The Importance of Meaningful Content Writing in SEO

In its most basic definition, content is simply the text and visuals that are consumed online. But defining a thing as broad as content is actually more difficult than you might think. In fact, you’re probably thinking of a very different definition of content than I am. 

Fortunately, content is something that can be described in many ways. For some, content means information. For others, content means experience. For the rest of us, content means nothing at all. But for content creators, content is fundamentally something that exists to fill space with, whether it’s video, photo, text or some conglomeration of all of these. In that regard, content is something - anything - that fills the space with meaning, so that it can be read, watched and digested by an audience in an actionable way. 

 

In content writing specifically, this meaning almost always takes the form of writing that is informative, engaging and relevant to the audience at hand. The last of these is especially relevant to businesses employing content writers. Having a piece of content that is informative and engaging, but not relevant, will be much like seeing a funny commercial where you can’t actually remember the product. It might entertain you, but it won’t prompt you to actually buy anything. 


This is why meaningful content, although more difficult to generate than clickbait articles or keyword rich website copy, will ultimately rise to the top of the pack. From a quality perspective, this is not only inevitable but also desirable. In fact, Google’s recent Penguin 4.0 update is meant to partially address concerns about quality of content writing. According to Search Engine Land, this update “… will push the SEO industry as a whole toward real [marketing] strategies, and away from manipulation.” In other words, content writing that is created solely to climb the ranks of Google without providing meaning to the audience of the website or publication where it appears will actually harm your rankings, especially if it’s a piece that links back to your website.

 

From a writing perspective, meaningful content also gives us a lot more to do. For better or worse, just about anyone with a keyboard can write the type of keyword rich content that has permeated the Internet since the dawn of search engine marketing. But instead of trying to compete with this volume of SEO-bait, businesses and websites can now start to focus on creating linkable assets that add tangible value to the conversations surrounding their industries 

This doesn’t only have to come in the form of infographics or studies, but can also come in the form of quality and well-researched articles that explain, engage and inform a business’s audience. Using the principles of content marketing, these articles should not be about specific product and service offerings but should give away valuable information with the ultimate goal of building a person’s trust. This will lead them to buy something related down the line. 



As Bill Gates famously put it in 1996, “content is king.” But in the modern age of search engine marketing, quality content matters more than actually having content at all. Otherwise, you’re just filling up space on a web page that has no meaning.

Introduction: Daniel Horowitz, Off-site Producer

Where did you grow up? Where else have you lived? Where do you currently live?
I'm a New Yorker, for better and worse, and that in some way informs all of my actions. I also spent a year in Oxford, England. Currently in New York but planning on a big move across the pond soon. 

How would your family and friends describe you (in one word)?
Tenacious. But also hairy. 

How would you describe your family?
Eclectic and charmingly insane. We all really like to eat, so that's a big one for us. 

What are the values that drive you (to succeed, in life, as a person, etc.)?
To be the guy who returns his shopping cart to the cart corral after going to the grocery store. 

What is the most random thing you’ve ever watched all the way through on Netflix?
'Alakazam the Great,' a Japanese musical anime from 1960 based on 'Journey to the West.'  

Shark diving, bungee jumping, or sky diving?
None of the above. I climbed a 10,000 foot volcano in Guatamala once though. That was enough adventure tourism for one lifetime. 

Where would you like to go on vacation if you had a month off and money was no object?
I already travel pretty regularly, but I guess I'd look up a list of the top most expensive countries and travel to all of them. 

What is your favorite tech tool and why?
My trusty laptop almost never leaves my side. It's my tool for work, writing, gaming and exploring the vast depths of the Internet. 

Where is your favorite place to go on a weekday afternoon when you have no plans or obligations?
I live surprisingly close to the beach so I'll often drive down there and relax if the weather permits it. A nap also never hurts. 

What is your secret to remote-work success?
My dog, Bo. My girlfriend works from home a lot of the time as well, so that doesn't hurt either. 

What is the weirdest scar you have and how did you get it?
I've got a gnarly scare across my lower back from spinal fusion surgery. In a certain light, it's kind of cute. 

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
'Accordion' by MF DOOM.

Fun Fact!
Daniel was once a a ranked member of the United States Fencing Association. He also played football for 6 years, breaking his ankle and wrist in the process.  
 

Introduction: Caitlin Schubert, Production Manager

Where did you grow up? Where else have you lived? Where do you currently live?
I was born and raised in Naples, Florida. I moved to Tallahassee after high school to attend Florida State University (GO NOLES!) and right after graduation, I moved to Perth, Western Australia for a "12-week work contract" that ended up lasting three years. 


