You Might Be Getting Content Marketing All Wrong

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This entry by Charlie Whitworth is originally posted on

Semantic Satiation
semantic satiation

For more than a decade, the prevailing notion in marketing, whether online or not, is: “Content is King”. This rings true, up until now. However, because of this same notion, there are thousands of low-quality content that are being published just to get good grace from search engines.

Google has recognized this and just early this year, released a “phantom” update that hit informational and ‘How-To’ contents. The idea was to rid the SERPs of thin websites that offer limited or no value to the user.

The temptation has been for agencies and marketing departments for quite some time now is to churn out content on a daily basis to expand their site, sometimes without necessarily giving much thought about how useful each piece of content is for the user.

In order to combat this growing surplus of pointless content, webmasters and SEOs should surely wake up to the fact that web content should not be created for web content’s sake only. If a worthy idea’s not coming over, why not look to create some promotions, offers or concepts for your business which merit writing about? Google is looking to promote brands who are an absolute authority in their niche – not those who just like writing about facts.

Although fresh content is great, the problem is many SEOs have fallen into the trap of thinking that every blog or article is going to give them brownie points with Google.

There are advantages to adding fresh content such as internal linking and giving new areas of your site some extra crawl time, but if you have your sitemaps properly optimized and submitted to the search engines, then this should not be an issue and there is always the good old “Fetch as Google/Bing” in your desired Webmaster Tools, which will ensure your new pages are indexed as quickly as possible.

This is not an attack on blogs, guides and other forms as they are great and the best examples are fantastic for the user, and therefore, your SEO efforts. However, this over saturation of the web with badly researched, self-promotional and ultimately useless content may come back and bite us–just like the “phantom” update Google released that targeted informational sites.

There are all sorts of tools out there for investigating user intent and what your demographic wants and needs. You can always talk to your customers. Do that, and make sure your copy is superbly written and of course, interesting; and you may well see your results improve significantly.

Quick SEO-Content Checklist

  • Does this piece of content actually offer the user some value, what will they take away from the article?
  • Am I being over sales-y? If the user thinks that you have written your article purely to gain a lead, they are likely to bounce pretty quickly.
  • Have you researched your user? Ensure you know what they want and how they want it, as every industry and sub-sector is different.
  • If you can’t think of anything to write about, then don’t do it! Instead, focus on enhancing your product or service which will act as a breeding ground for natural copy.
  • Don’t obsess about publishing content daily. Quantity is important, but quality will always prevail.
  • This goes without saying but ensure your technical aspects are sound. From simple things like title tags and meta descriptions, to potential for Schema mark-up and considering TF-IDF.
  • Finally, ask yourself, “Would I read this article to the end?” If you wouldn’t, then why should your readers?
Kevin Joshua Ng
Kevin Joshua Ng
Kevin is Content Marketing’s humble scribe. He has no doubt in his mind that Content is still king and he will serve it ‘til the day of his demise. He’s known to lurk around the walls of social media, thinking and writing. So follow him on the BuiltbySF blog and on LinkedIn, Twitter.

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