Content vs. Context—it’s Really No Contest
An article published in 2006 on the New York Times website titled, “This Boring Headline Is Written for Google” discusses how journalists and content driven websites began tweaking their headlines and articles for better search engine results.
Vice president for strategy and new media at the Sacramento Bee says in the article, “Part of the craft of journalism for more than a century has been to think up clever titles and headlines, and Google comes along and says, 'The heck with that.'"
In 1996, 10 years before the New York Times discussed the importance of keyword heavy copy, Bill Gates wrote an article for Microsoft and said, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”
Now, 16 years after Bill Gates looked into his magic eight ball and six years after the New York Times regurgitated something we already knew, we still raise our glasses and bow to the “Content is King” catchphrase that so many SEO lords worship.
But what does that mean exactly?
What is the value in content if there’s no context?
During the Hubspot Inbound 12 Conference last week in Boston, keynote speaker and arguably the best wine salesman of all time, Gary Vaynerchuk said, “If content is king, then context is God.”
If you have a website with steady content, a blog, an avid social media presence, or you’re just an Internet surfer riding the wave of information, content means nothing if there’s zero value to the reader. You have to give the reader a reason to share your content, to link back to it, like it, retweet it and engage with comments.
In the past year we have seen Google shake up the search engine results page by releasing ferocious pandas and penguins on black hat SEO kingpins. With these algorithm updates, we have not only seen the importance of fresh and relevant content, but we are now rewarded for distributing timely, valuable information to the Internet searcher.
Content Should be Valuable
Since the beginning of media, from ink and paper to black and white television sets, content has been rewarded by readers and viewers when it has substance. Keyword stuffing, boring headlines and blog posts about nothing are in our not-so-distant Internet past.
Today, the most important thing to do to build your web presence, grow an audience of brand advocates, boost your credibility and raise your search engine results, is to provide content that is worth reading and worth sharing. Context is what takes your blog articles, your social media posts and videos to the next level. Context is the background, the facts, the circumstances, the passion and the love of why you need more customers, more readers and more followers online.
If you’re a home service provider, a lawyer, a restaurant owner or a business other than a veterinarian, and you’re posting videos of kittens chasing lasers on Facebook, you might want to rethink the value you are providing to potential customers. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching clueless cats fall off the back of the couch, but my mom has that area of the Internet cornered.
Businesses generally provide something to their customers or clients, and they think they’re pretty darn good at it or else they wouldn’t have started in the first place. So if you’re a business owner, do what you know best and provide the same value you would for a customer inside your store with the potential customers you have online.
Context is crucial, no wait, it’s God.
By Mike Hines