Content has been described as being ‘king’ for years. The king in terms of SEO, that is. The question is; does this still have merit, or are these the shriveling whispers of the webmasters of old? In this article, we will be looking at content, what value it brings to SEO, and hopefully finally decide if it still deserves the crown.
What is it?
Well that’s simple. Content refers to any and all of the information displayed on a website. This includes Text, Images, Graphics, Videos – just about anything that is not the background colour. This definition differs a bit from the way Search Engines (SE’s) view content; they see it as answers – something a user may be looking for.
Search Engines Care About Content?
Yes. Why the distinction between the two different interpretations? You have to remember that SE’s
have a core desire and purpose – to remain relevant. If they have users asking them questions, the only way that they can ensure that those users come back is to make them happy. How do they make users happy? Giving them the best possible answers available in the entire internet.
The way that SE’s do this is by making use of their ‘Spiders’. Programs that scour the web reading through websites and indexing them in terms of relevance. This way they can quickly come up with a list of the best results for any given search query.
How does Content factor into this?
With the internet growing as quickly as it is, and Big Data Companies like Google‘s Alphabet trying to stay on top, it makes sense. They want users to keep coming back to them, right. This means that they need to be the Search Engine with the most accurate results, right. To do this, they need to scan every single site out there (that’s a lot) and index them accordingly, right.
That means that they need to make it easier for their Spiders to crawl each site and make its assessment, right. Now we get to the fun part, how are they going to get the entire internet to format their websites in a way that Spiders would find easy to digest?
Give them a format, and if they comply, reward them with an SEO boost.
Now it all makes sense. It is a brilliantly intuitive approach, and has worked wonders to make the web a far less toxic place. Now, only one question remains: how do you go about making your content SEO-friendly?
Why Content and not something else?
The thing is that it can’t be anything else, really. Content is the very thing that users are using Search Engines to find. The only thing that SE’s can do it to standardise everything with a set of rules, reward those that play along and punish those that don’t. How governmental.
Content is so important in fact that it is written plainly into the ranking factors used by Google. Factors like Amount of Visitors vs Bounce Rate for example. Google is literally looking at how many people end up on your site when they search something specific, then it compares that to the number of people who leave immediately after.
The way this gets interpreted is as follows; “Users seem to gravitate towards this website, that’s good. Problem is, they don’t stay to read anything else. Hmm, that means that the content was not interesting enough.”
That’s right, to get a 0% Bounce Rate, each one of your site’ visitors needs to find your content so interesting that they stick around to see more. This is impossible to maintain, by the way. Another example is that Social Media sharing of your content is slowly becoming a more highly regarded factor. This is because a user puts their reputation behind everything they share, it is far more precious than a Like or Heart.
Although Social Media Shares are not being measured directly as of yet, they do still have an effect on how many Users visit your site, and Traffic is definitely important.
Search Engines are not going away. The web is growing to much that we would be absolutely lost without something helping us find our way. To be one of those ‘found’ in the midst of all this means that we have to play by the rules and appease the powers that be. They haven’t made it that difficult or complex, which is nice.
You construct your site and make sure its polished for presentation to Search Engines, and if it pleases them, they reward you. Saving you money and helping your customers find you. Imagine how much SEO services cost, you’d be doing yourself a favour.
Beyond all the benefits, there is one thing that we can agree on. The power of Search Engines only comes from the users that happily gravitate towards it, and what they are looking for is content.
All hail the King.