Does Your Content Still Matter?
Back in 1996, Bill Gates made a comment about the importance of content, which has since been rephrased as “content is king” when it comes to marketing. Marketers continue to use this phrase, but is it true?
Everyone has heard this statement at some point if they are building a website or a blog. It’s become cliché. Things on the internet change fast. Is it still really worth stating that content is still king like it was years ago? Let’s look at why content mattered then and how it matters today.
Why Content Used to Matter
Back then, Bill Gates believed that content could serve as a type of equalizer because any marketer or web designer could create and publish content. He believed that more money could be generated from content than would come from broadcasting.
Why would content matter that much? There are several reasons for it, in fact.
Anyone that was developing content in the last few decades knows that blog posts are one of the most important tools for search engines. Blog posts allow you to post new content on a consistent basis to your website. You share over and over again, which helps to feed the search engines and drive more people to your website. More so, blog posts allow you to add a lot of keyword rich content to your website.
Blog posts have long been beneficial to most websites because they allow you to continuously put something new in front of your readers. As you do that, you are using solid search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to ensure that your content is giving the readers and the search engines what they want. Google search is always going to be a valuable component for website success, and blog posts, with good keyword research, enable that to happen.
Content is not just about the website, but also about social media. Over the years, social media has grown to be a valuable tool for businesses because it provides a way for you to add content that people can engage with on a consistent basis.
Social media posts on websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn can help to generate interest in your business. It sparks conversations. The right posts can help you to show that you are a thought leader in your industry or that your business offers a service that the reader needs to have.
All of this builds traffic to your website (and the sales that follow). Social media has grown to be even more powerful than that. It also works to build brand awareness. While it may have started out as an SEO trend, social media content is a highly effective tool for connecting with your customers and building up your brand’s image.
Many companies have built their success based on their social media engagement. That could be why social media is such a strong component of good digital marketing.
Another way that content has grown over the years is through the adoption of video content. Look at any Google analytics, and you will see that video draws in people and that video keeps them on your site longer. It can even bring people to your website from social media sites.
When Bill Gates was referring to content, it was not necessarily referring to video. Yet, it has become one component of a larger range of content types that help websites to grow and thrive.
Video has long brought value to companies that use it wisely. It can help with things like meeting Google’s algorithm updates to get people to your website. In addition to this, it creates a way for readers to engage with you. Video is shared more often than just a basic social media post. It can also be broken down into content for your website by creating a transcript. In that way, it could be a part of your keyword strategy.
Another type of content that many web design companies use is infographics. These are new when you consider the type of infographics being used today. Yet, charts and other images have long been a part of building quality content. Why does a chart matter so much?
In short, people engage with this type of digital marketing. They can easily read what is being presented and then make a decision about it. They are not likely to spend a lot of time reading books of content, but they will grab the images from an infographic to make a decision.
Often, infographics add value to the content being presented to the audience. They help with link building, too. If you have a fantastic infographic created for a topic important to your website, other websites may see that as a valuable and engaging tool. They may link to it, helping to boost your search engine results. This is a type of technical SEO tool that most websites need to have.
Infographics are interesting and valuable. They could help your reader make a buying decision, explain the differences between two very different things, or break down a list of services in a clear, easy-to-read manner.
So, Is Content Really Still King? Yes, Content Matters – A Lot!
In fact, it probably matters more today than it ever did. Content is the cornerstone of any website. When you work with a web design company, you will quickly learn that the words put onto your website’s pages determine what happens next – will Google index it and rank you where you want to be? Will you meet the needs to achieve a Google ranking factor that resounds with your competition and puts you at the top of the list in a search result?
Or, will your website hang out on page 2 where no one will see it?
A good place to start when it comes to determining if Google really cares about content is to think about what Google does with websites that have great content.
One survey compared the results of some 11 million search engine results pages (SERPs). It found that the average word count on those pages for those ranking on the first page of Google was 1,447 words.
That is a lot of content. It’s not just a simple home page with a few paragraphs of info. It is a lot of words to help Google understand (and your reader as well) what is on the page.
Have Content and No Results?
What if you have a lot of content on your website, but it is not helping? This has become a growing probably as some website designers work to add a lot more words to their pages.
It’s not just about the word count.
Consider the Google Spybot issue. Most website owners and businesses have no idea this problem even exists. They have no idea they have this happening to them. However, many websites are facing a situation where they have content that is getting crawled by the search engines, but it is not getting indexed.
That means that the search engines see the content, but they are not using it to help increase the page rank. There could be a lot of reasons for this, but the main one is also the easiest to fix.
Google sees the new content but is not putting it into the search engines because the content is not unique or good enough to index.
This is Google’s way of showing just how important and valuable content is to search engine ranking. That means to you, a website owner or marketing pro, you need to step up your content game.
