As online marketing evolves and earned media (Social and SEO) becomes a driving force for businesses, it is important that our SEO and content methodology changes as well. As we wrote about in our “Evolution of Google from Robot to Persona” article, not only is the user expectation evolving from simply a quality design or unique content mindset, but so is that of the bots.
As SEO’s, and online marketers, we need to shift our methodology to match the expectations of our customer type. With that said, I think we need to adjust how we define the content we create.
When creating content for a website it’s important to understand that a website can have unique and quality content, but if the content sets lack any value for the website’s persona set (Customer Type and Googlebot Persona) it won’t help when it comes to earned media strategies.
In the world of SEO there are 3 types of content sets that a website should have. These are Brand Content, Marketing Content, and Informational/Educational Content.
Brand Content Methodology
This is content sets that talk about your company and what you can offer. These pages usually consist of the “about us” and “contact us” page and sometimes the “home page” can be grouped into this section as well. These pages consist of all the “me talk” a website does about itself.
Marketing Content Methodology
The marketing content consists of your offerings; products, services, etc.. These pages are all about the conversion, and in most cases lack little informational value that is above and beyond what other websites can offer (since there is only so much you can say about a blue widget). In our experience this is usually where content strategist and copywriters from large digital agencies focus their time; refreshing content to help conversion rates for users who have already landed on the website from a random search query or typed the domain name into the search bar directly.
Informational or Educational Content Methodology
In my opinion (and also based on the data below) this is the content set that holds the most value for driving incremental traffic, positioning your brand as a thought leader, and earning your site the title of being a resource within your vertical. These content sets include educational based content that is usually in a blog format and can include articles, infographics, videos, or whitepapers.
This content set is also used for inbound marketing efforts; thus if I site does not have it, social community growth and inbound link acquisition usually does not happen easily or at all.
Where sites get into trouble and usually cease to grow traffic and referrals from organic search, is when they focus to much time on the Brand and Marketing Content sets and loose sight of the Informational Sets that capture long tail key phrases and earn a website the value of being a resource to their customer type. -Bill Ross, Lead Linchpin
Why Create Informational Blog Content?
A study by hubspot.com looked at data from 1,531 HubSpot customers (mostly small- and medium-sized businesses). 795 of the businesses in their sample blogged, 736 didn’t.
Companies that blog and have this informational content set have far better marketing results. Specifically, the average company that blogs has:
- 55% more visitors
- 97% more inbound links
- 434% more indexed pages
Evolution of SEO Content Methodology
Content Methodology has evolved with the web. Below you will find the high-level evolution.
When the search engines said they started “penalizing or filtering sites” for having duplicate content SEOs started focusing on the methodology of “unique content”. Trying to understand what percent of a piece of content had to be unique in order for a filter or penalty not to be given. This spawned an era of article spinners that churned out content that was unique to a certain percentage, but was not high quality.
The next evolution was about creating quality content. This included grammatical fixes, content structure, keywords, and a general sense of overall trust that the content was accurate.
This is where content came back into its own. Along with being unique and having a high quality rating, content also has to be valuable. In a world where earned media drives the highest conversions, ignoring the “value methodology” will inhibit building a strong inbound marketing campaign or social community.