So we've all been through numerous updates in search algorithms this year and the fact remains that attempting to predict what and how to adjust your website to the changes for better rankings is almost futile. A Google quality rater's guide was leaked out a few weeks ago and according to this document quality, perceived in terms of information and value to the general public, is what will determine how high a website will rank.
In terms of search engines, there are thousands of every type of business on the internet. So to have a website about a business isn't enough. For example, if you have a website about lawn mowers and you talk about what kind you sell and you've got repair services etc. That's no different then the next guy who sells lawn mowers. The "quality" of the two is exactly the same so there is no way that one will rank above the other.
There are several factors that influence rank like number of legitimate incoming links and page title, but everyone can meet the search engine expectations along those lines. No difference between competitors again.
In the new age of "quality" it is important to have unique, informative content. This is clearly outlined in the Google quality raters guide.
How do you go about getting unique content for your website? First -- don't buy it! If you pay a service to randomly put content on your website then you'll end up with poorly written, highly duplicated articles that will do nothing but lower your page rank or have you booted off the search engine altogether. The way ensure you've got unique content is to write it yourself or help someone write it for you (give them the topic, have them write something up, you review for accuracy and add any personal thoughts).
What to write about? For our example we could have information like "how to maintain a lawn mower", "simple service repairs", and "buying the right replacement blades." For a windshield repair shop articles might include, "when is a chip just a chip," "cold weather and cracks," and "is driving with a cracked windshield illegal?" The bonus with all this content is that invariably you will be including key phrases that people will likely use to find your website.
If you are having a hard time coming up with unique content for your website do some research about what other companies feature on their sites and use the idea to kick off your own take on the subject. Caution: do not duplicate or plagiarize any part of someone else's content -- it will result in penalizing your own site and / or possible lawsuit for copyright infringement.
So get your thinking cap on, show the world how much you know about your business and think like an expert. Sharing information will not only help with search rankings, it will also bring you one step closer to doing business with your visitors.
Want 3 article topics for your website? Email me with the subject "Give me 3" and I'll reply with 3 ideas for you :) tj [at] myideagirl [dot] com