The phrase “content is king” has been both touted and disparaged by SEOs quite frequently over the last decade or so. Recent Google algorithm shifts have helped reignite the rally cry around content marketing. Google desires to surface content which is fresher, original, higher quality and socially popular. The bar for your marketing team has been raised. You cannot win with average content or even a lot of content. You need content which wins fans.
Consistent production of this caliber of content is actually difficult for most companies to deliver. As we audit our clients’ content and evaluate their competitors, we generally find that consistent production of smart content is one of the bigger opportunities to beat a field of competitors. Quality content will attract links, generate social votes and generate highly qualified traffic for the long-term.
The type of content needed for your search arsenal should have the following 10 characteristics. It should:
- Be unique. Before creating content, do a search and ensure you are not rehashing the same material. Put your own spin on it. And of course do not duplicate your content on multiple domains, pages or channels.
- Be professional – spell check is a must. Put process in place for editing and fact checking. Ensure your social channels and blog match your brand’s image.
- Be an answer to the search query. Study your analytics and understand which keywords send traffic to specific pages. Produce content for search phrases that are going unanswered and ensure your top landing pages are the best match for keywords delivering your traffic.
- Be a resource. Highlight the ways your company is unique. Identify the thought leaders in your organization and work to develop research, studies or surveys that your industry could talk about. This research effort could generate months of content served up as whitepapers, slide shows, Webinars, YouTube videos, social media discussions, blog posts, polls, infographics and more.
- Be interesting. Skip the FAQs and glossaries unless you can provide true value that’s not a snooze to read. Need a fresh perspective on your topic? Mine social media, blogs and news for current events and discussions.
- Be suited to the channel or device. Be aware of how your content is digested. Is it optimal for a mobile device? Is it the type of scannable content suited for social media or would a video best convey the content?
- Be a guide to the next step. Don’t be shy. Let users know where to go next. Landing page optimization should be part of your plan. Test everything. From calls to action, navigation, buttons, images and more, optimization testing gives you a ongoing opportunity to improve your results.
- Be a good host. Give your guests quality content and do not waste their time. Don’t annoy them. Stay on top of site housekeeping and ensure links and downloads work.
- Be shareable. Ask yourself whether you would share this content with a friend or colleague. Add social voting icons (i.e. Facebook Like and Google +1 buttons) to make it easier. Don’t forget to ask your network to share your content.
- Be fresh. Keep your content fresh and timely. Search algorithms favor fresh content. Blogs are still a terrific way to establish a voice, comment on current events and keep your brand relevant. Commit to a regular publishing schedule.
Make a commitment today to map out your content plan for the next 6 or 12 months. Planning gives you the opportunity to apply the needed resources and effort to generate content that will win fans and generate search success.