Content is still king on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not in a constant state of flux. What was hot last year may not even be recognizable this year. According to the website Biznology, the goal of content marketing is three-fold: to increase brand awareness, to provide education to current and potential customers, and of course, lead generation. In July 2016, Biznology published the top five content marketing trends that are expected to be hot for the foreseeable future. These include:
Automated: With programs such as Curata and others, it has never been easier to automate your content. This allows you to pre-program your content distribution across multiple channels as well as take advantage of social media exposure.
Blog: This is still one of the most effective ways to reach consumers. The key is creating informative, educational blogs that are friendly enough to sound like you’re casually discussing the topic with someone you know. Inviting guest bloggers also shows prospects that you are connected to industry experts. Publishing blogs on a consistent schedule is vital as well.
Influencer: A newer trend in content marketing is to engage the services of a well-known person to act as a brand ambassador. This person then uses the power of their own network to advance awareness of your brand. He or she should be willing to produce regular content on your company’s behalf.
Multimedia: By 2017, searches and hits for video will make up more than two-thirds of online traffic. However, this doesn’t leave organizations that produce written content in the dust. It just means they need to improvise by adding video, polls, surveys, and other interactive tools to their online content.
Niche: Google’s Knowledge Graph gives online searchers less incentive to click through to find the information they need. That means your site needs to offer specialized and targeted information to grab and keep their attention.
What’s New in Search Engine Optimization for 2016
Jibe! Group, an online marketing company, states that Google changes its algorithms between 500 and 600 times every year. That can be disheartening when you’re trying to implement a marketing strategy, but keeping on top of the changes and trends is instrumental to your success. As a case in point, more than 36 percent of Internet users click through to the top result from their search query. This drops to about 12.5 percent for the second slot and slightly more than one percent for the second page.
This organization also states that video implementation is the latest trend that is not going away anytime soon. It doesn’t need to represent all of your content, but it should definitely complement it. Those who continue to produce only written content simply won’t experience the same level of engagement or effectiveness for their advertising dollar. Your online content should always be as diverse and creative as possible, and adding video helps you achieve this goal.
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), keep in mind that Google’s spiders crawl social media sites as well. It is good news for you if the results indicate that your content has been shared or liked a large number of times. From the perspective of SEO, it is no longer enough to just have a website. Your company needs to have a platform to consistently get picked up and indexed by Google and the other search engines.
Content Marketing and SEO Trends That Are Falling Out of Favor
Websites that are not mobile responsive may quickly become obsolete. The number of hours per day that the typical mobile phone user spends searching for and interacting with online data continues to grow each year. In fact, it is not far-fetched to assume that time spent on a mobile device may surpass all other devices in the near future. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile searches, it will load slower than those that already are mobile-friendly. This can affect the consumer’s opinion of your company as well as your SEO ranking.
Using mid-long and long-tail keywords has been an SEO standard for years. With Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, webmasters who avoid using broad keywords entirely are effectively being penalized. It also makes you miss out on traffic you could receive from Internet users who prefer using broader terms or don’t know which mid-long and long-tail keywords to use for their queries.
As for content, pages that are obviously keyword stuffed and offer no real value to the reader are no longer tolerated by Google. As important as SEO and a content marketing strategy are, quality content needs to be your first priority. In addition to being helpful and informative, it needs to be well-organized and readable. If you’re not certain how readable the content is, set up your word processing program to give you a Flesch-Kincaid readability score. The content also needs to be entirely original. If you doubt that it is, Copyscape can tell you in less than a second.
Short content is another dying trend. While the consensus at one time was to write 500-word posts to match the typical American attention span, that won’t get you much in terms of SEO rankings. Google’s current preference for ranking purposes is content that is between 1,500 to 2,500 words long.
One last thing to consider is that Google won’t know your site exists if you don’t update it regularly. While you might have adopted a set and forget mindset in the past, that no longer works. The website Site Pro News recommends current events be updated throughout the day, regular website blog content twice a week, and long-form blog content once a week. That will keep people engaged and coming back for more.