Business owners and marketers should continue to focus on creating high-quality content guided by solid keyword research based on SEO competition and keyword research, with a focus on topical and long-tail targeting. But the days of picking a handful of keywords and putting all efforts toward becoming ranked #1 for those keywords are over. Competition is simply too high in all industries now; there’s always going to be at least one other brand doing it better and spending a higher budget than you.
According to the 2014 Econsultancy Marketing Budgets Report, approximately 74 percent of surveyed brands are set to increase their content marketing budgets in 2014, making it the single biggest area of increased spending in 2014. Why the shift in investment?
- Google demands content. It’s one of the biggest reasons to invest in content. Google doesn’t want shabby copy. It craves high-quality, fresh, relevant content. If you’re all about ranking, then content is the way to go because it’s what the beast wants. But there’s more reasons to invest than pleasing the great search gods.
- People want quality. Your audience is composed of people who want remarkable content. They’re looking for a reason to start talking, and it’s the resulting conversation that search engines will take note of. Google strives to index results that are as useful as possible. If your content grabs attention, earning recommendations, applause, and shares, then you’re in the sweet spot. Your content is creating SEO while pleasing your audience. It’s like a two for the price of one sale.
- Content beats ads. Unless it’s the Super Bowl, the general population avidly avoids ads. Customers seek out content. Their goal is to learn. They want to make informed decisions based on facts and research. Gone are the days of spoon-feeding potential customers via advertisements. They have been replaced by a generation in hot pursuit of knowledge.
- Engagement leads to conversion. The strategy of content marketing is to engage the audience at every stage, leading them to the buying process where they will continue to be engaged. It’s not all about inbound marketing, which heavily focuses on initial brand awareness. Content hands you the unique ability to nurture leads, gain conversion, and ensure retention.
- Content builds customer loyalty. Publishing content on a regular basis can improve your customer service. In fact, it can build customer loyalty. There’s more to business than just conversion. After the sale, you can build valuable customer loyalty by publishing copy that helps your customers get the most out of your product or service. Not only does it nurture loyalty and promote retention, but it also displays your credibility and secures your reputation.
- Content makes a stronger ROI. According to The Drum, a study conducted in the United States by Kapost and Eloqua found that content marketing is more than three times as effective as paid search strategies. It’s an investment that shows measured, positive return.
If you’re truly serious about long-term SEO, you need to re-focus your efforts and invest in content marketing, or else you’ll risk being left in the dust the next time an algorithm update hits and plummets your already shaky rankings. Does this mean Web page optimization is dead? No.
According to author Carl Weiss at SiteProNews, Web page optimization is still important. But it’s not 1999. On-site optimization only accounts for around 25 percent of your overall ranking score, and if optimization is incorrect, MIA, or irrelevant to the content, search engines will misinterpret or completely ignore your content and slap you with a low (or non-existent) rank.
If on-site optimization is only contributing a small percentage to your overall score, what’s generating the big punch?
What are search engines digging into? Let’s start with this…have you heard of SEM?