Everyone’s talking about content these days. Right now, there’s more content about content than there is about most other things, and I’m about to add to that.
So by now, you of course know that you need good content but do you really know why? There’s more to it than meets the eye, and understanding these reasons will help you develop your content marketing strategy with confidence and clarity.
If you’re not from the marketing industry and are wondering what’s causing this sudden interest in quality content, the answer is one word – Google. Since the Panda/Penguin Google search algorithm updates, every online marketing expert worth his salt will tell you that Google will love you more if you create awesome content.
And why does Google prefer great content? There are two reasons – the obvious and the unobvious one.
The obvious reason – spam, spam, spam, and some more spam
Rewind to circa 2010. Most online marketers would spend a lot of time and effort on creating completely useless content, distribute it on article farms, spammy forums, and lots of other nasty places. These places served no purpose at all, but to be a permanent parking lot for bad content – for which they sometimes even charged a dollar or two. You could find content on almost any topic on these sites, but almost always, it would be so bad that you would never get the information you were looking for. Usually, these were just rhetorical articles repeating the same point again and again, often in broken English.
Google’s Surprise Attack
The problem was that Google’s 2010 search algorithm wasn’t smart enough to figure out that links coming back from these parking lots had no meaning. The links were just distorting the natural results from the algorithm.
After several warnings to marketers and website owners, Google decided to take matters in its own hands and launched an all-out attack against spam, under the innocuous names – Panda and Penguin. The two updates shook the online marketing world and led to some serious introspection among SEO experts. This is when marketers realized that crap content won’t cut it and that the content they publish should be high quality, and even more importantly, valuable to the readers.
The unobvious reason – good content is the sign of a good business
When you are shopping offline, you can judge a business by looking at its store, the packaging of its products and the way its representatives behave. This is not possible when you are just searching for a product or service on Google. To bring good businesses higher in its search rankings, Google needs to read as many reliable signals as it can. It cannot use humans to judge every business that has an online presence, so whatever signals it uses must be readable by an algorithm. And one of the easiest signals to read is textual content.
It is a fair assumption that a company that cares to write great content or hire great content writers, will also care for customer service and the quality of its products. This is a much better algorithmic assumption than simply counting the links back to a website.
Corollary: Bad content is the sign of a bad business
In the same way, there is a pretty good chance that a company that does not care about the quality of the content it creates would also not care much about the quality of the products it sells or the level of service it provides to its customers.
A well-managed business shows attention to detail. It will have a good product, an efficient website, engaging and fresh content, and friendly and helpful people.
Action Item: Get great people working on your content
Whether you choose to have your own team work on your content or you choose a writing company is a decision you need to make, taking into account several factors like:
- Availability of good writers and researchers
- How much management bandwidth you have to drive in-house content creation projects
Whichever route you take, don’t forget why you started creating content in the first place. Use the same quality benchmarks for content that you would use for your products.
Lastly, thank Google for making the internet a more trustworthy place – one where being on the top of search rankings shows credibility and quality, and not the ability to manipulate a system.