Many, many moons ago, having basic content on websites was the golden standard. After all, not everyone had regular access to the internet, and a variety of niches had little competition. Before mobile websites took off, the majority of internet searches were done on home and work PCs, and localized searches were not even close to being popularized. Over the last couple of years, web results have gotten much more streamlined and specific, down to personalizing search results based on the individual user, at times. As such, web users have higher expectations of search engine results, and web content developers have needed to keep up.
The Clock is Ticking
The clock begins to run from the moment that a website visitor lands on your page. Their first impression weighs heavily on how quickly visitors can get the information they’re seeking out. If that information seems to be too thin or basic in nature, the end user will quickly go somewhere else. Always remember that the clock is ticking when it comes to web content and website visitor impressions. Basic content isn’t intriguing or interesting, therefore it doesn’t help to raise engagement levels. You only get seconds to convince website visitors to stick around, so give them something more than basic content to peruse.
Understand What the True Meaning of “Basic” Is
To many, the term basic might be defined as something that is cursory, satisfactory, or even bare bones. Basic meets a very rudimentary set of standards, but the reality is that few internet users are looking for anything of the sort. A basic meal can consist of a loaf of bread and water, or it can be made up of a fresh tossed salad, a hearty cup of soup, a delicious artisanal sandwich, and a refreshing drink. Both meals will satisfy your hunger, but only one would be desirable and enjoyable. A webpage with basic content will be ranked by search engines, but it will also likely be poorly ranked. In short, basic content won’t really get you far anymore.
There’s More Competition Than Ever
From local product and service competitors to news outlets and newspaper websites, online retailers, and even big box stores, there are plenty of other websites targeting the same keywords as you are. In essence, before keywords ever became a thing, people just made their content naturally. And more than likely, because their content flowed and was succinct, their websites became more visible. After learning about keywords and how they were tied to search result relevance, more and more results were manipulated. That really isn’t possible anymore, because there is just so much competition. Ensuring that your content covers more than the basics means that you won’t be outranked by competitors.
Mobile Searches Matter
In addition to building a website that can be accessed by PCs, developers also have to keep mobile users in mind. In fact, mobile internet users are actually slightly outpacing home internet users, and it is estimated that nearly three quarters of all internet users will be using their mobile devices in a few more years. Consider that web content can look totally different on a mobile device compared to a laptop or PC. The content has to be optimized for readability and formatted smoothly. Additionally, the content itself needs to be more dynamic. From visuals like photos and videos, to succinctly written and impactful content, the prevalence of mobile searches only means that basic content is becoming even more ineffective.
Constant Search Engine Updates
Search engines don’t generally give much warning or a lot of detail about upcoming updates. This is because their job is to match internet users up with results that best help them to complete their mission, whatever that may be. Search engine updates ultimately ‘reward’ websites that have the best, most relevant, fresh, and reliable content available. When you have webpages that contain only basic content, how can they possibly fulfill those criteria? If you are spending time on updating and adding new website content, then it probably isn’t basic. With web content, you can’t have a ‘set it and forget it’ mindset. Instead, expand on topics touched upon previously, link to authoritative sources, and provide updates whenever you can.
Not All Search Results Are the Same
There are keyword searches, location results, product listings, and even news stories that can pop up as a search engine result. People ask questions via search engines, hoping to get help with their homework or find out what stores are still open late on a Saturday night. Basic content simply does not get indexed because it is neither reliable nor authoritative enough to be ranked when it concerns specific searches. Your content has to be as varied as the various types of searches being performed.
Times Have Changed
As search engines themselves have tweaked results over the years, it can be kind of hard to pinpoint when you actually noticed a difference in quality. Spam has long been a problem with search engine results. The metadata and even titles can be quite convincing when you’re comparing results. However, it usually only takes a split second before the visitor realizes that they’re on a spam website that won’t contain any useful information. Nowadays, spam is becoming rarer because websites that have truly basic content are just discounted altogether. Again, it comes down to relevance and usefulness to the end-user. If the content on a website is just simply blah, it doesn’t get ranked very high.
Basic content doesn’t answer important questions, at least not fully, and it isn’t ever memorable. When an internet user comes across a webpage that contains basic content, they aren’t likely to save it in their bookmarks or send the link to their friends. The long story short is that basic content isn’t going to do much for your website rankings, bounce or conversion rates. It might even cause harm in the long run. So, do your website and yourself a big favor by auditing your site now and eliminating all basic content that’s present.