What if I told you that the #1 secret to outstanding SEO is something you already know, even if you’re brand new to social media marketing? What if I said that after Google’s last updates, Panda and Penguin, that SEO became simpler than ever? And would you believe me if I announced that the less you know about anything any expert told you about SEO marketing, the better off you are in your online marketing efforts?
Those claims about online marketing sound pretty audacious, even to me (and I’m the one making them). But I honestly believe them with everything that’s in me, and here’s why.
Once upon a time (aka, before Google updated its search algorithms), optimizing the pages on your website was a bit of a crude art. It mostly relied on choosing a set of 10 or 15 keywords that you pretty much stuck with, and tried to work them as many times as possible into your article, even if that meant sacrificing the readability of your page. And that was the legitimate folks. Illegitimate marketers would create entire pages and sites stuffed full of nothing but keywords, and unfortunately, those results would rank pretty highly in Google search.
But the folks at Google did some tweaking and updated the algorithms used to deliver search results over past year or so, and the quality of search results improved as a result.
It was a bit funny, though, to see marketers get worried about whether the changes to Google would affect their placement on Google search negatively.
If you read Google’s remarks on the changes they implemented, it became very clear that their intent wasn’t to affect the ranking of legitimate businesses offering relevant, useful information online. It was to limit the use of artificial tactics such as article marketing and over stuffing websites with keywords to “rig” the search results. Google continues to tweak the algorithms to deliver better results.
(Good) Content Marketing is Great Business!
For legitimate marketers, this is FANTASTIC news, and here’s why. It eliminates the advantage that was supposedly gained by trying to game the system with crappy content (yes, that’s a technical term). It levels the playing field, allowing the content to speak for itself when it comes to online marketing (with some minor SEO savvy tweaks in the background).
Yes, as many social media marketers are proclaiming these days, content is king!
With one caveat.
Content is King, but…
If content is king, then context is the kingdom Gary Vaynerchuk says that context is god. I can’t quite bring myself to say that publicly given my faith background, so I’ll stick with saying that context is the kingdom. But I’ll still credit him with articulating its importance.
What is context? It’s understanding each article, each page, and each website as a holistic entity. It’s the setting of your article, page, and website. It’s in terms of the context of your page and your site that your article can be understood.
Quality Content Matters!
This means that more than ever, quality content matters. No, you don’t have to be Shakespeare to produce well-written content. And you don’t have to have a Ph.D. in your subject matter to be able to create informative, thoughtful information about it.
What you do need is a genuine desire to create something that delivers real value for your audience. Creating real value means that you inform, inspire, or entertain your readers in some capacity. Content that creates real value leaves your readers with the feeling that they gained something by reading your article.
In other words, creating content that delivers real value to your audience means understanding the context of your article. Your article doesn’t exist to be found by a search engine! SEO is not the ultimate end of your content. Discovery and engagement by real people is. Content created without this understanding of context is being penalized and weeded out by Google and other search engines – and to this, I say, “Bravo!”
Traditional SEO matters – in terms of fine tuning your Google placement. But after that, your content and your context must deliver a combination that is so engaging, people can’t help but click through, comment, and share your content. Anything less than that does a disservice to your audience and deserves the Google burial it receives.
How are you creating value for your audience? Entertainment/humor? Information? Inspiration? Some combination of the above? I’d love to hear – leave a comment below!