June 22, 2009
Content has always been important. But we’re at a critical stage in Internet history right now where content is more important than ever. In fact, if you are not producing high quality, original content on a regular basis right this very moment then you could see yourself lose a gradual decline of market share in your niche in the next couple of years.
Factors That Influence Content Value
When it comes to content value, there are a number of factors that influence where you stand in the competitive line up. There’s more to it than merely adding keywords to a page of content targeted toward a specific audience. That worked in the early days of the Internet, and for some marketers it worked like a charm. It works much less today.
Today’s readers are more sophisticated than they were ten years ago, or even five years ago. Online content readers today want an experience, not just information. And it’s up to you to bring that to them. Here are five factors that drive content value in the eyes of your readers:
- Originality – Original content will always win out over rehashed mash. Make it original and you’ll win readers every time.
- Relevance – Readers want content that is relevant to them, not generic fluff.
- Timing – Your content has to hit at the right time.
- Economics – The economy matters. This past year has proven that. The real estate industry took a big hit. Other industries aren’t doing too bad. The economy influences buying decisions and it influences who reads your content as well.
- Approach – How you approach your readership matters. If you’re too aggressive you can drive them away. Not aggressive enough and you won’t make any sales. Do it just right and you’ll be a happy camper.
Content Isn’t Just In Kansas Any More
In 1995 content factors were much simpler. Today, it’s a lot more complex. You have more options. And how you mix and match your options could mean the life or death of your business. Unlike ten years ago, content isn’t just a reference to the words on your web page. It can also mean other things:
- Video Content
- Podcasts or other audio files
- RSS feeds
- Widgets and gadgets
- Interactive games
- Forums and group chat
- Social profiles
- Even advertising content
Building a content-rich site is often an exercise in multimedia entertainment, even if you are selling a service or providing information. No longer are webmasters concerned only with writing keyword-rich content that rises to the top of the search engines. Today, you’ve got to provide a total user experience that keeps visitors coming back to your site over and over and over again until they finally decide to buy from you.
There’s More Content, More Readers, And More Competition
There is a lot more content today than there was fifteen, or ten, or even five years ago. And a lot more competition too. Most of your competition is better versed in the nuances of SEO and search engine marketing. The teachers have done a good job of keeping everyone informed. And because the search engines only have ten spots available on page one for any given search result at any given time, your window of success is quite small. Relatively smaller, in fact, than it was ten years ago. But the demands of readers haven’t changed. If anything, they’ve gotten stricter. Readers, and website visitors in general, have higher expectations.
It is these expectations that are driving the train of search, not algorithms. You can rank No. 1 for every important keyword to your business and that won’t keep visitors coming back again. You may pick up unique visitors, but few people make a purchase on the first visit to a website. That’s why your content has to be top-notch. If your content doesn’t strike a chord with your site visitors in at least three of the five important content factors above then they won’t stick around and they likely won’t return either.
The more reasons you can give your site visitors to come to your site and stay on it the more likely they will buy from you. But the fight for readers, and buyers, is more than just a fight for keywords and rankings. It’s a fight for respect and authority, which begins – and ends – with content.