Authentic Content Marketing Can Make Strong Web Pages
Posted by Rob Campbell on April 2nd, 2017
Boring business blogs get killed in search engine rankings today as Google’s organic search algorithm is further refined to recognize and reward higher quality web pages as determined by real usability data and authentic social media signals.
Webmasters that turn ‘off’ their comments (because they can’t be bothered monitoring their readers’ feedback) compromise their blog portals and the result is a less usable, less informative and ultimately less helpful platform. Bloggers that cut and paste news stories or post stale ‘listicals’ (articles that are lists) do not find many subscribers, and their blogs do not accrue strong social media signals. Those blogs are like digital wallpaper especially if no human reads the text, then the words serve only to thicken site content and to enrich the cache bot crawls. Consequently, the websites that host those stale blogs can be seen to perform poorer in search engines because fundamentally there are not enough humans that care about the site; no usability and no social shares = no visibility.
Sometimes subject matter experts suck at blogging. They don’t know how to shape stores with headers and quotes, or how to align pictures and embed videos and other bits of rich media. But at the other end of the spectrum, the expert bloggers at the digital advertising agency have no real knowledge of the host profession, and so they too ultimately create and publish rather stale or shallow content.
Content marketing only works if people care, and the best possible solution is a nimble creative agency with dynamic bloggers who are PR minded storytellers – writers that get it. These authors already have passion for their craft and the best of them are willing to go forth and read and learn and amass enough firsthand knowledge to be original in their storytelling.
At Surround, we’ve seen firsthand how our client sites can win competitive search engine rankings and accrue more search traffic and therein convert more customers simply by telling good original stories that harness the true power of content marketing. The secret is to position the scribe near the subject matter expert so as to help ghost-write their knowledge into more exciting packages, and furthermore, to then have the presence of mind and the experience needed to fragment the stories over many platforms and engineer brand journeys through connective media.
The true power of storytelling is the ‘why’ of it all, and this should be packaged as a fresh insight into the human condition.
Readers’ minds feed on interpersonal drama as conveyed in good stories the same way our human stomachs seek good food and our human hearts seek true love. When old established businesses suddenly lose market-share to younger, more charismatic operations they wonder what are we doing wrong? But the answer may be that they’re simply less interesting than their competitors, and that can be further reduced to the idea that they present less humanity than their competitors.
Pinpointing the Boring Factor
The ‘boring factor’ or amount of repulsiveness a page generates can be measured in its Bounce Rate in Google Analytics. Reported as a percentage score out of 100, any web page which hopes to rank higher in Google search for a competitive keyword had better have a lower bounce rate (and higher conversion rate) than their competitors’ sales pages. Enterprise level shopping sites often grade pages on their bounce rates and corresponding conversion rates, and SEO experts will tell you that Google does this too.
When a store catalog page or service page has an unusually high bounce-rate (greater than 80%) then we know there’s something wrong, and it could be the prices, the pictures, the prose, or a hundred other elements related to the presentation. Sometimes such pages suffer in the rankings simply because they’re not as interesting as a other competitors’ pages. Good content marketing can cure that.
Use Content Marketing Budgets to Build Online Beacons for Specific Web Pages
Content marketers at Surround make beautiful stories that compel readers to take online journeys, one click at a time. A brand-journey through many platforms can start with reading a tweet or a Facebook update which leads to an article, video or photo series and eventually to the company blog and sales pages. At each node human brains are encouraged to collect more and more brand elements in the story so they’re better equipped to make a purchase decision when they finally arrive at the client’s store pages.
Surround sent writers to scale the heights of a downtown Toronto office building and ‘hang out’ with glaziers for a day in an exercise designed to make content for Thermo- Bilt Windows’ window replacement service page.
Afterwards our media makers created a ‘Day in the Life’ style piece for Toronto Guardian – Replacing Windows in the Sky, and a secondary more irreverent piece of media was published on Sharing Toronto about the Glaziers Replacing Windows in Glass Towers.
Integrated content marketing is when the ideas work on many levels and the initiatives are integrated for compound effectiveness. All of the media created links to the window replacement page and the social media that we do around the published pieces now strengthens those links. The promotional pieces we execute on top of these marketing instruments expand the funnel of readers and their comments and feedback will be collected and used in the next generation of stories made for this client.