We have all heard the familiar adage "content is king."
Well, in 2012, Google proved once and for all that this was not just some empty platitude.
In one fell swoop, Google fundamentally redefined two time-tested SEO tactics: link building and quality content creation.
Through two distinct algorithm updates—the adorably titled Panda and Penguin—Google rewrote the rules of the SEO game, making it that much harder for marketers to improve rankings.
One by one, strategies like templating item descriptions and posting in link directories were blackballed, leaving marketers wondering where to go next.
When the dust settled, marketers were left with one distinct takeaway: quality content cannot be faked.
Any past attempts to game the system have gone the way of the floppy disk, leaving only engaging, distinct and ever-changing site content behind.
So where should you go from here?
2013 is your year to create a web experience that will help make you an industry thought leader, get your visitors where they want to go and, if you are lucky, share their experience with friends. And the way to get there is with an effective content strategy.
An effective content strategy needs to contain:
- On-Site Information: Where yesterday’s SEO strategy involved targeting keywords and stuffing them into your existing content, today’s SEO requires site admins to create new pages offering information supporting key concepts. These informational pages give you a base level of content that your site visitors will find useful on their way to making a purchase.
- Newsworthy Blog Content: Where your website content pages provide useful information that can act as a reference, blog content provides a steady stream of hot stories in an industry niche. If your content pages are about the science of Back Pain, blog posts containing backlinks might be about a new back pain study or stretching regimen. These short articles allow you the ability to create conversation, update readers on new innovations and make yourself a thought leader within your industry. Blog posts create backlinks, improve sharable content and increase site traffic.
- Shareable Social Media Updates: Creating a social media presence means finding content from across the web that your visitors may be interested in. By curating a wide array of diverse content loosely related to your industry—web videos, pictures, event info, contests, comments—you create a sort of trust with your potential customers. Users only want to be connected with companies that are going to host interesting updates on a day-to-day basis. That means going beyond your own company to the broader interest base of your customers and colleagues, finding content that excites users so much that they can’t help but tell their friends.
- Picture and Video Content: The phrase “A picture is worth 1000 words” has never been truer than on social media. Infographics, memes, photos and viral videos have been statistically proven to draw more engagement from users on blogs and social media. By adding pictures, videos and other visually stimulating content, you create a visual representation of your topic, helping further pique the interest of visitors unsure if they want to click through. By hosting the video or picture, you will not only appear in keyword searches but also in image and video searches, giving you more and more chances to make an organic search connection.
- E-Books / Whitepapers: For some businesses, the ratio of site traffic to sales is not nearly as high as it may be for others. For example, a company selling T-Shirts will benefit more from widespread site traffic increases than a real estate company, where customers need more than just a product description and a picture to make a purchase decision. This is where E-Books, Whitepapers and other premium content offers can help. With detailed research, charts, visual aids and other inside information, premium content offers give visitors the opportunity to access reference materials in exchange for contact information. These on-site offers create built-in lead generation that can be supported at all levels of your content strategy.
By connecting these various methods into one cohesive, branded strategy with stat tracking at every level, you will create the types of effective, thought-leading, shareable pages Google is looking for.
2013 is the year of creating beautiful, shareable, loveable content.
Because, as famed Social Media Marketer Wendy Piersall once said: "Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first."
Do you have any questions, kudos or concerns about this article?
If so, I'd love to hear your take on Content Marketing.
Please feel free to post your question and feedback in the comment box below this post.