Content Marketing - How to search for the best rankings

Enjoy Digital
By Enjoy Digital
5 minutes to read

In our previous post we described the use of creative content in order to improve social and search engine rankings, from a rather insightful live webinar we viewed by @BongersP from @Searchmetrics.

Since content marketing isn’t just the latest fad, and is set to stay, we’d like to explore this theme in further depth.

Behind the buzz:

With Google’s recent Penguin and Panda updates, these have been the catalysts for a shift in the way Search is optimised for brands and their websites (with Google’s clever algorithms crawling and removing low quality sites, aiming to stop the manipulation of search engine rankings through poor link building efforts).

Now, brands have been forced to sit up and take notice, and rather than waiting to be penalised by Google, more businesses are looking to change and improve the quality of their SEO activity.

So what does this mean? Well, there are the infantile beginnings of a move away from previous SEO activity, with the threat of the company or content host being penalised for this ‘illegal’ activity, and there is the budding idea that it would actually be much better to produce great quality content, generating more natural, honest and far reaching links.

The online face of SEO is changing, with content marketing rising up from the ashes scattered by Google’s updates, to claim autonomy.

One of our previous @EnjoyDigital tweets provided a link to a Whiteboard Friday video by @RandFish from @Moz, which outlines this current debate of quality vs quantity tactics:

Content Marketing - How to search for the best rankings

It can therefore be considered that both of these approaches have the same aim; driving traffic to a brand’s website (homepage or specific pages), yet the main difference between traditional off-site SEO and contemporary content marketing lies in their approach:

Traditional SEO:

Traditional SEO targets keywords, and actively seeks for these links to the brand’s sites to be included in ready-made online content. This is quite often paid for, which can be increasingly costly over time.

This influences and manipulates search rankings, and as such Google is now actively searching and destroying these links (not literally of course, but they will and do remove a site’s hard earned rankings if they are guilty of placing them).

Content marketing instead puts the customer, rather than the link, first. It asks; what content can I produce which the audience would love to read? Where would be the best places to promote this content, so most people can benefit from seeing it and share it, and so more potential customers can engage with the brand?

Engaging with key influencers and thought leaders, particularly via social media, is the quickest way to get a direct line to them and their network, to increase the likelihood of the content being seen, and ensures it has as far reach as possible.

This approach waits for the honest links to come to you, surely generating a higher sense of achievement. You can tell when you’ve produced a good bit of content when the brand links keep rolling in. We’ve all read the Cost of Being Batman Infographic by Money Supermarket (if you haven’t, where have you been?)

How often have you seen an article with a paid-for link go viral?

The aim therefore is to make the content as creative and engaging as possible, promoting the brand’s ideals and boosting positive brand perception and awareness.

One of the many good things about content marketing is that it is constantly fluctuating and improving itself. Rather than stagnating in a link-building rut (of ‘keyword-outreach-link’), content marketing feeds all the reactions and outcomes straight back into its strategy, to further improve its results again and again.

By producing great content and promoting it to online opinionators, the brand will gain more social follows, likes and shares, and most importantly links to and engagement with the brand’s website, with the aim of creating more buying customers. These natural links will organically filter Google’s search results in the brand’s favour, meaning the brand can begin to move up and outrank their competitors, generating even more clickthroughs from searches, creating a positive brand perception, even before visitors visit the website!

Therefore, whereas the previous SEO approach concentrated on making the brand artificially climb to the top of search rankings, new content marketing strategies look to build more meaningful relationships and honest partnerships with their audience, to generate a brand’s natural rise in rankings.

Future Content:

So what’s next for content marketing? No one is certain for sure yet, but it can only go on to become more creative, more visual and more engaging from next year and beyond, with the possibility of the targeting of specialised information hubs as the key platforms to display this content on.

As @SoDAspeaks’s Digital Trends Predictions 2014 report states; “Bill Gates once famously quipped, ‘Content is King’, but personalized content will become the Über- Galactic Emperor.” (follow this link to download your copy

Of course, it goes without saying that a brand’s website needs to be easy to use, for visitors to complete an accessible customer journey, to ensure they refrain from not completing any purchases or clicking away from the page. The best content in the world couldn’t keep a customer on a brand’s website if it is poorly designed and complicated to navigate.

But that’s another post for another day…

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