I see it all too often. Weeks, sometimes even days after a website launches, someone wants to know why the new site is NOT ranking well on Google for <<insert vague to the rest of the world, but important to them keyword or keyword phrase>>. Many times it’s a word or phrase that does not actually appear anywhere on the website. Often it’s a word or phrase that has great meaning inside the organization, but virtually no meaning to anyone else.

Usually, it comes down to this:

IF content is optimized at all, that content is optimized to push an internal agenda rather than answer specific questions customers and prospective customers might have.

Is your site optimized to answer questions?  Or is it optimized to serve up information?

There is a big difference between the two.

A site optimized to serve up information often reads as if it was written by someone in the corporate office and then rewritten by the legal team.  Too many times, it is little more than a carefully culled list of products and markets, focusing on promoting the company and/or select branded products.

A site that is optimized to answer questions is quite the opposite.

This optimized copy is created and written with the customer – your site visitor – in mind. Without having to shoehorn as many keywords and phrases as possible into content, obvious questions – and their answers – are included organically on every page.

This is great copywriting in action.

If your site merely serves up information, you’re in business only when a prospective customer knows EXACTLY what she is looking for and knows the brand name under which your company sells that product.

But if she doesn’t? If she just has a notion of what she needs?

She is probably never going to see your site.

Because your site does not answer the question.

When a client asks me why his site is not ranking well on <<fillintheblank>> he is asking the wrong question.

The right question is never “why don’t I rank on <<fillintheblank>>. No. The right question is, “How can my site be optimized in such a way to answer my customer’s questions and help him make a buying decision?”

It goes to audience. It goes to intent. It goes to user experience.

So, what questions should your site be answering?

Jeff Peyton

Author Jeff Peyton

Jeff Peyton is Director of Marketing & Communications for Triple Strength. A 30-year veteran of publishing and corporate communications, Jeff gained national prominence directing one of the largest grassroots communications efforts ever fielded. He was the architect of the nation’s first major nonprofit website, attracting millions of visitors per month in the early 1990s – years before social media, twitter, or even broadband access. Jeff spent nearly 10 years working with nonprofits, developing their communications and Web strategies. But don’t be fooled by his professional accomplishments – he also wing-walked on an airplane at 700 feet, co-piloted the Goodyear Blimp, swam with sharks, and still managed to obtain paperwork officially declaring him “legally sane.” (No, really.)

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