Let’s run some scenarios where the concept of web site “content” is transferred onto the real world. Indulge me on this because it will help you to understand SEO Content from a little different perspective by the time we’re done.
Retail Scenario 1 – No Product Content
Imagine you are approached at a retail store by a salesperson asking what you are shopping for, and after you answer, they respond in sentence fragments made up mostly of brands, product names, sizes, colors and prices. This is great if you know precisely what you want and came to that store because they specialize in that category. However, that salesperson is nearly useless if they are unable to offer details beyond those listed above. They respond, “I dunno” and have literally nothing to say to your nuanced questions. Imagine there are no signs, labels, or product tags with further detailed information. You are less likely to purchase when there are unanswered questions. This is the experience on many retail web sites.
Retail Scenario 2 – Rich Product Content
Now imagine a store where you are able to ask the salesperson a detailed question and get direct, specific and clear answers to any question you might ask about everything you are shopping for. No question goes unanswered by the salesperson because they are very friendly and extremely knowledgeable about all the products in the store. In addition, you see large signs pointing to departments carrying more things you are shopping for. Each product is organized neatly by logical section, with materials, country of origin, warranty details, return policies all easily available from those knowledgeable salespersons. You are more likely to purchase when all questions are answered. This is the experience on search friendly web sites.
Travel Site Scenario 1 – No Destination Content
Imagine you are considering a vacation and speak with someone about where you’d like to visit, and they respond in half-sentences made up mostly of country, city, theme park names, airlines, hotels and prices. This is great if you know precisely what you want and are satisfied with available packaged pricing. However, that person is nearly useless if they are unable to offer details beyond those listed above. They respond, “I dunno” and have literally nothing to say to your nuanced questions. Imagine there are no brochures or further detailed info on local activities, weather, seasonality or quality ratings. You are less likely to purchase that vacation when there are unanswered questions. This is the experience on many travel web sites.
Travel Site Scenario 2 – Detailed Destination Content
Now imagine discussing detailed questions about this trip with an experienced person very knowledgeable on a chosen region and getting direct, specific and clear answers to queries on activities, accommodations or mode of travel questions you might ask about nearly every type of destination. No question goes unanswered by this world traveler because they are very friendly and extremely knowledgeable about almost every destination. In addition, you very easily relate to their experience with kids, food and local customs specific to your destination. Each and every detail is available from your knowledgeable travel person. You are more likely to purchase when all questions are answered. This is the experience on search friendly travel web sites.
We Need to Talk … What About?
Now let’s extend this a little for the two scenarios above mentioned retail and travel categories to include B2B service category as well as news and publishing sites with even richer detail offered in “How-To” articles, industry news, related human interest stories, topic pages, buying guides, infographics, video content, historical data, presentations, whitepapers, case studies are the equivalent of speaking with a smart, well-traveled, engaging and talented friend. If each of the entertaining and enlightening details available in the listed types of content were embodied in that friend – we’d enjoy our pal more and would know they’d be great to spend time with. This additional content can be offered through a blog on any type of site, serving nearly any business model. That content engages the audience with fun details, answers to questions and more human interest – which can then be shared via social media to engage more potential visitors.
What Does He Think of Me? (Google as a Friend)
Here, I’ll compare a know-nothing “I dunno” site scenario to one where it is so compatible with you that they can nearly (auto)-complete your sentences for you. On those sites without significant content, search engines understand that there is nothing to offer in answer to most long-tail search queries about your business. Someone who types a search query into Google about your service has no hope of finding your web site if you haven’t offered rich detail on that specific search query topic in a search-friendly way. If your site is a know-nothing “I dunno” site. Then Google certainly won’t send any search traffic. Google understands your site has a character flaw – an inability to communicate. However, if you offer richly detailed descriptive copy, on well-structured, technically strong, search-friendly sites – Google is far more likely to reward that well expressed content with search referral traffic.
Be interesting, be funny, be knowledgeable and you’ll get search traffic. Be dull, simplistic, empty-headed and use lots of white-space – and you’ll get none.
Mike Valentine offers Retail, News and Publishing SEO to Enterprise & Start-up Businesses