Considering the spirit of love floating around with this week’s Valentine’s Day festivities, and perhaps just a hint of animosity many of us single people feel this time of year, I began to ponder where my emotions lie. To no surprise, I ended up thinking of SEO. And it made me realize my own budding love worth celebrating on this oh-so-special day: my love affair with content marketing. Unfortunately for me, I’m not the only one fighting for this love. The whole SEO community seems to have recently realized their newfound love for this marketing strategy. Here’s why…
Content Marketing’s Love Lasts
As a link builder, I’m all too familiar with the concept of link rot. In fact, 6% of the web’s links are broken. Quite frankly, I’m surprised it’s not more than that. But a great deal of link rot is relatable to the quality and type of links built by SEOs. Poor quality links tend to go away quickly.
In the SEO world, content has become the greatest divider between the amateurs and professionals. Content marketing is becoming the center of inbound marketing strategy and a tool for all facets of a campaign including branding, search, social and more. It’s the most sustainable long-term strategy in inbound marketing and it likewise helps boost other factors such as customer loyalty (retention) and conversion.
A content strategy (blogs, case studies, webinars, podcasts, infographics, etc.) allows a brand to illustrate its personality and culture, establish a presence as an expert on given topics, address the needs of viewers and capitalize on the latest trends and biggest news stories. All of these help create an intimate, genuine connection with their followers that is otherwise hard to achieve.
These followers are going to play a big role in your content campaign as well! Links surrounded by quality content will gain more attention and inherently attract more social sharing. All of those tweets, emails and shares become very valuable and drive a ton of traffic.
Why Content Makes A Difference via Google’s Algorithm
Content strategy isn’t just some newfound discovery, shattering the world of SEO as we know it. Google started out with search exclusively focused as a content based index that would allow you to search via a single keyword. Since that inception, Google has introduced new signals related to content and keywords that provide for even more accurate search results. But while Google employs these for better results, it seems to have distracted SEOs from the realization that content is still king. Instead, SEOs obsess over building massive amounts of low quality links even though they can rot away in a matter of months.
While Google does love content, there is still a gap of understanding that the search engine hasn’t bridged: understanding the meaning behind the words. They provide excellent query responses based on keywords in a phrase or the site’s authority for those topics, but ultimately, they lack understanding. In a Mashable Interview, Google software engineer, Amit Singhal, confesses Google’s search can only “cross their fingers and hope someone on the web has written about these things or topics” and hopefully that content contains the keywords and authority required to populate in the SERPs.
For example, while Google may find relevant results for the terms “Star Wars”, it doesn’t necessarily understand that Star Wars is a movie series, released on a certain date, by a certain director. It only realizes that it is different from the terms ‘Star’ and ‘Wars.’
These Times They Are A Changing
To make up for this lack of understanding search queries, Google, always the innovator, wants to revolutionize our expectations of search, taking results beyond keywords and links, into a realm of intelligence and meaning. Google aims to categorize content on the web and associate it with relative attributes, just as your brain naturally does. When these changes occur, Google search will understand what each object is and what you should know about that entity.
In order for Google to carry out these aspirations in having its search engine think just like the human brain, it appears they will have to adventure into the engineering world of artificial intelligence. This doesn’t imply that robots dressed as Arnold Schwarzenegger will attempt to take over our world, but it does mean we have a lot to look forward to. The first steps towards helping Google build what it refers to as the “Knowledge Graph” is through high quality content marketing.
So now that Valentine’s Day is over and all the romance has dropped from our lives again, maybe it’s time to focus on the love that will last — the love between an SEO and Content Marketing. It may lack a little luster, but I’m sure things will pick up if the Terminator does decide to make a comeback with the Google brand on its chest.