The vast majority of business websites out there tend to stay laser-focused on their goals. Whether they’re intended to sell a product or generate leads, it seems that all of the content placed on their websites works towards this end. While there’s something that can be said about the strategy, changes at Google, Bing, and social media sites makes it beneficial to post content that does nothing more than educate, entertain, or act as a resource for people without attempting to sell or generate a lead.
If you want to truly get ahead of your competitors this year, you should be willing to devote a little bit of time (or money if you choose to buy it) every month on content. This isn’t the type of content designed to get ranked in the search engines, but it can help your important pages get ranked. It’s not the kind of content that will generate leads through social media, though you have opportunities every time someone lands on your site. It’s the type of content that is truly giving – you’re motives should be business-oriented but the content should be able to stand alone.
First, let’s take a quick look at why this helps. We’ve covered it before but here’s a refresher:
Valuable Content Helps the Rest of Your Site
Google, Bing, and the social media sites love quality content. They can tell the difference between quality content that is beneficial to visitors and content that is designed specifically to generate leads and/or sales. They can tell by the content itself in many cases (particularly in the case of Google) but they can also tell through inbound links that are earned and social signals that are given.
When you have content that people are willing to share, whether by linking to it from their websites and blogs or by sharing it on social media, the search engines and social media sites (Facebook and Google+ in particular) give additional trust to the domain. This is the primary reason that we strongly encourage having a blog on the primary domain itself. That’s not to say that there are no benefits from having an offsite domain, but for this exercise the benefits yielded come from the domain’s interactions.
A post that is valuable to visitors can link to other pages within the domain, helping both the domain in general and specific pages rank better in Google. For Facebook and Google+, sharable content ads the trust factor. Most domains do not appear as well on social sites regardless of the content because they do not have an established history of trust. By posting content that people share, the social sites start to get “acquainted” with the domain. You can tell if your domain needs a trust boost by having someone post content from the site and then clicking it on Facebook. If a warning comes up that “you are about to leave Facebook and go to blah blah blah”, then your domain is not trusted yet. You can fix this. You just need more people sharing the content on your domain. This can be achieved by posting quality content that people are naturally willing to share.
This type of useful content helps both in search and social. Now, let’s look at the content types.
Content Worth Sharing
There are several different kinds of content that can play well for the search engines when it comes to building two of the primary SEO signals: inbound links and social shares. The general way of looking at it is to take your industry, your area, or both and apply your knowledge into the creation of content worth sharing. Here are three examples:
- Entertain – Let’s say you have a Ford dealership. You can post a gallery of images of classic Mustangs, title it something like, “7 Epic Mustangs from the 60s and 70s”, and write up a 3-5 paragraph blurb about the storied history of the car. Many people love classic cars (and Mustangs in particular) and will be willing to share the page and the images on their social profiles as well as their blog or websites.
- Educate – With what you know about your industry and location, you should be able to teach people things they didn’t know. Even if you don’t know for sure, the internet is there to help. For example, you could post something like, “The Storied History of the Seattle Space Needle in Pictures”. Gather up some images of the Space Needle from when it was built and during times of note, write up a quick paragraph or even a sentence describing each scene (make sure it’s unique – don’t copy and paste!), and post something that will be educational on your site today and into the future. This has excellent sharing potential from locals.
- Resource – You’re the expert. Show it. There may not be a direct business reason to post a story titled, “How to SYNC Any Device in a Ford Fusion“, but the information can be helpful to those who run into challenges. They may share it. They may link to it. If they visit the page, they will likely stay on it for a while as they apply the advice. This component of the search algorithm isn’t discussed often but when a page is sticky, the domain gains trust in search.
These are very basic overviews of the ideas, but the key is to stay consistent. Some have asked me in the past why I keep it limited to two pieces of content. I don’t. If you can post every day, go for it! Twice a month is something that’s sustainable. In the business world, we often find ourselves starting a new project and abandoning it if it becomes too hard. Twice a month is enough to build up a nice library of content that can benefit your marketing immediately as well as over time.
The key is to stick to it. Schedule it. Make it happen. You’ll soon find you’re looking at your competitors in your rear-view mirror.