It is the cornerstone of company online marketing strategies. But why are so many getting it wrong and what can companies do to improve their content?
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a method companies use to advertise their product or brand online. It is multifaceted and takes into account SEO (search engine optimization) best practices and provides readers with useful and valuable information.
When used correctly, content marketing can drive visitors to a website, increase conversions and enhance a company’s profile within their given industry.
That being said, the majority of companies are getting even the most fundamental elements of their content marketing strategy wrong. Below is a checklist of things that companies get wrong consistently and the solutions to those obstacles.
Website Structure and Formation
Many companies fail to realise that a content marketing strategy starts from the ground up. When creating a website, they simply think a developer will do all that is necessary to ensure that the website is a good foundation to work from. The truth is, website developers are a very niche community whose expertise goes little further than the areas that they need to work in. Creating a pretty and operational website is not the only consideration you need when setting up a website.
In addition, you should concentrate on these 3 areas;
- SEO Formatting. This is best outsourced if you don’t have the skills to do it yourself. Formatting the website so that search engines can find you is fundamental to you competing in your chosen field. This includes tags, meta descriptions, keyword research and implementation as well as structuring the website correctly so that a search engine can prioritise web pages in order of importance.
- Keyword Early. As mentioned above, part of your process should be to conduct keyword research. Many sites fail to keyword their main webpages and instead choose to only keyword on their blog. Google uses a priority algorithm, whereby it categorises pages by importance. A blog will be further down that priority list than the home page for example. If your homepage is not utilizing keywords, then it is likely you will drop considerably in the search rankings as a result.
- Hire a Writer. Writing is a very specific skill; many companies overlook this and think that they can convey their message concisely to their audience. The truth is, many websites are poorly written as a result and that leaves your potential buyer feeling underwhelmed about your company and its brand. Hiring a writer can lead to the creation of exciting, engaging and sales generating content.
Poor SEO Understanding and Practices
VM interactive think this is the single biggest problem with web content. Companies rarely understand what Google (or other search engines) are looking for. This is in part down to Google themselves who have created a very complex algorithm to prioritise search results.
Many SEO companies lack understanding as well, on numerous occasions there have been instances where a high-profile SEO company will get content strategy wrong.
There are a few golden rules to follow that simplify SEO practices;
- Keyword Correctly. To do this you will need to carefully target keywords. Don’t spend 5 minutes on AdWords and think that you have enough information to then keyword your site. Thorough keyword research should take hours not minutes. When you have selected those keywords after carefully evaluating the competition you will need to insert them into your content. Do this naturally and don’t over stuff the keyword. More on this point further down.
- Tag Images. Tagging your images is so important because it allows search engines to read what they can’t see. The majority of competitors will not be tagging their images correctly, so this is a very simple and easy way to get above the rest.
- Meta Description & SEO Titles. When you search using a search engine, the top pages always have descriptions of what you can expect if you click on the page. Scroll down the search results and you will notice sites without descriptions or titles. To even try and get to the top spot you must be filling out meta descriptions and writing SEO titles.
Low Quality Content
The biggest way to pan your website and lose position in search rankings is to churn out consistently poor-quality content. Google’s algorithm is smarter than you might think. Here is a little insight into one of its features. If people click onto your page and don’t like what they see they will quickly leave the page. Google picks up on this and that leaves a mark on your Google score. If this happens consistently, the algorithm will very quickly drop the page to the lower end of any searches. This is because it believes (and rightly so) that the content that people are running away from provides no value to that search result.
Tying back to the point of keywording. If a piece of content isn’t naturally keyworded it is glaring. Content with keywords repeated excessively is very poor content, difficult to read, unenjoyable and altogether useless in the long run. Never keyword to a density of more than 3%. A good rule of thumb is to keyword more at the 1% mark.
If you are using a WordPress site, there are plugins available that will aid with SEO. For basic SEO (it isn’t sufficient to get to the top of a search) you should use the plugin Yoast. This will help you avoid many of the simple trappings that your competitors are falling into.
Not Enough Content
Search engines like Bing only scour the first 300 words of content to ascertain how useful it is. But, it needs 300 words at least to do this. So, content that is too short won’t be picked up on by Bing. With around 20% of all web search traffic coming from Bing that is 1 in 5 sales prospects that you could be potentially missing out on.
The best content strategy employs a content writer and SEO specialist to achieve the desired result. Be sure to quiz any SEO company to gauge whether they actually know how search engines work as many don’t.