Musings from Mike Atkinson on Internet strategy, usability, and more...

Content is king!

That was the clarion call in the Internet world in the late ‘90’s. Many people scoffed, as it created huge bloated sites with little direction and awful business plans. Most of them failed.

Unfortunately there was a backlash against this ‘Net truism. There are some voices today trying to help us understand that it is still about the content.

A user comes to your site to fill a need. Period. It’s the content of the site that helps them accomplish that. Yes, the navigation and search and other tools help them, but only to get to the content they need.

Nick Usborne writes about this in a recent issue of Excessive Voice (“Your Own Content Epiphany”) by addressing the obsession by so many to optimize their sites for search engines:

”...they obsess over keywords. They worry about the words being read by the Googlebot…If the Googlebot could speak, here is what I think it might say to techno-centric site designers, marketers and SEO experts: ‘Dude, you’re getting it all wrong. The only reason I sniff out all those keywords, links and blocks of content is to find pages that PEOPLE want to read. You know, those people who could be your readers and customers. Don’t write for me, write for THEM.’”

How true. (Aside…how long will it be until the Googlebot really CAN talk?!)

Usborne closes with this advice: “Help your readers by writing well. Be helpful. Be clear. Be genuine. And write as if you are writing to a human reader – you are.”



  1. I once got a call from Darrell Yoder of The Institute for Theological Studies asking me about Internet Marketing. We talked search engines for about 15 minutes, and he suddely said

    “So we need to fill our website with relevant text that uses keywords we
    want to be recognized with and have lots of relevant reciprocal links.”

    Topher    Monday, April 18, 2005    #
  2. Talk about gettin’ it…
    me    Monday, April 18, 2005    #
  3. Before we redesigned it, SLJ used to be our worst looking website. It was bad, Netscape 2.0 style design with lots of clip art. But it had the most content.

    It also happened to get more traffic than any other part of our website.

    It was always fun explaining to management why our ugliest website got all the traffic.
    Nathan    Monday, April 18, 2005    #
  4. It’s amazing what some users will put up with if you’re the only one with the content/services they need!

    This also reminds me of those awful all text/no graphics ads in the magazines. They have to put the word ADVERTISEMENT at the top so people don’t think it’s real mag content.

    Usually those ads pull better than any other direct response piece in a magazine!

    Sick but true…
    mikey    Monday, April 18, 2005    #
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