Having a website with great content can do much more than improve its ranking within search engines. The presence of well-written content can help a business to increase its reputation as a trusted authority, encouraging people to convert. Here, we take a look at the elements that make a great piece of content, and the traps that should be avoided at all costs.

The mantra “content is king” has been repeated on numerous occasions over the past few years. And with good reason too.

When all is said and done, it’s creative and engaging content that keeps visitors coming back to websites. It serves a significant purpose in helping businesses to position themselves as experts in their respective niches.

If your site is loaded with boring, irrelevant content, why should a visitor trust it? Simply put, they shouldn’t.

A site brimming with well-written content that provides readers with what they need, however, is going to encourage visitors to invest their trust – and potentially their cash – in the products or services on offer. But what is great content?

On a basic level it’s not really that much different to great content you’d see in traditional media forms. Although the tone and structure might be different, web content is created with a target audience in mind – rather than a robot, or a search engine spider.

During the early days of the Internet, when search engines were in the early stages of their existence, and searchers were moving away from web directories to use full-text indexing services, creating web copy required special techniques and expertise, including the management of keyword density and keyword placement.

Today, website owners need to strike a balance between getting the right keyword density – i.e. so that they can rank above their competitors – whilst providing something of intrinsic value to visitors.

We’ve broken down the elements that all great content should feature below:

Concise

If you are publishing a longer article, such as a tutorial, break it up into multiple parts to make it easier to digest.

Current

Update your content regularly so that your visitors (and search engines) know it isn’t mired in the past.

Honest

Tone of voice will vary depending on the services you offer, but as a general rule, you should speak to your customers as if you were speaking to a friend. Give them the facts, and don’t try to mislead or misinform.

Relevant

Do not deviate from the key topic of your website. If you want to post about random topics, do it on a personal blog, not a commercial website of which an association has already been established.

Common Content Marketing Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes that novice business owners make is relying on old-fashioned content marketing techniques, such as keyword stuffing to try to boost their rankings.

Keyword-stuffed content is difficult for humans to read and search engines are becoming more aware of the density of keywords on pages – as evidenced by Google’s Panda algorithm update.

So, webmasters could end up suffering from a ranking penalty if their content is loaded with keywords and poorly written.

Another common mistake is to use ‘spun’ content.

This practice involves writing one article, then converting it into multiple articles by replacing words with synonyms or restructuring sentences and paragraphs.

The goal of this practice is to fool the search engines into thinking the site has more content than it actually does.

Content spinning is bad because the process is often badly supervised – producing some ridiculously silly (but sometimes funny) results.

And in many cases the original meaning of the piece is, quite literally, lost in translation.

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ClickThrough is a digital marketing agency, providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services.