One of the trends in SEO in 2011 which I blogged about earlier this year was the fact that social media was going to become a major focus of many SEO and online marketing campaigns.
The heat generated by the launch of G+ has skewed that focus a little more, suddenly making even more companies and individuals aware of the power of social media marketing and the ability of G+ to change online practices at a deep level.
Content Indexed by Google Fast
G+ affects every Content Marketing strategy because it is seamlessly integrated with Google Search. Depending on the privacy settings of posts you will make, of course, Google Search crawls G+ at an incredible rate and follows back links to trawl and take to the Google Index.
One very obvious result of this in a test I carried out earlier in the week was to create a test page on HelpMySEO and then put a link to it publicly viewable on G+. Normally, in order for a page to be indexed quickly because it is time-sensitive you need to get it picked up by Twitter or Facebook or Digg. Facebook is not very transparent to Google search so it does take a couple of days at least to get a new page indexed that way. Twitter is by far the fastest, delivering indexing results within hours. Digg.com will get it done for you within a day or so. G+ indexed it within 12 hours which is not bad considering there is limited interaction at the moment as it is still in early Beta phase.
The experiment showed off one of the immediate values of G+ however which is its ability to unearth content and help Google Index it. For the webmaster wanting to get the content of his website indexed quickly this is a big plus (pun unintended).
Content Marketing and Content Creation Strategy
This brings me, neatly, onto the subject of Content Marketing. If you are creating content with the specific purpose of marketing your website and services what do you need to bear in mind? We are far enough down the road from the Google Panda update to know that quality now really works. The tired cliché of “Content is King” is truly in effect but the content you create now has to be engaging.
Here are some guidelines to help you with your content creation strategy:
1. Does the content tell a story? – You need to create value in the content you put online and this means that even a list of uber-practical tips and hints is no longer going to work just as a list. When you create content you need to make sure that the unique selling point (USP) of who you are and what you do and why you do it really comes through. It’s no good telling people, for instance, that your service will help them if you do not also place in their heads a clear picture of who you are as a service provider.
2. What is the purpose of the content? – It is all very well to think ‘Content….we need C-O-N-T-E-N-T’ (supply your own Homer Simpson voice here) but that content is being created to do something and that something needs to then be measured. So, if you are, for instance, creating content to drive traffic to your blog or website then you need to have some way of measuring if that works. Similarly, if the content is intended to generate sales, leads, queries or interaction that needs also to be measured.
3. What motivates this piece of content? – Here you really need to think about Content Strategy. Every piece of content you create needs to have some reason for existing and owe its existence to a pre-defined purpose. It is no good, for instance, to think of creating a post on running shoes without having a really clear idea of what you are going to say that is going to be different from ‘these shoes are good for running’.
4. What is the plot of your piece? – I know that writing for the web is not really a movie but really you need to project a little personality in it and avoid making it a robotic exercise even if it is something you need to do regularly.
Answer these four points on Content Marketing correctly and you pretty much solve your content creation problem and the need for a content strategy, at a stroke. Neat, right?