How to generate content and why content is king
Today, some may think it's a cliché, but content is king. Having quality content is the most important step any site or blog should start with and always be thinking about when working on their site.
Why is content king?
Below are a few of the top reasons quality content is still considered king.
- When Google or any other search engine looks at your page, its primary focus is the content that is on your page.
- When people search, they will be looking for information and answers to their questions that only content can provide.
- Having quality content that provides value to a visitor is one of the biggest reasons someone would want to share your page.
- Have more quality content pages can give a site better ratings.
Why some may argue that content is not king
While it is impossible to argue that quality content isn't important some may argue that the phrase "content is king" is overused or no longer applicable to today's audience. Below are a few of the arguments against the idea.
Having a site with only good content will not make it popular
It's true that it takes a lot more than quality content to drive traffic to a page, there are hundreds of factors that help drive traffic to a site. However, you could have the most well-designed page taking advantage of every SEO tactic that may help drive traffic, but if your visitors find no value in your content, they will bounce.
Promoting is more important than the content
Promoting a page is another crucial factor that can be done after a good content page is created. Your time is best spent creating quality content that can promote itself and provide value. You will get a much higher return from that work versus spending time trying to promote a page that gives little or no value to the visitor.
Context is more important than the content
Again, it's true that context is another important factor when designing a page. If the content is not in-depth enough to answer all questions or is too thin, you'll have a high bounce rate and the visitor is not likely to stick around.
The design or appearance of a page is more significant than the content
The layout of a page is another important factor of a page. However, the most popular pages on the Internet according to Alexa are not popular because they look good, it's the content. Do you visit Google because it looks good? No, you visit Google because the content and results you get from it are the best on the Internet.
What makes quality content?
Many factors can help contribute to quality content, and it's very likely that without even knowing these factors you could spot quality content. Google and Microsoft have even created posts (Google quality guidelines - Bing quality guidelines) on what they consider quality content. Unfortunately, as of 2016, these page's are both several years old but can give a good idea on what makes quality content. We've also provided our suggestions on what can contribute to making quality content.
Does the content provide value?
If a visitor reaches a page asking a question, or wanting to learn about a product or service, is the page going to provide that visitor with everything they need? Does it provide the visitor with additional resources if they have other questions or wanted to explore the site further?
Is the information unique?
Anyone or any computer script can visit popular pages and copy that site's information. If the information you have on your page can be found elsewhere, what would make a visitor want to visit your page, or a search engine want to rank your site higher?
Can the information be trusted?
Trust has become an important factor in search engine ranking. Below are some of the ways a search engine and visitors can build trust.
- The article contains an author and lists his or her qualifications.
- The site or brand has an established reputation or has it been online for a long time.
- Reputable page's link to the site.
- The site has a lot of followers, and the page is shared.
Is the content easy to read and skim?
The average person doesn't spend much time reading any web page word for word. Most people skim an article looking for what interests them the most. If the page is not formatted in an easy to read format, cluttered with advertisements, not broken up, it can reduce the overall quality of the page.
Are there pictures, videos, or multimedia to help explain the topic?
Humans are visual creatures. If a page contains related pictures, graphs, videos, or multimedia interspersed with text, they will be more likely to give it their attention.
Was the page only created to serve advertisements?
We've all been to sites that are cluttered with ads, pop-ups, registration, etc. and it's not enjoyable. If a page appears to have been only created as a way to help draw visitors to server advertisements or promote a product, it can decrease the page's overall quality.
Is the content designed for search engines or human readers?
In the past, a common SEO tactic was to stuff keywords into a page that the creator was trying to target. The idea was that by having a common keyword phrase throughout a page would help increase the page rank. However, by doing this, it made the page sound unnatural for the human reader. Today, search engines are much better at detecting this tactic and will decrease the page's quality if keyword stuffing is detected. When writing a page always focus on the reader and not search engines.
Would you share the content?
We are our strongest critic, so ask yourself if you were to come across the page would you share the page?
Ideas and recommendations for creating content
Put yourself in the potential visitors shoes
When creating all content, always think of the human visitor and what he or she may be looking for on a search engine and how your page is going to address their search.
- What would a visitor search for in a search engine?
- What keywords and related keywords would a visitor use?
- After reading the page, would the visitor have additional questions? If so, are those questions also addressed on your page?
- Would the visitor learn something new or be entertained?
- Is the page easy to read or does it have jargon or terms the visitor may not understand?
- Is the page related to one topic? If the page covers multiple topics that are not relevant break that information into a separate page.
- Would the visitor have an easier time digesting the information as a picture, video, audio, or e-book, instead of only text?
Monitor your visitor needs
Having an analytic system such as Google Analytics on your site allows you to monitor your visitors, see what they are searching for, and determine your most popular pages. If people are searching for things not found on the site create new content to address those searches. If you have popular pages that can be improved make sure to improve your most popular pages first. If you have popular pages that relate to other pages make sure to give the visitor the options to visit related pages.
Make a strong and intriguing title and heading
The title of a page and sometimes the <h1> heading is used for search engine results link. If either of these are missing or weak when shown in search engine results, the potential visitor may skip your page. Not only does your page need to rank high it needs to entice the visitor into clicking the link.
Inform don't sell
The Internet is all about information. If your goal is sales, you'll have a higher conversion if you focus on informing the visitor first, then selling them on a product or service. Below are some examples of how you can inform a visitor before attempting to sell them something.
- Give an example or story of a problem that your product can solve.
- List full details about the product (e.g., dimensions, weight, power consumption, parts, performance, etc.).
- Show pictures (or screenshot) of the product from all angles.
- Give a video demonstration or show how the product can be used.
- Show comparisons between your products or competitor products.
- Give case studies and testimonials.
- Have a Q&A or FAQ section with all questions and answers.
Cut and then cut again
All your content should be to the point. After everything is created try to re-read through the page and cut half of the words out and make long paragraphs into bullet points, numbered lists, or into multiple small paragraphs.
Everyone makes errors, and if you don't proofread before posting your page everyone is going to see those mistakes. Nothing reduces the quality of your content more than a blatant spelling or grammar error.
Realize everything is always going to be a work in progress
On the Internet, nothing is ever complete. Understand that everything you post can be revised and updated. Updating your content keeps it fresh for the visitor and search engines love to see frequently updated content.
Understand how and where your content is distributed and shared
Understanding where and how your content is going to be shared. Every social networking site and web page shows your content different. For example, with the 140-character Twitter limit, you have limited space on how much you can tweet with a link. Also, making sure your page is using open graph can help any share on Facebook look attractive and entice someone to click on the share.