What is content marketing? If you’re not familiar with the term, that’s okay. It’s popularity surged with the dawn of the internet. While Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack is the oldest example we can find in United States history of content marketing, I have no doubt that content marketing has been employed by others in the past.
The world of marketing underwent an evolution of sorts when the internet became a vehicle for businesses and consumers to connect with one another. Content marketing became a more prevalent term in the marketing industry. Content marketing is an approach to marketing which happens to be thriving online. The term refers to the creating and sharing of information that’s specifically geared to offer valuable or entertaining information to a business’s target customers.
Content marketing is different than marketing copy in its approach. It’s less about convincing you to buy something and more about educating you on the benefits of a product or service in a way that is interesting and engaging. It’s more about connecting. My favorite part of content marketing: it recognizes you’re a person who is looking for information to better equip yourself in making sound decisions.
Whether it’s written, in video form, a podcast, infographics, downloadable booklets or worksheets, or social media posts—content marketing’s foundation is content that is created and shared for the express purpose of offering value (entertainment value or otherwise), free of charge. The hoped-for return on the investment for most businesses is your patronage, of course.
What does any of this have to do with organic traffic or SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Simply, it means that a website has been optimized to meet the ranking criteria of a search engine such as Google. What’s involved in the optimization process?
It starts with the code or the language that comprises your website. That’s the foundation of every website. A cleanly coded website almost always outperforms other messier websites. I say almost always because there are other ways you can cripple a website and its optimization. One of those ways is poorly written or barely existent content. What does that mean?
Imagine you have a website that’s not only cleanly coded, but it’s beautifully coded. You have all the bells and whistles for functionality, and it was all completed the right way. Now imagine that website has hardly any written content on it. Do you think your visitors will stick around for very long on that website? Probably not. It’s like staring at a blank canvas. It can only hold your attention for so long. Additionally, Google may not even index that website because it can’t tell what the site is about without enough written words to make that determination. You must have a minimum of 300 words on a page for Google to index it. Or you must have a very high number of visitors to that page, then Google will index it. But that number has to be pretty big.
Cleanly Coded and Fabulous Content—Check!
So, let’s imagine you have a beautifully coded website with superb content. Now what?
Take a look at your load time. Does it take a little while for your website to load? Head on over to GTmetrix to figure out the answer to that question. Type your URL into the bar and hit enter. Wait a moment and you’ll know how well your website is performing. Your results will hopefully look like this:
If your website’s performance scores are a C or below, then it’s time to get your website checked out and cleaned up. It’s impacting your SEO and the user’s experience. Having a mobile-friendly website is also part of the SEO process and paramount to ranking well. If you need help with any of this, I know a wonderful website professional on my team who can help you. Let me know.
As for the exhaustive SEO process, we’re not done. The few things we’ve covered is just a little tiny scratch on the surface of SEO, but it gives you an idea of what’s involved in SEO and what needs to happen for you to rank well. Back to content marketing.
What does content marketing have to do with the SEO process? Everything.
SEO and Content Marketing are Partners
As we’ve covered already, content marketing deals with the creation of content. After you have a cleanly coded website, what’s the next thing involved in optimizing a website to rank well? Content. The written words on a page.
By centering your content marketing strategy around the addition of blog posts to your website, you are constantly increasing your chances of staying at the top of the search engine rankings. If you’re adding content in a way that is SEO-friendly, of course. You’re getting a two-for-one special!
Creating valuable and engaging blog posts mean you’re increasing your chances to rank well, and you’re creating new opportunities to get in front of potential customers. It’s a great partnership.
And if you’re creating content that truly is helpful and engaging, you’re also increasing the number of visitors to your website. Increasing your number of visitors also helps to increase your rank.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Mindy, I’ve seen some really terrible, barely functioning websites out there in the world that are ranking really well. If what you’re saying about the SEO process is true, how do really terrible websites rank well?”
Most terrible websites can rank well pretty easily by employing one old-school method that still works today. What is that method? It’s the throw-money-at-the-problem method.
Remember above that I said increasing your traffic increases your website’s ranking? That’s the hole in Google’s algorithm that’s being exploited by many of these terrible websites.
How? Let’s say you have $5,000 to spend every month on ads. Great! Stop reading here. You don’t need to worry about SEO or organic traffic ever again. You can buy traffic to your website through Google ads. Right?
Paying for traffic via ads is a great way to get enough visitors to increase your rank if you have the money to do so. But buying traffic won’t necessarily lead to higher profitability for your business.
Most paid-for traffic results in visitors who won’t be converting to paying customers, especially if you have a terrible website or even a website that lacks a point of connection for visitors. Terrible website or no connection equals little to no conversions. You’re purely paying for traffic to increase your ranking. This means you’ll have to keep paying for visitors without receiving a return on your investment.
A Longer-Term Investment
If you’re going to throw money at the problem, then I always suggest throwing money at a web designer with a history of creating websites that rank well organically. Throw money at a content marketer too. You need someone who will come up with a strategy for you (one that either you can implement or you can pay them to implement).
Terrible websites rank well because they have a high volume of visitors. Terrible websites attract visitors most often because they’re paying for those clicks. You can do better than terrible websites without matching them dollar for dollar by having a professional create an SEO-friendly website with a solid content marketing plan. Then you can keep ranking long-term with organic traffic.
Not sure where to turn to find such a pro? Look no further.