Raise your hand if you’ve heard the mantra “content is king.” We’ve said it before — along with everyone else in the SEOsphere over the past several years — so your hand should be in the air. It’s true: search engines like sites with content. According to Stoney deGeyter, who recently contributed to Search Engine Journal, “content is how [search engines] determine what each page is about. Content is the meat of the web. Without content, there is nothing.”
But, how do you know if your content is good enough? How do you know if you’re committing the SEO sin of having thin content?
Thin used to be in
Once upon a time, many websites pushed out content for the sole purpose of ranking. A lot of businesses incorporated blogging into their online marketing strategies to keep their content current and their sites frequently crawled by Google. The name of the SEO game was quantity over quality, which resulted in content producers garnering lots of traffic and, therefore, revenue. Was the content good, though? Was it original, informative, accurate, and reputable? Were visitors finding the content valuable? In most cases, no. And Google knew it.
So, Google launched algorithm updates — including Penguin — to target and ultimately penalize sites with thin and otherwise lacking content. As we discussed last week, a huge number of websites — many of them small businesses — that relied on the power of self-made links saw a drastic drop in rankings as a result. Penguin did exactly what Google intended it to do: make room in SERPs for sites that produced high-quality content.
Now it’s a sin
The name of today’s SEO game when it comes to content is quality over quantity. Don’t get us wrong; it’s still super important to Google that you keep your website content fresh with consistent updates (on a blog, for example), but the quality of the content you produce is what matters most to search engines and — more importantly — to your users. It should be your goal to become the authority on your subject matter. So, if you’re a periodontist in Des Moines, Iowa, your content should help you build that expert reputation online. As deGeyter says, “that’s hard to do when you produce content that isn’t worth much. Think of your content as an extension of your reputation. Good content improves your reputation. Junk content reduces your reputation. Better content is more likely to get noticed, linked and produce business.”
As an online marketer (or someone who pays for online marketing/SEO services), it’s easy to get caught up in worrying about what algorithm update is on the horizon. SEO trends and ranking criteria change (anyone remember when keyword stuffing was okay?), so your best bet for ongoing success is to produce high-quality, authoritative, consistent, optimized (yes, keywords are still relevant) content to build your web presence and online reputation. Provide value, and your visitors will notice.