The phrase: “Content is King” is something that gets thrown around a lot in online marketing. Those three words are a simple attempt to encapsulate the importance creating a website that actually appeals to both Google and the casual customer.
Over the years, the definition of what constitutes “good” content has changed a lot. In the earliest days of online marketing, good content was all about using very specific keywords a very specific amount of times. This was called “keyword density” and was just one step up from “keyword stuffing.”
These days, either one of those behaviors is likely to annoy both Google and your website visitors.
Some people will tell you that long content is good content, and that every one of the pages on your website has to have a certain number of words in order to show the search engines that you have something important to say.
And then you’ll hear people warning you that content that only appears down below the fold of the webpage won’t have anywhere near the weight of the content that’s immediately visible. But who wants to fill the top half of your home page with a bunch of long paragraphs? That’s prime online real estate right there, and a big, long paragraph is unlikely to draw your visitors further in to the website.
So, in modern online marketing, what constitutes “good” content?
Well, “good” is always such a subjective term that it’s really hard to quantify. So that’s what you need to focus on for your website: content that provides quantifiable results. In other words, you can skip “good” and aim straight for “effective.”
How to Create Effective Content
You can spot effective content from a mile away because it will immediately answer 3 important questions:
- Where am I?
- What can I do here?
- Why should I do it?
We’ll take a look at these questions in basic terms here, but you can learn more about their importance here: http://www.marketingexperiments.com/
Where am I? – This would seem like an overly simple question, one that most companies assume has an obvious answer (especially if they’ve worked hard at their branding). However, you never know exactly how a visitor could arrive on your website. They could come through special landing pages for a paid campaign, they could randomly come across one of your blog posts, or someone could just send them a link.
This question isn’t necessarily about telling them that they have arrived on suchandsuchawebsite.com, but telling them that they have arrived at the location they expected.
What can I do here? – Again, this is one that a lot of businesses assume is obvious. They’re here to buy something or sign up for something, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always that clear. Your content should give them a direct path to the most desired action.
Why should I do it? – This is what makes you different from every other company. You may be selling the same products as someone else, but do you provide better customer service? Better shipping rates? Have you been at it longer? What makes you the right choice for these customers?
When you can answer these questions in a succinct, engaging way, you will have reached a level of effective content that will continue to encourage more customers to engage with your site.
A Note on Rich Media Content
While the written word is an extremely important part of online content, modern customers and search engines expect so much more. While it remains true that Google can’t “see” what an image actually is, it can see that it exists. And it knows that customers appreciate good, relevant images to go with their written content.
Rich media includes everything from images and infographics to videos and slide shows. In order to be really effective, though, these images should also be tailored to engage with your visitors and help answer the above questions.
Measuring Your Effectiveness
Online marketing is a particularly useful tool for businesses because it allows you to measure everything you do. When you create or add new content, you don’t have to just throw it out there and hope for the best. You don’t have to guess at which pages need the most help. All the information is available for you to see.
Make your changes and watch to see how your customers engage with the new content. Did it work? If yes, then great. (But don’t stop watching and looking for ways to make it even better.) If no, then go back in and see what else you can change to have a bigger impact.
Keep track of your numbers and keep looking for ways to answer those three questions for your website visitors, and you’ll start to see a lot more engagement, more sales, and more subscriptions.