It’s been now more than 8 years (it’s 2012 now) since I’ve been writing content for various websites, and I still feel most webmasters do not consider content as important as the layout of the website. It’s evident from the way they want to pay measly for the content writing services, and sometimes don’t even deem it fit to pay even if the content writer has delivered the work.
This reminds me of the days when people used to have websites just for the heck of it — “it’s a silly thing, but my client abroad wants to see it,” a client told me once about his need to have a website for his export company.
Content writing is at its nascent state. The situation is not as daunting as it was a year ago. I get to work with clients who really understand and appreciate the significance of the written word on their websites, and hence, are eager to pay good for it. They know the expense is justified considering the return they are going to get.
This is what Frederick Turner thinks of content — The substantive or meaningful part: "The brain is hungry not for method but for content, especially content which contains generalizations that are powerful, precise, and explicit."
Content is the meat of your website due to the following reasons:
The more they read, the more they trust
When a visitor comes to your website, unless she really knows you, she is full of apprehensions, and it is so natural. No matter how cool your website is, the crux of the matter is, it is faceless and silent. It’s like arriving at a super-age spaceship that has no humans in it. Only your words can allay her doubts, only your words can convey that you are a real person, only your words can explain to her what you are selling and why it would be good for her to purchase what you are selling. Your words comfort her and sooth her. On whichever page she is, she gets to read something that answers one or the other question she might be having. It feels good when you get answers to your questions, doesn’t it?
The more she reads, the more she knows about you and your organization. The familiarity ushers a comfort (it also breeds contempt but that’s an entirely different issue) level. Even if she doesn’t buy, she remembers. I have a personal experience: a few months ago I visited someone’s website by chance. I think I was led to his website by some search engine result. Although he wasn’t offering what I was looking for, I loved the way he had written (or got it written, whatever) the content of his main landing page, and although at that moment I didn’t need to be there, I read the entire thing. After a few weeks another search led me to his website, and this time he was selling something that I didn’t need immediately, but may need, in the future. I remembered loving what he had written, and I also liked what I was reading currently. He seemed to be a nice, trusting person. He seemed to be in possession of lots of knowledge and wisdom. His words said he was going to be around for a long time. I bought the product. His content sold me something I didn’t even need at that time (I still haven’t used that thing but don’t regret buying it).
Words have been one of the greatest inventions of the human race. One should use them optimally.
Search Engines look for content
If you have noticed, recently your search results have been improving when you look for terms on Google, Yahoo! etc. The search engine algorithms are putting more and more emphasis on the relevancy of the written content of your website. This is a step in the right direction both for the search engine robots and for the human beings. After all, if you are searching for a specific term or a key phrase, you need information specific to that keyword. You don’t need unnecessary pages coming at the top. If a website contains lots of good content that talks about your search keywords, it is going to be rated higher. So if you sell shoes and your website has lots of content regarding shoes, your website is going to be ranked higher than, let us say, even Adidas for that matter. It’s like democracy at its fullest glory.
The more keywords-centric content you have, the better is your chance of getting a higher ranking once a search is conducted by your prospective customer or client.
Lots of interlinking
Lots of pages having good content on your website mean lots of good pages linking back to your main page. You already know it is important that pages having good content link back to your main page. The search engines think, and rightly so, that if pages having good content link back to your website, then your website must be relevant. Also, if your page has some useful information, other webmasters too put that page’s link on their websites. Soon you have this massive interlinked network.
In the end I would say, it’s not about having lots of content, it’s about having relevant content. If you have relevant, optimized and well-meaning textual content; your visitors read it, the search engines find it, and the webmasters link to it. If the content is not good, your visitors don’t read it, the search engines can’t make out what you’re trying to say and hence ignore it, and the webmasters don’t link back to it. It’s such a simple logic.