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Content is King

Actually, hold that thought for just a moment. Content isn’t king. That is, content isn’t just king. It’s the king, the queen, the dukes and duchesses — heck, it’s the whole court.

Due to a major change in 2012, effectively marketing your business online from this point forward comes down to one thing and one thing only: high-quality content. That’s how you get your website ranked higher than your competitors, and that’s how you convert visitors into customers. Quality content is what makes your phone ring.

Are there other aspects? Of course. Determining the right keywords definitely matters. Focusing on the best avenues to market your products or services to motivated buyers definitely matters. But the flip side is that none of that will be a factor if it’s not built on a solid foundation of high-quality content.

Businesses that ignored this fact paid the price over the past year due to substantial changes in Google’s algorithms, among other considerations. The major search engines, especially Google (still by far the industry leader), are primarily focused these days on creating the best possible user experience. They’ve placed a greatly increased emphasis on highly ranking sites that clearly benefit their visitors.

Quality content creates conversions. Quality content is rewarded by high search engine rankings and increased traffic. Poor content, derivative content, generic content, cheap content — all of that will doom your site to irrelevancy. Sometimes it’s a slow death, and sometimes it all comes down in one swift strike, but either way, the way to ensure conversions and rankings from this point forward is great content.

In 2012, search engines fast to penalize — and penalize heavily — sites that provide little to the visitor and instead rely on shortcuts and low-quality content in an artificial attempt to drive traffic. Some of those tricks worked in the less sophisticated days of Internet marketing, but they don’t work anymore. They’re not just ineffective; they now play an active role in sinking your site rankings and driving away potential clientele. Sites with great content will rise like cream to the top; the others will get buried out of sight where potential customers will never see them.

Google didn’t get to be the industry leader by being dumb; it’s smart enough to tweak its algorithms regularly to reward truly beneficial sites. While site design is a significant factor in marketing your business to visitors, nothing right now is more important than content — by a big margin.

Of course, while text is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of content, there’s much more involved with that term. It also includes such elements as photos, graphics, and even videos.

Each of these aspects can go a long way in conveying a professional, trustworthy appearance to your customer and even improving your effectiveness with search engine rankings and Internet traffic in general. Using them in a complementary fashion allows you to tell your story and market your business in the most effective way possible.

Ultimately, though, the quality of the text itself — including headlines, descriptions, FAQs, and even photo captions — is the most critical factor in differentiating your site from those that shovel a bunch of poorly incorporated keywords into virtually unreadable copy.

You see this all the time, and it’s become a serious problem for the business owners who chose to go this low-quality shortcut route. Not only does it immediately turn off human visitors to the site, but these days it has a highly negative effect on search engine rankings, especially with the industry leader, Google.

The Google Panda and Penguin updates altered the company’s algorithms to penalize sites that go the substandard quality route. The algorithms are now highly tuned to seek out low-quality content intended to “fool” the rankings with dubious copy that provides human visitors little-to-no benefit.

With every update, these algorithms putting increasing emphasis on the relevancy of the written content of your site and how effective it is in promoting a beneficial customer service. (Yes, Google’s spiders are that good now: They can “read” the content and now just how good it is — or isn’t. And you really don’t want to be on the “isn’t” end of that equation.)

Creating content that satisfies both human visitors and search engine spiders is a tricky balance. If you choose to write your own content, be sure to keep both elements in mind.

If it’s missing critical SEO aspects, that can be devastating to your site’s traffic and its search rankings. However, if it goes too far the other way — being artificially packed with keyword phrases at the expense of solid, smart, customer-focused copy — that can be devastating to both your customer conversions and your search engine results.

If you don’t have time to write your own professional copy or don’t feel comfortable doing so on your own, we’re happy to recommend one of the best copywriters in the business.

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