Having a web presence is an absolute must in this day and age. Every respectable company has a website up, at least a portfolio and countless social media pages. This isn’t anything new – we live in the technological age and we’re all used to the internet. Simply put, it has become an integral part of our lives.
It has changed the way we live in a monumental, yet simple way – everyone has all the information in this world at their fingertips. This is the reason we use the internet to inform, educate and entertain ourselves. Whether we need to get our car fixed or book a flight, we do it online. All you have to do is type whatever it is that you’re looking for in Google’s search bar and you’re done. This has also impacted the way we conduct business and advertise our products and services.
Ideally, if you were a business owner, for example if you were a car mechanic based in Brooklyn New York, you’d want your website to pop up at the top of Google’s search results when someone types in: “auto repair Brooklyn” or something similar. This would bring that person directly to your shop, you’d have their business and make money.
So, what’s the catch?
The catch is – every mechanic wants their website to rank at the top of Google’s search results. The competition is fierce. Google’s sophisticated software uses a set of algorithms to determine whether your website deserves to be at the top and what matters the most to Google is – you guessed it, website content. The relationship between businesses, websites, search engines and website content is explained below.
SEO, SEM and Content
SEO or search engine optimization is, by definition: “The process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results.” Google or rather Googles algorithms, determine the value of a certain website. The term value is, in this case, used to describe the relevance and the accuracy of a certain webpage, in relation to the searchers query.
SEM or search engine marketing is, simply put, a form of internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in a search engine’s results pages. In fact, SEO can be considered a part of SEM.
Why does this matter and why should the average small business owner care about website content?
Website content is the number 1 ranking factor for search engines and, of course, website content is what turns a potential customer, looking for a service or a product, into a customer. If the content is well-written, compelling, informative and concise the chances of that happening are much higher. Obviously, content is not the only search ranking factor Google considers, but it is the most important one. However, the fact that more people will find your website through search engines is only one of the benefits of having high quality content on your website.
Images, videos, infographics are also considered website content and even though written content is what matters the most, in the eyes of a search engine at least, user engagement is very dependent on other forms of content. Asserting yourself as an expert within the industry, via written content is great and can help the website visitor make up their mind whether they want to do business with you, but even well-written expert texts don’t go a long way unless they are:
What inexperienced website owners often underestimate is the shareability of the content. Social media creates hype. Even on a micro level (we can go back to our Brooklyn car mechanic example), social media simply matter. Not only because search engines tend to take “social signals” into consideration, but because social media websites are the perfect avenue for building an active, engaged fan base. And what does the popularity of your website on social media depend on? Content. High quality content that users are willing to share and engage with. But, we’ll get to that (in more detail) in another article.