10 Years Later, It’s Still About The Content
Ian Lurie Dec 12 2008
Search engines have dominated the internet scene for at least 10 years now. And there’s still only one totally reliable way to gain quality rankings that will truly last: Content.
You can build links, send out press releases, spam blog comments and attempt to game the search algorithms to your heart’s content. None of it matters if you have a 5-page web site.
Sites with lots of quality content continue to dominate the rankings. Sites without crawlable text content continue to struggle.
Most important, search engines still base their rankings primarily on the text they find on your site.
So make sure that:
- Your site has at least as many pages of crawlable content – content that you can cut-and-paste from your browser into MS Word – as your competitors.
- You stick to the basic tenets of quality SEO copywriting. Write using a solid semantic structure, and use good link text.
- You write every day. I’m sorry, but this is the only way to produce good content. You must add to and update your site steadily and often. Daily is best. Weekly is OK. Monthly is not enough. Annually means you should find another job.
- You are patient. If you add 10 pages to your site this month, you’ll see most of the effect of those additions a few months down the line.
You write with your customer – not search engines – in mind. If you write for search engines you may gain a high ranking, but you’ll fail to qualify most new customers. So traffic growth might not mean sales growth.
- Everything you write is unique. Duplicate content may earn you the search engines’ cold shoulder. Be sure whatever you put on your site cannot be found elsewhere on the internet. There are exceptions to this rule, but 99% of the time it holds true.
- If you can’t do your own copywriting hire a professional to do it for you.
- Writing is one of the top priorities in your budget and/or plans for the year.
Case in point: One of our clients has consistently added 2-3 new articles per week to their web site. They’ve been in the top 5 for their industry’s most competitive terms for over 2 years. While their rankings may bounce up and down, they stay in that top 5 range. The constant growth in onsite content helps them maintain those rankings.
Content still matters. It will probably matter 20 years from now. So don’t neglect your site’s copywriting while dedicating hours or days to your site’s design. You need to balance your time and make sure your site content gets the attention it deserves.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He is co-author of the 2nd edition of the Web Marketing All-In-One for Dummies and wrote the sections on SEO, blogging, social media and web analytics. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. And, Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Read More