Let’s forget about Google for a minute and talk about why great content matters so much. I think we all get bogged down in this “gotta please the Google gods” mindset and forget that it really doesn’t matter what Google thinks, what matters is our audience. The reason great content matters so much is because you have competition. And if you don’t provide it, someone else will.
Just a few years ago there were still plenty of niches you could go into that had very little competition. There were still countless keywords that had more than 200,000 searches a month with less than 1,000 competing pages. If you’ve started a new blog recently then you know those days are long gone. There’s no such thing as an undiscovered niche and you’re going to have competition no matter what keyword you go after.
Those enticingly low competition numbers a few years ago were like sugar to ants. Bloggers snatched up those niches, set up blogs based on PLR content and low-quality content feeds and raked in the money. You didn’t need to worry about good quality content because you had no competition. With very little effort you could get almost any blog on the first page of the search results.
At that time, online buyers didn’t know any better, either. It was like living in a small town with a couple of neighborhood pizza shops. Neither shop served up consistently good-quality food and it was certainly nothing like the pizza you got at Chicago Pizza when you went into the city, but you shopped there because it was all you had to choose from.
Now, though, things have changed. Like I said, there’s no such thing as an undiscovered niche and you’re likely to have dozens of worthy competitors, as well as dozens more who are sucking up the traffic using black hat techniques.
Users are more savvy now, too. Shopping online isn’t such a novelty anymore and they’re no longer dazzled by a flashy site. Now they want real information and with the help of the search engines, they’re easily able to sift through the rubble until they find it.
Which brings us to the search engines. It’s still important to focus on creating great content for your readers – not the search engines. Anybody can manipulate search results so their URLs appear at the top of the list. It’s expensive, but it can be done.
But let’s assume that your competitor, with his low-quality content, has managed to get his page ranked at the number one position and yours, with your killer content, is at number two or three.
The assumption in the past was always that whoever held the first position would get the sale, or clicks, or business – whatever you want to call it – and at the time that was true. But if that blog in the number one spot isn’t answering the visitor’s questions, that visitor is going to move on down the list. Why? Because he’s no longer impressed by a shoddy web site, now he wants quality information.
Eventually, when enough of these visitors find your blog and start sharing your content with their followers, your blog will overtake that other blog on the index. Google will see the higher bounce rate on that poor quality blog and compare it to yours, which will be much better because your content keeps your reader on the page. Google will also see the share and tweets and natural backlinks your blog is developing. All of these things combined will increase your page rank and move you over your competitor on the index.
So you see, it’s really not even necessary to worry about what you think Google wants today and what they might want tomorrow. All you really need to focus on is making your readers happy by providing great content.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!