Chris Nokes

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Chris Nokes

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Content marketing is a hot topic in digital marketing circles these days, but just what do small businesses need to know to help keep them in Google's good books?

Content is king.

In an age where the number of websites, and blogs in particular, has gone through the roof, Google has had to quickly adapt to suit these greater demands. Google is trusted by users to deliver them the website they need, while wading through the vast amount of information they don’t need. In keeping up with this service, the search engine giant has had to tweak its algorithms to ward off the nefarious marketers among us.

Over the past couple of years, Google has been refining its search to allow positive SEO practices (‘white hat’) to prosper over negative tactics (‘black hat’). These measures can only be a good thing in the long term for respectable SEO practitioners, although it has undeniably caused some collateral damage to some small businesses.

Ignorance is not bliss

Perhaps where the algorithm changes have seen the biggest impact is with smaller companies who have seen their search referrals tail off massively. With no training in the web or SEO, they might have been unaware that buying links, keyword stuffing or simply having links inbounded from sites of poor quality would be considered as ‘black hat’.

The key thing to realise here is that although they may not have understood it at the time, ignorance is now no longer a valid excuse. It is now their duty to stay up to date with how Google searches work if they are reliant on the online aspect of their business.

Write for people not robots

What Google has made abundantly clear from these recent updates is that it wants to reward websites that are creative, interesting and, most importantly, are designed for humans to view them and not algorithms. This should inspire you to create innovative content for your visitors rather than trying to lure them to your site under false pretenses.

This is said to exemplify Google’s growing appreciation of content marketing over more traditional SEO, although these certainly can work in conjunction with one another. Practices such as guest blogging will provide a diversity to your website and make it more appealing while keywords will still be needed to drive solid SEO. Good use of social media will also be of advantage to you, as a means of pushing this new content and a way of linking back to your site. In a simplistic sense though, Google is crediting those who pay close attention to their website and give the user what they need and punishing those who are lazy about it.

Like all aspects of online marketing, you need to be willing and able to accept change if you’re to succeed. We at Core Web Design have our finger at the pulse of the latest SEO and social media developments and if you feel you are in need of any help, please get in touch.