If your business is actively investing in online marketing at the moment, then you are bound to have heard of “content marketing” by now, right?
More to the point, your bound to have heard that businesses require “high-quality content marketing” in order to improve the company’s online marketing, that’s a sentence often that’s repeated time and time again by various agencies.
That’s whether they are talking about written content that’s used on a blog post, like this, or when you are sat looking at your seo consultant in a meeting. Often content marketing and the requirement for it to be quality often therefore crops up in conversation if you were to hire a marketing company.
Yet, even though this sentence is repeated as regularly as clock-work by some agencies, what does it really mean?
What does high-quality content marketing mean?
As after all “quality” is a rather vague description, its used to describe everything from chocolate to luxury cars these days, so let’s in this article dive straight into what we think quality content marketing is and why the standard of written work on your website needs to be kept really high in order to be rewarded with higher placement on Google.
What does Google’s EAT (Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness) mean?
Well, thankfully gone are the days where a company can write just a few hundred words, then hope that a business will then in turn rank higher on Google, as trust us, this approach doesn’t work.
Therefore, inexpensive seo, well, often that’s thing of the past also, as to get meaningful results, talent is needed, and not just skill, no a great deal of time are needed to analyse, draft, monitor and improve work, and then make other improvements. So, in order to produce quality written work, the first thing that’s needed is expertise, and this means not hiring a company that hasn’t a clue what they are talking about, or have no inclination of carrying out the required research.
This is for good reason, its not just about Googlebot crawling and indexing a piece of work, and thinking, well that’s a new piece of written work that’s been added, this means the business should move up, it doesn’t work like that at all, its more complicated, the work needs to satisfy some of the following criteria:
-Be well written
-Address a question that your customers have
-Be written and published in accordance to Google’s WebMaster Guidelines
-Be white hat
– Provide an answer with sufficient detail and not be “content thin”
-Be written by an expert
-Have links to sources of the information, that’s an outbound link, with white hat anchor text added to the page.
The work needs to be indexable, sure, but then Google’s algorithm, Google’s Knowledge Vault and Google’s Knowledge Graph all combine in their efforts to work out if the written work is quality or not.
So, lets provide a rather brief example, let’s say that you sell electric used cars online, well, what you should do is spend time answering questions that your customers commonly ask you, to write this up into content marketing, to make the work useful and also interesting.
So, for example, they may ask you
– How much range does each electric car have?
– How long does it take to charge each car?
– Can the battery within the car be replaced?
There’s no point in writing say 600 odd words, in the effort of just trying to improve your businesses organic seo, by mentioning electric cars a few times, this won’t work. It wont answer the exact question, so instead the work must have an exact purpose, and answer that question the best way that you can.
Offer quality advice
Instead, what’s needed is for quality advice to be offered, so for example, you may write an article stating the different electric range of each car that you sell for example, as this is likely to be useful to someone that wants to buy that particular car.
Here’s the thing, whenever your business, or your appointed agency is writing content marketing, the whole focus should be on making it “useful” for your customers, don’t just focus on trying to improve your search engine optimisation in isolation, this won’t work, Google’s algorithm is way to sophisticated for this.
What’s needed is quality work, where the customer is put at the centre of the work, if you hire say a rather rubbish agency, and they use outdated methods, such as “keyword stuffing”-well, the business is then on a one way street, that’s a one way road to getting a penalty, such as an algorithmic penalty, this can sometimes take some businesses a very long time to recover from.
So, what does EAT stand for, and why does Google use this?
Well, have you ever read a whole article, and not found it useful? Well, this is annoying right?
As if you wanted to say fix a leaking tap within your house, you will want the answer right in front of you from a business, in order to do this work, not a business advertising its plumbing supplies by repeatedly mentioning “cheap taps” over and over again, that’s not good quality work, its spam.
So, instead the written work on your site should be useful, it should be written by an expert, and the site should be a quality source of advice.
So, for example, where one rubbish seo company may write 500 words which keeps plugging the phrase “quality taps”- instead, a firm which has hired a quality agency may write helpful articles on how to repair a leaking tap, this might offer such good advice, on how to fix leaking taps, and it may attract quality backlinks, it may also have a low bounce rate, which means the businesses seo improves.
So, always write quality advice.
