Over and over year after year the “experts” will come out with predictions that tell us that content marketing is dead, blogging is a waste of time, and any smart business will abandon it right away. At the same time, businesses keep investing in content, and if they do things correctly, those businesses dominate their niche on Google.
The thing those experts should tell us instead is that content and the type and demand for it change every year. The game changes from time to time, Google gets smarter, and users get pickier about what they want to see, hear, and read. But content is far from dead. In fact, content is still king and probably always will be.
Any new business in almost any niche should get their own domain name, get a host or self-host if possible, and once they have designed a site populate it with great, SEO optimized content. Here are the top five reasons why.
Google Wants Experts
The smarter Google gets, the smarter it wants websites to be. The same fluff articles that ranked five years ago won’t get the same attention today. Why? Because users also understand that fluff does not really answer their questions, and sometimes those questions can be really important to them.
It has been a few years now since we got a full view of the Google site evaluator guidelines, and yet site after site ignores them. They offer the formula for ranking your site among the top ones on the web. The E.A.T. principle tells us Google wants Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness in a site. This means who wrote your content matters almost as much as what is in it
However, the most important thing is that the sites they define as Your Money or Your Life sites (YMYL) are graded with an even harsher eye, and these are sites that deal with financial advice, medical advice, and any type of advice that could dramatically impact a user’s finances or health.
Your company and you need to be seen as experts by Google and other search engines along with your potential customers. You show this expertise through content.
Links Still Matter
You also show your expertise through links. If relevant sites with good authority link to your site, Google still sees that as important. For instance, if you are a medical practice with an emphasis on certain medical research and the CDC links to your site as a reference in one of their articles, that link says a lot to Google.
One link is not enough though. Google wants to see a pattern of links, and not just natural, organic content links. Those are important, but it is also important that you have paid links from advertising. Google expects you to pay for links in PPC ads, sponsored posts, and more. Any real business pays for marketing, and this is why even NOFOLLOW links matter: Google wants to rank real businesses, not just SEO savvy sites.
As long as your backlink profile matters to your Google ranking, then content matters to. It is impossible to earn organic links unless you have some content that is worth linking too, and the best link building campaigns link to your blog as well as your home or product pages.
Links matter, so content matters too. It is critical to the link building world.
Organic Traffic Comes from Search
Why does search ranking matter? Well, because organic traffic comes from search, and you can’t rank in all the categories you need to with simply a home page and a few product pages even if you are a large, national brand. Organic traffic follows search ranking, and search ranking is based on relevant content.
Think of it this way. Google your favorite food dish. You will get several recipes on the front page, probably from big food sites like allrecipes.com or food.com. The traffic for that search goes to those sites. If people review the recipes poorly, they will drop in ranking. Note though that the traffic did not go to the allrecipes.com home page. Instead, it went to a specific page on that domain.
While you might not have recipes, you might have a product, and on your blog, you may have a “how to” post about that product. Organic traffic will go to that post or the product page depending on how the user frames their search. Either way, they will buy your product, but it probably won’t be from a visit to your home page, and their choice will be influenced by your web content.
Social is the New Word of Mouth
It used to be that if you impressed a customer, they would tell one friend. If you ticked them off, they would tell ten. Now, either way they will tell thousands. The good news though is that if you have some great content, users will share that with their friends as well. The key is, you must have some kind of sharable content just like you need linkable content for link building.
This means your content needs to follow the three E’s. It needs to be Entertaining, Engaging, and Educational. Those are the keys to content that gets shared and even goes viral. The more others spread the word for you, the better off you are, and the way they do that is through content.
The User is the Queen
If content is king, the user is the queen. And if the queen is not happy, no one is. Your website is all about user experience, and the user expects great content. They expect content that clearly answers their questions, helps them, or adds value to their lives in one way or another. No content? Many users will leave your site right away.
Content is king still. Content matters to every aspect of your website development, organic traffic, search ranking, link building, social shares and more. Anyone touting that content is dead is simply not paying attention or has an exceedingly rare situation. For most of us, content matters, content is king, and will be for the foreseeable future.