Even though the SEO world has changed a lot over the past few years, there's still a perception amongst many that to get found online you need to be a technical guru.

I mean, yes, there's some technical aspect to it, your website needs to be coded well for example, and if it's got a bucketful of errors then Google might get a bit miffed, but really, the most important part of a great SEO campaign is the content.

So is content king?

Interesting, this.

Do a search for “is content king?” and you get a whole bunch of arguments from people who make the claim that it's not.

They then go on to show why it's not, and the in many cases inadvertantly show that in fact, it is.

Let's take this article on Branded3:

I won't go into depth. Instead I'll cherry pick, this bit in fact:

So, one-by-one…

1) Google moving to more user-based signals. Which essentially means they're looking to see how people engage with the content. The better the content, the more engaging it is, better the signals will be. However that means the content needs to be good. Content is king.

2) Google wants to deliver search results that comprehensively answer the question. Great content. Content is king.

3) The number of keywords doesn't tell you this. That's correct. The content needs to be engaging and answer the question based on authority. Content is king.

So why say content isn't king?

I think I know why, and it's implied in the article I cite above.

Any content at any price certainly won't help you.

If all you do is churn out text, spending way too much time thinking about the placement of your keywords, their density and a bunch of other factors, while not addressing the real issue – i.e. the question your reader wants answering, then you're not going to get engagement.

Content needs to be good, otherwise it's not going to help your SEO, and it needs to be good in the following ways:

  • It needs to be valuable
    Cheap soundbites or promises of answers that aren't forthcoming are not going to cut it. If you're going to write a blog with the title “How to double your money in a week on the horses”, then you need to make sure your article explains that. If it's full of empty diatribe and doesn't give the answer in full, then it's not going to work.
  • It needs to be in-depth
    One thing a lot of SEO types miss is the value of site-time to a website's ranking. I.e. how long does someone spend on the website reading the content. If they spend a long time then it's a good signal, it means your content is readable and engaging. So you'll be blessed with better rankings.
  • It needs to have excellent grammar and spelling
    Unfortunately, bad writing doesn't cut it. You WILL be judged.

Writing content is a great way to help your website succeed, there's no doubt that regular blogging of great articles can improve visitor retention and lead to better rankings.

However, that content needs to be well written and engaging.

I can see why some SEOs don't like this approach. It takes the mysticism away from the whole industry, making it seem like all you need to do is write good content that people want to read.

Unfortunately (for them), that's exactly what the answer is.