How would your family and friends describe you (in one word)?
I'm going to need to use two words for this one, sorry! My entire family has a running joke that I was "born-ready". I'm always the first one everywhere, painfully and awkwardly early with snacks packed for every car ride and Google Map instructions printed out to get anywhere because I don't trust my iPhone. 
 

How would you describe your family (you can use more than one word, how do you enjoy spending your time together)?
Active. My Dad raced professional motocross and is now an avid kiteboarder and my Mom was a nationally ranked tennis player in her youth and will still run you off the court today. My only sibling, my brother, was a multi-sport athlete in high school and still kickflips and ollies like it's nobody's business. We are all avid boaters and love to spend weekends on the island, grilling burgers and paddleboarding with our Golden Retriever, Harper. 
 

What are the values that drive you (to succeed, in life, as a person, etc.)?
Passion for everything and anything I do in my life. Commitment to the things I am passionate about and gratitude for all of the things that I have been given, have worked for and have to look forward to in the future. 
 

What is the most random thing you’ve ever watched all the way through on Netflix?
I watched Tabloid, a documentary that follows former pageant queen Joyce McKinney’s bizarre quest to “win back” a young Mormon man with whom she’s obsessed with. Literally one of the weirdest things I have ever watched. I kept thinking it was going to get less weird and then the credits started rolling and I was in awe that I had just sat there and watched the entire thing. 
 

Shark diving, bungee jumping, or sky diving?
None of the above, yet! But if I had the choice, bungee jumping. Kind of like sky diving but at least you're attached to something. And as long as I could bring snacks after arriving over an hour early and reading every instruction manual and safety pamphlet in the lobby.  
 

Where would you like to go on vacation if you had a month off and money was no object?
I would love to return to Italy but with my German/Italian/Australian husband in tow. We would rent a car and drive from city to city, our only concrete destination being the Calabria Region, where my husband's family is from. We're both passionate about wine and cheese, so it would basically be a food-tour of Italy with some history and educational tours sprinkled in here and there. 
 

What is your favorite tech tool and why?
My Kindle. I'm a speed-reader and can get really, really lost in a good book. 
 

Where is your favorite place to go on a weekday afternoon when you have no plans or obligations?
There is a large, empty piece of property in my neighborhood that my dog, Harper, adores. It is on the water and overlooks the beautiful canal that my neighborhood is situated on. I try to take her down there 4-5 times a week so she can watch the fish jump and I can relax in the sunshine. If you're ever looking for me, I'm probably there. 
 

What is your secret to remote-work success?
My husband comes home several times a week and has lunch with me which breaks up my day. My Mom has worked remotely for over ten years and she is my neighbor so we will often take breaks to go for a walk or to the grocery store. Both of these things make my work days so nice! I am also very organized and task-oriented which naturally makes me want to get things done everyday. 
 

What is the weirdest scar you have and how did you get it?
Remember my brother? The one I mentioned above who ollies and kickflips like nobody's business? He strapped me to a big wheeled skate board when I was 12 and pushed me down a very big hill at our grandparent's farm. Needless to say, I didn't make it very far and my adult knees tell the story pretty well in two identical scars gracing my otherwise unmarred legs. 
 

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
"
Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts (Originally by Tom Cochrane)
This song always gives me such a wanderlust feel and the travel-itch. Traveling has been a huge part of my entire life. I have been to several third-world countries on many mission trips, backpacked through Europe, driven across Australia in a van, climbed rice patties and eaten lunch on volcanoes in Indonesia and seen a lot of the beauty that our own country has to offer. With many more destinations on my list, this song is definitely perfect for my life! 
 


Fun Fact!

Caitlin is obsessed with home interiors, wood working and renovating. Both she and her husband spent 16 months renovating a dilapidated house that Caitlin bought when she was 20-years-old. They gutted it from the inside out and turned a once neighborhood eyesore into a beautiful new home. 

Introduction: Thomas Honeyman, Production Manager

Where did you grow up? Where else have you lived? Where do you currently live? 
I grew up in the south, spending the first ten years of my life in Georgia and the next eight in Clover, South Carolina. I’d like to say my roots are in the south, but in fact I spent a tremendous portion of my childhood traveling to different parts of the world with my family. In fact, none of my close family are from the US! My parents are from South Africa and New Zealand, and the further you go up the family tree the more countries you see. 

I loved the measured pace of South Carolina and there’s a lot to like about small towns like Clover, but when I graduated high school I knew I wanted to be in a major city. I decided to study cognitive science and music industry at USC in Los Angeles, and I’ve lived here ever since. 


