Strong content gets links
One of the most important factors in Google’s ranking systems is the quality of content. Always remember that your audience on the other side of the screen is made up of real people with a need for answers, or curiosity, or products and services. Depending on your line of business, catering to these needs with interesting and engaging content is the primary element that will lead to success.
Generally speaking, strong content can be the single most powerful draw to a website. It may seem like a silly reminder, but it can be easily lost within a complicated marketing and SEO strategy that employs all the latest techniques and tricks. The human element is what keeps the internet interesting, and it’s humans who decide what to link to. The more you remember to factor this in, the higher your page will rank. Good content and real live people engaging with it is what Google wants to see.
When considering what type of content to share, think about what is most useful to your customers and build from that point. By researching what they engage with and enjoy on your site as well as on the sites you’d like to be featured and back linked on, you can get a sense of what will work.
There are a few key steps to consider when creating content that customers want to see.
Perform marketing research
Understand who your site visitors are. By learning about where they come from and what interests them, you can tailor pieces that will grab their attention. For instance, do they hail from Colorado and are males between the ages of 25 - 35? If so, that would help you narrow down to certain topics on which to focus.
Take a look at the competition
What makes your competitors leaders in their field? Read their reviews, both positive and negative, and see what customers say about them in various forums. You could find some insight into why your product is better, and create content around that need-gap found in online reviews.
Read the news
By understanding public sentiment and current events, you’ll be able to capitalize on trends, or avoid horrible mistakes that can easily happen by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.
For example, if you are selling homeowners insurance, you may want to adjust your outreach during a time of natural disaster. If your content marketing campaign continues without address current events, your customers could interpret this as capitalizing off a tragic event. Think of it as ‘reading the room’ and adjusting accordingly.
A vital step in content building, and opportunity to be creative, is to maintain a consistent blog or news space on your small business website. Choose an interval, perhaps weekly or bi-weekly, and stick to reliable updates and interesting writing. Instead of flooding the internet with frequent updates of little value, think of how you would like to engage with your favorite brand or service. Keep your website entertaining as well as pushing products and services. Maintain a level of enthusiasm that will keep your audience returning to your website. Before you decide to post that latest product-focused cat video, ask yourself a few pertinent questions to get started.
Is this new content consistent with your publication schedule?
Is this interesting, or does it look like filler?
Is this content useful?
Is this piece engaging and inviting for viewers and readers to be motivated to share with their networks?
Of course, the single most important questions to ask before you hit ‘publish’ is: “Would I want to read / share / engage with this? Am I entertained?”
If you, as the expert and business owner are reinvigorated by something interesting and useful that you wrote, you know that you should hit get that content online and then promote that piece!
In addition to blog posts, shareable assets for content-based link building will increase your visibility. With today’s short attention spans, sometimes the best way to grab attention and encourage sharing is with visualizations. If your products or services require an intricate explanation, graphic representations can be a good addendum to longer texts. Infographics, visualized data charts, and quick video clips are all forms of assets that achieve this goal.
A recent study by HubSpot shows that 53% of users expect video within a web page and over 62% watch videos online.
Cisco projects that an increase in video traffic by 2021 will grow to 81% of all online audiences.
According to a MartechSeries study “70% of people said they often visit the publisher’s website after watching a video and 60% of people said they visit the publisher’s Facebook page after watching a video.”
With numbers like these, one can’t afford to ignore the role that video content plays in building a reliable, dedicated user-base.
Infographics are hot trend that, when designed well, can be both pleasing to the eye and the intellect. For the audience, an infographic can speed up the time it takes to understand a concept or complicated topic. Some infographics use humor and cartoon-ish visuals that grab the audience, while some create interactive maps which invite a sense of play and curiosity.
Here are some examples of cute, edgy and informative graphics:
Carbs are Killing You
170 backlinks from 43 unique referring domains
The graphic walks the reader through scientific information, whilst breaking it down to an understandable, user-friendly concept.
Feng Shui How-To
19 backlinks from 12 unique referring domains
Invites the reader to become absorbed in the topic and imagine how they would decorate their living environment. This could lead the user to your products page for inspiration without directly pushing them there.
Cheetah: Nature’s Speed Machine
408 backlinks from 130 unique referring domains
A playful, animated infographic that packs a punch with data, comparisons and short quips.
While some infographics are very involved, complicated works of art that require hiring outside design firms, there are ways to make them in-house. Resources such as Visme and Snappa simplify the process for beginners who want to create something quick and easy on the eyes.
Short Video Clips
A short how-to or product demonstration goes a long way, especially for the competitive world of e-commerce websites where links to product pages are always needed. For instance, Sierra Designs understands that their product requires more than just a printed instruction booklet. They offer multiple demonstration scenarios to make the customer feels at ease with the product even before it ships. Additionally, a well-produced video makes it more likely for website and individuals in the outdoor gear space to notice and share the product.
When posting, make your video shareable and enable embedding for easy link-building with influencers.
Numerous high-profile platforms allow for sharing that include the leader of the pack, YouTube, along with Vimeo, Wistia and Brightcove. When posting on the secondary popular platforms, it is a good idea to always include YouTube. Since many customers are still not as well acquainted with the others, even if their platforms are more aesthetically pleasing, assume they’ll feel comfortable with YouTube’s share and embed tools, therefore give them that option.
Consider self-hosting your videos as well. While this may have some drawbacks in terms of sharing via popular platforms, it allows more control over privacy and design. You will keep users on your website, and not burden them with unwanted ads popping up through a third party platform. This another option to be considered in conjunction with uploading to YouTube.