Does Quality Content Really Matter?

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Understanding Your Websites' Audience is Critical to Marketing Your Website

One of the most common beliefs held by many SEO experts is that content is king. I also hold this belief. However, as popular as the view is, I'm surprised at the amount of people involved in search marketing initiatives that discount website content as simply a means to an end – text that's essentially necessary to make the website appear 'professional.' In more than a few occasions I've had clients that practically refused to add content because they feel their site should communicate their message through its images and branding. Based on that premise, they want to focus on link building to improve their sites keyword rankings and landing page optimization to increase the sites conversion ratios.

So Does Website Content Really Matter?

This issue of which marketing initiative to approach, brings us to one of the most controversial subjects in the SEO industry – Content -vs- Links. I really try not to argue here because I find the question essentially to be parallel to asking if a cars transmission or engine is more important. The answer here should be self evident. However, it's not. In my humble opinion there's no right or wrong answer. I think the important question is really whether your website communicates the message required to affect the desired result. What may be effective for one website may not be for another. I feel that the key to effective website marketing is in understanding how to communicate to your audience and knowing which marketing initiative to take to communicate that message effectively. In some cases content is of the utmost importance and inbound links are simply required to obtain rankings – in other cases just the opposite holds true – inbound links are top priority and website content is simply not a major requirement. What is truly important is in knowing which marketing initiative to take.

Effective Communication is the Key to Website Marketing

In order to determine the most effective marketing strategy for a website the single most important question that needs to be answered is: What are you attempting to communicate through the website? Once that question is answered, you can consider the available options to get that message across and create a marketing campaign from there. Sounds simple right? Well, in concept it is. However, determining the most effective campaign requires a bit of insight into the type of communication needed. As a rule of thumb I generally find that service based websites have a stronger requirement to focus on the quality of content than consumer and retail based websites. The reason for this is quite simple and has little if anything to do with websites. This matter is actually based on the type of industry – not the type of website. Most service based industries do not have a visible, tangible product. As such, content is typically required to express a position of value for the service whereas retail based websites such as one that sells consumer electronics or mobile phones, would generally want to focus on communicating the value of the product or the products' brand which, doesn't always require words to express.

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Edward J. Beckett is a passionate software engineer, web developer, server administrator and polyglot programmer with nearly a decade experience building desktop and web applications ranging from simple personal web sites to enterprise level applications on many technology stacks including Java, Java EE, Spring, Spring MVC, Spring Data, Hibernate, SQL, JPA, JMS, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, ColdFusion, PHP, Node.js and more...