Businesses now widely know that content marketing is a bigger deal than ever. As SEO experts, we have known that content is king since the Google algorithm update named Panda rolled out back in February of 2011.
The Panda algorithm’s triggers include important elements like thin content, duplicate content, low quality content, lack of authority/trustworthiness, content farming, low quality user generated content, and high ad-to-content ratio.
But why is content marketing important? And what is it?
Content marketing strategies involve growing and generating traffic through high-value, user focused content. This means content across a brand’s website and social media that is able to draw reader interest and engage potential customers.
Google is still testing what makes content “high quality,” but we know that long form, useful, posts are generally rewarded, especially when they answer user questions in depth. The way content and SEO corollate is why content marketing is so important for natural business growth.
Why Content Marketing is So Important for SEO
Search engine optimization is still the one type of marketing that delivers the highest ROI. So thinking about how content collaborates with SEO is important.
Some proof that a website can be negatively affected due to poor content practices happened in June 2019, when The Daily Mail lost 50% of its traffic the day after a core algorithm update rolled out. It’s been speculated that the high ad-to-content ratio and low quality/thin content were factors. Given the news happenings around this time, where rumors were circulating about election tampering through internet media, it also made sense that Google would attempt to crack down on the quality of content coming from news sites.
This is especially true for Your-Money-or-Your-Life categories (sometimes referred to as YMYL), where Google admits its high standards are to protect users from negative impacts on their life, income or happiness. With all these signals, Google wants us to know that keeping the interest of the user at heart will always be the top priority to the search engine, and your content should reflect these values for the best chance at better rankings.
Google has been telling us that producing high quality content is the great equalizer. So much so, it even added an entire section on Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT) to its Search Quality Guidelines in 2018 to help give search marketers an idea of how to focus their content efforts. This means that writing EAT content for Google SEO is a key part of why content marketing is so important.
But following these guidelines isn’t always enough to earn top rankings, and that’s where the job of professional SEO comes in.
While expert, authoritative, and trustworthy content helps your chances of naturally rising in the SERPs, it also allows the opportunity to be optimized through on-page SEO techniques. With keyword research, latent semantic indexing techniques, and linking strategies, more content opens the door for SEO specialists to tailor your content to what users are searching for, grab their attention, and keep them on your website longer. Not to mention, title tags, headers, images links, meta descriptions and more can be touched up to increase relevance, keyword rankings, and click-through-rate.
But content marketing isn’t just for SEO. Another reason why content marketing is important is that it can help your brand or business in other channels.
Why Content Marketing is So Important for Social Media
Social platforms offer another digital space to reach potential customers and the best part is it can actually fuel your SEO campaign too!
Users can find your website while browsing Instagram, Facebook and other social channels, which help naturally increase your site’s backlink profile which can lead to better domain authority. In fact, social media popularity is actually part of the Bing ranking factors algorithm. This also increases traffic and therefore, authority. This multi-channel benefit is another reason why content marketing is important for both SEO and social media.
And most recently, YouTube has floated the idea of featuring web links underneath videos. YouTube is the second most used search engine, and when used correctly can feed your businesses’ search traffic as well. This feature will make it easier for users to navigate to your site after they watch your video, which will increase traffic to your site, especially if you optimize your YouTube channel for keywords.
In addition to views, shares will also boost a site’s authority by increasing traffic and links. Page authority is important in SEO because it improves a page’s overall visibility and ranking of a website. You can also target more competitive keywords the more authoritative your site is. Even though Google says social media in general, and shares, specifically, are not direct ranking factors, many experiments have shown time and time again that there is, in fact, a correlation between social shares and organic rankings. Part of why content marketing is important for organic rankings is that good socially relevant content can grow your brand’s recognizability over time.
When content from social media circulates, it begins the cycle demonstrated below:
- Publish creative and high-quality content
- Content is shared and gains back-links
- Your brands social media profile gains followers while your site gains traffic
- A community grows around your brand
- Consistent interactions with your social media and SEO enforces brand reputation
- Search engines index your website higher
- Users find your site organically through search engines
As you can see, shareable social content helps grow a brand’s visibility and influences organic rankings – meaning this is another reason why content marketing is important.
But many small businesses are not on social media yet and are apprehensive about tackling the relatively young and nuanced channel. Starting out on social can sometimes feel like you’re shouting into a void. This is why your content marketing strategy should be central, to provide you with ready, relevant messaging to send out to your target audience. Think of social media, your website, and also ad space as places to publish highly relevant, engaging, and useful content to your customers at every step of their journey. Your content marketing strategy will define and elevate your social media strategy as it will help you decide which platforms, content types, and messaging to use.
