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Content – everybody wants it. SEOs that write blogs and articles on optimization push for it. Google says ranking is all about good, relevant, engaging content. So you think, “Sure. I can do that.” You start writing (or hire someone to write) pages upon pages of content, put it up on your site and wait for traffic to come rolling in… and nothing happens.
What gives? How come it’s not working? Is everyone full of it? Do we, as SEO service providers, not understand what the people and search engines really want? Most importantly, is content REALLY king?
Yes… yes it is. However, you may be getting mixed messages about what, exactly, content is. So let’s lay it out.
What IS Content?
If you look it up in the dictionary, content is described as:
Something contained, as in a receptacle. Often used in the plural: the contents of my desk drawer; the contents of an aerosol can.
Basically, this means “stuff”. So content is really nothing more than the “stuff” you put on your website.
The Many Types of Content
Where many optimizers go wrong in their helpful blogs and articles is putting an emphasis on written content. There are several types of content, and they can all be used to bring traffic to your website if you use them correctly.
- Written content – Yes, written content is the favorite form for SEOs, because search engines have no way of understand the content in images, videos or audio files. We push the written word, explaining how to write it for SEO and visitors, often to the extreme.
- Image content – Too many sites and blogs say, “don’t use images”. Instead, they should say, “don’t use just images”. If you use images as your sole source of content, you may end up with traffic and ranking issues. However, nothing says you can’t use images with the written word. Use the written word to support the images or vice versa. As well, a nifty ALT attribute can be added to any image to support the written word. While users can’t see it, search engines can. Therefore, if all you use is images for the visitor (rather than supporting the images with written content), using the supporting ALT attribute for the search engines.
- Video and audio content – There’s no doubt that video and audio content can enhance the visitor’s experience. For search engines, however, you might as well have a blank page with nothing more than navigation. If you keep in mind that you may have deaf individuals visiting your site, the fix becomes clear. Share the video for your hearing visitors, but also add a transcript for the hearing impaired. In this way, you make your site available to the hearing impaired and give the search engine crawlers something to crawl besides a few lines of video/audio code.
Unless something changes in the search engine algorithms to make it possible for crawlers to understand the content of a video, audio file or image and understand their relevance to a search term, written content will always be important. However, when adding content to your site, remember that it doesn’t all have to be written. There are choices and different methods to make your site attractive to both your visitors and the search engines!