"Not too many years ago, content was produced by analysts, researchers, writers and journalists who spent a great deal of time developing well-written, thoughtful and provocative material," writes Joellyn Sargent at the Fresh Sprouts blog.

Sadly, that level of attention to the written word is often lacking these days. With the rise of content marketing and the ease of online publishing, companies may well be churning out content of questionable quality—not worth a prospect's time or email address. And that's a problem, Sargent argues, exacerbated by indiscriminate sharing. 

That's why she's asking her readers to stop contributing to the noise. "Yes, that means take the time to actually click that link, read it and think: Is it really good?" she advises. "Would you recommend it to a friend or client you were meeting with face-to-face? If not, hold off for something better."

As more people start to think like Sargent—and they will—your SEO success begins to rely more than ever on quality content. Are you saying something original that customers can't wait to share with their friends and colleagues? Or are you regurgitating the same thing they've already heard a thousand times? Unless you're committed to the former, you could find yourself slipping off the first page of results.

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