Is Content Still A King?
Everyone who has been around the search engine optimization scene for any amount of time most likely has heard the phrase Content is King bandied about, usually in the context the all you have to do is create great content and you will somehow get great search engine rankings and lots of valuable traffic.
The reality is much different however and the fact is it's not that simple at all. Let's look at this idea and what's behind web page content:
Some say that if you create great content, people will somehow find that content, read it and like it so much that they will place permanent visible links on their web sites so that others will be pointed to your great content and start a great ball of links rolling downhill so that you will soon be ranked high enough that people will find you through the search engines, The problem I see with this is that I fail to see how people are going to find your content among the billions of web pages if your pages are not ranking well. This woolly minded thinking is a good example of how easy it is to be misled in the SEO forest. The fact of the matter is that there are hundreds of millions of web sites competing for viewers and there are only a few ways that you can find sites of interest:
- Search engines – This is the route used by more than 90% of searchers when looking for new sites, but the problem is that you have to be ranked well in order to be found.
- Directories – There are some searchers who do use directory listings as a way of finding new sites and this is a good way to find sites on a particular topic as they will all be neatly put into the same category ready for your inspection. But the number of sites you will find there will be a small fraction of those you will find in search engines.
- Word of mouth – This is no doubt a great way to get new visitors to your site, but let's face it when was the last time someone found your site that way?
Web Page Content is Important for Search Engines
The web page content is one of the building blocks of all search engine methods of ranking pages for relevancy, and in fact, in many search engines if you don't have the search term a user is looking for on your page it will not even be considered for ranking on that term. Search engines use the content of the visible page as one of their methods of determining relevancy and so content is important to them. But the biggest of them all, Google, places a much higher value on links pointing to your site, so much in fact that it will rank pages well for terms that don't even appear on the page.
Web Page Content is Valuable to Viewers
The content on your pages is of course what the searchers are looking for and once they find your site, this is possibly the most important factor they will consider in deciding if your site is valuable to them. You will also be judged on your appearance and ease of navigation, but the content will be the overriding concern.
The web page content is valuable but is not the only consideration. First and foremost is to optimize your site so that it ranks well for relevant search terms. For search engines like Yahoo and Bing, the page content will be an important ranking factor, but like Google, links will still play a big part.
Think of your site as not only as your collection of web pages but as a part of the web itself with all the linkages that go with it and make it easy for the search engines to rank well and viewers to find read and navigate.
The content of your web pages should be written with both the search engines and the viewers in mind.
I like to do an outline of what I will put on the page, first with an overall heading of what the page is to be about, then dividing the page up into sections with a section header emphasizing what that section talks about. Then when you build your actual page you can use these outline points as your headers. Search engines love this method as do many viewers.