Your website can be the prettiest thing on the internet, but if the content is poor, then it doesn’t matter what your website looks like.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard the expression “content is king”.
It sounds kind of hokey, doesn’t it? Because, let’s face it, people just don’t read like they used to, so you wouldn’t think that content – especially the written word – would be all that important.
Rather, it seems much more plausible that website visitors would appreciate visual stimulation a whole lot more than long passage of written material.
All true, but there are several factors that you may not realize.
First of all, not all website content comes in the form of written text.
Website content can be in any medium (including, but not limited to videos, images and yes, text). What makes any medium “content” is if it helps to inform and educate your website visitors as to the purpose of the website and what you have to offer your visitors (in the form of products, services, information, etc.)
Let’s face it, we all love big, sharp, gorgeous photos. And yes, awesome photos can be a form of content if they meet the above-mentioned criteria.
So why not just load your business website with pretty pics of that represent your business activities and be done with it?
Well, depending on what you sell, that might be enough for most of the actual people who visit your website. But it’s certainly not enough for another type of visitor:
The search engine bot.
At some point, the search engines will have their little bots visit your website. And they will return periodically to visit again and again. When they visit, the bots will scan all the content on your site. And they give the highest “points” to the content that their algorithm calculates is the most significant indication of your website’s purpose and authority.
And guess what type of content usually gets the most “points”?
It’s not your pictures. It’s not your videos. And it’s not your snazzy backgrounds, buttons or anything else that makes your website attractive.
From the perspective of the search engines, the content on your site with the most significance is its written text.
Your website’s written text is the #1 form of content that the search engines look for. Why?
Because the written word is easy to “read” to get informed about what your website is really about.
But you can’t just cram your website full of just any old jottings and call it content. No.
What you need instead is written content that follows a few rules:
Stick to the subject at hand - Information just about the subject (or niche) your business is in. For example: If you’re in the tree service business, you don’t present information on your website about wedding photography.Well, duh! That seems obvious, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised how many websites go off on all kinds of unrelated tangents. Doing so confuses the search engines as to what your website is about and what its purpose is.
The moral is to stick to the main subject of your website. If you can’t honestly relate a bit of content to your website’s main subject, then don’t include it.
Authoritative content - The information you present to your visitors needs to be top quality.
You want your website content to set you apart as a true professional in your industry. Your written content doesn’t need to be boring to be informative, but it does need to present you – and your company – as the expert you are.
Unique content – Whatever you do, don’t copy information you get over the internet. You cannot copy and paste content you find on other sites into your own website. Also, you can’t just rewrite it either.This can be a really tricky rule to follow.
You can use the internet for research on your subject matter, but it takes skill to come up with content that is unique. But if the search engines sense that your content is a duplicate of someone else’s, your site will be penalized and not rank as high as it might otherwise.
Lengthy content – You need to make your written content long enough to make it clear to the search engines that you are an authority in your subject matter.How long? Think at least 1,000 words on your homepage and at least 600 words on your service pages and about page. (The contact page can be a shorter one, though.)
A lot of websites are short on written content. Sometimes significantly so. And frankly, this is one of the biggest problem I see every day while I’m doing website analyses for our potential clients.
You might think that website visitors would prefer short, snappy write-ups instead of long pages of text. And you’re probably right. But it isn’t just about your website’s human visitors.
The search engine bots will also be visiting your website. And what they want is enough written content (which is their #1 type of content, remember) to satisfy them that your website is authoritative on its subject matter. And generally, they need to see at least 1,000 words on your homepage and at least 600 words on the other informative pages.
Following these rules will satisfy the search engines’ #1 content criteria: your website’s written content. And when you do that, the search engines are predisposed to place your website higher in their rankings.
Satisfying the search engines is the key aim of good, effective website design and search engine optimization.
And that’s why “content is king” and written content is the “crown prince”.