I cannot count the number of times I have had to tell a customer that there is no such thing as a silver bullet for getting great results on Google.
It is something that takes continuous time and effort and you have to focus on multiple tactics to have a successful strategy and for what it is worth here are my top 5 mediums for success:
- Google Adwords / PPC
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Web Auditing
- Content Creation
With that being said if you put a gun to my head and forced me to pick one for sustainable success it would have to be content creation.
Creating unique & useful content can be challenging and takes more focus and effort than any other digital marketing activity but of the 5 elements of success content gives you the best long term returns. The other mediums deliver results only as long as you are putting the effort in but content continues to deliver online traction for visitors long after you have written it.
To understand why that is you have to look at how google gathers information & delivers results.
**** Disclaimer! – I am writing this blog for the uninitiated in digital marketing, SEO PPC or any other three letter Acronym associated with our trade. As such the language and themes are intentionally simplified yes I know the details are more complex but I find most business owners need plain English translations for the jargon most Digital Experts spew. This blog is for them not for the Matt Cutts Wannabees ****
The first part of this is the Google Index. This is the vast database of information that Google stores regarding websites on the internet. It is collected by software designed to crawl the internet and record what it finds. This software is collecting and analysing the content of billions of web pages. It is this index that Google uses to rank pages and website in terms of their relevance to a particular search term.
So for example if i enter the phrase great web design company into Google will look at it’s database (index) and use a complex set of rules (algorithm) to decide which entries in it’s index are best suited to me.
Rather than trying to give you migraine by explaining several thousand factors Google reportedly use lets focus on the first part of this equation Google can only return results from sites that it has indexed.
The most basic principal of indexing (not ranking!) is providing Google unique and relevant content on the topics you want to rank for. So if I want Google to index this site well for phrases like web design or digital marketing I should create lots of unique and original content about those things, have a look at our blog and tell me how we are doing 😉
In short the more content you create the more you give Google to work with. The more it has to work with the more likely you are to gain rank. This is the major difference between content creation and other digital marketing tactics. Content goes directly to the index while other efforts are tackling ranking.
For the real anoraks in the audience you should hasten over to this post by Gianluca Fiorelli. He lays it out in fine detail.
Now that you have the inside skivvy how do you make the most of it? When we train our customers on content creation the initial reaction to “write your own content” is anything from blank stares to people running and hiding (this actually happened)
Side note: This reaction is not unusual and that is fantastic news. If all of your competitors are terrified or just to busy to create good content the content you create has more value because there are less creators out there than you think, particularly for the Irish market.
Get over the shock and accept that just like everything else in business doing it well takes time. To help you on your way here are my tips to creating consistently good content.
Depth and sources
A huge number off well informed websites advise that the minimum amount of content Google requires to consider a page as a resource is 300 words. But this is at best an educated guess. Do not be overly concerned about the length of your content. focus instead on the quality of what you write. Make it direct, informative and keep it simple. As for the idea that a quick copy paste from that other site is an easy win please do not bother. Not only will you not gain any traction for it ( Google recognises copied content ) you can actually end up boosting the person you copied.
A fantastic tool for keeping you on track particularly if you are part of a team. It is a simple excel sheet in most cases that lists a week by week break down of topics to work on and what channels (blog, landing pages, social article) to use. It is amazing how effective a simple sheet is.
What can you write?
When it comes to selecting topics there is not really a good or bad topic as long as it does one of the following; distract, entertain or educate.
This can take the form of product knowledge, an in depth review of a popular offering or better yet a customer case study. Industry Knowledge, an article addresses emerging trends in your industry. Last but not least customer knowledge information on how to solve or overcome common issues for customers (like understanding content writing)
Providing content for your visitors is what the internet was before it became a commercial playground and it is still the backbone of successful websites. Don’t avoid it! get stuck in and 6 months from now you will see the difference.