You have probably heard it before: content is king. But these days, with everyone doing content marketing and trying to optimize their sites as best they can, the competition certainly is on to conquer keywords. And the only way to do that is to ensure that your content strategy evolves with the latest trends. This week, we take a look at how content marketing is evolving and how you can keep up with the changes to ensure your pages continue to rank in the search engines.
1. Write Longer Pieces Of Content
The base requirement for content that can be indexed is a minimum of 300 to 400 words but, if you want to take your content marketing to the next level it might surprise you to know that longer pieces are lot more valuable to search engines. An article from Entrepreneur.com goes into more detail about the number of words you should be aiming to write for each piece:
According to serpIQ, the ideal length of a blog post is more than 2,000 words. serpIQ discovered that the average length of blog posts that appear in the top 10 search results is more than 2,000 words. In fact, the ones in the top two results have an average length of more than 2,450 words.
If you think about the amount of search marketing going on, coupled with the wealth of black hat SEO practices that are going on, it makes sense. It is a lot more difficult for people to use unscrupulous practices for their search marketing when the desired piece is a few thousand words long.
And, according to the independent studies that have been done, longer content pieces can get you more traction in search engines and send you more traffic through social media sites. Quantity should not come at the expense of quality though. Just because your content is longer does not mean you should compromise on quality. That means avoid repetition at all costs, make use of subheadings incorporate bolded text and ensure all posts are well written.
2. Make Sure You Include More Visual Content
As we move faster into a more visually-inspired digital world, visual content is becoming more and more important. And if you just think about the number of social networking sites that revolve around visuals (like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest), it should not come as a surprise.
Pinterest currently has more than 70 million active users, and Americans spend at least an hour and 17 minutes on the platform every month. The reason for this is the fact that so many people are actually visual learners. The Social Science Research Network says that 65% of the world’s population learn through visual stimulation. This also explains why infographics have become so popular and are digested readily by online users. According to Hubspot:
Your brain actually discards 99% of all sensory information just to help store unique information presented in a novel way (which is exactly what well designed infographics do so well). Infographics have had a huge explosion in popularity, such that in the past two years alone the search volume for infographics on Google has increased over 800%.
3. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of A Podcast
Podcasts may not be the flavor of the month just yet but if you want to get ahead on your digital marketing efforts, now would be a good time. Social Media Examiner reports that only 6% of content marketers are making use of this kind of content at the moment. This figure is expected to increase to 21% this year. And because audiences and their needs are evolving, podcasting is one content type you should be looking to include in your online repertoire.
4. Invest In Evergreen Content
If you are not familiar with the term, evergreen content is content that does not expire. It is not attached to breaking news, which has a shelf life. So why should you be investing in it? Well, according to Search Engine Journal:
It only grows stronger in authority, ranking, and traffic over time. You will know when you’ve crafted a great piece of evergreen content by the stats. If you have content that has grown legs of its own, keep it updated on the same URL or redirect to the updated version. This sort of material earns its own links, provides real value, and will get you the eyeballs you are seeking for your site.
Evergreen content also gives you more options to play with, in terms of recycling and repurposing words. If you have got a piece of content that has done well and won’t expire you have also got more options to play with in terms of reusing it and getting even more mileage out of it.
5. Use Content To Establish Yourself As A Thought Leader
Gone are the days of obvious SEO, where human readers couldn’t digest it because of all the search engine cues. Today’s really effective content is that which does give readers valuable content to absorb for free, and which establishes its writer as an industry leader or authoritative source. Not only does lengthy, well-optimized content send readers to your site. When the content is good enough, it is also a powerful brand identifier and differentiators.
But, again we end up at the age-old debate as to how to measure whether the content is actually effective at establishing its writer or owner as an industry expert. This excerpt from a Brafton.com article goes into more detail:
Think about when you’re assessing your business goals. Let’s say this quarter you’re striving to lower your bounce rate by 5 percent, increase on-site conversions by 10 percent and attain thought leadership. Clearly, one of these things is not like the others. One look at an analytics report can tell you whether you’re on track to lower your bounce rate or increase conversions. There isn’t a magic button in Google Analytics to measure influence.
When devising your content plan it is essential that you put benchmarks in place before you start to determine what will give you the results you want.