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Mark Jackson

The Golden Rule of SEO: Content is King

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If you’ve been around the search marketing block a few times, you’ve heard this statement more times than you can count. I know it sounds redundant, but until more companies do a better job at focusing on their Web site copy, it bears repeating. Well written content is important for three primary reasons:

  • Engages the reader
  • Increases search engine rankings and traffic
  • Promotes the likelihood of quality links from other sites

I’ve seen more than my share of companies who depend too heavily upon the weight and popularity of their brand to drive traffic to their site. Of course, it’s great that they have established their name or product in the minds of the public. But if you have one competitor who has done the same, and also provides quality written content on each page of their website, you’ve just lost a share of the market for no good reason.

We see well established companies make this mistake often on product pages. It’s not enough to post quality photos, a small blurb, and the pricing. In order for your intended audience to find your products and read your page versus your competitor’s, you need every page of your site to be focused on providing detailed, useful information that a customer would search for in the process of making a purchase/conversion decision.

Let’s take a brief look at each of the three primary benefits of quality content. Keep in mind that there are obviously other very important reasons (branding, for example) which we won’t have the room to cover here. I’ve chosen the three listed above because at the very least, your Web site needs to draw visitors through search engines, inform them of the amazing benefits you have to offer, and to encourage other webmasters and site content managers to consider your site to be an authority on a given subject. With search, attention to detail, and word of mouth, you have the beginnings of a successful Web presence through copywriting.

Engage the Reader

Traditional marketers and copywriters frequently criticize search engine optimization companies for focusing so intently upon the keyword research and placement within the text that they sacrifice the art of truly engaging content. Granted, it can be delicate balance at times, but our ultimate goal with every written page is to entertain, inform, and entice the reader.

All the top search engine rankings in the world cannot make up for a page so hideous that no one stops to read or continue visiting the site. Basic copywriting classes and workshops are excellent places to get tips on how to keep the reader as the center of your focus and your writing. If copywriting doesn’t come naturally to you and outsourcing isn’t an option, visit CopyBlogger on the Web for copywriting tips or enroll in a local copywriting class or workshop (check your local community colleges and writer’s guilds).

Increase Search Engine Rankings and Traffic

Though there are plenty of phrases people still don’t search for, your chances of receiving organic search traffic increase exponentially, based upon the quality of your copy. For the interactive marketing company, it can feel like pulling teeth to convince some companies to seriously consider copy changes or additions to their site. Perhaps we, as an industry, need to do a better job of communicating the necessity, because quality content is absolutely critical to achieving top rankings for competitive phrases.

Pictures and graphics don’t equate into words, unless you’ve added the appropriate HTML tags to them. Even then, tags are no substitute for actual text in the body of your site.

Think of this way: each search engine is programmed and designed to crawl each site in a manner similar to a human. Information is stored and viewed as more or less important based upon what a human is most likely to consider important. You can have the best META tags in the world, but search engines reward Web pages where the tags match up with the page’s copy.

Promote the Likelihood of Quality Links

It’s a well known fact that quality links to your Web site are one of the most influential factors in determining search engine rank. The search engine knows to rank any of your pages as extremely important if many authoritative pages externally (and within your site) link to it.

Quality content affects both the quality and amount of inbound links. With the rise of social media sites including Digg, Reddit, De.licio.us, and Ma.gnolia, your site content is more important than ever. Your readers have the power to submit excerpts of your copy to these sites with links back to your page for all to see.

This is especially powerful for companies with the foresight to regularly produce articles, blogs, and press releases. This fresh content not only contributes to the optimization of your site, it also provides opportunities for exposure to (potentially) millions of readers on various social media sites. Some companies plan entire campaigns around the bursts of traffic received from social media links.

As always, I strongly recommend keyword research at the beginning of any copywriting endeavor for the Web. Know what words and phrases your intended readers are searching with, and craft well-written copy for each page. If your terminology is relevant and your style is easy to follow, you have achieved the most important, yet often overlooked foundational task of organic search optimization and marketing.


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