In order to be successful, an internet marketing campaign needs an underlying egalitarian approach. The campaign should be viewed as a whole and the individual techniques as "bits" or "pieces" that make up the whole. All the pieces are important. But are they equally important?
If an online marketer is asked what is the most crucial trend of today, odds are high that he'd reply it's content marketing.
How to explain the rising importance of content marketing? Some say Google has become smarter, others say quality content accounts for better user-engagement and compels Google to increase a site's ranking. Nobody's fully sure how Google figures out whether or not content is qualitatively enriched.
How Google Recognizes Quality?
Google insiders know this best. But since they won't tell us, we'd have to find it ourselves. The best way to interpret Google is by picking clues from how it behaves. Google was dumb in the past. Link builders used to fool Google by linking two sites that are worlds apart in themes. Google would assign higher ranks to those sites because they have apt number of back-links.
But Google doesn't work in this way anymore. The search engine giant these days wants content to be relevant to search queries, unique and informative. A website therefore needs to make sure all links pointing to it are from sites, content of which are relevant to its theme.
This behavior of Google tells us that it doesn't identify quality the same way a human being would identify. Google scales content quality. It works with parameters and content that satisfies those parameters is presumed to have high quality.
Why Quality Content is So Important?
Contrary to what would obviously click in your mind, Google dislikes poor quality content less for the sake of users and more for its own sake. Erstwhile SEO techniques were heavily dependent on content spinning, a practice that of late, is next to spamming.
The outcome of that practice was sea of links. Not all of them had quality content. Google therefore has to scrape off the ones that have poor quality content.
An example may help understand why it is needed. Your house is stuffed with furniture and you don't have enough breathing space. Which ones are you going to throw away? Obviously the ones that are junks. Similarly, Google wants to de-index sites that have low quality content.
How Engagement from Users Fills the Gap?
User engagement gives Google clues. It is a definitive hint that the content is of high quality. That's all Google wants to know. Since speculations regarding the importance of user engagement could be far-fetched, it's wise for us not to speculate. Instead, let's look at some of its obvious benefits that are hard to deny.
- It reduces bounce rate for content based sites.
- It creates a base of loyal users.
- It builds a site's authority.
- It paves way for conversion for sites that are product/service based and have call-to-action buttons on the page.
Simply put, better engagement implies better marketing. Thus, user engagement suffices SEO and serves as an innuendo that the content is marketable.
The Whole Picture
So the bottom-line is high quality content, user engagement and the attempt to measure the quality of content in terms of parameters are actually linked. By engaging users, a piece of content, be it blog post or video, informs Google that it is of high quality.
This brings out the whole picture. Once we look at it, we could grasp the significance of content marketing. Not only that content marketing is in harmony with Google's parametrization of quality, but it actually suffices it.
A Move from Keyword to Topic
Earlier, the focus was on keyword. But now the focus is on topic. Some search marketers have identified it as "The Fall of Keyword". The declining importance of keywords and meta properties is not difficult to notice. The graph above explains it better;
The horizontal line represents Google's ranking from one to thirty and the vertical direction represents URLs that have keywords in their description and title.
The graph shows approximately 15% URLs with keywords in H1 and 10% URLs with keywords in H2 tag ranked in Google's result pages from one to thirty in 2014. In 2013 however, the percentages were less.
This finding implies Google has started to put more importance on the overall topic, not on the presence of keywords in meta title and description. This move has virtually quashed yesterday's SEO practices and put content on the pedestal.
As a result of this, content marketing has outweighed other practices.
What we need to keep in mind is Google has only started the process of estimating content quality in terms of quantifiable parameters. Many aspects of this complicated process that aren't feasible at this moment may surface in the future. To be compatible with them, content marketing strategies will have to evolve.