SEO Useful and original pages

webpages with information icon

"Create a useful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content"

- from the Google webmaster guidelines

The key to having a website that people enjoy and that ranks well in search engines can be found in the above Google guideline.

Creating a useful and information-rich website is not easy. The information in your site is the most important factor of how search engines will classify it. The information that is in your website is also referred to commonly as the "content".

Regardless of how beautiful or well designed your site is, people will not use it and it will not rank well in search engines if it is not useful and/or have unique information. Virtually every website can be improved by applying more thought and resources into the "creation" of information. The same can be said about the "usefulness" of your site.

Information-Rich

An information rich website has original information that is not available elsewhere on the web. Let's say your website sells lamps... - If everyone else who is selling lamps are all using the same description and photo that is provided by the manufacturer, consider including your own description of the lamp. Something like... "I like this lamp because it works so well with a blue room.." etc. Consider taking your own photos of the lamps. By doing these things you will be creating a more information rich website than those who are only using the manufacturers descriptions which are available elsewhere on the web.

Usefulness

A useful website does something of value or somehow benefits its visitors. Your lamp website can also benefit from being well organized and easy to use.
Is the purchase procedure simple and quick? Are you providing an innovative way to browse and find lamps? Do your pages load quickly? By having a site that people enjoy using you will be useful to them and following the spirit of this guideline.
If the purchasing and cataloguing of the lamps are done through another website that you have no control over then your website is only as useful as all the other sites using that same system. You will be less likely to satisfy your visitors and search engines. In this case you will have to come up with a way to be more useful than the other sites using that same system.

A great way to be useful to your visitors is to have an information-rich website. The lamp website that provides original photos, descriptions and comments of the lamps in addition to the manufacturers description is more information-rich and they are also more useful.

Clearly and accurately describing your content

Clear and accurate information on your website will result in visitor appreciation and will allow search engines to classify your site and send the right people to you.
It is better to have people searching for lamps visiting your lamp webpage than to have people searching for cars visit your lamp website. If you have a lamp website then make sure to accurately and clearly describe and classify your site as a lamp website. For a search engine to display your site for the search term "lamps" it must know that your site is about lamps. This is covered more in depth in the next guideline.

Key concepts

How to determine if your website is following this guideline

To determine if your website is following this guideline requires serious thought and honest reflection by webmasters. This is one of the most important guidelines and since the latest Panda and Penguin updates to Google it has become even more important. To determine if you are following this guideline requires you to answer a few simple questions very honestly.

Did you create your website?

Remember that create means "bring something into existence that did not exist before".
If you have "copied and pasted" information from other places or if information was provided to you by an affiliate program then you did not create it. If your website is not using original content it will very likely not be indexed well or ranked well in Google. It is now very simple for Google to identify this.
To illustrate let's look at hotel booking websites. These websites have tens of thousands of pages with hotel descriptions on them. Where do those descriptions come from?
A database that all the hotel booking websites are using. In other words, the hotel descriptions are available elsewhere on the web.

Is the information or service your website provides available elsewhere on the web?

If the information or service that your website provides is available elsewhere then you will naturally have competition.
- Your website must be more pleasant, more interesting, more useful and information-rich than other sources in order to be well liked by your visitors and ranked well in search engines.

Is your website useful? (doing something of value or benefit to your visitors)

A well thought out website will be useful to it's visitors. This might be providing information in a clear manner, providing a useful service, or offering goods that are unavailable elsewhere.
- If the goods, information, or service your website is providing is available elsewhere, consider offering more unique information about it than others do and/or making those goods, information, and services easier to use or more effective.

Checking for uniqueness

A technique to determine if a site has content that is used elsewhere on the web is to highlight some of the text (a couple of short sentences) of a website and put that text into Google and search for it to see if that text exists elsewhere on the web. Make sure you put quotation marks around the text. example - "search for this exact text.". Any time you search for text within quotation marks the search engine will only look for that exact text in that exact order.

Patrick Sextonby Patrick Sexton

Useful and original pages