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Why Content Strategies Are Your Best Bet for Online Success
Friday, February 11, 2011
A few months ago at Pubcon, during what turned out to be a solo keynote speech, Google's Matt Cutts mentioned that Google would be refocusing efforts on fighting spam.  Could it be that Google finally took a long hard look at their own search results and saw how there was/is a large number of poor quality pages dominating the results?  Many SEO folk have leveraged some form of content optimization for the purposes of gaining visibility in search engine results.  Quite honestly the promotion that "content is king" made people take note that they had to build out more content to be successful with search.  While this is true to a point some (many?) have taken this practice to the extreme and the Web became quickly polluted with poor, low quality and in cases overly syndicated content.

Enter January 2011, where Google has gone public with their attack on content farms and sites that serve up low quality content.   All of a sudden "content farms" are a new buzzword that many are talking about.  It makes you wonder, just what is a content farm?  Does Google define a content farm the way you or I would define a content farm?  For me a content farm is a site that:
  • provides low quality content
  • features a lot of content that is syndicated or copied from other resources (all of you scaper sites out there take note)
  • has old or what I refer to as complacent or dated content that is of little use 
  • content that is over-optimized or has been fabricated for the sole purpose of gaming the search engine results
  • content that has artificially inflated their link inventories in an attempt to gain visibility in the search results
  • content that is cookie cutter in appearance; where it is obvious that a number of copywriters have created a bunch of content that is not unique or serves little purpose than creating noise on the Web
Having said that, there are sites that practice content marketing and article marketing.  That does not make them a content farm.  At least not in the content spam sense.  Yes there are exceptions to this, but there are a lot of sites that are putting out great content on a regular basis. Which leads me to the point of this post, content is still critical for your online success.  If you want to succeed, not only in search, but in the online space, you need to develop a strong content strategy

Why Content Strategies Are Your Best Bet for Online Success

Whatever the reason you choose to create a website, your content is the reason people will visit or not visit your site.  As a site owner there are three things that you need to think about when creating content:
  1. Value. Will the content provide value?  Is it useful to someone?
  2. Uniqueness. Is the content unique?  Is there some unique element to it?
  3. Relevancy.  Is the content timely - does it provide value now and will it continue to be relevant in the future?
We have said it before, but the messaging and type of content that your serve your audience can be the difference as to why users come back to your site or visit your competitor's site.  You can have the greatest writers in the world, but if the content they produce does not resonate with the intended audience, that content opportunity has been wasted.

The messaging that you feature on your site provides you with an opportunity to satisfy the need of your site visitors.  Perhaps they are looking for "how to" information, perhaps they are gathering research prior to making a purchase decision or perhaps they are even ready to make an online purchase.  Regardless a well planned out content strategy that is well optimized (yet not over optimized) can ensure great online success.  So then why are content strategies the best bet for online success?  Here are ten reasons why content strategies are your best weapon for guiding your audience to a conversion and online success.
  1. Adaptability - you can tailor your messaging to the needs of your audience

  2. Timeliness - you can provide the right messaging at the tight time

  3. Ease of reach - if your site is well optimized and can be found via online avenues such as search or social media, you can reach your audience quicker than other forms of marketing

  4. Ability to leverage different forms of content - whether it is a traditional web page, a blog post, a news release, a tweet, a Facebook update, an infographic (image), or a video, a well rounded content strategy should encompass various forms of content allowing you to reach people who consume information via different methods.

  5. Ease of update - it is easy to update your content online by simply editing a webpage or adding up a follow up post or video.  It can be easy to get timley information to your audience at Internet speed.

  6. Search - people use search for finding something.  Although the search algorithms are not perfect, quality content should be easy to find, people just need to be able to search for it and more importantly find it.  Well optimized, highly linked and authoritative content can have a greater visibility in search and social arenas.

  7. Ease of testing - online content strategies can be easy to test to ensure that your content is highly engaging.

  8. Dynamic/Change - similar to point number one above, your content strategy can be dynamic where your messaging can be guided by your user.  You produce the information that they are looking for ensuring that it is avaialble when they require it.

  9. Diversity - your content strategy can consist of various elements that can be interchanged as needed.  Perhaps you begin with a blog, or write an ebook, or publish a series of videos, or create an infographic, or leverage an article, whatever the mechanism you use to convey your content, the messaging can be the same but be presented in various manners. 

  10. What are the alternatives?  If you do not have useful content, what else will drive users to your website?  You need content for search, for your audience, for social.  Without content where would the Internet be? 

I applaud Google's efforts to clean up the Web.  The same with Blekko, I fgeel that they just need to be careful in lumping high quality sites (which because they may not have the most links or may not be the best optimized) with poorer quality sute that get neglected by the search engines and are not found within the search results.  Content is King?  Well maybe, but it is more like useful, timely and relevant content is king.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, February 11, 2011  
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