By Jacquie Annand. Researcher and writer.TSBC
Yeah, the Mustang will require more of an investment, and an ongoing one at that, but I know that it will be more enjoyable to drive and I’m certain I will get more attention while I’m driving it.
My (imaginary) Mustang will look as gorgeous today as it did over 40 years ago when it was first on the sales lot. I will put time and money into maintaining and keeping it beautiful and it will only increase in value, while I reap the rewards.
It’s not just that the Mustang is better looking than the Echo (though looks are a big part of it); it’s about the sound that it makes, the speed at which it travels, the obvious workmanship that has gone into making such a beauty, and the fact that it still works like a charm over 40 years on. It’s a whole package.
It all comes down to quality.
The same can be said for online content.
Some websites do little more than mirror a decent site’s skeleton, providing a handful of pages but none containing any useful information, while others are morbidly obese, convoluted to the point of being repetitive and yet still don’t get to the point. I direct your attention to exhibit A: any number of public sector organization websites; you will see what I mean. Even search doesn’t help you navigate the sea of useless content on these sites.
In the quest for quality, Google stepped in and in 2011, updated it’s algorithm 1 to give higher rankings to websites that provide high-quality web content.
But what does ‘high-quality’ actually mean?
Google does have detailed guidelines 2 but the quick answer is, it is content that doesn’t deceive its users. It’s user-centric content that’s been written by you and not just plagiarized from a dozen websites, then mashed together and published under your own byline.
By creating this algorithm, Google has done all hard-working, legitimate website owners and publishers a big favor. They have allowed the detritus to be cleared out, making way for those actually putting in a decent effort to provide useful content to their customers.
Google’s changes are also in line with the shift in marketing thinking away from traditional ‘push’ techniques. Bill Gates proclaimed in 1996 that “content is king”, and here we are over 16 years later with content marketing moving in to take center stage.
Content marketing, funnily enough, revolves around creating high-quality content too; content that attracts the user, tells a story, but doesn’t try to sell something.
It is content that customers can relate to and share with others. It stands out and makes a statement.
I am sure every single internet user has found at least one piece of online content to share through social media or email to a friend or family member because it was something they might like. It could have been anything from a photograph to a recipe; a product review to a song; an advertisement. It could be a video of twin babies in their kitchen seemingly having a discussion in their own, toddler-twin language, about their feet…. or something. That video alone has been viewed over 75 million times.
We may not necessarily be able to pin-point the exact feature of the content that made us want to share it, but more than likely its quality surpassed other, similar content, and it stood out to us.
So, if we return to the cars, although I have to admit that the Toyota Echo will get you from A to B, and is pretty reliable and cheap to run, no one will really look twice. If you want to make a statement, you need the Mustang.
PS – if you missed the twins video, click here to view.
For more information on why there’s no substitute for quality content, see the whitepaper “Why your website needs content”.