Write for people and not search engines
Okay, granted, no one goes into business to provide free information, as it wouldn’t be a commercial business for very long if you were just offering everything for free. However, with that said, here’s the bit a lot of business owners struggle to get their heads around, that is, by giving away free advice, in the form of content marketing, what your actually doing is making your website more relevant and if its done right, that’s a major if, as so many agencies and companies get it wrong, if its done correctly then this can help to draw in more organic visitors.
So, that’s right, if its done right, that line graph within your Google Analytics account, well, it might start to go up.
So why offer free advice?
So, stick with us on this one, let’s say for example, that you’re a baker, you specialise in making the tastiest chocolate cookies, there so good in matter of fact that people pay you a monthly fee, to get cookies delivered every single week to their door in Bristol.
Now, why would a baker provide recipes on their website for how to make cookies for free? As this is what the business sells, it’s the companies bread and butter, that’s to sell cookies, so why would they then write say 1000 words on how to make cookies, add this to their WordPress blog, and offer the information for free?
Well, the answers rather simple, it makes your website more relevant for “cookies”- it may attract incoming good-quality white hat backlinks, it may increase your time on site, meaning shoppers spend longer on the site, it could, if done right help to improve your organic seo.
As some businesses don’t invest in PPC, there whole way of marketing the business may well be via organic seo, so, in order to get on the first page, that’s on Google, well its often not easy, you have to be a relevant high-quality site, and one way is to offer quality written information.
So, by improving your companies organic seo, in the right way, this could help you to sell more cookies.
So, content marketing, this can help to improve your businesses seo, if done write, but here’s the thing, so many companies, as well as also we have to say many marketing companies get wrong.
Either the works written in a complete and utter rush, it’s what us SEO’s call “content thin”-which really means it doesn’t offer much useful information at all, it’s just sloppy text that’s been written with no care, which doesn’t help answer a question, its just written to make it sound like someone knows what there on about, yet in reality, it may well be written by a copywriter who’s focus is just on hitting a 700 word target. This doesn’t work!
So, what’s our top-tip?
Well, that’s simple to answer, that is, write text that will help your customers, aim to over top-quality advice and because of this, if the work is of a good standard, well-researched, answers the question in-depth, then this may help to improve your companies seo.
Do note, that whether it’s writing a brand-new blog post for your company website, or any other form of SEO, whatever work you are working on, the work should follow Google’s WebMaster Guidelines.
Before you even start writing, think of this
Okay, so it’s far too easy for any agency to say to a business, we will write 3 blog posts every month for our set fee, well that’s all well and good- but are they going to be any use?
Here’s the thing, when it comes to content marketing, “quality” should trump everything, don’t aim for quantity, when the focus should be on quality.
Now with this in mind, you might start your seo tasks on a Monday morning let’s say, now it would be all too easy to walk into work, start up the coffee machine, check your lists of tasks to do, see that you have to write 3,000 words that day, and start typing something up without much thought- will this help to improve your company’s SEO? Well, we would say its very unlikely to, it’s rather like throwing darts at a board, well your bind-folded!
So, what’s the solution?
Well, you have to grab a cup of coffee, or indeed a cup of nice sweet tea, then you have to do some thinking, and that’s because we recommend not just starting to write a piece of content marketing, because you have to quickly write 3,000 words on that day. Writing to hit a word count, that doesn’t help improve seo, as the work likely to be rather poorly written.
Nope, you have to stick your customers shoes on for a second, not literally, you know what we mean, you have to think about the sorts of common questions your customers have.
So, for example, let’s say you sell various electrical items, like fridges, TVs, and audio equipment as well as kettles.
However, your business sells T. V’s the most, yet because you sell LED, LCD and QLED TV’s well, customers get confused as to what the different T.V’s offer, so for example, what are the advantages of owning say a LED television?
Now, what you need to do, is have your companies TV expert work with your marketing team, or indeed your SEO company, so they can start to write rather handy guides, and if the articles are well written, well they could offer the following:
-Reduce a page’s bounce rate
-Increase the time a shopper spends on your site
-Help to improve sales, if you offer good advice to your customers
What questions do your customers often have
So, well your enjoying sipping on that rather nice espresso, here’s the things you need to think about, that is what questions that your customers often have?
