Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm brought the term “Content Marketing Strategy” under the spotlight. It is believed that Hummingbird affected as much as ninety per cent of the searches worldwide upon its launch, which ultimately fostered the importance of publishing unique and valuable content on the web. Because of this very reason, we are going to witness a lot of hype surrounding best content marketing practices in 2014.
According to Google, this new algorithm is smarter and more intelligent than the erstwhile versions, and has artificial intelligence, critical content understanding and data retrieval as its key focus areas. Hummingbird is adept at predicting user behavior and has “conversational search understanding” imbibed in its DNA. It discards and penalizes websites with duplicate and dull content, and has an affinity towards providing unique search results comprising websites having good value content.
Content Marketing Strategy Objectives
Before Content Creation
They are some key areas that must be analyzed and understood prior to content development. Let’s just take a brief look at them.
- Defining goals upon which the content strategy will be centered around
- Short term targets first and then long term targets after accommodating results. For example- engaging audience, building brand credibility and community engagement and relationships amongst others.
2. Identifying audience and searcher persona– Who are your potential customers? Who are you trying to reach with your content?
- Right down to the specifics including their requirements, numbers and demographics.
3. Deciding the type of content that needs to be developed
- Articles, blogs, tutorials, guides, DIY articles, infographics or visual.
- Bear in mind the customer requirements.
4. Streamlining workflow so as to make sure that the Content plan doesn’t fail midway
- Content planning and execution timelines (frequency of posts).
5. Identifying social media channels for promotion as well as monitoring the Content Strategy for success or failure or both.
- Google+ is more advantageous over Facebook and Twitter as it presents Google Authorship– arguably better alternative for SEO purpose and building brand credibility (increase the CTR by up to 150%).
6. Initial engagement
- Building social media profiles and begin interaction with Google+, Twitter, Linkedin, Quora, Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon and other channels.
7. Next goal would be to build a solid foundation for brand reputation amid the community.
- Idea is to get published and promote the brand on well-established info portals such as MOZ, SearchEngineLand, SearchEngineWatch and other blogs.
Content Strategy Execution
When we proceed to the content strategy implementation stage, there are different areas to work and monitor simultaneously. On one hand is the content design and development, while social media optimization and brand reputation are on the other.
These focus areas correlate with each other and work hand-in-hand towards building brand credibility, engaging potential client base, increasing inbound traffic and improving search engine rankings amongst others. Let’s go through this step-by-step process in more detail.
- Identifying client behavior
- What are they most likely to search and why?
- Google has been quite bold in its attempt to convey that it demands conversational search keywords rather than traffic driving search keywords.
- It means that emphasis is on Why rather than What, which means its algorithm wants to know why are people searching and not what, so as to provide unique and diverse SERPs.
2. Create Credibility and brand reputation
- This should be important as in order to bring people coming back to the website, it is important to provide Value Content, something that helps them in their lives.
- By improving search rankings and building a solid brand rapport in the community then the inbound traffic would grow organically.
- Getting shared by peers is healthy for building relationships and developing positive brand outlook.
3. Getting deep technically
- There should be absolutely no scope for irrelevant keyword stuffing or lapse in Meta tags, title headings or anything that could result in a Google penalty.
- Site Audit – The current posts should be monitored and removed if they don’t follow Google Hummingbird search algorithm.
4. Content Quality
- Content should be centered on the brand’s “Niche” areas, such that every blog/article is unique in its own way and yet, points to our niche.
- The content should be crisp and structured in a way that key elements (Niche aspects) emerge and grow organically, besides should be able to complement the overall SEO strategy. The message should be conveyed in a beautiful manner, should be both informative and persuasive rather than being imposing or loud.
- The vital new ingredient that came with Hummingbird organic search algorithm is “Relevance”.
- This means Hummingbird would penalize if the content is not relevant to its heading, title and most importantly search keywords, and appears to be a rip-off of a similar article.
- So developing Unique, Relevant, Real-Time, Visual, Curated, Concise and Valuable Content should be the primary goal.
- There should be emphasis on Long-tail Search Keywords, their frequency is small but they contribute to the bulk of search queries.
- Just textual content is ancient. It is the age of graphics and multimedia. Therefore, employing infographics, statistics, tables and flowcharts is just about as important as the written content. They don’t participate in search engine rankings but they play a significant part in retaining clients and bringing visitors back.
- User Experience is crucial as it the medium through which customers interacts and identifies, which ultimately results in improving CTR and conversion rate.
5. The End Game!
- Highlighting the brand’s Niche!
- It is important to inform potential clients with the brand’s key areas of work and converting them into loyal customers.
- If the short-term content strategy provides progressive and convincing results then its full-fledged long-term implementation should be practiced.
- If the results are not promising then feedback should be sought to determine the root cause of it.
- Community engagement and relationship building shan’t be ceased and continued.
- The weaker KPIs must be identified and remedial measures should be taken.
A content marketing plan relies mostly on publishing good quality, unique and value content, besides an execution plan that complements primary objectives. Therefore, unique ideas, valuable information, effective social media campaign and diverse community engagement form the backbone of a successful content marketing strategy for 2014.