Author: Eric Brantner

Web Copywriter

The phrase “content is king” has been beaten to the point of exhaustion by SEOs throughout the industry. As an internet copywriter, I would never try to dispute this statement, but I do think it needs an amendment. Judging from the magazines at checkout stands, the most read stories in the local newspaper, and the success of these celebrity train wreck TV shows, I would have to say that “controversy is king.”

Every morning I follow the same routine when I get online. Part of that routine is visiting the website of Houston’s largest newspaper, the Houston Chronicle. One of the features of this online newspaper is that it shows the stories that are being read the most by online readers. So, which stories are the most read? It’s definitely not the bland business articles that people could actually learn from.

Instead, the most read stories are the ones that have a controversial spin to them. Above, there are 2 stories about fraud, 2 about mysterious notes/text messages, and 1 about drugs. What is the one thing that all of these headlines have in common? Controversy! People just can’t resist clicking on these enticing headlines.

Undoubtedly, you have seen the magazines that clutter the checkout stands at the grocery store. Which magazines are your eyes attracted to- the old school Archie and Jughead comic or the ones about the celebrity who went nuts and punched out a cop? Sorry Archie, but the crazed celebrity wins every time.

Controversy Spills into SEO Blogs

SEOs aren’t allergic to controversy either. People from all throughout the industry go into a frenzy every time Jason Calacanis opens his mouth. He always makes negative, controversial remarks about SEO, and as a result, he ends up dominating the industry headlines. Every single SEO blogger from Stevensville, Montana to Broken Hill, Australia had an opinion on Calacanis’ disrespect of their industry.

The posts covering these controversial statements climbed to the top of social websites, like Sphinn, proving once again that controversy resonates with readers. The bloggers covering the topic surely earned some inbound links for their Calacanis posts. Controversy creates a buzz; buzz creates inbound links, and of course, inbound links help boost your presence online.

What Does This Tell Us?

I’m not suggesting that bloggers should focus all of their efforts on creating controversial content. There is certainly no substitute for quality, educational content. However, the occasional controversial post will help separate your blog from the others, and it will go a long way to increasing your online presence.

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