Why original, engaging, and natural content is still king12/08/2011
I often chat with clients about content and the importance of content on a Web site, on a blog integrated into a Web site, on third-party blog sites linking to the online brand, and via social media. I’m always dumbfounded when someone says: "Let’s go copy x article from x site and make it our own" as though doing this is original, engaging and natural. The same could be said, "… we’ll just copy Facebook posts of x and use 'em."
Gasp, I don’t wear another person’s underwear just as I don’t reuse content … period. Why? Content is king. And why is content king?
The search engines have more than a plethora of pages to index (b-i-l-l-i-o-n-s …); so many so that the search engines don’t index all pages, especially the pages that are plagiarized in part or wholly. The search engines employ their own search algorithms and can (and do) decide what pages to index and how high (or low) to index individual pages. And Google has said that it rewards original, engaging, and natural content. And in the past month, Google changed its PageRank index, another metric in its algorithm (most of our clients realized a bump up in PageRank this time around). Then of course, there’s a little pesky thing called competition for organic ranking and paid ranking too.
So what is original, engaging, and natural content? It’s really like it sounds: someone writes from scratch about something of interest to the author, something that is highly searched online, and it helps that the writer is an expert in the subject so the content flows naturally. To identify original, engaging, and natural content takes a little work … gotta find the keywords, phrases, and interest among Internet users—and then go to town writing.
Before we look at identifying subject resources, let’s make sure we are on the same page about the definition of content. We broadly define content as copy, the written word for sure but it’s also images, you know a photograph, or video, a recommendation, or social signal (ala Liking a page), could be blog posts, inbound links, etc.
Back to narrative content and identifying the optimal subject and keywords in which your customers are searching? Besides checking out Twitter trending (a little tongue and cheek, one could get whip lash monitoring TT), there are many options but I’ll share two I like and don’t tell. Shhh.
Anonymouse at www.anonymouse.org
- Private Web browsing (hold down the SHIFT and CTRL keys and then the P all together) inside of our favorite Internet browser
- These tools allow one to search online where the search engines are prevented from storing cookies, search history, and the like. No search shaping, no Google Instant, IP address/location is unknown, no search engine attempting to read one’s mind. So far, using these tools for searching reflect that my results are fresh, virgin-like, pure, white snow.
According to www.howmanyarethere.net , there are more than 346MM Web sites on the World Wide Web (June 2011).That’s more than one Web site per person in the US though the 346MM number is worldwide.
So I ask again, why is content king? Content is the manner in which you share, inform, and educate users about your brand, your market position, your products, and your services. It’s about instilling trust and credibility, especially if you are hawking your good online. And search engines are the intermediary between businesses (e.g. brands) and users (e.g. purchasers). Search engines play an important role of your customers and future customers finding your site and your products … and Google has incredible market share with roughly two-thirds of all Internet traffic.
Being found is the name of the game.
At Dirigo, we are frequently asked by clients:
- Should I develop a blog?
- Should it be attached to my Web site?
- Should I place my blog on Tumblr?
- Shall I use WordPress or ADXStudio or Blogger?
- How much time does it take for blogging?
- How about images and video?
- Do I need to write my own copy?
- How often do I need to post to a blog?
- What do I need for social?
- How much time does it take to maintain a Facebook page?
- Should I contribute and/or become a guest blogger on well-established sites?
So what’s a blog? A blog is basically a personal diary, a place to write thoughts and tidbits. It’s a great place to share relevant and engaging content, whether the written word, images, and/or video in an informal voice. The voice you use, the topics you write about, and the engagement you seek are all important components to a blog strategy.
We hear with some regularity from clients: "I can’t keep up with Facebook posting, tweeting, and now you want me to maintain a blog (plus running my business too)." If you make money (or want to make dough) online, then make time. These are your marketing channels and the search engines have declared they incorporate social signals into search algorithms. Said differently, if you want your brand to be found online, engaging, original content, which including blogging, is part of the entry price these days.
Check back, I’ll continue this dialogue.