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Quality content is the most powerful SEO factor: Google says so!

Content strategy notesAre you spending a large chunk of your budget on SEO and as little as possible on content creation? You might want to rethink that in 2013, and instead invest in developing a content strategy and engaging good copywriters. SEO isn’t dead, but it’s certainly changed. Here is all the evidence you need that quality content is the most powerful SEO tool available to you.

Google says so

You’d have to be silly not to listen to Google on the subject of content creation and SEO. So let’s take a quick look at what they have to say.

On page 14 of their publication The Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, they open the chapter on content with the telling statement:

“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here.”

On the Google Webmasters site you’ll find an article containing tips on creating Google friendly sites. The first one opens with:

“Provide high quality content on your pages…”

In a 2011 post on the Webmaster Central Blog, Google offered a great deal of information on their definition of a high quality website and on what constitutes quality content. The post discusses the aim of the site quality algorithm Panda, and while they state that they are not listing the ranking signals, they do provide a list of 23 points to provide “guidance” on how Google looks at content. You’d have to assume there is a healthy correlation between what the algorithms aim to detect and the list of factors Google believes define quality content.

Summarising the guidance on what constitutes good content, it’s fair to say that Google wants to provide searchers with content that:

  • Is substantial and specific, rather than short and shallow
  • Has been well written and edited – and is without spelling, stylistic and factual errors
  • Offers an insight, rather than simply stating the obvious (or the often repeated)
  • Is of a similar quality to that required by a printed publication

Is good content all you need?

It could be – if you already understand how search keywords work, and how to create content that will be read and shared. If you don’t, then it’s likely you’ll need assistance from someone who understands SEO and can assist you with content strategy. These days, that could be a digital marketer, a good SEO copywriting service, a social media manager, a content strategist, or an SEO service. In the new content-focussed environment, these services are beginning to overlap in what they offer – SEO copywriting services might offer keyword research and social media assistance, and SEO services often arrange content creation and manage social media platforms for their clients.

Invest in content creation – link building based on good content will reign

If you have some spare time today, you might like to listen to this video discussion on the future of link building by the folks from Distilled SEO in the UK. They predict that links you can arrange yourself will have little or no value, while those gained by publishing great content will reign. Another interesting prediction is that companies will now begin to shift some spending emphasis to content creation, and will be more willing than they have been to pay for high quality copywriting services.

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Does your business need a new content strategy?

Do you feel that you’ve missed the mark with your website and social media content? Don’t panic – but do take urgent action.

It takes time to build content credibility, so start now if you haven’t already done so. Some of your competitors may be ahead of you, but the chances are many others won’t ‘get it’ for some time – and by the time they do, you could be well ahead of them.

What you may need to do is go back to basics and develop a content strategy from the ground up. You might need professional assistance to do this, but it’s a one-off investment (although like all business strategies you’ll want to review it periodically). Once you have a good strategy you can begin to plan the content you’ll need, find suitable SEO copywriters to create it, replace unsuitable content, and start to roll out your new plan.

A quick word about Google+

At this time, only a small percentage of businesses that use social media have taken to Google+. If you aren’t among them, it’s time to reconsider. The fact is that author credibility seems set to become a major factor in having content appear prominently in the search results. ‘Authorship’ is very much tied to Google+ at the moment, and the search results are equally well tied to Google. Enough said! Don’t be deterred if you’re not much of a writer – you can still become an author by engaging content writers to create material for you.

Start with a free website content analysis

If you’re not quite sure how to begin improving your content, why not start by ordering our 2 free reports? You’ll receive an analysis of your existing content from us, and an SEO site analysis courtesy of SEO for Small Business. Both reports will contain a list of recommendations for improvement. To arrange your reports, simply go to our free content reports page and send us your details.