Content marketing is important for creating a strategy that starts with business goals and a company’s mission. Going back to the beginning creates consistent messaging across all channels and platforms. By focusing your site’s content, you have more of a chance to rank higher for the keywords directly related to your product or service, so everything must be relevant in some way. Good content solves a problem or answers a question. Your target audience and customer data will drive what type of content you need to create that will be interesting to people, read (or viewed) and shared.
Another reason why content marketing is so important is that it helps define your brand’s voice and tone, and consistent branding creates a seamless experience for the user, which encourages them to like, trust, and come back to your brand in the future.
According to data from Sprout Social here are the most popular style of brand voices on social:
- Honest (86%)
- Friendly (83%)
- Helpful (78%)
- Funny (72%)
- Trendy (43%)
- Politically correct (39%)
- Snarky (33%)
When creating content, it’s important to know that certain businesses will do better on certain platforms and the same goes for types of content. Being able to curate content specifically for each platform is why content marketing is important for visibility.
For example, high quality images are more engaged with on Instagram, while video is preferred in Facebook’s algorithm, and blog posts tend to do well on LinkedIn. Knowing the type of content users come to each platform to consume increases the likelihood they will click, which increases visibility, trust, and, therefore, website traffic. Content marketing strategies are at the heart of scaling organic campaigns, but they can also be leveraged with paid advertising. In fact, they should be.
Why Content Marketing is Important for Pay-Per-Click
It’s often not enough to just produce organic content. Sometimes you create a fantastic video, or well thought out blog post, but you’re just not getting any traction. Just because you have created great content, does not guarantee people will find you.
What is content marketing in light of PPC, and why is it so important?
Well it’s the job of a PPC campaign to expedite the process getting your content discovered. But you want to make sure your money is being spent as efficiently as possible, so that means your creative, ad copy, and landing page experience all have to send the right message and work to move the user down the conversion funnel. One thing to remember is you will often be paying for each click, so wasted clicks on a misdirected ad will cost you.
Now more than ever, advertisers can just about guarantee they’ve served their ad to the perfect target audience and can measure results from impressions to clicks to purchases and everything in between. Being able to get the most out of your PPC campaign is why content marketing is so important. Money doesn’t have to be wasted on irrelevant audiences anymore with the power of Google’s AI.
Google’s smart bidding strategies have the capability to only show up when the AI picks up on signals that show when someone is more likely to convert. The AI has processed so much data that it knows based on device, location, language, demographics, time of day, and even the text of a query to adjust its bid accordingly to be in the right place at the right time, and that’s after the user has already decided to search for a product or service, so they’ve already established intent. If you’ve prepared to serve your target audience highly relevant content, your ROI will soar.
With each ad platform, you can choose your campaign goals based on brand awareness or conversions. Promoting content that matches your message, branding, and call to action increases the likelihood of clicks and conversions when the image, search ad, or video is personal, relevant, and timely.
With access to compelling creatives PPC campaigns can result in 150% more conversions from clicks than organic search.
One of the best strategies is creating separate content for cold audiences and warm audiences. Content you can show a cold audience might be a helpful blog post, an interesting image with a helpful caption, or a short video. Content you can use to turn that cold audience into a warm audience promotes a free promo, free shipping, free download, etc. It’s important that creatives that are promoted through paid ads are part of a bigger content marketing strategy so that all channels work together to engage the user.
Another big reason to create well thought out content for PPC advertising is the ability to retarget warm audiences, and, in the case of Facebook advertising, create look-a-like audiences to find new customers that are similar to those who already showed interest in your site. And the best way you’re going to find interested customers is to put out relevant content for them to interact and engage with. The more content you push, the more you can track demographic data and put users into a retargeting audience in order to influence them to buy after they’ve left your site. And that may be on a different platform, so having content ready that plays well and fits the requirements on social channels is a must.
A content marketing strategy determines how far SEO, social media, and PPC efforts will go. If you really want to scale your business, content is the key to setting your marketing up for success.
With chances all over the digital space to interact with customers and the constant introduction of new media features to the playing field (looking at you Facebook shopping), it’s important to be ready to share your brand with potential customers through a relevant, valuable, and effective content marketing strategy. Without content, there wouldn’t be a message to amplify, constricting how far your money gets you.
Contact us to learn more why content marketing is so important for building out a professional SEO, PPC, or paid-social strategy.