Content is King. For those in digital marketing, specifically organic or natural search marketing (or SEO) this has been the go-to message since the Panda update in 2011. That’s great. We need more content. But why is content so important for search engines and searches, and how do we know what type of content is best for our company or brand?
Let’s start with understanding why content on a website is important and why building content should matter to your company or brand.
Following the Google Panda algorithm update in 2011, quality content on websites became substantially more important. The Panda update, and its subsequent 25 additional updates, aimed to identify spam-like content and give greater authority to those sites producing high-quality content. Recently, the trend toward content marketing and search marketing has increased with the realization that content marketing is, and should be, part of an overall SEO strategy.
In the 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition from MarketingSherpa, it was reported that 65% of marketers deemed content creation as a very effective strategic SEO tactic. According to Interconnected World, 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine, and 61% of global Internet users research products online. In 2011, 92% of marketers saw content creation as either “very effective” or “somewhat effective”, with 50% viewing web pages as “very effective” for SEO. Additionally, 76% of marketers have content creation in place as part of their strategic SEO campaigns, 61% of consumers are more likely to purchase goods from businesses that offer custom content and 60% of business decision makers say branded content helps them make better product decisions.
In addition to the new emphasis on quality content, there are hundreds of additional factors that Google and other search engines use as part of their algorithms to determine search results and site authority. One of those is time on site. Engaging onsite content offers opportunities for increased time on site as site visitors explore your service and offerings for a longer period of time. Secondly, search engines crawl brand sites looking for information that is relevant to the keywords that have been searched by a user. With increased content, you are able to influence at least those two additional algorithm factors due to the keywords driving the site visit and the length of time that user is on your site, which helps drive the relevancy of your site to the keyword or key term the user searched.
Content offers an outlet for brands to provide additional brand presence and product information. By generating content, your brand is increasing the relevancy of targeted keywords for search engines, increasing sharable content which impacts search authority and improving the “freshness” of the site on a regular basis. By developing, publishing and sharing engaging content, your brand will be able to increase their SEO value, keyword relevancy and social authority.
Types of Content
Once a brand or company understands why content is important and what impact content can have on its SEO strategy, the next hurdle to cross is deciding what content is right for your brand. Building a content strategy allows your company to determine the types of content best suited for your audience - think, “what information does my audience care about?” And “what content is my consumer most likely to share?” Being able to answer those two questions will help determine the type of content best suited for your brand. Content can range from blogs, landing pages for SEO, articles, whitepapers, press releases, photo galleries, product photos, videos and more. Anything that you can create that will increase the number of pages indexed from your site by search engines and that encourages sharing among site visitors will help boost your SEO strategy results. Sharable and engaging content should be top of mind when developing content for your site. If your audience responds best and is more likely to share photos of your products, then promote product photos and continually add new ones to galleries.
Content, specifically quality content is the moving needle in today’s SEO environment. Content not only improves the information and pages available on a site to be crawled and indexed, but quality, engaging content provides additional opportunities to share your site. Content sharability is important now, and will continue to increase in the future as social search becomes more prominent within search algorithms and user experience. After all, the goal of a search engine is to provide the best user search experience possible.