Why Content is King

Real substance makes all the difference! We all need back-links to our sites and the best way to get them is to entice other site owners to link to us — human beings who admire our thoughts and want to share them.  The search engines are also pretty darn good at telling when it’s genuine and when it’s faked.  And they get better at it all the time. The search engines also know when we have original content.  Quite often, it just makes sense to put your time and energy into doing the real-deal. 

As a seventeen-year-old boy, my son, who loved go-karts, went into business with his dad selling parts that would keep go-karts running for a brand that had just gone under.  He spent endless hours writing articles, FAQs,  that answered customer’s common questions on how to install this, how to install that.  At the end of the day, he’d written an article that Google considers definitive on how to tune a two-stroke engine.  It’s still coming up #1.  Needless to say, he’s never spent a dime on internet advertising and his business, Buggy Depot, has generated over $17M in sales in the past 13 years.  

There is also the factor that the search engines can tell how long people are on your site.  If your site doesn’t have the real goods, people bounce off.  Build your site for real people, tell them what they’re trying to find out.  Make it easy for them to buy your product.  That’s what works in the end, not finding ways to keyword stuff your content, thinking it’s going to bring you traffic. 

Make your content readable.  You can install Yoast’s free SEO plugin onto your wordpress site and it will flag you if your content is not readable.  I tend to write unnecessarily long sentences.  Letting Yoast discipline me in this way has only made me a better writer.   

Also, remember that people don’t read websites as much as they scan websites.  Format your content with lots of headers, lots of images, lots of ‘buttons’ that will lead people where they’re wanting to go.  KISS.   Keep It Simple Stupid.  We want no unnecesary clicks, no searching.  It should just BE THERE.  Easy as pie.   The rule of thumb is that anything you’re “selling” (literally or figuratively) should be accessible with no more than three clicks.

Lots of headers are also great for your search engine optimization.  What you have in your headers, your h1, h2, h3, h4’s is telling the engines what your page is about.  Use them wisely.  It can make it challenging for the quality of your ‘prose,’  it promotes redundancy, you have to relax a bit on that esthetic, but only go so far.  Remember, you are writing for PEOPLE first, not robots.

Make sure you use a very easy-to-read font, with a strong contrast between it and the background color.  It’s the ‘fashion’ currently to use larger fonts.  Form follows function.  Reading off a monitor or phone is much easier when the fonts are larger.  Not only are you looking ‘trendy,’ you are making your site more comprehensible.

Stay away from “Click here” links.  Instead, use “Buy your Big Blue Widget.”  Robots are programmed to note the words used for internal links.  Don’t blow the opportunity.  

Pay attention to your page speed.  Google’s Page Speed Insights will tell you, for free, how your page is doing.  If you’re using WordPress, it’s uploading of images will go a long way in re-sizing them for the internet.  You don’t want any more than 72dpi and an image more than 2000px is overkill.  Now that we have much faster page downloads and hosts with SSD hard drives it’s possible to use big luscious photos that might have been way too ‘heavy’ in the past.  It is still possible to overdo it.  Let Google advise you and you won’t go wrong.  

This is an ever-changing field and there’s always something new to explore, but if you follow these ‘classic’ concepts, you’ll go a long way in creating a successful, usable site.