People, particularly those living in urban regions, now spend a significant amount of their time online. This creates obvious opportunities for companies to directly reach customers on their mobile phones, laptops, desktops, etc. Content plays a crucial role in this process, and not just for SEO. Good content improves website quality, brand perception, conversion, retention, and a host of other metrics. The content itself has evolved over time and requires a competent plan just like digital marketing. There are now numerous content writing firms that specialise in content strategy services, a well-rounded approach to content creation and SEO.
Content strategy is closely tied to the various aspects of a website, including its design, user experience, optimisation, etc. High-quality content has an immediate impact on user perception, which itself is an important part of the user experience. Further, you can express your intent without any hint of ambiguity. This does not mean long descriptive pages of text. Rather, it is the exact opposite as great content can communicate, in just a few words, precisely what your potential customers want to see.
Three years ago, in July of 2014, a leaked document came as a major wake-up call for an industry that was not paying content quality the attention it deserved. This was a set of guidelines indented for Google’s Internal Quality Raters. The guidelines were not some algorithm but meant for human raters. The document was quickly removed, but by then, the experts had gleaned all the information and replicated it several times over. These guidelines focussed on the importance of the quality and expertise of a website’s content for it to be regarded as trustworthy. Other crucial points covered the frequency of publishing high-quality content, updates to outdated content, options and encouragement for users and customers to share on social media and product review sites, standardised quality across the entire site, and more. Most of what the document contained should have been painfully obvious. Yet, the average reaction in the industry was one of surprise. Search engines placing more importance on the quality coming as a surprise?
When you think about it, the SEO industry has repeatedly proven itself to be difficult to underestimate, but the fault does not lie entirely with SEO and content providers. Under the never-ending pressure to cut costs, business owners and digital marketers have been driven to opt for low-quality content and SEO strategies that produce acceptable or even decent short-term results but simply cannot be sustained over longer periods. This attitude, sadly enough, persists, even three years later. It needs to change if you want to be perceived as a reputable business and brand. Controlling costs is obviously important but you obviously need to know the difference between a log and your foot when you are bringing the axe down.
Let us explain with a simple analogy from the manufacturing industry. Any high-quality product costs more than mass-produced low-quality imitations. You are paying for top-notch materials, build quality, and finish. More importantly, the price covers the cost of expensive R&D that goes into developing a leading-edge product. The cheaper imitations work, sometimes quite well, but only for a while. Great products, on the other hand, could well last a lifetime. To be perfectly honest, content is no different. Authoritative articles written by experts will never be cheap. If you are not willing to invest, you are simply buying mass-produced replicas. It will generate acceptable results for a while but your gains lose steam after some time. If your goal is for the short term, such a plan could well work for you. There is simply no point in digging into your finances if you only need to meet some immediate short-term target. However, several consecutive short-term strategies are not equivalent to a solid long-term plan designed specifically for you by a content strategy services partner. You will likely end up spending several times more and hurt the reputation of your website, business, and products (or services). Perhaps more importantly, you will never be regarded as a reputable authority on the subject by Google and other search engines. Being permanently branded as a second-rate source of information creates nigh-insurmountable barriers for your website. Long-term SEO strategies can prevent this from ever happening. High-quality content is an integral part of such plans.
Let’s address another potential misconception about content authority before moving on. Expertise and authenticity of content do not mean you need to hire university professors to write something long and detailed. More often than not, such pedantic content will have the exact opposite effect of what you desire. A good content writing company will do their own research, sometimes even getting in touch with SMEs (Subject Matter Experts), to ensure the content they provide is more than just error-free.
Great content has other far-reaching effects beyond just SEO. As we noted earlier, concise, meaningful, and informative content is inseparable from a great user experience. Other recent developments in SEO and related technology tie into this as well. For instance, mobile indexing is as important as regular indexing now. Further, as we have noted several times before, there needs to be a unified and uniform user experience, regardless of platform.
Content quality is about more than just great prose. Visual elements are not really optional in content anymore. Unlike tables and graphs in the “old” days, the trend (and perhaps future standard) is for visual elements to be a cohesive part of the story you are trying to tell. Consequently, your website’s design should be conducive to incorporating such changes. Why is this important, you wonder? Well, you would be surprised at how awful some websites look when you add a picture or two to a page. To address such problems, content strategy services actually cover aspects of website design as well. In fact, the best content writing company will keep a website’s design in mind when creating content for them. The design is not just about how your website looks but also sends a message about the tone and mood – aspects that can and should be reflected in the content. More importantly, the design adds familiarity to a user’s experience if they use more than one device to access your website.
Speaking of platforms – all website content should have obvious ways for users to share on social media platforms. Moreover, it needs to be optimised for sharing on social media platforms. You might have noticed that most social media websites pick up more than just the title when a link is posted. Thus, your content needs to be able to provide a coherent and interesting introduction to intrigue a new reader. Next, the content should be easy to read on any platform. Visual elements on small screens need special attention!
Any content writing service provider can deliver the essentials. A good content-writing company can do much more. As noted earlier, a long-term approach to SEO needs a competent plan. Besides content writing, you will also need content strategy services. Investing and building a relationship with such a service provider is in your best interest. Switching content providers means some delay while they can get up to speed. Depending on how long it takes, this could impact your SEO efforts. That said, moving up to high-quality service is well worth the additional time and effort.
This post originally appeared on our earlier website: ihusresearch.com