Is Content Really King In Search Engine Optimization?
This is a guest post by Todd Baily of Webimax
Have you ever said a word so many times that it lost its meaning? Sometimes I feel like that’s the case with the search engine optimization phrase “content is king.” What does that even mean? Ask ten different people, and you’ll get ten different answers. But everyone’s saying it. So it has to mean something, right? Let’s get to the bottom of this. Let’s find out if content is really king or if it’s just another search engine optimization cliché.
In 1996, Bill Gates published an article with the following opening sentence: “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet.” He titled the article “Content is King.” Yes, that’s right, SEO marketers; Bill gates coined the phrase “content is king.” Maybe you knew that. Maybe you didn’t. But, either way, if it’s about the internet and Bill Gates is talking, I’d listen up. Heck, if it’s about anything and Bill Gates is talking, I’d probably listen up.
So, what did Mr. Gates mean by this? If I publish content, will the checks start rolling in? Well, yes and no.
Content and Search Engine Optimization
In one form or another, people use the internet to get information. And to get this information, most people turn to search engines. When they search for a keyword or keyword phrase, they expect to get relevant results. That’s what separates one search engine from the other—the relevance of their results.
In the early years of search engine optimization, webmasters would stuff their site with keywords so that they could obtain top ranks. However, as I’m sure you’re aware, search engine algorithms have grown wiser over the years. Now, for proper search engine optimization, sites need a balance between keyword-dense text and well-written, engaging content.
These days, search engines care about more than keyword density. They care about a site’s popularity. Are people talking about it? Are they linking to it? They care about the user experience. Are people staying on your site? If not, it’s not relevant. So, in that sense, websites need good content. Those sites that constantly upload original, well-written content are going to attract users. Sprinkle a few keywords and links in there, and you’ve mastered search engine optimization as far as content is concerned.
What’s a King without His Army?
Content may in fact be king. Without it, your site becomes irrelevant. It dies a slow search engine optimization death. But, content by itself is only so powerful. The best SEO copywriting in the world won’t mean squat if it’s loaded to a lame, poorly-built site. Your content needs an army behind it.
One of the major draws to Facebook was its simple design. It was coded correctly. It was easy to use. It caught people’s attention. Then, once people were there, its engaging—and mildly addicting—content kept them there, making it one of the most optimized sites on the internet.
So, going back, what does it mean when people say “content is king”? I like to take this somewhat literally. Look at your website as a nation. Your content provides direction. It’s your voice. Essentially, your content governs your site. It’s your king. However, backing your king is his army—coding, design, etc. Without his army, your king is useless. So, as for how it ties into search engine optimization, build your army, fine-tune your king, and rule the SERPs.