Content is king in SEO once again! At least on Google. In the newest Google search engine algorithm, the Hummingbird, depth of content is an especially important element in ranking pages in search results. The hummingbird algorithm is an algorithm that Google claims was written from scratch along with combining functionality from their more recent updates, including the Panda update.
I have a pretty new ecommerce site that I manage, called EspressoOutlet.net. It's months old and doesn't have a lot of inlinks yet. Most of the espresso machine / grinder related products on there currently have decent product descriptions, but their depth is limited. With the old algorithm getting high quality natural inlinks would be an important part of getting these pages to rank well. Since the domain and site content are new, most of the pages aren't ranking very high yet.
I decided to do a depth of content test with a few products and see how quickly the pages made their way up the average SERP. One of the products I used in the test was a product called the Ascaso Dream UP espresso machine.
My first task was to search Google for all topics relating to this espresso machine. I did this by using Google keyword tool recommendations along with going through all the letter combinations that showed up in Google instant search. The latter part I did by literally topping"ascaso dream" then each letter of the alphabet. Each topic that came up, I recorded in a spreadsheet, then ran a search query on it. I went through search results on each keyword combination, then collected content related to that topic in a word doc.
After I had 100 or so sub-topic areas, I got to the task of writing content relating to each of those areas. I also added more product photos and videos to make the content richer. I updated the content on my site by using the fetch as Google feature in web master tools. When I did searches for keyword combinations that included the product name and each topic area, my new content was getting at least some placement almost instantly! My placement for terms I had been taking for almost instantly went up. In fact, my average placement for terms relating to this product in google webmaster tools went from 40 to about 10. This is with a lot of new keyword combinations it's placing for also. My search impressions for this product went up dramatically.
I also did this for several other products with similar results.
Time will tell if these placements last long term, but I think my little test does have some merit to it... maybe content that has a lot of depth to it can bring you above competitors who have older sites and content with a lot more inlinks and pagerank.
See my product description of the Ascaso Dream UP Espresso Machine to get an idea of how I included all the topic areas on the page and how I included content to make it as rich as possible.