Webconsuls Blog

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

GOOGLE Wants Fresh Content So Think Like A Window Dresser

Window shopping at Simpsons department store. ...Image via Wikipedia
Yesterday there were a number of GOOGLE headlines that went something like this: "Ten Recent Algorithm Changes."(See links to other articles below) I don't know about you, but whenever I read the word 'algorithm' I start to shudder. So in order to calm myself I try to think of an analogy that I can relate to our clients and help put things into everyday language.

One of GOOGLE's changes is a new twist on fresh content. They believe that if you are searching for something on the web, then you probably want the "freshest" information. I could argue that a lot of my searches are for historical information, but we will talk about that another time.  The reason I want to talk to you about fresh content is that this is a guideline that Webconsuls' team discusses with their clients on a regular basis, so now GOOGLE is again validating what all of us have really known for a long, long time.

"If you are trying to sell something, goods or services, you need to think like a window dresser."
Do you know what a window dresser is? You don't have to live in New York City to understand the importance of the professional window dresser. I am going to venture a guess that in any city, town, village or hamlet the most interestingly dressed store windows get the best traffic and probably can boast the best sales.

Now let's think about window shopping. Old fashion window shopping is free! Do you see what I mean? The free part is you being able to take yourself or your whole family to a store…like Macys or to a mall and walk around and touch the items, try on the items, dream a little, put something on lay-away…and maybe, just maybe be so pleased by the user experience you will eventually make a purchase. Virtual window shopping is also free, but one can't "touch" or "try on the goods", so the content quality needs to be fresh and inviting.
"The success of window dressing and window shopping is dependent on fresh content."
This isn't rocket science. The word algorithm makes it seem so, but it is really social science. When a person is looking for information, goods, services, they now tend to look on-line. They can buy items from all over the country, continent, or world. So how do you get their attention?  Simple! Be clear about what you are selling (in every sense of the word) and keep your content current and relevant.  Let me tell you a story...
"Some 30+ years ago I lived and worked in Hollywood, CA area. My office was on Vermont Avenue and I lived on Barham Blvd.  There was a wonderful gentleman who lived in my complex and owned a sundry store near the corner of Sunset Blvd and Vermont Avenue. My employer sometimes would ask me to go to the bank to make the daily commercial deposit, so one day as I am walking down Sunset Blvd I notice Sanford's little store. The window dressings were so old and dusty that I almost didn't walk in, but I wanted to say hi to my friend. When I got in the store what I saw was more dust, shampoo bottles with contents that had already separated and then I spotted Sandy behind the counter. I started to giggle and picked up one of the shampoo bottles...I asked him who would buy this stuff. He laughed and said: 'Judy, I am not in the business of selling sundries; I offer a check cashing service for a fee!' "
There was no window dressing that said "Check Cashing Service", in fact you had to creep around the store to discern that this service was the primary business. Do you see the irony in this story? I know you do. You might call this the "sales prevention department!" Again, it isn't rocket science.

So what can you do to make sure your content is fresh and refreshing?
  1. Review your site for accuracy. Do this on a regular basis. Look for "dust"!
  2. Remember to keep your webmaster informed about new products, locations, staff members, sales. 
  3. Take new photos.
  4. Consider publishing press releases.
  5. If you have a blog, check to see when you last published a post.  Remember each post is considered fresh content by GOOGLE. 
  6. If you have a business Facebook page, be sure to have it linked to your business website.
  7. Link all of your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn) to your website.
  8. Make sure your GOOGLE Places page is current. Read your reviews. Respond to your reviews.
And yes, there is this new thing called GOOGLE+ for business page.  I will be back in a few days to give you a primer in this latest way to keep your content fresh.

In the meantime...pretend you are a customer, go window shopping on your website, then pretend you are a window dresser. You may not care about fresh content, but GOOGLE does. What changes would you make? How would you freshen up your virtual storefront?



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