The phrase, “Content Is the King”, has been heard in every nook and corner of the SEO world. The phrase was first used by Bill Gates in an article by Bill Gates.
The purpose of content is simple, to give the information user needs. And it’s needless to say user-experience is Google’s priority. If user-experience is the crux of SERPs, should that make content the “king”?
This article debates on whether content really is the king in SEO.
Case 1: Web Crawlers Know What You Wrote
Once upon a time you could write a 300 word write-up, stuff it with keywords and post it on your website. Write a couple of more articles around the same keywords and Google would show your website on first SERP.
Over the years, these gullible bots that crawl websites grew smarter. They sift through your content and are capable of knowing if it is just stuffed with keywords or actually has relevant information.
The deal here is, not content, but great content is the king.
Google launched a search algorithm update RankBrain in 2015. How is that important for content strategists? With RankBrain, Google introduced artificial intelligence. This meant that the web crawlers no longer remained bots that followed a fixed set of mathematical instructions. This time, they could improve themselves.
Here’s more. Google gives massive consideration to user behavior when they are on your website. Here’s what Google observes when a user visits your website - How long did the user stay on your page? Did the user find outbound and inbound links on your page useful? Did the user interact with your various elements on your web page?
You might be great at building high authority backlinks and you may manage to rise atop the SERPs. If your content isn’t useful to the user, it won’t be long until Google notices it.
Case 2: Do users actually read what you write?
I wrote above, “Great Content Is the King”. It should be, but according to a study conducted by Microsoft, the attention span of an average human being on the internet is 8 seconds.
Do you think a person could manage to read your 8-sentence paragraph in 8 seconds? I, being a content writer myself do not have the patience to read long paragraphs unless it’s something that keeps me engaged.
The solution to this is – Titles, headings, subheadings, images, short paragraphs and short sentences. Simply put, most readers will skip a paragraph that is more than 3 sentences long.
Help the reader figure out whether a paragraph in your 2,500 word article is worth the read. Give a heading, not just a one-word heading, but a 5-6 word heading that tells what follows.
Users like reading articles that add to their knowledge. Giving insightful facts, their cause, and their predictions are an intelligent way to keep the article less opinionated and more informational.
That does not mean users don’t like reading opinion or advice-based articles. They do if they trust the writer or the website.
Case 3: Does Your Content Deserve to Be the King?
We have discussed what actually makes content great, but that’s not all there is to it. A successful SEO professional will tell you content and SEO go hand in hand. To make it to the top, your content should be -
- SEO optimized
- Built around keywords that people actually search for
- Written while taking care of on-page SEO.
There is a trend in the SEO world of writing long articles. It’s good for SEO because Google likes long pieces, it makes the user stick around longer, and gives all the information at one place and Google likes it when only one page can give all the information a user wants.
However, content shouldn’t be made longer for the sake of it. Each part of the content should provide some value.
If the content is epic, it automatically invites more shares and attracts links from other websites.
It’s important to have a content strategy based on which you publish content regularly. Again, it is worth noting that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to the number of posts.
Keep Expectations Realistic
Know that there are several factors that affect search engine ranking. Let’s say you wrote an excellent article on “coffee beans”. Would it rank overnight? It may take weeks or even months until Google realizes this article on your website is better than any other on the same.
This is where factors like link building, page authority and domain authority play an important role. High authority websites clinch the top spot in SERPs overnight, while new websites or low authority websites have a hard time.
The ideal way for low authority sites to rank higher is to aim for low competition keywords; build authority and links via Google-approved ways and hard work will eventually yield fruit.
To conclude, content sure is the king. Great content that is valuable to the user will eventually be a source of success for your website. But other ranking factors fasten the process of reaching the top by acting as a catalyst.