It was Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates who first coined the phrase ‘content is king’ in January 1996, via an essay he wrote on the Microsoft website. That his point still stands 26 years later, and given the rapid development of the internet and search engine technology since then, suggests it will still be the case for a long time yet. Quality content is crucial to the success of marketing your business online. Whether your ‘content’ is copy, images or video it is arguably more important than your website’s navigation, layout, loading speed and maybe even your products or services, because without good content on your website, none of this will be seen.
So how do you ensure your content is the best it can be and is working as well as it can for your business?
1) Target content to your customer
This might sound obvious but to fully engage a visiting customer they need to be seeing something that interests them. So first of all you need to know and understand your target customer. But equally, don’t be afraid to get creative with your content. If you know your target demographic well then you should know what else will interest them. You can veer off towards relatable topics away from your specific product and service if it will interest them, and this makes your content more sharable and more likely to gain new traffic.
2) Content must have value
Because there is now so much more information readily available to people, this means your target audience is generally more educated on the type of product/service you offer. As a result, your content needs to offer something new, something tangible, something interesting or something original. If you are just posting aggressive PR or overly-sales content people will quickly skip over your content and go elsewhere. Equally, you need to go for quality over quantity. Posting lots of average and meaningless articles for the sake of it is effectively spam or junk mail, and search engines won’t like that. You have to pay for quality and therefore you get what you pay for. One very good article on your site is much better than having ten poor ones, and a good article will effectively pay for itself. Content only becomes costly when it is poor quality and is damaging your business.
3) Add content regularly
You will achieve better SEO results from posting content regularly, but of course bearing in mind that this needs to be good content. People will return to your site expecting something new if you frequently refresh it with good content, and so this creates organic traffic while keeping the site fresh also.
4) Vary the content
This is not so much varying the subject matter or theme of the content but more the mechanics of it. So posting articles of varying length or style keeps the content more natural and less formulaic. You can post blog articles, interviews, short posts/thoughts, competitions, press releases or product information. As long as it is all original, useful and engaging, mixing up content will go down well with search engines.
5) Use links
Adding internal links around anchor text is very good for SEO because search engines look for user behaviour when people are on a site, and so if visitors are clicking between other pages on your site, then this will be met more favourably in your rankings. Equally, if you add external links to encourage additional reading – either around keywords and anchor text, or at the end of articles – then this works well for SEO also. Adding external links helps with building authority, but also shows that you are helpful and confident and not so precious that you can’t promote an external site, this reflects well on you and your business.
6) Stick to a theme
Variation in your content is good but be careful to stick to your central theme. Search engines will rank you higher if there is a consistent theme which makes you more visible and easy to find. It is known as ‘theme bleeding’ if your sub-themes mix together and mean that you lose visibility.
7) Use social media
Like it or not social media can be very useful in boosting your search engine rankings, so make posts promoting and linking to your content whenever something new is added to your site. And encourage readers to like, follow or share your content. This will boost traffic but it also helps with customer loyalty and building a community of people who value your content.
8) Include conversion tactics
Ultimately, you want content to help with the conversion of engagement into sales. So while you might have posted a really interesting article based around the theme of your product or service and it is valuable content in itself, don’t be afraid to include a call-to-action at the end. People still need encouragement to take the final step and make a purchase, so add a line giving them a nudge and include a link or a button to make it even easier.
Content is still king and it is still the best way for you to connect to your customers. There are many ways to do this, and certainly, since Bill Gates first came up with the phrase, these have become much more sophisticated. But content gives you authority and visibility and ultimately improves your brand recognition, so following these steps and getting it right is a major tool with which you can improve the success of your website and business. And if you need any further help with the importance of content or with your web design or brand identity, then get in touch with Rebus today and our professional expertise can help you.