Most would argue that content is the lifeblood of the SEO industry. Although its most frequently attributed to Google themselves, the origin of the phrase content is king can actually be traced back to Bill Gates in 1996. Google has certainly echoed the sentiment though, seeing that their Steps to a Google-friendly site explicitly states that high quality content on your pages, especially your home page, is the single most important thing you can do. So we definitely get it… content is of extraordinary importance when attempting to rank your business online. But we also know better than to think that content as a standalone service will move the needle at all.
Because of Google’s affinity for quality content, many small business owners look for services that will provide content only. Similarly, some marketing firms promote content as a standalone service. In each case, the service will fail to deliver what the client really wants, which is search visibility. It’s prudent to trust a professional’s judgement when investing in marketing, but skepticism is certainly understandable in the SEO world. A legitimate SEO company will tell you that content on its own will not be enough to change the fortunes of your web presence. Here’s what else you need to be successful online in 2019.
Design & Coding
What’s content without design? It’s HTML text with a default font. Nobody cares to read through these types of pages. In fact, try to find a result on Google page one that is text by itself. Sure, content can mean more than text, but can you find one example of a poorly designed website that ranks on the first page of Google? The reality of content is that it’s only as valuable as its presentation. This is especially true in our increasingly mobile society. If a smartphone user cannot consume content on their iPhone device, what good is it to them? It could be written by a scholar and enhanced with high resolution images, but if it doesn’t fit within a mobile design that is simple to navigate, it will not matter one bit. In summary, here’s how design supports content:
There’s several different forms of content that exist on the internet today. One of the most appealing ones is blog posts. Yes, Google states that home page content is most important, but research conducted by 3rd parties indicates that blog post quality, length, and frequency, can combine for a major influence on organic search position. Blog posts are a more informal way for users to consume content than a traditional page. Since many blogs are written as topical and instructional, their clicks and engagement rates are much higher. They can also serve as something known as evergreen content. These are posts that people consider a resource to go back to over and again. They often earn links from external websites which increases the page’s authority. In summary, blogging supports content through:
What good is a book that nobody reads? The same logic can be applied to content published online. If nobody sees it, it becomes the sound of a tree falling in an empty forest. The chicken or the egg argument seems to immerse itself into the content visibility discussion every time. The idea from Google and others is that great content will get seen because it will earn links naturally and people will organically come into contact with the most premium writing. Sounds great, but it’s hard to prove whether or not this is accurate. Brands with more resources and more inbound links pointing to their domain, are going to get their content seen more, even if it’s inferior. Sure, writing great blog posts can help you earn links, but you still must pursue exposure on your own. Ways to do this include NAP citations, guest posts, and blogger outreach. In summary, links supports content through:
- Domain Authority
Google My Business & Reviews
The best kind of content is user-generated content, and that’s exactly what consumers provide when they published feedback on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or elsewhere. Google My Business Is the premier brand platform for small businesses. It’s the module that appears when a user performs a branded search of your company name. It’s also one of the most trusted sources for legitimate reviews, if not the most trusted. A company without a GMB page or without Google reviews, has little chance of improving search visibility, even with the greatest content ever written appearing on their website. That’s the harsh reality of the SEO world. If you run a business, you must act like one online. In summary, reviews support content through:
- Consumer Trust
- Google Integration
- User Generation
The most highly populated channels of content are social media platforms. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or YouTube, they are all brought together for a common cause, content sharing. The content you think of on your website might not be exactly like the content you think of on Facebook or Twitter. But the fact remains, it is all content. Some of it is user-generated (like with reviews) and some is published and syndicated by brands and organizations like your own (yes, even small ones). Think about YouTube as one of the central hubs of content. There is no more appealing content than video which is confirmed by the platforms usage statistics. Thinking about these social channels as opportunities to syndicate content of your own, puts you on the right track to understanding how content works in 2019, and why it relies on other platforms aside from a text editor. In summary, social media supports content through:
Another misnomer about content is that it can be a one time deal. No, you can’t write a website full of content and then ignore the site for the rest of its tenure. Google favors websites that deliver fresh content regularly. So how do you do that? By utilizing some of the concepts discussed throughout this post. Blogging is a great way to publish regular content on your site. WordPress supports internal blogging, which means each new post is published under your primary domain name. This helps funnel all traffic to a central domain. Another idea to think about is review generation. User-generated content is about as valuable as it gets, so you should pursue reviews from satisfied customers (ethically, of course). But most of all, ongoing work is required on your website. You can’t pay for content, and then tell the marketer to go away. To succeed and sustain success, content marketing and management is an ongoing process. In summary, ongoing work supports content through: