Content Marketing

Google’s talking and it’s freaking content marketers out


Google’s talking and it’s freaking content marketers out

Anthony Moor
June 3, 2019

There was an iconic Wall Street advertising slogan back in the 1970s and 80s that came to my mind yesterday.  

“When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.”  

The commercials were memorable.  A couple people are always in quiet conversation, like this ad on a plane, and one of them says, “Well my broker’s E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton says…” which prompts everyone in the scene to scramble so they can hear what’s going on.

For businesses that rely on digital marketing to reach customers, which is nearly every business these days, Google is that company now.  On Sunday, Google tweeted an announcement that it’s rolling out one of its regular, “core” algorithm updates.  The search giant does this a couple times a year and make no mistake, when Google talks, content marketers listen.

That’s because Google is so instrumental in directing web traffic that even small changes in content rankings on a page can make or break a company’s quarter.  Everyone is vying for those precious few spots at the top of the search page. As you go down the page, the traffic drops off exponentially. About 30% of the clicks go to the top organic result, according to April numbers from Advanced Web Ranking, but that plummets  by as much as half if you’re in position 2.  If you’re #5, you’re getting a measly 4% of page clicks.

With stakes that high, search engine optimization staffers are on red alert.  Their time-honored practice is to frantically analyze what immediately went up and what went down for ways to hack back their most important pages to where they ranked before the update rolled out.  

@searchable_UK replied with a meme of the Night King from Game of Thrones and the show’s chilling phrase “Winter is here.”

Referring to the Eid al-Fitr holiday for Muslims today, digital marketing consultant Aamir Gunjoo who goes by @askmarketerr tweeted with a wink, “Can you please put this update on hold till we enjoy our eid holidays”.

It's not about the code it's about the content

But Google’s sage advice to SEOs is you can’t hack your way to higher ranking.  “There is nothing in particular to ‘fix,’” is a tweet the company sent in October and pointed to again for nervous SEOs, “...and we don’t want content owners to mistakenly try to change things that aren’t issues.”  

Instead, Google says, (and don’t miss this key point, content marketing fans) you should be “focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward….”

Consider doing what journalists do: write well and with expertise

At StoryCraft, we can’t agree more.

A great place to start if your content is sinking is to look at the content your better-performing competition is publishing. Is it well written to invite the reader in? Does it expertly and authoritatively address its subject? Is the content relevant to the topics it is purporting to cover?  Is the information well sourced and trustworthy? These are the kinds of measures actual writing experts, such as journalists use to gauge the quality of their content.

Search Engine Journal also recommends you focus on content not code.  “Ask yourself why your site might not be viewed by Google as relevant anymore,” advises Roger Montti.

In sum, the secret to improving your content marketing may not be as much about listening to E.F. Hutton, it may be listening to your gut.  Are you sure you’re producing valuable insights and information, or are you just going through the motions?

Flickr image: "The greatest trick..." 363/365 by Abe Novy under Creative Commons 2.0

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Monday, June 3, 2019


Content Marketing