Now, the marketing department might not have the answers to this, so you might need to involve other staff from right across the business, for example staff from the online web chat, where customers ask questions online, before they decide on whether there making a purchase or not.
Now once you have this information, the web chat team at your company may say to you that they often get asked about which TV has the longest warranty, now with this information, you might add a piece of what is called “evergreen content marketing”.
This work can explain which TV brands offer the longest warranties, you may find that this written work, therefore answers a lot of the questions that you get asked about TV’s, and may help to increase sales.
What is the competition doing to answer these questions?
So, before you jump head first and start writing a rather mammoth 10,000-word article, you need to see what your direct competitors are doing first.
So, for example, lets say that your company sells bikes, you might want to see what the top three businesses on Google are that are selling bikes, and what they are doing to improve their SEO, for example, you may find that they are writing long articles, which explain everything from how to fix a puncture on a bike, to which electric bikes they think are best, through to which bike is the lightest for carrying on and off trains.
Now, you might want to see is the advice good quality?
Is it likely to be useful to your customers?
How many words have been written?
Make sure that you do your research
So, now at this stage, well your coffee is likely to have run out for one or gone cold, yet, from that initial caffeine boost, your likely to now know exactly what you will be writing about in terms of topic, and also how well your direct competitors have done on writing about a similar question.
Now, this might have filled your head with ideas, on how you can make the work even better, which is good, because one of the things that we always say here at this seo company is, aim to write much better content marketing than what the competition have already written.
Now do keep this in mind, Google likes facts, well, to be exact its “Googlebot” that will crawl and index the page- it will notice the facts, then the algorithm will use this to check the fact with Google’s “Knowledge Graph”.
So, let’s say your writing about a famous electric car, and you cite something about the company, this might be in “Google’s Knowledge Vault”, and “Google’s Knowledge Graph”, so you got it, if the facts are accurate, then this can help to make the work be rendered as higher quality, and more reliable which is what Google wants.
However, don’t make your work just all about facts and figures, as this is likely to be a very dull read indeed write it for humans, not search engines- so only use facts when you think the reader will be interested to read about them, don’t aim to put a statistic in every single sentence, as its likely to break the flow for the reader.
Aim to be the best
Okay, so here’s the thing, whatever business you run, large or small, local, national or international, your likely to be up against a lot of competition, hundreds, thousands if not millions of other businesses.
So, for example, let’s say that your plumber, and your based in a really large city, like Bristol, there are thousands of other plumbers, and a lot of them will want to also be ranked on the very first page of Google, in order to do that, they are likely to be improving their SEO also.
They are likely to be writing content marketing about similar topics, that’s because they’re in the same industry as you, that’s the plumbing business, so they are likely to be talking about same things as well.
So, when you’re writing the text for your website, it can’t just be mediocre, average, then written in a rush and then added to the website, no this will work.
This type of work can’t be rushed, it needs to be high quality, so that when it gets indexed it’s clear that a lot of time has been spent writing the work, researching it and making sure that it’s high quality.
As here’s the thing, let’s say that you want to be on the first page, and your business specialises in installing boilers, you might be writing articles about boilers, and plumbing as well as central heating systems and that’s exactly what the competition is doing as well, you or your agency have to figure out how can you make the work better than the competition.
It’s not just about quantity, for example they are writing one article a week, so you are going to write more, as that’s not going to work neither, its not about quantity it’s always about quality.
Instead, you should aim to be the best at what you do, that means offering the best advice.
Cite your sources
It’s all well and good, being an expert at what you do, for example you might be an electrician, and your writing articles to help improve your businesses organic SEO, however often what is needed is facts and figures also.
So, for example, you might cite a reference, about how many homes in the UK have an outdated fuse box, and why this needs to be updated.
Now this statistic might have come from a respected newspaper, so you might wish to cite this number in your article, you might want to add an outbound link, and to add anchor text, as this shows that the article has been researched, as it has relevant backlinks that are added to it.
So, if you are writing an article, you might want to add relevant facts.
Bring in all the expertise that your company has to offer
Here’s the thing, a business that is located in Bristol, might have huge amounts of expertise in say the design team, the customer service teams, and let’s say the sales team, but sometimes this talent is not used.
This means that sometimes the marketing company is writing the content marketing or is done in-house, without consulting with the various teams, however their knowledge might be invaluable.