Why Engaging Online Content Is a Must for SEO
How your startup can benefit from high-quality website content, and why you might need to hire someone to oversee it for you.
As a result of recent search engine algorithm updates, high-quality content must be an integral element of a company's website and overall online marketing strategy. A constant stream of good content on your website shows the search engines -- as well as increasingly savvy customers -- that your company is active and is a source of industry information.
Great content also can help generate links to pages on your site from other publishers, bloggers and authors. These inbound links result in referral traffic and can help boost your search engine rankings.
These are a few of the key factors Google considers to be indicators of high quality:
- Longer content
- Images and video
- Proper text formatting
- Correct spelling and grammar
- Outbound links to other high-quality sites
- Inbound links and social shares from other high-quality sources
A proper content strategy requires a significant amount of time and talent. But as a time-crunched business owner, you might not have enough bandwidth to regularly generate and oversee the content creation for your website. If that's the case, you might consider hiring a director of content who can create and publish white papers, newsletters blog posts, or even e-books for you.
One place to look for a director of content is the professional networking site LinkedIn. Start by asking people within your network and expand from there. Salary.com reports an average salary of $62,858 for a content specialist in the Seattle area, for example. If this falls outside your price range, you might hire a freelance writer who specializes in your field to assist with content development.
Whether you manage content creation yourself or hire someone, you can benefit from the following content strategies:
Internal content: Company blogs are the easiest format for generating consistently high-quality content on your website. While a single writer or a content director can manage a blog, you might consider assigning it to multiple employees, whose posts could give readers a broader view of the company and its staff's expertise.
Many content management systems allow for administrator editing and approval before posts go live to ensure that the content is appropriate and that the formatting, spelling and grammar are correct. What's more, a monthly content calendar can help you or a content director organize posts around company events and marketing campaigns.
You can also look for ways to repurpose blogs and other content on your website. For example, you might expand a big idea from a blog post into a longer series or a white paper that can be downloaded from your website.
External content publishing: You and your employees not only can write content for your website, but also contribute guest blog posts to external publishers. Guest posts on blogs and newsletters for your industry can be an effective way to establish your authority and influence. Of course, you or your content director will need to do some relationship building to secure guest posting opportunities.
High-quality guest posts are a boon for search engine rankings for several reasons:
1. They build inbound links to your website, which are treated like votes of credibility and authority by search engines, thereby increasing your rankings.
2. They build your Author Rank, which improves the rankings of all the content you have created for various publishers.
3. They establish brand awareness, leading to increased social media exposure, which improves your rankings because of the correlation of social signals with search engine optimization (SEO).
Going beyond the written word: While the main focus for SEO is usually written text, companies can demonstrate their website quality with podcasts, video blogs and other visual content. They also can attract traffic with short videos on Vine, custom slideshows on SlideShare or Pinterest pin boards. This multimedia approach to content marketing improves search engine rankings in similar ways to guest posting.
Publishing videos and other types of media, such as PowerPoint slide decks, can also get your content ranked in search engines other than Google -- such as YouTube for videos and SlideShare for PowerPoint decks. This broader reach can lead to greater brand exposure and awareness, building your social media channels and contributing positive social signals. Furthermore, increased exposure can attract more inbound links from other authors and publishers as they reference your work.
With new social media and publishing platforms popping up regularly, companies can stay relevant by focusing on creating high-quality and engaging content across multiple platforms. That can lead to brand development and awareness, along with increased website traffic, leads and sales.