You use your website to market your business, so you need to rank high in Google search.  But if businesses are thinking only about SEO – whether their site has been optimized for Google, they may be skipping over a big piece of the Google algorithm, content marketing.  What is it and how much will content marketing improve your search rank?

What is content marketing?

You get talked to death about how important your Google rank is and how up-to-date SEO of your website is essential but most of the time, not enough emphasis is placed on content.  What is written on the website and who is looking at it.    In reality, a big chunk of what Google is really interested in right now is “fresh” content and how website users are interacting with your content.  

How do you market content?

You know what products you sell and you can easily list business facts on a website.  But most Internet users really want more – true, interesting information that they haven’t seen before.  Just like any message, you need to market it – as in, “content marketing.”  For most businesses, this is best accomplished by a blog which has articles about your business, products, industry and other topics that your customers might find important or just interesting – and it is often found most easily on social media.  

It is a way to attract attention from Google and draw in new customers but it is also a way to showcase your business personality as well – ultimately increasing your sales.  

Google’s interest

Google likes new content, not because Google reads.  It would be more appropriate to say that Google views new content as “favorable.”  Part of the latest algorithm encourages websites to publish new content and to market that content.  It will help your business:

  • Increase your authority.  The more your website publishes on topics that are relevant to your business, the more valuable you look as a resource.
  • Attract interest.  Not just Google’s interest, but interactions with Internet users.  A new, interesting article that gets read 20 times by different people, and commented on twice is much more valuable than an old article that has been retweeted by you 1000 times.
  • Build your brand.  New content lets you showcase who you are as a business and build a picture around your brand.  Today’s Internet users like to know the “backstory” of your business.  They may find that greeting cards whose messages are inspired by the “plain-speak” of children are more interesting than other cards – even if they are less expensive.
  • Generate buzz.  Content marketing isn’t a gimmick but it serves the place of what the sales gimmick used to do.  Your content should be authentic but the more interesting it is, the better.  When people like it, Google notices.
  • Get links.  In general, as more places that link to your site appear, the more times Google will “see” you, which is a good thing.  The caveat is that you don’t want links to your site to be viewed as spammy or fake.  Don’t engage in any link schemes or buy a service that promises to put links all over the Internet.  That is like littering and Google hates it, so much so that they will penalize you for it.  
  • Start indirect interactions.  When you attract interest, some of those readers may leave comments, or perform social media actions (share, like, comment) which gives you an opportunity to start a conversation.  Google notices all of these signals, but for your sales, it is just the beginning.
  • Continue with direct interaction.  Some of those potential customers may be interested in continuing a conversation and learning more about your business or products.  
  • Conversion.  Ultimately, this is your goal – conversion.  Content marketing can lead to more sales but in order to get the sale, you had to be visible, attract interest, and engage your customer.  When they come back, when they refer others – Google notices.

Does it cost a lot?

Short answer – no, it doesn’t have to.  Your content marketing, just like any other marketing strategy can be a DIY program, but consider that your website is a big part of your entire marketing program now, so you need quality and consistency.

If you are up to it, you can have new content for free (nearly), by writing it yourself or by having a staff member write it – but if you or your staff don’t have time or the skills, you can hire a freelance writer to do it for you.

Social media marketing of your content is a must and you should be on social media anyway.  Again, this is something you or your staff can do but it does take time, creativity and organization, and you have to be consistent, even when you don’t feel like it, so you may need to consider hiring a professional.

Integrating your content marketing and social media activities with your website’s SEO is a “must do” so your content needs to be created with SEO in mind, easily promoted on social media and match your business image and goals.  You are building a brand identity for your customers – and for Google.  

By having an authentic and updated website content (that is hopefully interesting and memorable) and by making sure your content marketing works hand in hand with with a solid SEO plan, you get the biggest “bang” for your buck.  

That’s what it is all about – making your investment pay off.

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