Content Marketing has been on everyone's lips and for good reason, but there is definitely some debate as to what Content Marketing exactly entails. I read a great article from Marketing Magazine late last year which explored this dilemma. The author, Lauren Quaintance, narrows down Content Marketing into three categories:
- Content that entertains - this refers to the content we see being created by brands for entertainment purposes. It is also known as branded entertainment and is commonly video content.
- Content that inspires - this is the content which uses real people and real life situations to connect with audiences.
- Content that informs - this is the content which provides us with useful information, like the information we find in infographics and articles.
You can start to recognise that everything you see is almost some form of Content Marketing, but inevitably the question of how is Content Marketing not Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) enters left stage. They are different fields within online marketing, and they both heavily rely on the other, however, they cannot be mistaken for the same thing. SEO is arguably far more technical; from onsite optimisation like ALT tags and correct URLS, SEO methods are the unseen components of a successful Content Marketing campaign. Content Marketing is much broader in the sense that it is created for the intent of acquiring and keeping an audience. It is also the front-house aspect of a successful SEO campaign.
In the past, Search Engine Optimisers were able to produce content for one purpose and one purpose only; for Google to be able to crawl and index for specific keywords. It resulted in poorly written content which wasn't designed to make the user's life any easier. Fast forward to now and after several Google algorithm updates and content for SEO purposes has taken on a whole new meaning. Relevant, authentic and genuinely useful content is what Google wants to see, and sites which were ranking on Google's first Search Engine Results Page (SERP) are now no longer to be seen.
You need good content on your website for Google to crawl. The best way to do this is to find long-tail keywords which you want to rank for and creating relevant and genuine content which feature these keywords. Keywords are vital for SEO and Content Marketing to work well. If you want your onsite content to continually deliver traffic, then you have to ensure that content has longevity. Sure, content on trending topics shows you are up to date with industry news, but you need that content there which will last the test of time.
So what are the implications? More content than ever before is being created, which means it is becoming more difficult to have your content seen and read by the people who matter - your customers! We are moving into a mobile future (arguably we are already here) and we can see that not just SEO and good Content Marketing are the only factors we need to take into consideration when it comes to ranking on Google's first SERP and engaging with audiences. How content is displayed is now an important factor and who knows how much this could develop in the future? With Google's roll-out of their mobile optimisation update in April 2015, there is a clear and growing focus on how users engage with content, and how they search for it.
It's an ongoing and changing situation, but one way to keep an eye on the developments of these implications is through the use of Google Analytics and properly tracking and measuring search traffic changes and website bounce rates. For now, the best solution for your business is to ensure your SEO and Content Marketing strategies are working in unison.