As most of you already know, Google changed their algorithm and now penalizes websites that do not have much (or any) original content. Aimed at “content farms”, i.e. websites that aggregate content from other people’s websites, this update serves “official notice” that original content is King and Queen on the web. In order to rank well in 2011 and beyond, your website needs some.
So why do so many company’s struggle to write content? Below are my thoughts:
1) Content writing takes time
Let’s face it, writing is an effort. This reason alone is why so many website projects get delayed, why so many websites get stale, and why so many company blogs remain virtually unpopulated.
2) Content writing takes skill
If it wasn’t, everybody would outsource their writing to India. Oh, you’ve tried that already? How’d that work for ya? Anyhow, I hope you get my point. Not everybody can write, and not everybody should write. If you do not possess this trait, outsource to a professional.
3) Content writing needs to be effective
Words are not just words on a website but ways to effectively communicate your core strengths, differentiation points, and market value. Most people do not stay on a web page for more than 30 seconds and you have very little time to keep their attention. I’ve worked with hundreds of companies over the past 8 years and not surprisingly, very few know what makes them different from their competitors. It is very difficult to obtain true market share (online or off) without having a clear understanding of who you are, what you stand for and how you differ from the rest.
4) Content writing needs to be persuasive
What exactly is it that you want your visitors to do? Buy now or learn more? Get info or get prices? Browse or submit? Even clear calls to action can be misleading if even you don’t know exactly what you want people to do on your website. This is also where many company’s fail at their online messaging.
About 8 years ago, a prominent SEO Company outsourced all of their SEO copywriting work to us. At that time, good content writers for the web were few and far between. These days, there are now hundreds of SEO Content writing companies that have emerged to help take the burden off of this daunting process for so many people. Give them a try – new content is critical to your ongoing success online.
One final thought, beware of shady content people. People that can get you content for less than a dime a word may not have the skills you seek. We typically have to rewrite content from businesses that have gone this route and spend more time massaging this content than it took for the writers to write it in the first place. Also, for those of you who think you write but cannot, ask a friend. They (mostly) will tell you the truth and help you get on your way (or out of your own way)!