Common misconception: If we build it... they will come. This is not the "Field of Dreams" people.
The correct line of thinking is much like the mustard seed - you must plant it, water it and nurture it. Only then can it grow. Like the farmer who works his field - we we reap what we sow. If we work the web site and work it well, we can reap the rewards that will follow.
What generally happens? I am handed an eCommerce website that has very little static content, and product descriptions that leave a lot to be desired. This is okay because it gives me a baseline to work from - and truth be told, I love starting with a website that has zero ranking in Google and is not converting. I am passionate about turning that website into a content rich and interesting website, that oh-by-the-way also happens to sell a product.
Don't misunderstand, there is much emphasis placed on optimizing the product pages with well written descriptions and product titles - with the end goal for those products being that they obtain their own ranking in the search engines, and ultimately convert to online sales.
It's the other content I like to focus on. This is an area you can define an online niche opportunity. Take a look at your customer's base line keyword ranking - what keyterms are relevant that they are not currently gaining any search engine ranking on? (This of course assumes you have done your keyterm research and have a set of keywords to focus on.)
Analyze your list of keywords and see which terms are not getting any search engine ranking. You now know where to start with writing new content for your website. Build informational content that will educate your site visitors about what you have to offer that is unique and different. Why should your customers buy online from you? What makes you better than your online competition? What makes your online product unique? What about the service you offer is by far the best? Help your potential customers make a decision to buy your product or use your service.
Not sure where to start? Here's a simple tip that I have found works with my clients. Often times I am dealing with VITO of Company "X". VITO (or Very Important Top Officer) does not have time to write content, and frankly does not see the value of writing "stuff". "My products are online what more do I need?" If I can get VITO to write just one piece of content to prove my point, I push them to write a Glossary of Terms for their website.
Write me a glossary - start with your top ten keywords and build them into an online glossary. Or take each product and define it. For example I have a client who sells Air Pollution Abatement Equipment. Well not everyone on the planet knows what a carbon scrubber is or what it does - and I tell you with no uncertainty that the search engines do not know what they are.
I emphasize to my clients that they are writing this content more for the search engines then they are for their website visitors. Now, that said - once the search engines recognize the new content as being relevant, and it is well written, the end result of course would be gaining ranking on some of your additional keywords - thereby helping new and potential customers not only find your website, but LEARN about what you do and/or sell online.
I have proven this to be an effective technique to teaching my clients how important keyword rich website content can be. Taking some important keyterms that are ranked somewhere below 30 in Google and working them to the first page on Google is proof that your content can define your website. Once my clients see this online glossary of terms work, they are more than willing to continue writing new content.
Keep track of your keyword search engine ranking on a regular basis. If you a see keyword begin to lose search engine ranking, or a keyword that is not performing - analyze the content (or lack thereof) associated with that keyword and work it!
That's my story... and I'm sticking to it! Content. Content. Content.