isn't as much a technology as it is a process that uses Internet technology to enable sellers of goods, services, and concepts to reach customers and potential customers. To help us understand this, let's consider a television network. A network provides technology and access - stations, transmitters, satellite uplinks - that program creators and advertising producers use to reach their customers. In Cyberspace terms, the network provides the "Internet" services. Program and advertising producers create the "Websites." The same logic applies to print media. Printing Press = Internet. Magazine. Publisher=Web. Looking at Websites this way, we see that the primary difference between e-commerce and traditional forms of commerce is the technology used to deliver the message. In other words, the Web is just another content-delivery system - an alternative, in many cases a much preferable alternative, to such other content-delivery systems as magazines, TV, radio, billboards, and newspapers.
So if content is still King, what kind of King is it? Is it just a figurehead, or is it a 'real' emperor? Content is no figurehead. Content is a for-real king. In magazines and newspapers, on television and Websites . . .CONTENT RULES. But not forever. Like any other monarch, specific content has a limited time on the throne. The "King" gets tired and has to be replaced, refreshed or surrounded by new, more youthful
|While stale content has a negative effect in all forms of communications, it is especially pernicious on the Web|
Because content, even the best content, loses its effectiveness over time and repetition. It gets stale, boring, and dated. At some point customers have seen it so many times they stop noticing it, their eyes and ears stop transmitting it to the brain. While stale content has a negative effect in all forms of communications, it is especially pernicious on the Web, where search-engine rankings may rise and fall based on how ranking algorithms rate the freshness of content, links, and link anchor text. As always, we are primarily concerned with effective and ethical linking technology, tactics, and strategy. However, since the actual content on your site's pages has a great deal to do with determining who your linking partners are going to be, let's take a quick look at several "dos" and "don'ts" for keeping your content fresh.
Depending on the nature of your business, the first "don't" may very well be "don't worry about." If, for example, you are a clothing or accessories e-tailer and your product descriptions and photographs change with each season, you might not need to worry about your content appearing dated to either customers or search engines.. the nature of your industry ensures that it will be frequently refreshed. Similarly, if you are running a Fantasy Sports site your content will be updated substantially every Sunday for pro football and even more often during the baseball and basketball seasons. Clearly, you don't need to make any special efforts to "dust" your electronic "display cases." Things get more difficult if you have a static product list - like parts for vintage cars or construction materials. Likewise, people who offer professional products or services have to be proactive to keep their content current.
|The Web is the only sales medium on earth where having a bigger presentation rarely costs you a penny.|
Basically, there are two ways to refresh your site's content: Replace some or all of the existing content or keep what you have and add more.
Our first two examples, fashion and fantasy sports, operate on the replacement theory.
Each time new styles are introduced or games are played, the old styles and game descriptions are deleted and new ones posted in their place.
For many non-topical sites, the R&R(Remove & Replace) method simply won't work.
The vintage car webmaster can't just delete all his Model T content and replace it with Model A content.
How could he sell any Model T parts if he did that? Besides, the chances are good he already has most of the possible parts on his site - new ones are few and far between.
The best "refresher" for this kind of site is to regularly expand it by taking full advantage of the wonderful fact that the Web is the only sales medium on earth where having a bigger presentation rarely costs you a
Even if you do have to add a bit of extra host storage space to include more content on your site the cost is invisible compared to buying more TV time, print advertising pages or billboards.
So our vintage car parts webmaster could add a regularly updated calendar of classic car rallies and shows. He could offer space on his site for vintage car clubs to post monthly newsletters. Perhaps his best course of action would be to spend some time studying his link partners' sites for articles or content that would be of interest to his customers. Whenever he finds one, he can ask permission to copy the piece and post it on his site with, of course, a forward link to the originating site. Most e-entrepreneurs will readily agree to such an arrangement as long as they are properly credited for the content and a link to their site is prominent in it. Why shouldn't they agree? That type of editorial link frequently drives more traffic to a site than a standard anchor-text link. Best of all, LinksManager and it's Linklets technology makes it easy to publish a link within a block of content. Even better would be for our vintage car parts webmaster to write original articles that explain to the user why he should purchase car parts from his website. Use your expertise within your business to write original articles that would help your site visitors utilize your website to the fullest.
Keeping your link pages bright and shiny enough to withstand a virtual visit from the Google, Yahoo or Lycos inspector general involves two items, both of which can be done manually by expending a great deal of time and energy, or simply and easily by using LinksManager and LinkPartners.
|In the real world of Web building, however, it doesn't matter to either customers or search engines whether the whole description or just one word is an anchor. It is the words, the content, that matters|
The first item has two parts. a.) Making sure that each link on your site is live and b.) regularly adding new compatible reciprocating
links. Item two, regularly refreshing the anchor text on your links pages, may require a bit of explanation.
Technically speaking, this is anchor text: Linksmanager's Linklets enhancement is a powerful tool that helps you keep your links pages fresh and exciting.
And, to a strict constructionist, this is not anchor text: Linksmanager's Linklets enhancement is a powerful tool that helps you keep your links pages fresh and exciting.
In the second phrase, only the word "Linklets" is technically an anchor.
In the real world of Web building, however, it doesn't matter to either customers or search engines whether the whole description or just one word is an anchor.
It is the words, the content, that matters. Except for one not-so-little thing - how long those words have been on your links page.
Google and other search engines often consider a link "stale" if its description remains unchanged for an extended period of time. On the surface, keeping your existing, on-going, long-term links Google-fresh seems easy. How difficult can it be to change "Linksmanager's Linklets enhancement is a powerful tool that helps you keep your links pages fresh and exciting" to "You can use the Linklets feature in Linksmanager to create a custom news ticker that will help keep your Link pages fresh?" Re-writing the anchor text is easy enough, but cutting and replacing things on any HTML page manually can be, frankly, a pain in the back side that frequently results in virtually all the elements on the page having to be moved and realigned. Using LinksManager's editor-based automated design tools, on the other hand, let's you change anchor text, colors, link positions and other link-page elements with minimal stress and maximum fail-safe levels.
There are two other heavily promoted methods for generating copy that bear mention here, hiring a professional copywriter (aka "content creator") and buying a grab bag of canned content.
For those who can afford it, hiring a professional copywriter can be a smart move in the same way that hiring an ad agency to do print or TV ads is.
A good copywriter (such as our staff writer who wrote this article) can potentially make your content more effective and compelling as well as
fresher. A good copywriter will invest time and effort getting to know your company, your product line, and your marketing strategy.
All of which tends to make this alternative a bit costly.
The second method, buying and downloading a bunch of page-filler from a packager is much cheaper and - almost always - an absolute "don't." Such copy will rarely have anything to do with your product and services, is almost guaranteed to be poorly written, and will frequently be out of date. Putting canned copy on your Website is like entering an amateur-night competition at a comedy
|The perceived freshness of your site and its links will be among the criteria search-engine ranking programs use in determining whether to give you two thumbs up or one thumb down.|
You should be aware that the perceived freshness of your site and its links will be - except in very rare instances, such as sites which are official repositories of historical documents - among the criteria search-engine ranking programs use in determining whether to give you two thumbs up or one thumb
down. Is this fair to brain surgeons and accountants who are selling skills embedded deep in their minds and fingers instead of designer jeans and custom jewelry?
Of course not, but nobody ever said that life, on or off the information super highway, was supposed to be fair.
By publishing fresh content regularly, you help show end users and the search
engines that your site is thriving and growing, rather than a dilapidated site
standing on it's last legs.