How would your family and friends describe you (in one word)?
I would hope my family would choose “loving” or “loyal” or another positive trait, but if you ask my sister you might get “annoying”! 

The word I hear most is “dedicated”.

How would you describe your family?
I have an eclectic family. We’re more different than similar in most areas of our lives, but the neighborhood calls us the “McGuinness clan” for a reason -- we spend inordinate amounts of time together traveling or feasting. Three generations of us live in California now, and no matter how much we drift away from each other in our habits, ideas, political ideologies, or anything else, we always find satisfaction in visiting new countries as a family or coming together to cook enough food for eight families and struggle, valiantly but futilely, to actually finish it.

What are the values that drive you (to succeed, in life, as a person, etc.)?
I want to live a good life and help provide a better life for those around me. 

All sorts of values are wrapped up in that statement, from empathy and compassion in relationships to dedication and discipline in my professional life and more. How I interpret that statement changes as I do, but it nicely focuses the simple goal I’d like to spend my life working toward. 


What is the most random thing you’ve ever watched all the way through on Netflix? 
Unfortunately I don’t have a Netflix account — or even a TV! But I just watched Planet Earth for the first time, on Netflix, and it blew my mind. Remind me to stay away from the ocean floor. 

Shark diving, bungee jumping, or sky diving? 
Sky diving, though I’ve yet to work up the courage to actually do it. 

Where would you like to go on vacation if you had a month off and money was no object?
Fortunately for us, SimpleTiger is built in a way that lets us travel without having to take a month off, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I haven’t seen Europe since I was a kid, so this spring I’m spending three months there just exploring the wonders of that ancient place. 

What is your favorite tech tool and why?
After a long career of binging on tech tools, I now spend most of my time trying to use less of them! I cannot be separated from my laptop for more than a few hours, but it’s not my favorite tool. 

My favorite tools are Python and Haskell, the programming languages, because they’re basically magic: by typing words, I can make my own hammer, screwdriver, table saw, Learjet…the limit to what tools you can create for yourself is your personal point of exhaustion. This helps me live a good life — by saving me time on frustrating, difficult, or tedious tasks — and also helps those around me live better lives as they can use these tools as well. 

Where is your favorite place to go on a weekday afternoon when you have no plans or obligations?
I live right next to Ballona Creek, a nature preserve in Los Angeles that used to be old Howard Hughes land. A walking path runs from my apartment to the creek, and the creek itself contains a bike path to the Pacific Ocean. On a weekday afternoon, with no plans or obligations, I’ll wander along this path and down the creek to the ocean for a while. 

What is your secret to remote-work success? 
Structure. For all the wonderful things about remote work, I find I am my own worst enemy. To prevent myself from working at all hours of the day and night, working none of the hours of the day and night, missing tasks, or otherwise flailing around, I keep fairly tight control over my daily schedule. 

The closest parallel is to creative work like writing music or writing words; no matter what, you have to sit down every day for your allotted time and just do the work. And the corollary: when work is over, work is over — don’t let it creep into all parts of your life. This is easier said than done. 

What is the weirdest scar you have and how did you get it? 
I have a thin scar on the surface of my eye from an intensive retina surgery. In high school, my retina spontaneously detached and nearly ripped apart; it took several surgeries — including an experimental one some doctor in Japan had used as a hail mary procedure on a Tokyo patient — to get my eye back in reasonable working order. To this day, my vision is horrible in my right eye.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
https://polyenso.bandcamp.com/track/dog-radio

Fun Fact!
When I was just a few years old, I visited China with my mother and father. In the Beijing Ghost Market, I let go of my mother's hand. I was found by my panicked mother an hour later, in a crowded stall, haggling with a merchant over a little abacus . I got a fantastic deal.

Introduction: Michelle Carvo, Technical Production Manager

Where did you grow up? Where else have you lived? Where do you currently live?
I was born in Flint, MI (yes—the same Flint that has been in the news), raised in Flint, MI, and currently live in Flint, MI. I’ll eventually move to the suburbs, but have enough ties to the local area that I intend to stick around in this general area.

How would your family and friends describe you (in one word)?
Passionate. If they’re allowed a second word to describe me, it would probably be sarcastic. I love to joke around and make people laugh.

How would you describe your family?
Incredibly supportive and fun, but also competitive. I’m the youngest of 5. We’re a close-knit group having all been raised in the same cozy house in Flint. We spend the holidays together and also vacation together up at our family place in Northern Michigan every summer. We golf during the summer and play family football games at Thanksgiving or Christmas—whoever wins has bragging rights, so it gets pretty competitive. We also regularly play Halo, Call of Duty: Black Ops, or Rock Band together online.

