SANTA MONICA, CA – At Master Google, we have gone so far as to say that quality content matters so much that our SEO efforts are nothing… without a WordPress Blog (or wp-content). The importance of great content is crucial to a successful business, according to Kari DePhillips, the owner of The Content Factory. DePhillips said that her standards are very detailed when it comes to the quality of work expected from the writers on her team. After all, good or average work is not work that will set your website apart from the masses.
Your writing is your website’s silent salesman, the face of your website, and it ultimately converts browsers into buyers, according to DePhillips. She pointed out that website copy is in fact the most important employee of The Content Factory, and arguably of every other business that has a website, whether they realize it or not.
“You want that salesman to be amazing, because it’s likely going to interact with more potential clients and customers on a daily basis than everyone at your entire company, combined,” DePhillips said. “Whether that employee helps or hinders your business is entirely up to your writer, and up to you as the ultimate editor of the content.”
With writing taking such prominence in the world of great content, it is important to raise the bar up to a very high standard and put rules and practices in place to make sure that the quality sustains itself over time, according to DePhillips. After all, content produced by your company speaks to your company louder than any other sales tool you have.
“There are a bunch of different factors that all add up to great content, and if you have just one or two missing, the content will be downgraded to good or average,” DePhillips said.
DePhillips shared the basic building blocks of great content as defined by her standards for the writers working at The Content Factory. The goal of following the standards provided in the list is ultimately maximizing linkability, which means a big potential spike in readership, according to DePhillips.
“If you wouldn’t share your content with your network, chances are pretty good that nobody else will want to, either. You want your content to be as sharable as possible, because it’s going to result in more likes, tweets, +1s [for Google+], and clicks to your website,” DePhillips said.
The Content Factory Standards for Great Content
- Extremely Catchy Title (preferably with a keyword): When your articles come up in Google search results pages, the title is almost all the reader has to go off of — and your article’s title is up against at least nine others on the page. If you rank #3 but your title is significantly better than #1 and #2, you’ll get more clicks. Titles really, really matter.
- Grabby First Sentence (also, preferably with a keyword): Internet users have ADD, whether they realize it or not. There are tons of shiny links to distract them and take them away from the page that you spent hours writing. So, you have to grab their interest and keep it — from the very first sentence. People usually figure out whether they want to read the rest of the article before they finish the first paragraph. If you make that first paragraph awesome, you’ll get ‘em hooked and they’ll keep reading (and you’ll see a spike in the time they spend on your site).
- Interesting, Funny or Informative Subject Matter: Before you come up with a must-click title or killer first sentence, you have to choose a subject to write about and figure out how you’re going to present the information. Nobody wants to read another iteration of what they’ve already seen a dozen times. If you don’t have new info to work with, you’ve got to be clever with how you present it. This goes a long way toward increasing the sharability of the article. These days, having people share your content should definitely be a top goal.
- Clean Copy: Did you really mean discreet when you said discrete? Was the wrong kind of they’re/their/there, your/you’re or it’s/its used? People who know better will be turned off by errors like that, and they definitely won’t want to pass the content on to a friend. Errors will silently kill your copy.
- Clean Formatting: The engineers, mathematicians and magicians at Google have trained the search engine to look for (and like) the same things that people like, so the content should be formatted appropriately. Don’t have 14-line long paragraphs, break up your copy with bold subheads and bulleted or numbered lists. The article should be organized in a logical way, and bolded subheads should be used as new ideas are introduced.
Great Content and SEO are Friends Not Foes
In a relatively recent blog post predicting the future of SEO, we quoted Richard J. Tofe’s article and his prediction about the end of SEO.
“Someday, the sun will set on SEO — and the business of news will be better for it,” Tofe said. “I look toward a future when search engine optimization has been rendered obsolete by advancing technology… [and] the implications for news.”
Tofe continued to say that placing a value on higher quality content and maintaining a committed readership and customer base would ultimately matter more than any other factors that most SEO companies have focused on. This is where Master Google differs from the rest, as quality content in regards to SEO has always been a big part of the mission of the company, according to Master Google’s CEO, Ali Husayni. Husayni understands that quality content is what provides longevity, not any kind of shortcut attempted by the use of black hat SEO techniques.
“While the role of SEO is constantly evolving, and there are those disreputable companies that may not survive, the use of SEO with quality Web content is solid,” Husayni said. “Google will always need white hat SEO, and is always going to be fighting black hat SEO.””
There is in fact an opportunity for SEO companies that maintain high standards of content and quality search results to get the recognition that they deserve for their clients, according to Husayni.
“If SEOs that practice higher standards rise to the top, and content farms and SEO companies that are low quality sink, that’s all right with us,” Husayni said.
DePhillips agrees with Husayni that there is great satisfaction in rising to the top of Google by producing quality work.
“There’s something really satisfying about taking ho-hum copy, throwing it out and building a new web presence from the ground up,” DePhillips said. “To me, there’s nothing cooler than when the client is thrilled with the content we’ve written and Google Analytics proves that it’s working significantly better than the old content.”