Is Content Really King?

by Brian Sizemore
One of the latest mantras to sweep the online publishing and SEO industries lately - "content is King" - has been repeated so often that most webmasters and Internet publishers are sick of hearing it. But many sayings become cliché for one very good reason: They are true!

The need for content has ushered in an entirely new industry of online publishers devoted to buying and selling content online. One of the leaders in this new field is Associated Content: http://www.associatedcontent.com, a cross between MySpace and Wikipedia.

If we ignore pornography and socializing (which are, arguably, of little value to most business owners online), Internet use can be broken down into three basic categories: Searching, Shopping, and Content Viewing. As you can see from the chart below, Content Viewing commands more hours of Internet use than Searching and Shopping put together!

Source: The Internet Activity Index http://www.online-publishers.org 

What is most interesting is that these three uses are often synergistic when it comes down to the bottom-line: making money on the Internet.

Searching If an Internet user is in buying mode, he or she is most likely to begin the shopping experience by searching for the product or service of interest to them. Many factors come into play when search engines decide which website to show the shopper for a particular search. These factors are what Search Engine Optimization Specialists manipulate in order to achieve a competitive edge. To learn more about Search Engine Optimization see: http://www.seoverflow.com/seo-checklist.html 

Content Viewing As stated above, many factors are at work every time you see a website listed on the first page for a certain search term. However, as search engines have become more sophisticated at choosing the appropriate website for your search, they are increasingly relying on the content of that page as opposed to other factors like the amount of links your website has. So the potential customer starts out looking for a product or service, and ends up not necessarily on the website with the best or cheapest product or services, but on the website with the best content. Chew on that thought for a moment, and it will eventually dawn on you just how important content is, even to a pure retail website.

Shopping No matter what it is that you sell, from wholesale blue widgets to green widget repair services, your online business can take a dive, survive or thrive based on the useful information you provide about the product or service. This, as we have established, is the key to getting the shopper to your website in the first place. But now comes the hard part! How do you get them to buy? How do you take them from Content Viewing to Shopping? Simple: Never - EVER - allow them to be more than one click away from buying, signing up, or contacting!

From A to B to C - An Example: Imagine you are a Denver resident interested in liposuction. You type in something very broad on Google, such as: Cosmetic surgeon Denver Colorado. Out of almost two-million websites, the very first result is http://www.squiresclinic.com. Why? Because this particular plastic surgeon has an SEO company working for him. I can tell from looking at the bottom of the page where it says "Positioning for Plastic Surgery by Page 1 Solutions, LLC". The Page 1 Solutions SEO company has probably written CONTENT for this website, such as: http://www.squiresclinic.com/faqs_05.htm. So there you have a prime example of going from A: Searching to B: Content Viewing. It's not difficult to see how this websites gets the Content Viewers to commit themselves to C: Shopping for their product or service. You will notice a contact form on EVERY page of this website. Remember, "Never - EVER - allow them to be more than one click away from buying, signing up, or contacting"!

Whether you are in the business of selling or informing, content is King of the Internet. It puts your website on the top of the search engines, engages the Internet user, establishes your credibility, and if used properly, corrals the shopper into purchasing your product or service.

About the Author: Brian Sizemore is a regular contributor to The Associated Content Business and Finance section.

 

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