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The following is an article on Search Engine Optimization and website content by Barry Wise, President of ITCN NJ Web Design.  This article has been republished from his blog.

ITCN NJ Web Design and PHP ProgrammingA client recently approached me to discuss redesigning their website, optimizing it to rank well in Google, and contracting me for some basic marketing and promotion. Now, this has happened to me a few times, so I don’t want to single out any one client (and I wouldn’t mention them by name even if you asked me). But their thought process was, well, we’ve got about 100 or so pages indexed right now, but we want to get rid of them and pare that down to just a half dozen or so really sales-driven content pages.

My question, of course, was Why? Why would you ever want to throw away valuable content (let’s assume for now that it was valuable content about their product and/or service offerings)? The answer is always the same – we want to drive customers directly to the sale, so let’s push them there with a short, concise marketing message. What’s wrong with that?

The failure, or disconnect, or whatever you want to call it, is always in the misunderstanding of the purpose and viability of the business website as a sales medium.

Marketing on the web is not like marketing in person, or on a phone call, or via any other medium. If you were making outside sales calls I would say yes, you’ve got the right idea. Make your pitch fast and focused and close the sale before they hang up. So let me make this analogy – do you think customers will call you to listen to your outside sales call spiel? No? Then why in the world do you think they would take time out of their day to find your website to read it?

This particular business website, like so many others, suffers from a particular shortcoming I like to refer to as the “sales brochure” website. They want just 5 pages on the site – one that talks about them, one that says where they’re located, maybe even has a spiffy little mapquest map, one page with their product listings, a contact form, etc. – you get the idea. And again I make the comparison – what do you do when someone you don’t know hands you a sales brochure full of pitch? That’s right – you put it in a scrapbook and save it for posterity to peruse later. No, you don’t? Really? Then I guess you’re not surprised that your visitors aren’t going to bookmark your site and come back later to reminisce about your amazing sales pitch.

There’s a very easy solution, both from a marketing perspective and from an SEO standpoint. Add actual valuable content to your website! Not pitchy crap, but actually useful information. You may find that your potential human customers will really think that it’s worthwhile, thereby giving your site the reputation as an authority in your market. You may find that they return to the site to read more or begin emailing their friends about your great resource. But more importantly for the promotion of your site, you will definitely find that Google and Yahoo love it. And nothing assists in the promotion and marketing of a site like ranking in organic search results.

With more web content updated on a regular basis comes increasingly more attention from the search engine crawlers. Pretty soon your site will be indexed faster (usually within minutes of publishing new content) and will begin ranking for all kinds of organic search terms you didn’t even know would attract customers (that’s what we call the long tail keyword effect).

Then you won’t even need to hire a NJ SEO firm like ITCN! Not really. Content is just the first step, but it is the most important. If you find an SEO that tells you otherwise, turn and walk away.

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