'Content is King'! How many times have you read that phrase before? In light of all the algorithm updates that Google has come up with so far, that phrase has become more and more relevant to any internet marketer.
Long gone are the days when you could string two poorly constructed sentences together, submit the said, poorly constructed sentences to article directories, sit back and watch the back links do what they do best; get you traffic. Google is all about user satisfaction now.
They take into account how much time a user spends on your website; how many other pages they visit on it; how often they come back; and their propensity to share your content.
The Basics of Content Marketing
For the sake of saving time and virtual trees that made this electronic paper we are using, let's just say that you already know that nothing else will do but high quality content. This means, content that is original, grammatically correct and relevant to the topic. That is the A,B,C of content marketing.
Google and User Satisfaction
Let's forget about all the technical mumbo-jumbo that goes into giving a website a high rank on SERPs. That is a long, borderline boring discussion that we can delight you with another time. When it comes to user experience and satisfaction, there are two things that Google keep an eye out for (we are sure there are more than two things, but am going to look at just the two for now; if it's all the same to you): bounce rate and Pogo sticking.
Bounce Rate: This happens when someone visits only a single page on your site and leaves. It is not an entirely 'bad' thing in itself, but it is not exactly good either. When a visitor bounces off your page, it could mean that they found what they were looking for (which is good) or that they did not; which leads to...
Pogo Sticking: Now this is bad!! There are no two ways about it. When a visitor comes to your site and then clicks back to the search results page within a few seconds, and goes to another site, you will have officially been 'Pogo Stuck'. (Yes, we just made that phrase up. No, do not tell a friend. Pogo sticking is not a good thing and Google completely frowns upon it!)
When Pogo sticking occurs, it could only mean one thing: your website was not good enough. The reasons for that could be varied - poor content, poor loading time, poor site structure and so on, but Google will not care. If their users are not hanging around long enough, it means that you are not doing Google any favors when it comes to the 'user satisfaction' side of things. They don't like that! And their disappointment will show in your dropping rank.
So, what can you do to keep your readers, and thus Google, happy? The answer comes in two parts:
1. Build A Wonderful Website That:
- Does not take forever to load
- Is well structured (i.e has a clear format, a search box within itself so that visitors can find other sections and more information without leaving and so on)
- Does not have videos that tend to auto-play
- Does not have too many pop-ups and so on.
2. Has High Quality, Relevant Content That Is Both Original and Easy To Read!!!
How do you write, high quality content that not only attracts readers, but also converts? The answer is really simpler than you would think.
Get Into Their Minds!
That is it. There is no other way to do this. Do you know why companies hold surveys? So that they can get into people's minds. Do you know why Google came up with the Panda Algorithm framework and changes? They found a way to predict user satisfaction and made sure that every website follows the set parameters. This was as a result of surveys carried out on actual users.
The only way to write content that converts is to think of what your intended readers would want to see. There are several ways to do this.
Think about it, your readers are really just like you. When you go online to look up something, what is it you expect to see? What would make you happy with the results a certain website gives you? You would expect to find:
- The answers you were looking for
- Additional material to enrich your knowledge on the chosen topic (links to relevant resources)
- Information that is easy to digest
- Information that is easy to get to (website loading time and lack of barriers such as registration forms before your readers are allowed access)
- A website layout that is easy on the eyes
2. KISS Your Content
There is a reason we went through Kindergarten and loved it. Everything was simple then and it made sense. KISS stands for -Keep It Simple Stupid. Try as much as you can to keep your content simple. This means; no unnecessary big words, keep the jargon to yourself; make it entertaining; break it up into bite size chunks and add in an image/video or two to keep us entertained or for those of us who are not that into reading. (I hear an image of a pretty woman always does the trick). Only if it is relevant, though.
3. Trigger Emotions
This is particularly useful to affiliate marketing content. People mostly buy, based on emotion. If you can play on that, your content will sell them. The number one emotion to go for is 'desire'. Here is how you do that:
- Induce Peer Pressure: show them how others are already very satisfied with what you are selling and give them reviews to prove it. Everyone wants to keep up with the Joneses from down the street.
- Facilitate Self Improvement: Everyone wants to get better. If you can help them achieve this, then you will be their best friend. Tell them, '10 Things The Didn't Know About Being Awesome' and so on.
- Induce Fear: No one wants to be left behind. It is the competitive nature we have cultivated in us ever since birth. Find a way to show your clients how they will lose if they do not get with the program.
4. Entertain Them
Laughter is a powerful tool. You do not have to be 'ha-ha' funny, just be entertaining. People like it when you take their minds off of this dreadful world. If your content can do that and still offer them something they can use to better their lives, great. They will buy it! When writing your content, keep it easy-going. Throw in a joke or two (keep the 'knock-knock' ones to yourself). Use your own voice. People can identify with it from the way you write.
5. Be 'Sly' About The Selling
People immediately get apprehensive when you try to sell them something. It is all thanks to years and years and being pummeled with adverts and sales calls. To open up your target niche, do not hard sell. Never hard sell. Let them reach that decision on their own. Provide them with all the relevant information that they will need to come to the right conclusion then leave them alone. The most you can do is avail 'the right conclusion' for them to choose and pay for once they are done reading.
That's all folks. Unless your content gives your intended target what they need, it will not go viral. Heck, it might not even get the attention you hoped it would. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you share what you just wrote? If so, why? Is it because you find the content eye-opening/engaging or because you are full of yourself?