What to Do Before Content Marketing
Before you engage in any content creation or content marketing, you need to do a few key things first:
· Identify your audience: Determine who the person you are trying to reach with your content is. This could be a very specific demographic that represents your customer base. You may want to do some market research to pinpoint who your target audience is.
· Build specific buyer personas: Your research likely provides some insight into who your audience is. Now, build a buyer persona around those demographics. Who are they, what do they need, what encourages them to buy, and what challenges do they have?
· Plan a content strategy: Your content strategy takes the information you have and then creates a plan to distribute it. That includes:
o What kind of content is best? This could be blogs, social media posts, infographics, videos, or solid informational content on your website.
o How much do you need? Create a plan that outlines how much content your website needs to have based on competition that’s ranking and what you have to say.
o How to simplify that content. Design a plan for getting your content in front of people, such as how you will reach a large audience. You may need to research where your audience is.
Each of these components ultimately defines what you do next. As a business owner, look at content marketing research like this is any other type of market research you’re doing to make sure the product you create is one that meets your customer’s needs. Building a strategy is just like creating a plan to advertise your product.
Content Marketing Basics: What You Can Start Doing Now
With a plan in mind, you can start to build out your content. Let’s make a few things important here.
· Quality matters the most. While the amount of content plays a role in search engine ranking, you need quality content. This is what is going to sell website visitors on your product or service.
· SEO trends built on black hat methods don’t work. Don’t try to stuff a keyword phrase into your content 120 times and expect it to rank well. Google gets this trick. It also does nothing for selling your product.
· Professional help is available. If you are like many people, you are unsure what the most relevant keyword is or how to create title tags. It’s always worth it to work with a professional digital marketing firm that can help you build your content out.
Now that you have some basics, you can dive into it. Here are some things to start with right now.
Blogging is one of the best ways to add content, keywords, and visuals to your website. People respond to blogs because they allow the company to be a bit more friendly and down to earth. You can use a blog post on your website to benefit from the keywords you include. That helps with boosting search engine results.
Then, link to it on your social media. Perhaps ask a few questions in a social media post to engage readers. The link you provide can help them get the information they need. That way, you are creating links to your website, engaging with your readers to build your brand, and boosting traffic to your site to improve your Google ranking.
Blogging allows you to have consistent content that is relevant directly to your business.
Get your blog in front of as many people as you can. Once you have some fantastic content on your website, it is now necessary to tell the world about it. Here are a few ways you can do that.
· Use your Facebook page to create a blog post you can share with your audience. These are people who are already aware of your company.
· Post in Facebook groups about the blog post. Don’t sell here – most Facebook groups do not want that. Instead, post content that is educational and beneficial to the people within that group.
· Create a post on LinkedIn about your blog. LinkedIn is heavily targeted toward professionals and is much more of a B2B social media site. As a result of this, you really do need to ensure you are creating content that is highly valuable and that is appealing to the audience. If your product or service is very much business-oriented, this is the best place to be.
· Use Medium. Medium is a website that allows just about anyone to place a lot of content. You may wish to do this to create some backlinks to your website. You can also use it as a way to reach an audience. It is inexpensive and easy enough to use, which makes it good for some businesses. If you do not have a blog set up just yet, you can also use a medium to help you.
· Use other types of online resources. Quora and Reddit are two very good examples. It is a bit harder to market here, but you can create great content and get some links to it by engaging with audiences on either of these platforms.
Blogging is a fantastic starting point, but you can venture into other forms of content as well. You can work with a digital marketing firm or create videos on your own. By using sites like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook Reels, you can get a lot of support for your website by creating short videos.
One way to do this is to allow someone in the company to represent and be the personality of the business. Create quality content in your videos, such as providing a solution to a problem or showing how a product works. Videos like this are often distributed quickly on the internet.
Google My Business
Be sure that your local business is listed on Google My Business. This is a simple way for people to find you. It also can help with distributing your content. You can link to your website and post some basic information there. Include some local keywords, those that include city names of communities your business services (using local keywords is great for your blogs if your customer base is local to you).
Another way to distribute your content is through your email list. If you have a list of customers that have bought from you who have agreed to accept emails from you, email them. Let them know that you have great new content available for them to use. You will find this is a fantastic way for you to engage with people who already know your business and what you have to offer. Give them a special offer or a reason to click on a link and get to your site.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Some Help
There is a lot that goes into content. In order for content to be king for you, you have to stay on top of SEO trends, work to truly define your audience, understand your SEO strategy, and work to build out content that people want to read and share.
That is a lot of work.
Content marketing firms and digital marketing companies can help to make the process easier to do than you realize. Yes, content is still a critical component of your website’s success. It is just not as simple as it used to be. Now, you have to dive in and really create a strategy for getting your content in front of the right people.