Why SEO means nothing if your content is weak
It has been drilled into anyone looking to get their website ahead and into the upper echelons of their field online that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is everything. Want success? SEO is your answer. Want to be the first result on a Google search? Fix your SEO. We’ve been told that SEO is the be all and end all of success online, and there is no doubting that it is hugely important.
But what use is strong SEO if your content stinks? If you have weak content on your site, you are already at a disadvantage and indeed could be making a false start. Indeed, weak content could be the very reason why your SEO and rankings are suffering.
Quality over quantity
Just because you are packing your site with content, it doesn’t mean that you are getting any closer to being on the first page of Google. Indeed, overloading on sub-standard and irrelevant material could be harming your chances and actually pushing you away from your goal. The phrase “content is king” is often spouted by people who are supposedly in the know, but unless it is strong material then it ought to be considered nothing more than filler.
According to WordPress, “users produce about 73.9 million new posts and 40 million new comments each month.” That’s a lot of content, and it would be fair to suggest that much of that is trash.
So although there is a huge amount of content out there, success clearly depends on how good the material actually is. It makes it imperative that website owners and developers are not swayed by having as much content as they can, but rather having the best content they can.
How can we define “good” content?
Although we’d all like to think that content on our websites are strong and don’t need any work to them, it can often be difficult to determine exactly what makes content good. The differences between strong and weaker content can sometimes be subtle, but it is possible to narrow down the key factors.
What was the user looking for?
If your content can answer the questions or queries that the user originally came to your site for, then you are on to a winning start. SEO is not only about being the highest ranked site. You ought to be serving a purpose and providing information for users. SearchEngineLand suggests that researching and implementing keywords can be an effective way of getting your information across, whilst also reaping the SEO benefits.
Does the user struggle with your content?
Essentially, good content comes down to how easily the user can manage on your website and find their answers as quickly, and as smoothly, as possible. If your content is a nightmare to wade through and the pages are not user-friendly, you are likely to suffer. Indeed, Google will pick up signs of sites that are not user-friendly, and you may be punished in SEO terms.
Likewise, a page that is overloaded with images, or simply takes forever to load can be equated to bad content. There’s no point in writing a masterpiece if nobody sticks around long enough to actually read it. In 2017, it is unacceptable for a page to take a long time to load, and users will simply move on if the information they were hoping to get doesn’t come up in time. This will also do considerable damage to your search ranking.
Keep it original
If you are focusing on strong SEO in your efforts to climb up the search results rankings, then you need to ensure your content is fresh. There are few things worse than repeated or duplicate content; both for your SEO and for your readers and users.
By rehashing the same old pieces time and again, you run the risk of being labelled as boring and unoriginal; not a good look for a website in anyone’s book. Meanwhile, if you think you can get away with lifting from someone else’s site, think again!
Google appreciates the time and effort that users put in to making original content, and will come down hard on those who copy. It doesn’t even need to be blatant, algorithms can pick up on similarities, even unintentional ones, and will punish those who plagiarise.
Don’t overdo it with keywords
We’ve all heard it before; keywords are imperative to strong content and SEO. But what if you are overdoing it? There is a real risk of being tempted into filling content with keywords, defeating the objective. In the past, a few keywords dropped in the right places would let people searching for a topic come across your content.
However, stuffing keywords into every paragraph, heading, or in extreme cases, sentence, just makes it a chore to read and ruins the piece for the reader. After all, the key to good content is ensuring a user-friendly experience, and you can’t have that with the same obvious words popping up every other line.