What exactly is content? When it comes to a web page, content is the information that instructs, teaches, informs, amuses, or illuminates the people who view it. Content is thought of by many as text, but content also can take the form of images, video, graphs, charts and audio.

Good (optimized) content helps get your website ranked in Google searches, and it can turn visitors into buyers. So you want good content on your

web pages!

What Is Good Content?

The very opening of this article describes, in brief, what content is. But what is considered good content? Google describes good content as follows (more detail on this from Google here):

  • Make your site interesting and useful
  • Know what your readers want (and give it to them)
  • Act in a way that cultivates user trust
  • Make expertise and authoritativeness clear
  • Provide an appropriate amount of content for your subject

Good content isn't just cranked out — it's optimized. That means it follows the above Google recommendations for good content, and most importantly, it's audience-centric. That is, don't create content that is centered on what you want to talk about, but rather, create content that your audience wants to hear.

seo basics

Why Good Content Is Important

Good content can help with SEO. Google's goal is to display search results that are relevant, useful and interesting to the person who types a search phrase in Google's search bar. If your content is well-written (optimized), there's a greater chance that Google will consider it a good match for a Google user's query. Good content alone certainly won't guarantee that your web page will rank high in Google searches for any search terms, let alone the term or terms you're targeting, but it's helpful.

Good content gets shared. Poor content doesn't. If you write a compelling, useful post, there's a much, much greater chance that readers will share that post on their social media accounts. That sharing may not have any impact on your page rising in search results, but it may server to bring in traffic outside of Google searches. A visitor is a visitor, so you certainly don't want to consider Google as your only possible source of traffic.

There's one final, very important reason to create good content — a reason that has nothing to do with SEO or if and where your page ranks in search results. That reason is conversions. Getting traffic is your initial goal. But your ultimate goal is to convert that traffic from casual window shoppers to buyers. What good is it to have a thousand visitors, if none of those visitors actually spend money.

Compelling content holds a visitors interest, keeps them on your site, and convinces them that they don't just want what you're offering, they need what you're selling! Only having optimized content achieves that goal of turning visitors into buyers.

Creating Good Content

Website visitors have a short attention span. Studies have shown that the majority of visitors hang around for less than 15 seconds. Yikes! That's not much time to capture and hold a person's attention. That means your web page needs to lead off with compelling content. Right now, right away. Devote time and energy to getting your first few sentences just right. A summary is normally thought of as something that comes at the end of a presentation. For a web page, you want a great summary right off the bat.

After a quarter of a minute or so, people of course continue to say goodbye every second, but the rate of leaving slows down considerably after about a half minute or so. If you can hold a visitor's interest for 30 seconds, there's a good chance you'll keep that person on your page for much longer — perhaps for even a couple or a few minutes, which is practically forever in internet-time.

Knowing that even a visitor who got quickly hooked on your page is likely to stay for only a short time, you want to have your content well organized, concise but still informative, interesting, and with a good flow. The best way to achieve that is to develop an outline first, and then use that to generate your content.

Apply the concept of KISS to your web page. As in, Keep It Simple, Stupid. Break it down to small, easily digestible parcels of paragraphs that are mostly only one or two sentences each. Some paragraphs of a little longer length may be necessary, but in general keep it short. Use subheadings and images to further break up wording so you don't end up with one monolithic expanse of text.

Make sure your content is focused on one topic. If you need to cover several topics, that's what posts, or articles, are for. Create a separate post for separate topics.

Speaking of sticking to a single topic, one important aspect of writing content that is useful for visitors and contributes to ranking higher in Google search results is the appropriate inclusion of keywords within the content. A keyword is a word or phrase that you want a particular page to rank well for.

seo plan

If you want a web page on your site to rank well for widgets, then widgets is your keyword of interest. If you want that web page to rank well for buy big red widgets, then buy big red widgets is your keyword of interest. As an aside, perhaps keyphrase would be a more accurate and intuitive word to use, but in any case we're stuck with the universally used word keyword.

Including a keyword on your web page makes for good content because it makes it clear to a reader just what the web page is about. It also makes it clear to the Google web crawlers that visit your site just what the web page is about. Google needs to understand what a web page is about in order for Google to consider ranking it in the search terms you're hoping it ranks for.

A couple of considerations to keep in mind regarding the use of keywords in your content. While it may seem since the inclusion of a keyword on a web page is important, then multiple uses of that keyword on the page would be best. The more the merrier, so to speak. That's not necessarily true. Too liberal use of the same word or phrase within content is considered by Google to be keyword stuffing, and it will actually lower the value of the content (in Google's eyes).

So, with what frequency should a keyword appear on a page? There's no exact criteria, but a good way to determine this number is to read your content out loud and see if it sounds natural. It should sound like you'd expect to hear from a person talking about the topic. "Buying big red widgets at a reasonable price" sounds natural. "Buying big red widgets that are really big widgets and very red widgets" certainly does not.

One way to "kind of sort of" get your keyword into your content more often is to make use of Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI. In short, LSI involves finding hidden (latent) relationships between words (semantics) for the purpose of improving understanding of the information (indexing). In even shorter form, LSI means including synonyms for your keyword within your content.

People understand synonyms, and so does Google. The use of synonyms will make your content sound more natural then the overuse of an exact keyword, while still letting Google know just what your web page is about. For instance, instead of repeating "buy big red widgets" several times within an article, you could include the phrase once, and also mix in phrases such as "purchase large widgets that are red," "get widgets," and so forth. Again, just don't go overboard with the "widget" talk (assuming your web page is written with the intent of selling our vast supply of widgets).

Good content is vital to converting visitors to buyers, and it does play some role in helping your website rank in Google searches. Another factor — a very important factor — in ranking your website is the accumulation of backlinks. Getting other website to link back to your website. You can read about the importance of backlinks in ranking your website in the article FOR SEO, ARE BACKLINKS OR CONTENT KING?.

Make sure to devote time and effort to optimizing your site's content so that when visitors arrive, they buy. And to help get those visitors to your site in the first place, look into our SEO plans.