“The content is the single most important element on the website”
You’ve made it! You are now low enough to see the actual content on the page. Are you excited? You should be. This is what visitors to the site come to see.
What Is Good Content?
In order to view content appropriately you need to know what you are looking for. So, what is good content? This question is so obvious, it seems silly to ask. Unfortunately, it is so broad, that a straightforward answer would be useless. Instead, I will answer it like most great geniuses who are posed with a difficult question; I will simply change the question.
What is good content to an SEO?
This is a much more realistic question to answer.
I have thought long and hard about this question and I believe that for SEOs, all good content requires two attributes. Good content must supply a demand and be linkable.
Good content feeds a demand:
Just like the world’s markets, information is affected by supply and demand. The best content is that which does the best job of supplying the largest demand. It might take the form of an XKCD comic that is supplying nerd jokes to a large group of technologists who want to laugh. It also might be a Wikipedia article that explains to the world the definition of Web 2.0. It can be a video, an image, sound, or text, but it must satisfy a demand in order to be considered good content.
Good content is linkable:
From an SEO perspective, there is no difference between the best and worst content on the Net if it is not linkable. If people can’t link to it, search engines will be very unlikely to rank it, and the content won’t drive traffic to the given website. Unfortunately, this happens a lot more often than you might think. Have you ever been scrolling through an image-based slideshow and seen an image that takes your breath away only to realize that due to its implementation, you have no way to share that individual image? (This happens to me a lot on CNN.com.) Have you ever heard a song online that you wanted to share with a friend but were unable to due to copyright protection software? It is a frustrating experience, and it turns potentially good content into bad content.
So if that is good content, what is bad content? Bad content is just the opposite of good content. (I paid how much for this book?) It does not satisfy a demand and/or it is not linkable. It is rampant all over the Internet and a waste of time and other precious resources.
Good Content with a Bad Haircut
Every once in a while I stumble across good content that appears to be bad. Most often, this is because I immediately disregard it as an ad. SEOs view the Internet with powerful ad blinders. If something looks like an ad, it often simply gets ignored. Figure 2-12 shows good content displayed in a way that makes it hard to see for many SEOs.
Notice that the key call to action pieces on this Bing webmaster page are formatted in the same way as Google AdSense ads (clickable and colored link on top of unclickable black text, all of which is separated into small rectangle sections). This makes them hard to see and turns them into bad content.
When viewing websites from an SEO perspective, you sometimes need to remove your ad blinders to see all of the information available. Remember, as a student of the Internet, your perspective is jaded. Keep this in mind and try to be aware of it. Sometimes good content is right in front of you, and you just can’t see it.
When viewing a website from the 1-foot level, be sure to take notes on the following:
- Identify whether the content satisfies a demand
- Identify whether the content is linkable
- Make sure you are not missing something and viewing the page with a sharp eye
In this chapter you completed your SEO first look at a site. You may be confused why all of these steps have been necessary. In fact, you probably feel exactly like Daniel from the The Karate Kid after waxing Mr. Miyagi’s cars. There is a reason for all of these steps that will become clearer in the next three chapters. In the meantime, stick with me. Wax on, wax off.
In the next chapter, you use your SEO perspective and combine it with SEO tools. You will then have all of the resources you need to start identifying SEO problems on websites.