What are the values that drive you (to succeed, in life, as a person, etc.)?
The main ones that drive me are passion for what I’m doing (either professionally or personally), compassion and kindness for others, hard work, and honesty. Spirituality is a big part of my life, too, and this absolutely influences those other values mentioned.

What is the most random thing you’ve ever watched all the way through on Netflix?
Back in 2013, I was looking for a new TV show to binge on and came across Orange Is The New Black. It was completely unlike anything I had watched before (or have watched since) but for whatever reason, I clicked play. By the end of the first episode, I was hooked, and it remains the one show that I will binge on as soon as a new season is released. 

Shark diving, bungee jumping, or sky diving?
I’ve never done any of these, but sky diving or bungee jumping sounds fun. I actually want to do one of these two on my 30th birthday. I don’t think you’ll ever catch me shark diving, since I have a little bit of an underwater phobia. 

Where would you like to go on vacation if you had a month off and money was no object?
This is such a tough choice. Earlier this year I decided to look further into my family’s ancestry, so I think I would take a vacation exploring my heritage. This would include visits to France, Austria, Scotland, Poland, and Ireland. I’d probably spend 5-7 days in each country seeing all of the most recommended attractions and also checking out the cities that my distant relatives are traced back to.

A close second would be taking a month to go to different concerts around the world for artists/bands I like. Hopefully this would mean crossing some bands off my must-see list, but at the least I’d hopefully get to take in a lot of great concerts!

What is your favorite tech tool and why?
Probably my MacBook Pro. It’s the most reliable laptop I’ve ever had—two years later and it’s still just as good as day one. I’m able to breeze through work with it and also use it to research anything I’m interested in. It’s also been a fantastic tool for learning to play Bass. 

My next favorite tool would be my Pebble Time smartwatch. My Pebble allows me to quickly see and respond to notifications without being glued to my phone. 

My favorite software tool would be TickTick, which is a fantastic task manager that is supported on pretty much every phone or platform imaginable. It is the one thing that helps me to stay organized. 

Where is your favorite place to go on a weekday afternoon when you have no plans or obligations?
If I’m up north at our family’s place, I’d go for a walk and take in the scenery or go to the beach. If I’m at home, I’ll either go golfing, stay home listening to music, or learn a new song on Bass.

What is your secret to remote-work success?
Having a good reliable laptop, fast Internet, podcasts/music to listen to, and a good schedule/routine. My pets are a great distraction as well, particularly on stressful days. Like Sean said, having a routine with remote-work is so important for success. Without it, you’re floating around aimlessly and not getting enough stuff done. It can be tough to get into a good routine, but once you do, everything goes smoothly and remote-work becomes really enjoyable.

What is the weirdest scar you have and how did you get it?
I have a bit of a scar/discoloration on my nose from a second-degree sunburn. I was on an amazing vacation in California and visited Venice Beach for the first time in 2014. I was super excited to finally see the Pacific Ocean and to walk around on the beach. I had sunscreen in my purse. However, I’ve been insanely pale my entire life and decided to see if I could tan in the hot California sun. Big mistake. When I woke up the next morning, my entire face was so red and swollen that I could barely open my eyes and my arms/legs were badly burnt. Needless to say, the plane ride home was very uncomfortable and being stuck indoors for the next few weeks (to avoid further damage) sucked. I learned that day that I don’t tan—I burn, horribly.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
This is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child. Music has had such a huge, positive influence on my life that it’s impossible for me to pick just one song. So I guess I’ll try to narrow it down to just a few songs.

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2 definitely has to be mentioned. For me, it describes an eternal hunger and longing for more. I’ve experienced a lot in life and while I’m pretty happy, I still feel like there’s more out there to seek. I also feel that Bono has pretty much written the soundtrack of my life over the last 15 years. I have yet to find a song of theirs that I don't relate to on at least some level.

Likewise, “Runnin’ Down A Dream” by Tom Petty perfectly describes what my attitude has been and continues to be when I approach the unknown. I don’t know if my plans will exactly work out, but I know that there’s something good waiting down the road even if it’s not necessarily what I’m expecting.

Considering I was named after a Beatles song (thanks dad!), I have to include “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" by the Beatles. My sister would dance with me to this song when I was a baby, so I suppose the song was sort of ingrained in me from an early age. As an adult, the song has taken on another meaning: bad stuff happens, good stuff happens, but life goes on regardless, so enjoy it while you still can.


Fun Fact!
Michelle started designing and building websites at age 12, and still enjoys building websites for fun in her spare time. A self-described music addict, she has been front row at many concerts (even some for artists that she does not like) and plans on attending many more concerts in the coming years.