April 9, 2013
A lot of site owners, especially SMBs, are still looking for the ‘Field of Dreams’ effect with their content marketing efforts. If you build it they will come… may have worked for Kevin Costner but, for the rest of us, waiting and hoping is no way to build your online brand presence. A lot of small business owners have a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that Google isn’t there to help their business succeed. Google doesn’t really care about your business (as harsh as that sounds); they care about their customers, the searchers. If your content helps Google deliver the best possible search results to their users then it will do well organically. If someone else is doing a better job, your content will get pushed deeper and deeper into the SERPs.
Just because you write and publish a piece of content, even a great piece of content, that doesn’t automatically mean Google will love it or reward it. You have to earn the trust and respect of the search engines; something that comes with time and consistent effort.
In a recent interview I did with Ann Handley, the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, she summed it up perfectly;
Good content is only noticed if sharing is a key part of any content marketing effort. You can’t expect Google to do all the work for you — you’ve got to actively share and engage on social media channels as well.
Are you actively promoting your content on social media? Obviously the big sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn (for B2Bs) are a good place to start, but there are dozens of other social platforms you could be leveraging: Tumblr, Pinterest, and Vine are some of the other popular ones, but smaller, industry specific social communities like Inbound.org (for SEOs) are great places to start building your social presence. Look for forums and communities that cater to your audience. If there is a niche you can almost bet there is a social site somewhere that you can promote your content on (such as Ravelry, a site for knitters and crocheters).
By actively promoting your content on social networking sites, every time your content is shared, it creates a social signal — basically a thumbs up in the search engine algorithm. Although we don’t know for sure how influential social signals are, the search engines have admitted that shares are a factor—the idea being that often-shared content is more valuable and, therefore, worthwhile in the search results. The Bing-Facebook integration, for instance, is trying to tap into the social opinion of the Web, making search results more relevant and personalized for each user. A piece of content that has been shared by someone in that user’s network (generating a social signal) could show up in the SERPs on Page 1 while for another user it might still be bogged down on Page 3. The more times your content is shared, starting with your own profiles of course, the more valuable it becomes in the eyes of the search engines.
Both Bing and Google have confirmed they take into account a person’s authority when looking at social links. This means it’s far more valuable to have one real human with a real social presence sharing your content than to have 10 bot accounts Tweeting a dozen times a day. The search engines know that spammers are looking to take advantage of social signals for their own gain, and author authority is one way they can prevent that. Don’t waste your time amassing tons of “followers” that are spam or bot accounts. I’d rather have 100 dedicated, engaged social connections that actually share my content to their own networks than 1,000 dummy accounts that just make the numbers look good. Look to connect with real people with real social presence. Just about every real connection, no matter how small, is worthwhile.
No matter how great your content is you have to do some heavy lifting if you want to get the word out and get that piece of content doing well organically. Don’t wait for things to pick up—build the momentum yourself.
Nick Stamoulis is the president of B2B SEO services company Brick Marketing. With more than 13 years of industry experience Nick Stamoulis shares his SEO knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing SEO newsletter and the Brick Marketing blog. Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org