On Wednesday, Google announced the release of Panda 4.0, which I'm sure to most of you means nothing at all. However, as a retailer you need to be aware of the changes Google is making, and more importantly, what to do about these updates. Retailers who continue to ignore the importance of content marketing will likely see their sales decline over the coming months and years.
In a nutshell, Google has been changing how pages are ranked in its search results and is rewarding those websites that write original content. Original content is any content that is written specifically for your store and includes everything from product descriptions, designer reviews, to your recent blog articles. The key word here, of course, is original. You absolutely must write your own content and never copy any text from your vendors, designers or your favorite blog site. Google also ranks websites higher who are constantly writing and contribute new content to the Internet. For many retailers, this is a blog article talking about their favorite designer, trends they are seeing for the spring and topics that are important to your store. Google loves it when you have a point of view and you voice that point of view through writing and blogging.
I've been beating this drum for years and I try to bestow in every one of my clients the importance of writing content or what's called content marketing. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, content is king, and if you want to be crowned king, you must start writing!
I realize many retailers have a problem when it comes to writing and blogging. The excuse I hear most often is how they simply do not have time write. Other retailers flat out say they have no desire to write and some even have a phobia against writing. The final reason I hear is they do not have anything to write about. I'm here to tell you all these fears can easily be overcome and solved. Let's look at these reasons and see if we can come up with some creative solutions.
Retailers are busy people who are fighting the good fight every day. However, I'm telling you, you need to either find the time to write or find someone to write for you. If you don't, you may not survive or at the very least you will start to see your online sales deteriorate. The good news is that you don't have tackle this alone. If you ask your employees, I'm sure you'll find a couple who love to write and may even be passionate bloggers. If you can't find an employee, don't get discouraged, because as I've written before, you can also tap your customers to blog for you. As you start to understand the importance of writing and blogging, I'm sure you'll take this characteristic into consideration when hiring new employees.
I'm always surprised how many retailers tell me they have nothing to write about. I sit patiently listening to them tell me how they don't have the faintest idea of anything to blog about. At the opportune time, I quietly, almost in a whisper, ask them what excites them about their store. If that doesn't work, I'll ask them why they opened up their store or what got them into retail. This usually ignites the retailer as I listen to them recount the day they opened their doors, how much they love fashion, helping customers find the perfect outfit and how they're able to spot trends before anyone else. After they finally stop talking, I remind them how we got to this place and they quickly learn they do indeed have plenty to write about.
These changes by Google are confusing, and if you talk to an SEO expert I'm sure they will only confuse you more. The important thing to remember is you must constantly write and blog about topics that inspire you. It doesn't matter what you sell as long as you have a voice and opinion, and constantly contribute to the world with your writing. Google, other search engines, and people in general will notice your writing and will reward you by ranking you higher in search and placing more orders on your website.