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Who Said “Content Is King?”
“Content is king” comes from an article Bill Gates wrote on Microsoft’s website in January 1996. No doubt, content drives the Internet, though many still question if, indeed, content is really king.
So, is content really king? In a word, yes! Fortunately, though, this post will give you a longer, more detailed answer.
When We Say Content, We Mean Great Content
Now it may be appropriate to re-phrase a bit and say unique, relevant and remarkable content is king. Poorly written content is a waste of time. The long-term SEO value is zero – zilch. It’s tough to read, won’t be valued, won’t be shared or linked to and definitely won’t produce leads. A number of things can be included on the “Types of Bad Content” list – content with grammatical errors, inaccurate content, irrelevant content and keyword-stuffed content.
Bad grammar: Spelling and grammatical mistakes on a page won’t necessarily affect organic rankings (yet) or conversion rate significantly, but it will affect your credibility! Its vs. it’s…your vs. you’re…these are a couple of the most common grammatical errors that make you look plain stupid! You don’t want to exude carelessness and ignorance, and a page chock-full of grammatical errors and misspelled words does just that.
Update 11/11/2015: Grammar and spelling can indeed affect your website rankings! Read more about grammar and SEO.
Inaccurate content: Research is important, and you probably got beaten over the head with it at school, but it’s worth mentioning again. In the SEO and content marketing world, the same thing goes. You should execute careful research before writing a page, especially if you aren’t familiar with the topic. Like bad grammar, putting up a page or blog post with inaccurate information makes you look like dumb and can seriously hurt your credibility.
Irrelevant content: content isn’t king if what you’re writing about isn’t relevant to your target audience! Having irrelevant content will just increase bounce rate, which, in turn, can ultimately lower your organic ranking. How to get around this impediment? Well, that’s another topic for another day, but the short answer is: utilize your research tools! Learn how to use Google Analytics, AdWords, Wordtracker and all that good stuff to see what people are searching for and how they’re searching, which pages are being exited right away, which keywords get the most searches, etc.
Update 11/11/2015: Since this blog’s original publication, many marketers have evolved the “content is king” mantra to include “content is king; context is queen.”
“Content ultimately is king but the context and relevance is what will connect with others. As digital platforms continue to dominate and play a prominent part in our everyday life, it is important for brands to frame how they can deliver content that helps professional minds gain knowledge and success on the right platform.” –Nellie Chan
Keyword stuffing: Keyword stuffing is a big no-no! Nobody is going to enjoy reading a blog post or page that has “fixing slow drains” or “increase energy efficiency” (or whichever keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for) in every other sentence. It sounds unnatural, and, trust us, it probably won’t convert well. User experience should always be the main goal! Rankings mean nothing if you can’t convert the traffic into customers! Including the keyword in the title tag and page heading is great, but don’t stuff the page with your keyword. Write for the user, not the search engines – with this in mind, you are on your way to writing good, keyword-rich content.
Don’t be discouraged by all the negatives! Creating great website content isn’t impossible – far from it, in fact!
We all know how important it is to make a good first impression, right? Well, that’s what content does for your website! Second maybe to only the design, your content is what people first notice when they come to your site (and really, visitors shouldn’t notice your design – it should “disappear” behind your amazing content – unless you’re a design firm). If your content is relevant and correct (and well-written!), it will pull readers in.
Remember, your content is also what drove people to your site in the first place, and it’s what will keep them coming back! Regularly developing and posting original content (optimized around what people are searching for) is practically a surefire way to, at the very least, drive up your website traffic and, at the most, generate qualified leads! How great would it be to have an ever-present hook that draws people to your website every single day?
Keep in mind: Geo-targeted content (landscape design company in Rockville, MD) is even better for generating traffic and increasing leads. For example, if your Maryland company comes up for a keyword that’s not geo-targeted (i.e. landscape design company), a visit from Maryland is clearly going to be the more likely to convert than a visit from Ohio.
Content not only is king but will remain king, and it’s due to the nature of search. Users on the web don’t want to be bombarded with ads – they want to be informed. Think about why you go on the web to search for something…it’s either to obtain information or be entertained. Good content will always be needed. Creating new, well-written, accurate content is the way to go, whether you need to drive up traffic or increase leads.
Of course, there is a whole support team behind every good king, and this is certainly true of website content. Content is king, but other factors are at play for making sure your awesome content is actually read – website design, content promotion, etc. Make sure the king (the leader who will remain indefinitely) has good support!
Attitude indeed reflects leadership, and good content will lead to happy, satisfied searchers who got what they wanted, whether it was to find out the best way to shop for curtains or a reputable plumbing company in the area. And happy, satisfied searchers will be more likely to share the content – and keep coming back to your website.
See What a Great King Can Do
If creating original, kick-ass content means you need to hire a professional company that offers SEO copywriting, go for it. Start pushing great content out into the world. Let it fly. See what it brings back. Hopefully it will be lots of traffic and qualified leads!
Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published by Ben Landers on November 16, 2011. Four years later, it is still as true as ever, and so we’ve updated the original post with new information to make sure it stays relevant.
Since its original publication, many other blogs have been written on the same topic. One of the better ones can be found on Blog Tyrant, where author Ramsey argues that “content is not king” because “You also need to know how to get that content out there, reach new audiences and then make sure the traffic that you do get converts into a subscriber or customer. And that is a massively different set of skills.” Stay tuned for more articles on content promotion’s role in your online marketing strategy.
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About The Author:
Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
View more blogs by Ben Landers