Content is (still) king. So what?

If you’re in the marketing world, the business world, or even just the world, you’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king.”

The adage is far from old — it achieved popularity in the 1990s — and it’s as true today as it was at its conception. It refers to the fact that content drives the internet. Without writing, and thus without writers, there would be no internet at all.

If this sounds obvious, it should. Content was king long before digital content specialists and the internet age. Ever since people started writing down important ideas, people have cared about content. Content was king for Plato just as it was for Shakespeare, Bill Gates, and you.

Okay, so what? If your main goal is more along the lines of B2C or B2B marketing than sonnet writing, why should you care about the quality of your content?

At the dawn of the internet age, search engines like Google weren’t as smart as they are now. They didn’t use machine learning to gather data and display information. That meant that, possibly for the first time in history, it was fairly easy to slip poor quality content through the cracks. Authors and journalists before the internet had to satisfy their readers, but many early websites didn’t. All they cared about was getting traffic to their domain, so they would fill back pages that nobody would ever see with poor quality content, in an attempt to trick Google’s algorithm. This is one of many “black hat” SEO techniques — techniques that are frowned upon both by Google and in the SEO community. If too many websites do this, Google loses its ability to display meaningful content for its users; search pages would simply turn into a competition to determine who could list the most relevant keywords on a completely irrelevant page.

Thankfully, Google is a lot smarter these days. Its algorithms can now recognize this and other black hat SEO practices, and it punishes black hat websites by banning them from search engine results pages (SERPs). Needless to say, being banned from SERPS makes SEO largely pointless, so Google’s restrictions have been extremely effective.

So, what does this mean for you? Most importantly, it means that you may want a digital content specialist to make sure your content is high quality. This is especially true if you are interested in B2B marketing, though of course it is important for any website. Google gets better and better at recognizing poor quality content — so good, in fact, that having a site free of grammatical and spelling errors can actually improve your SEO. To that end, be sure to always proofread your copy, and if you’re not sure about something, look it up! Over time, Google notices differences between high and low quality content, and you’ll benefit from being on the high quality side. Of course, customers and clients always appreciate it, too.

Yes, content is still king, but don’t sacrifice quality in the name of quantity. High quality content is possibly the most important aspect of any website. For SEO, for users, and even just for ease of communication, always make sure your digital content specialists know what they’re doing.

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