Content marketing if done well, can be an incredibly effective tool. Once upon a time I used to believe a page one ranking was possible through it if you found the right keyword, but from experience (and more than one failure) I now believe that to be around page 3 or 4… if your lucky and do multiple pieces. Site structure, navigation and landing page optimisation are still superior ways of achieving that. If you’re looking for a quick how-to on content marketing though, my main recommendations are below:
– Mix it with news: Content marketing pieces that are educational and informative may serve you well ranking-wise, but in terms of site engagement… they could well fall flat. With Google’s stance on not manipulating search rankings you should never put a piece of content on your site purely for ranking reasons and as these pieces are pretty easy to distinguish for humans…the bots won’t be far away.
– Keep it recent: We know about algorithms now that look at the freshness of content, this supports regular and consistent creation of new posts and pages but this doesn’t necessarily mean sticking any old thing up there. News sites rank notoriously well, not just because of how fresh the content is, but how much it’s read.
– Send it to influencers: Whether you @mention them on Twitter (my favourite tactic) or send them an email, a share or mention from an influencer will do your content no end of good. Promoting your content once it’s live on site should become second nature – reach out for those social endorsements.
– Analyse it: There are great tools out there but I tend to keep a simple spreadsheet of visits and shares. It takes a good three or four months to start to know your audience, so see what posts get traffic and traction and produce more of them…I’ve lost count of the times I’ve posted what I thought would be an incredible piece of content only for it to fall flat.
– Aim small: Don’t expect miracles. Produce pieces regularly, consistently and expect results over time. As with so many other blogs’ advice out there – don’t go for the keyword, go for the topic, split it up, and use other attributes such as internal linking, alt tags and meta to relate the page appropriately to your target.
As with all things in this industry, content marketing is changing, it’s also open to abuse so produce content for the reader; read and shared content is far more valuable than a ranking increase of 3 positions to page 5.
By all means target your content, but be smart with it too.