Whether your site is content-driven by nature or you sell dishtowels on the web, it’s time to get serious about the content you offer online consumers. Google recently announced that its New Year's resolution is a renewed emphasis on rewarding quality web content and cutting back on spam. The search giant won't be reneging on this resolution because it’s got an updated algorithm in place to keep it honest and ensure top-ranked sites are up to snuff.
Other search engines are working hard to reduce spam this year, too. Earlier this week, Blekko announced it is banning certain low-quality sites from its search portal altogether. And at Tuesday's Future of Search event, representatives from the slashtag search engine, Bing and Google all agreed that there need to be stricter measures for quality web content.
Aside from the fact that Google and other search engines are trying to ensure that only top content gets top ranking, chances are your competitors are investing in content development. For example, if you're in the B2B computing sector, there's a 94 percent chance your competition is dedicating funds to building site content.
Bottom line: Businesses have to get into content marketing this year. Whether content marketing has traditionally been a hallmark of your site, or you're new to this strategy, Google's algorithm and the increasingly competitive market call for content-best practices.
It's important to set a winning strategy for content development before you even push it live, so let's start with good writing as a source of success.
Work with good writers
Google warns that its new algorithm is going to fight against “junky, automated, self-promoting” content. And in case it's not obvious, overly promotional content won't do much for establishing brand trust among consumers, either. Nor will error-filled content.
For example, here's the website of a business offering home health remedies; it could have benefited from some editorial expertise. The company recently posted an article about mayo-infused hair conditioners, which seem to be one of its specialties. The content of the post is confusing.
The post starts with an unnecessary article that makes it sound as if people only have “a hair” on their heads. But even The New York Times has occasional grammatical errors, right? Well, the next sentence doesn't give us much more hope. “As much as possible, you want your hair to be tangle-free, soft and moisturized and that is why you allocate a good budget for hair conditioners and moisturizers to get your desired smoothness.”
The run-on sentence and poor phrasing in the very first paragraph make it clear that this article needed some proofreading. As the post continues, it links to other landing pages, sacrificing readability to use the linked phrase “home remedies.” But many web visitors will probably never make it to those links because they won't continue reading.
If you're properly optimizing your content pages, they could be searchers' first impression of your site. Plus, an L2 survey shows that website content is one of the top factors influencing young, affluent consumers' ideas about brands. Finding a dedicated editorial team to write for you should be a priority.
Not only must content be factually and grammatically correct, it should also be engaging. You want it to be optimized and draw traffic related to search trends without keyword stuffing. It's important to work with writers who can provide search-friendly content of the highest editorial caliber – the kind that will be rewarded by Google and convert web visitors.
With this in mind, you might find that the same people who write brilliant promotional pamphlets aren't the best at creating content that will consistently engage online readers. Web users want content that is fresh and newsworthy. B2B marketers suggest journalists may offer the best content marketing solutions this year – they are accustomed to generating stories that will drive repeat visits to your site.
In Part 2, we'll discuss how to ensure that quality content can be discovered on the web. Stay tuned!