People talk about content marketing and how 2013 will be the year when many businesses finally get to grips with it. Possibly.
For me, I don’t see that happening this year in the UK, because most businesses do not have the time, willpower or resources to create original, well written content, which will achieve a high page rank on Google.
The harsh truth is that most SMEs and smaller businesses think they can do it on the cheap. Big companies are more switched on in general, but few want to invest serious money in quality content.
Many senior managers and directors still think that by paying web developers and web designers huge amounts of money, they can `game’ Google. That there is a `trick’ to getting to P1/P1 on Google or Yahoo.
SEO isn’t X-Box; there isn’t a `cheat’ app, or website, which will enable your company to consistently get P1/P1, although there are plenty of web developers who will happily sell you that notion. And forget about link farming, that train has left the station.
The Technical Side Matters, But You Need Good Writers, with SEO Skills
Good websites need many things.
Error free website code, high quality links, H1/2/3 site structure, XML sitemaps, W3c compliance, a lack of flash media, or appalling marketing spam above the fold on your home page. There are many other technical aspects, but nothing is as important as excellent content in the long run, when it comes to overall page rank and making money from particular pages within your site.
You would think people would grasp this basic truth, but there is still far too much syndicated PR fluff, outsourced Pidgin English copy bought for peanuts from People Per Hour or some dreadful Copyscape rehash of old, or stolen content, which is irrelevant, poorly written, keyword stuffed or just riddled with tacky affiliate links.
Great stories, hard news, `how to’ articles that answer questions, product reviews, comparisons, witty, short video clips and outstanding, shareable photos. That’s what you need. Downside is, it costs money – because good writers and image creators need a living wage, just like web developers do.
If You Include News and Topical Articles on Your Website, then Employ Experienced Journalists, Not Interns or Amateurs
I will speak slowly, so that the slow of understanding can note this point; journalism matters, it drives traffic, boosts conversion rates and helps websites make money.
Irrespective of what you think of the Mail Online website, it delivers, being the most read UK newspaper website by a huge margin – twice as big as its nearest rival, the Guardian. The reason is that people get the news, 24/7, plus comment from both journalists and readers alike. For free.
Then there is the clever `wall of shame’ photo strip at the right-hand side of the Mail Online page, which acts as internal link bait – these pictures of scantily clad women, celebrity affairs, weight loss/gain pics, soap stars in court, Harry Styles copping off etc. all keep readers clicking on Mail Online stories – reader engagement.
That engagement, that precious web browsing time, builds trust and when people like and trust your website, they are about 20 times more likely to click on a link to a partner company, advert, or graphic image which acts as an affiliate link. That is how Martin Lewis made his £87 million from MoneysavingExpert – trust.
To create all that topical content, you need pro writers, and photographers, with SEO qualifications. Or you can hire editors to add the vital SEO tweaks via the CMS ( Content Management System) when the content is posted. It helps if those editors keep up to date with Google’s shifting sands of SEO rules and regulations too.
That too, takes a financial investment, you cannot learn it all from a Mashable post or two.
Case Study: Beating Car Magazines at Car Reviews
OK, check the screen grab; Google P1/P4 result on my Jaguar XF 2.2 Diesel car review.
Now, let’s be blunt, I shouldn’t be able to beat What Car, Auto Express, Fleet News, Autocar, Evo and others with my review on Watch My Wallet, which isn’t a car magazine.
Google should see my feature as being less relevant than specialist car magazines, but it doesn’t.
The reason this content has a good page rank is because I have applied the lessons learned whilst studying SEO and social media marketing at Salford University. Great course, if you’re in business, you should try it – I’m not on commission by the way.
I also used Google Analytics and Trends, to fine tune the content, so that I could match it to the potential searches entered online.
For example, top keywords include the Jaguar’s engine size; 2.2 litre, mpg, review, road test and the engine type, which is the more popular diesel variant. In my experience, Google likes to look at the opening paragraphs of articles to define relevance, so try and make sure you write a natural, flowing intro, that has two or three of those top keywords in there. It works.
Define your images, add the make or model to the image description – some people search Google Images, not the text search, never forget that.
Don’t forget to mention rival cars. You want potential car buyers to look at your content, because ultimately you need some sort of link, or partnership deal to monetise your content. So people who type `Jaguar XF 2.2 vs Audi A5 diesel’ need to see your content on P1 of Google, because you really, really want those readers.
There are some other SEO tweaks involved, but these basic hints and tips should serve you well. So go and create some original content, write some reviews, and amplify your reach using social media. Google Analytics will tell you which days, which hours of the day, your Twitter, Quora, LinkedIn, Facebook or You Tube posts are most likely to bring you the right traffic.
Content marketing can, and will, bring readers to your web pages, and where our eyes go, our money follows.
Tweet me @npointsocial