High Performance Content: Myths and Facts
The other day in a customer meeting with an outraged buyer: "A text is supposed to cost that much?! I can almost get a programmer for that daily rate!" My answer: "That may be, but he won't be able to write you a first-class text." We both laughed heartily about this, although this little anecdote shows that there are still activities considered particularly simple, unqualified and relatively "worthless" in the broad spectrum of online marketing. On page copywriting belongs in a junk box for those unfamiliar with the industry.
This article is dedicated to those who believe that anyone can write good texts, that they don't cost any effort or can even be created by machine. But also to all others who have known for a long time that they can only reach their target group online via first-class content, have always asked themselves: How exactly does high-performance range work?
High Performance Content is (not) a myth
Isn't high performance content just another fancy-sounding buzzword that resourceful marketers use to sell 0815 services at horrendous prices? Clear answer: No! There is a firmly anchored yardstick for purebred high performance content: the Google ranking. Every piece of content created for the on-page world enters the race with a tightly laced keyword set and has one goal: 1st place on Google. Of course, this doesn't always work out, and a ranking in the SERPs (search results pages) depends on hundreds of different factors, some of which have nothing to do with text and images. Therefore, we somewhat mitigate the goal: Top 10 placement for the respective keyword and thus SERP 1!
"Google-optimized" does not mean "written for Google".
High performance content knows and takes into account the Google rules of the game down to the most granular level. However, High Performance Content is never written for Google. Still, it addresses human users without exception to convey relevant knowledge that other pages from the same thematic environment do not share or do not convey in the same quality. What Google understands by "quality" in content is no secret but was already published in 2018 as part of the so-called Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines: the EAT model.
EAT writes the script for high performance content
EAT is an acronym that stands for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. In German: Expertentum, authority and credibility. Expertise is nothing other than the overdue slap in the face for loveless SEO texts of earlier days. Can an algorithm measure and decide whether an expert has written a textbook or typed it down listlessly by an amateur? The question falls short because bits, bytes, and bots work at Google and flesh and blood people judge the quality of on-page offers. This is often forgotten. Authority means that the author of a post not only displays expertise but also confidently refers to his sources (outbound links). In turn, the centre is linked to other sites due to its high quality (inbound backlinks). "Trust" ultimately only earns providers who create content that fits both the brand and the target audience. And who do not compromise on technical hygiene? Fast loading times, "mobile-first" display, and SSL encryption are part of the mandatory program of a professional web presence.
High Performance Content has three dimensions
This makes it clear that high performance content is fundamental:
Addresses the right target group and thus fulfills the user expectation.
All relevant Google guidelines are taken into account.
It pushes the signal strength of a brand and matches the digital footprint of a brand or content provider.
A content offer that finds the perfect balance precisely in this tension between the target group, Google and the brand will automatically achieve a high acceptance of the target group, which will inevitably lead to more traffic, mentions and backlinks.
Google emphasizes several times that EAT has no direct influence on the ranking. We can believe that or not. On the other hand, high performance content boosts the ranking explicitly for the previously defined keywords of a content offer. High performance content has the journalistic quality of a print article that could be printed in the Süddeutsche and at the same time is silently flanked by the specifications for search engine optimized texts. Our editors would never formulate a single sentence before they had researched the topic in detail, analyzed the competition ("What do the top dogs already do well, what do we need to do better?"), determined the relevant keywords and W-questions ("these determine the content format"), and thought through the addressed target group down to the persona level. Sounds like a massive amount of preparation? It is! Then there's the outline, first draft, image and rich media integration, internal linking, proofreading phase and editorial "final artwork". A text of around 3000 characters in length from the High Performance Content quality class requires approximately 8 hours of concentrated work. And that's precisely why we can't and don't want to offer texts for the price of an average weekend shopping trip to the discount store.
In all my years as the head of a large content department, I have repeatedly experienced business partners who make no compromises when it comes to website programming and design - but then favour the cheapest offer for the copywriting of their corporate and store pages of all things. Quite short-sighted to leave almost all conversion-relevant rankings in Google to the competition because of a few Euros. My recommendation: be curious and try it out! Launch a high performance content at the same time as a conventional text. Measure the traffic, the number of top 10 rankings and the interaction rate about 6 months after the launch of both pages. I bet you an expensive bottle of red wine that the question of the price of first-class online content will never arise again.