July 21, 2011

An SEO guide for Wineries Part 2

posted by mark in Winery SEO Guide

Last time, I spoke about clearing a path for robots to reach your site. Before we clear that path, let’s dive deeper into the fundamentals of great content, and what we’re clearing a path to.

Not All Content is Created Equal

As a winery owner, you’re already pretty familiar with this idea. After all, you’re a content creator. Your content comes in the form of the delicious fermented grape juice that we all love to enjoy. It may seem silly to think of it as content, and I agree that concept is a stretch. With that in mind, I think it’s pretty easy for us to agree that Google’s robot is not going to be able to taste your wine and tell someone searching that it’s really damn good.

At least, not yet. When the robots start tasting wine I’ll finally be able to retire.

Taking things a step closer to web content, what about a picture? From a human standpoint, it might be worth one thousand words, but to a robot it looks like a bunch of colored dots organized into a box. It’s very hard for the poor robot to understand the picture, let alone pass it along to another human being who is searching for “beautiful vineyard shots”. Two caveats:

  • We’re getting closer to machines being able to read and understand images, but it’s still not perfect science.
  • When I search for beautiful vineyard shots in Google I get pictures like I would imagine. To create this experience, Google uses a lot of signals, but the strongest one is the text around the image and in the code. It’s actually a pretty strong signal when done correctly. It’s a part of good SEO and I’ll get more detailed about this approach after the introduction.

Video is even harder and more complex for the robots. You can think of video as a series of pictures with an audio track, all of which are difficult things for a robot to understand individually, let alone when put together. YouTube does a great job in the engines because of the great tagging signals they add, similar to my example with the images above. Also, sometimes people are legitimately looking for videos. If I search for “muppet show swedish chef clip” – I am signaling the engines that I would like to watch a video clip. They’re only too happy to oblige.

For most websites, the best, surest shot to having great content is to write. Great, original posts and commentary are like delicious candy to the engines. When working on SEO, it’s important to remember that you are building a site that humans will love. Build your site for humans, but make it accessible to the engines. Text is the greatest way to serve both humans and engines.

I’m not suggesting that you throw away all of your great photos and videos. Far from it — that’s great content too. I’ll talk about optimizing your content for the engines in a future post, but next, let’s talk about the search engine process.

Ready to move on? Proceed to Part 3: Understand the Engines

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