Content is king never a truer word has been spoken on the Internet as this.
As many of you may know I live with the gift of dyslexia and to be honest it probably helped me along the way to learn how the Internet worked. Back in the mid 90’s I remember being so proud when showing my client that if you search for the keyword “acommodation” It was number one in Alta Vista search engine (Before Google). I was a master of it or so I thought! My client would kindly say Danny you’ve made a spelling mistake accommodation has two c’s!
Capitalising in on spelling mistakes errors has way gone, however at the time there was a percentage of people that also didn’t know how to spell things correctly so often having spelling mistakes in the content wasn’t as bad as it looked, Well maybe it was to the spelling Nazis who gave me a lot of criticism for my cunning plan but this was what the Internet was all about. At that time pushing things to the limits to keep my clients on the top of the search results and I was good at it regardless of the things I learned along the way!!
Another quick story, when I was marketing the adventure sport Bungy Jumping, I used to ask people how to spell bungee. I normally will get three different ways Bungee, Bungy and Bungi. Another example was promoting place names a lot of people would spell Christchurch/CHCH Auckland/Auk/Akl and you will get different results for people who are searching lowercase, all CAPS or Capitalised words. So if you let me write your website content, you would get a multicoloured rug which may not necessarily be the most professional look, but I would guarantee that would out rank the anally written content and to be honest no one reads anyway (search engines read it all). Okay just because I’ve never read a book in my life that statement may not necessarily be true!
So why is content king?
Because 90% of what search engines index and bring up in the search results is words. Therefore, the better the wordsmith you are, the more chances that you will display in the search results and somebody will click on your listing. If you walked into a library and asked the librarian to get you a book on “Rental Cars” she would deliver thousands of them. You would be asked to be more specific and this is where content rules, so you might say Rental Car Christchurch Airport. So if you had a page on your website that talked about how you offer a courtesy vehicle picking up people and dropping them off from Christchurch Airport, it would be more likely for the librarian to give you a book on that. So having an information based website like “New Zealand’s Information Network” certainly was a big advantage for me and maybe still for you as you need to think outside the square.
Every part of your website should be re-named to the type of business you are promoting when you are saving the file or page names. Re-name as many parts of the webpage as you can i.e if you are promoting a Christchurch Accommodation provider, then I would have every image for the website called Christchurch-Accommodation-01.jpg, Christchurch-Accommodation-02.jpg etc. You will also need to add ALT tags (The words that pop up when you hold your mouse over an image) “Christchurch Accommodation” this is more about SEO so I will post a blog about that soon. Did you know you can upload an image to Google and Google can find all the other places that this image has been used. Using ‘original’ images taken by a professional photographer will make your website more authentic to Google, rather than using Royalty Free content.
Back to the content, another competitive advantage is cross referencing to research before you start to find out your number one phrase for your business. Look at your competitors and do at least 50 or 100 searches for people in the same industry as you. Are you searching for what you want to come up or for? Somebody who doesn’t know about your product or service won’t find you because the results are going to be different.
One of my own sayings is “Market what you do, NOT who you are” and the same is true with your content. Having unique and normal well written content is king. If you are trying to get instant traffic find what is trending on the Internet and write about that. Trending means you are fishing in a school of fish. If you have a lot of content associated with your industry already online, when a trending topic hits the media you will get traffic instantly, so keep your content balanced and relevant to your industry.
Also, the other one that I won’t bore you with too much, is what platform you build your website on. Search engines are constantly monitoring the structure of WordPress, Shopify, Wix and Square Space and the like. My one-of-a-kind tourism website consisted of 15,000 pages and they were all handwritten and in plain HTML code. This is very unique to the Internet and my web pages used to rank highly and load lightening fast, however they were not very user-friendly for a client to have control over like the website content system. My clients would always be badgering me for access to my web server, hence why I moved to using content management systems, and the reality that 3% of my clients would have a go at editing the website without me. Incidentally I found by moving my large travel network to a content management system platform it killed my traffic, however I had to move with the times and adopt practices of my competitors who were slowly winning over my clientele.
Design vs Content
I have always been having a tug-of-war with graphic designers and website designers. Hey did you know, I also love beautiful graphics and clean simple looking websites, but the search engines can not see them and you will not come up in the results when people are searching for what you do. In my opinion all websites need to accommodate lots of content and the most important page is your homepage, as it is the page at the top of the pyramid. More content the better, hands down everyday!! The alternative is to throw money at it or rely on the strength of your brand.
My recommendation is that you get a brand developer to do logos, slogans, catchphrases and colour schemes for all your advertising at the same time. Give this content to a website developer and let them pick through what they can use. A good brand developer will give you a PDF with multiple options. Square images, rectangle images, icons, black backgrounds, white backgrounds for different purposes and social media platforms that you will use to do your marketing. You can get a royalty free logo off the Internet in minutes and replace it when money allows. If you have the budget get a good brand developer from day one, this will save you so much time in energy and professionalism. However, don’t let the Graphic Designer get involved with your website development, it’s not their job.
In conclusion, it’s not about the design. I’ve seen some of the crappiest looking websites deliver amazing results, it’s about content. Think about the wording that you’re using on your website, as words are everything to the search engines, or you will be paying for your website traffic for the rest of your life. Why would you do this when there is still free organic traffic out there!