Search engine marketing is all about four things: (1) creating lots of good content, (2) getting good links to that content, (3) having a clear-cut way for people visiting your site to easily and quickly take the action you want them to take, and (4) giving them a really good motivation to take that action now rather than later.
That's search engine marketing in nutshell. In this post, I'm going to focus on the first point: creating content.
When people create their content for their websites, one thing they forget about is to divide and sub-divide their content in to the smallest concepts, then write about each one in as much detail as possible. It's challenging, but it can be done.
For example, consider a site about toothpicks. I know, it's a weird topic, and extremely limited (not to mention dull), but I think it's illustrative.
If I wanted to market toothpicks (after I had my head examined!) I would come up with a list of all the main categories about toothpicks I could think of:
toothpick materials: wood, plastic
toothpick colors: green, red, blue, yellow, orange, white, natural
toothpick etiquette: when to use one, when not to
toothpick availability: where to buy, what costs to expect to pay, what to look for in a toothpick
toothpick uses: baking and cooking, after eating, food sculptures, toothpicks as lego logs, pick-up sticks game
Now that I've got all of the above, I would turn each attribute into an article. So, wood toothpicks would get an article, plastic toothpicks would get an article, and there might even be a third article comparing wood toothpicks to plastic toothpicks. Then, I'd write separate articles about red toothpicks, green toothpicks, yellow toothpicks, etc.
Isn't that overkill? Yes, in one sense it is. But if you get creative as you write each one, it can also be entertaining, and that makes it good content!
Contrast the above with someone who creates a typical website about toothpicks. They're selling toothpicks, so they list my outline above on the home page, and they think they're done! Then, they list their phone number on the page and wait for the phone calls to roll in...or something equivalent.
That's a losing approach. Not only have you created only one page of content, but you've effectively ended the conversation about toothpicks before your visitor has even gotten there!
It may seem to be impossible to write lots of content, but it can be done. You just have to buckle down and do it.
You might wonder, how can I make a different article about a green toothpick that's unique from an article about a red toothpick? Get creative! Discuss how green toothpicks are great for representing environmental issues. Talk about using red toothpicks taped onto notes on the refrigerator door to indicate that they're particularly important and need to be noticed first. Things like that.
If you can conceive of writing all these minutiae articles (even if they're only 3-4 short paragraphs) for something as trivial as toothpicks, surely you can break your own topic down and write a ton about it!
You don't have to add all this content at once. Do it over time. And as you're adding it, make sure that you're making it all easy to find via your website's link structure.
Wherever possible, write about your keywords, giving each one its own individual article. If you haven't developed a list of at least 50-100 keywords about your product or service...not just the top 3-5 that you hope to make money off, but rather a large list, then you've short-changed yourself. A great way to develop a list of keywords, if your imagination is coming up short, is to open an Adwords account and to use the Keyword Tool in Adwords to generate possible keywords to choose from.
For instance, when I open my Adwords account and search on the word "toothpick", here are some of the keyword alternatives Google gives me:
toothpick bridge plans
toothpick bridge blueprints
toothpick bridge design
In fact, Google Adwords showed me 277 different variations on the word toothpick. Can you believe it? Better yet, each one of those keyword variations is something you could write about.
For instance, I found that I could add an option to my toothpick materials list above: metal toothpicks. Who'd have thought of that? Apparently, someone did, and they sold some. Weird, but true!
Think you could write about decorative toothpicks? Or fancy toothpicks? Or toothpick bridge blueprints? Sure you could! You have a whole Internet available to you via Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Google 'em, and learn! Then write about what you learn.
In fact, if you use tools like Google Adwords to give you a different idea every day, you could write about toothpicks every day for the rest of this year and well into the next.
But what if you write about all of the topics on the Google list, all 277 keywords they gave you? First of all, congratulations. It means you've added nearly 300 pages to your website! But even if you're not sure what to do next to add content, that's simple too. Just take one of those keywords and do another Adwords Keyword Tool search on that keyword! You'll get even more keyword ideas to write about.
In short, no matter what your topic is, no matter what you are trying to sell online, there is PLENTY for you to write about.
You just have to sit down and write it... then add each new page to your website.