Wondering about the state of play in content marketing? In light of recently released research it is clear now is a great time to be a content marketer. As larger emphasis is placed on quality content, many would say content marketing has surpassed SEO and perhaps even overtaken it.
In the 28th episode of the Brand Newsroom podcast, leading SEO expert Arnie Kuenn joined James, Nic and Sarah at Content Marketing World to discuss changes in the SEO order and the push for meatier content.
With tricks and tactics and opportunism no longer cutting it with Google and your audience, embracing content is the only option moving forward.
The rules have changed
In March 2011, Google was pressured to quickly release its Panda update ahead of schedule after a wave of bad press over the amount of spam being generated through their search results. Since then, Google has been aggressively rolling out updates to combat the SEO swindlers of the digital world, including a mobile-friendly algorithm earlier this year.
These algorithms have been major game changers, working in favour of content marketers and presenting exciting opportunities to reach more people. According to Kuenn:
“Google rewarded us for years and years for playing games, building links and optimising pages, but they changed that in 2011 and it really shook up the industry. They have finally made adjustments to the algorithm that understands when you’re just cutting and pasting across your website or copying content from other people’s websites.”
You cannot simply buy your way into the first page anymore. It’s now an even playing field and no amount of money guarantees you the top spot in organic rankings. It takes hard work and great content. If you’re lazy with your content, you’re probably not going to rank very highly in Google search results anymore.
Content is king
You used to be able to game the system, but with the 2011 and 2015 Google algorithms, organic search rankings determine how high in the results you place. Content is more crucial than ever before. If you’re not spending time on content tailored to your audience’s interests, then you’re wasting your time. Instead, concentrate on creating content that’s worth reading and sharing.
In fact, Stone Temple Consulting’s Mark Traphagen can see a lot of content in SEO’s future:
“I don’t see any going back from this concept that quality, rich, diverse content is going to win the day. Because the ultimate goal is that a search engine wants happy users.”
To ensure happy users and higher search results, detailed content is the way to go. Long-form content is found to be more effective in achieving higher search rankings as opposed to shorter blog posts. Visually focused content such as video and infographics are also highly rewarded by Google and grab the attention of your readers. Headlines should not be overlooked as they create a first impression for the rest of your content and can make or break if the consumer will click through.
Kuenn nicely sums it up:
“What Google is looking for is good, useful, helpful content that users are actually spending time reading. And now they can measure that. They know how long a user is on a page, and if they’re bouncing away from your website odds are you’re going to find yourself lower in the rankings.”
Asking questions gets results
Google is moving towards a more human model. It used to be about how many keywords you could cram into an article, but that’s not how people talk or read in real life. They don’t search for a string of keywords; they type into Google the exact question they want to know the answer to.
When writing content, ask yourself, “What do my readers want?” Remember, it’s not about you and what you want to write. It’s about putting yourself in the customer’s position to get the most success out of SEO. This is when content creators rise to the top.
Learn how to create content around a question your readers might ask instead of stuffing keywords throughout your text in the hope of moving up the Google ranks. It doesn’t work that way anymore.
It’s all about the long game
Where a lot of companies fail is they don’t see the big picture. Kuenn says,
“To achieve organic success – meaning that Google is now showing many of your pages and a lot of your content so people discover it – usually takes around five months of consistent effort.”
You need to commit to a long-term strategy and an ongoing body of work when it comes to content marketing for SEO purposes. You must also publish on a consistent basis.
Google is a smart algorithm and knows most blogs don’t last more than three months. They wait to see if you’re going to be one of the quitters or the one who crosses the finish line. Once they see you’re truly committed to it, they will release more of your pages into the index.
If you’d like help creating a content marketing strategy focused on long-term goals, contact Lush – The Content Agency. Our content strategies are tailor-made to any organisation.