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It’s not just content, it’s the right content

Following my recent articles about writing some decent content on a page if you expect it to rank highly in the search engines, I got some terrific advice from reader Richard O’Connor of industrial and commercial floor mat supplier First Mats Ltd. Richard rightly pointed out that after noting that most high ranking web pages have 1,500 words or more on them, it’s tempting to start loading websites up with as much content as possible. However, what we should focus on is writing content that is relevant to customer needs.

Richard has achieved considerable SEO success recently even with pages of just 400 words on them, and says that he has even seen pages move up in the rankings after reducing their word count! Why? He’s quite clear that it’s because the content on the best pages is relevant to what the searcher is looking for rather than because there is lots of it. “Think about it”, he says, “If you want to purchase blue widgets, then a page that helps you to buy the right one is far more helpful than a page that explains when they were invented, and who by.”

A good indicator might be to see what kind of results appear in Google for a given search. If background knowledge sites such as Wikipedia lead the way, Google considers the term to be one which the majority of people want to get facts about. In that case, a high word count with definitions will do well. However, if the top results are from companies selling stuff, including your competitors, Google considers that most people making that search want to buy the products, and you’ll need a different approach, targeted at helping buyers.