Quicksand was supposed to be a problem. In cartoons, movies and videogames, heroes were always fighting to get out of a quicksand pit before they were sucked down to unknown depths.

Outside of fiction, the danger posed by quicksand is disappointingly limited. You’d be lucky to encounter it in the world, and even luckier if you lost your shoe to it.

Though content marketers may not need to swing on vines to avoid quicksand on their daily commutes, they do need to adapt their strategies to avoid sinking lower in SERPs.

Roll up your maps and dust off your compass, because the Content Marketing Weekly is going to clear a trail through the digital jungle.

What Do SEOs Do When Google Removes Organic Search Traffic?

In a recent Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin discussed how some aggressive moves by Google are making life more difficult for SEOs. The search company is taking steps to add more valuable information to SERPs, which means fewer users are clicking through to corporate websites.

According to Fishkin, the number of organic clicks sent to websites by Google went down for the first time ever between August and November 2017. This first-of-its-kind drop could be the result of several recent changes implemented by the search giant.

When a user asks Google how old Cary Elwes is, for example, Google doesn’t just provide a Featured Snippet directing the user to relevant information –  Google tells the user the exact age of the British actor. The same goes for the current time in London and the accepted definition of a non-newtonian liquid. Ask, and Google shall answer.

Intelligent, responsive answers in SERPs have a clear benefit for users, but they leave SEOs in a sticky situation. As Google attempts to own greater shares of search queries, small to mid-size businesses could see shrinking click-through rates. Companies that fail to update their SEO tactics will inevitably sink in the mire.

Fishkin recommends that SEO professionals optimize their content for multiple platforms, such as YouTube and Google Images, as well as the standard mix of social media. Meanwhile, businesses that optimize their Google My Business information may attract additional customers, if not additional clicks.

Content Marketing Audit Essentials

A jungle explorer who loses pair after pair of boots to quicksand must eventually stop blaming his or her luck and start tying stronger knots. Similarly, a business that sees flat web traffic month after month must eventually audit its content for existing issues and new opportunities.

This week, Smart Insights published a comprehensive guide to auditing a content marketing strategy. The guide lays out five key areas that impact every campaign, showing marketers how they can determine if their content is driving as much value as possible.

An audit isn’t useful to just companies that are stuck in the mud; organizations in a growth phase can benefit as well. A content marketing audit can reveal which channels drive the most value, identify what that value means to customers and discover future opportunities for engagement.

Without an audit, any change made by an organization is an uninformed struggle against hidden market trends and complex search algorithms. A content audit shows marketers the best path forward.

6 Great Email Lessons From the GDPR Deluge of 2018

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation made waves when it went into effect last month. The law is designed to give residents of EU member nations greater control over their personal information. It also brings steep fines to businesses that fail to adequately protect that information.

In recent months, businesses with dealings in the EU scrambled to make final arrangements for compliance with the new law, hoping to avoid all risk of fines that could exceed 20 million euros. A single infraction could sink a business.

Organizations with email newsletters must ask their subscribers to recommit to receiving communications. Content Marketing Institute found that companies experience more success re-capturing readers when they:

  • Keep design and messaging consistent.
  • Use a recognizable email address.
  • State that an action is required in the subject line.

3 Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

Organizations that want their content strategies to align with their branding efforts need to style their visual content consistently and purposefully. Like a map that leads adventurers into the clear, a style guide leads writers, photographers, designers and videographers to the best implementation of a branded message.

An artist can convey brand values to an audience without excessive words. Content Marketing Institute recently explained how typography, color, white space and layout can convey branded messages to readers in a variety of channels.

Companies that define and formalize their brands with a set of style guides can ensure that customers have a consistent experience, no matter where they encounter the brand. Content marketers should utilize graphic design strategically.

Now that the mud has dried, it’s time to say goodbye to another Content Marketing Weekly. Come back next week for a brand new selection of the best marketing insights on the internet. Remember to knock the sand out of your boots before going home.

Alexander Santo is a Brafton writer living in Washington. ​He enjoys searching for the perfect cup of coffee, browsing used book shops and attending punk rock concerts.