I am often asked “How important is content REALLY to a website?” And I always answer the same way, “VERY!” I then go on to point out that in the cyber-universe there are literally billions and billions of pages of content out there. If you want a chance in hell of competing against your local competitors then there are only 2 ways to do it: 1. Spend a lot of money on Adwords and other forms of internet advertising or 2. Have great well written content that is updated added to on a regular basis. The first is a temporary fix and as soon as you stop shelling out the money, then your site will drop like a stone from the search engine results. The second will lead to strong search engine returns that are organic and long lasting as long as you continue to update and add to your content.
Now I know in an age of sleekness and minimalism, that no one wants a ton of verbiage on their website. I can relate, believe me. I just proudly sent my new website to my 89 year old father who ruled the marketing world for about as many years as I have been alive and he sent me a VERY long email about less is more and redundancy and too many words, etc.. I called him to explain that I need to have that much content because of how the search engines work and in the course of the conversation it came out that he had only seen the first page! I am very afraid for the report on the rest of the site. My point being, I get that a lot of content is a tough pill to swallow.
But it is a necessary pill. A quick word about spiders and bots. These are the mechanisms by which the search engines sort, rate and rank websites. If there is little to no content then they have little to no information to go by to sort, rate and rank your site. If your site is all images and very few words, same thing. If you have decent content but never add to it or update it you may initially experience good results from the search engines, but without fresh information to sort, rate and rank your site by, the spiders and bots eventually stop coming by and your site falls down the search results. So, the more information the better the ranking, the more often you update the longer the ranking remains and can potentially improve. I tell my clients when we begin the website process, “the absolute worse thing you can do is launch your website and then never touch it again, it just fades into oblivion.”
There are clever ways to camouflage content so a page doesn’t look quite so full of words. You can use accordions, internal links, imagery to convey a concept instead of words (picture worth a thousands words), bullet points, etc.. point being there are ways to disguise the fact that you are using a lot of words to describe your business, your service, yourself.
So back to the original question, “How important is content REALLY to a website?” It is crucial.