A friend of mine who is a life coach in Northern California launched her business this year, and was inquiring about ways to market herself. After she listed her business on Google Local, Yellowpages and a few other directories online, SEO hounds started cold-calling her, promising to rank her business on the first page of Google. I told her rarely do these ranking promises work as they are based on marketing Websites for keywords that are weak. Companies that make these promises optimize sites for obscure search words that people wouldn’t use to find a particular service or product.
We talked over several months, with me explaining — and repeating — the importance of content marketing via blogging. I urged her to start writing, even it were just 300 to 500 words, about insights into what she did as a life coach. I suggested giving simple answers to questions that people seeking her kind of service ask. I also recommended doing keyword research for her blog posts to find the terms that people use most to find services like hers.
Eventually she started blogging, and sharing her efforts on her social media sites. Within a few months her business Web site on which her blog was embedded was ranking No. 1 in Google organic search. Keep in mind, she lived in a small city, 64,000 population, so the competition isn’t as high as it would be in an area like Los Angeles. But the fact that she was able to rank No. 1 after only a few months in a city where there are quite a few other businesses like hers online was no small accomplishment. And it was content that got her there.
That’s the buzz word this year in online marketing — content. Content is king, quality content will rank your site within Google search, well written content will present you as an authority in your field or industry.
The latter statement is not a new phenomenon. White papers, books, and other forms of in-depth content have always been represented their authors as experts in the subject matter explored. And blogging is not new either. But with Google putting the squeeze on spammy SEO efforts, and striving to rank only sites that offer quality content, blogging as a marketing tool has reached new heights.
Google has been saying it for years–quality content is one of the most important factors it looks for when crawling sites during searches. And it’s not just Google that has a say on how important content is–according to this infographic below by QuickSprout, 61% of consumers surveyed say they have more confidence in a company that has a blog.
One thing that is new regarding content marketing, specifically regarding blogging, is the longer the better. It used to be the norm to limit your blog posts to 500 words maximum, with the idea that people don’t have the time or attention span to devote to lengthier articles. But now, according to data collected by QuickSprout, written content that is longer than 1,500 words receives more Likes and Tweets. And the average page that ranks first on Google has between 2,000 and 2,500 words.
What does this mean to you, a business or brand owner? Well, like my life coach friend, it means start publishing — yesterday.
But remember, the best blogging is done with original, quality content. Long gone are the days when you could pay five bucks for an article from someone to regurgitate facts from the Web written in robotic sentences. Your content has to be engaging, informational or educational, and well written–facts, spelling, grammar and punctuation all must be accurate and top-notch if you want your readers (potential customers) to trust you.
If you have the time to do your keyword and content research, start with dedicating yourself to writing a blog at least once per month. As you get the hang of it, increase your blogging to two times per month, then weekly.
Depending on the competition in your area, weekly blogging can bring you results within several months.
If you simply do not have the time to do your own content marketing, hire a professional writer. It will be well worth the effort to drive traffic and quality leads to your Website. Crackerjack Scribe offers affordable content writing packages for businesses. Check them out here.
Tell us about your content marketing efforts in the comment box below.