If you haven’t paid any attention to the news around Google Panda but use content to market your business, here’s what you need to know. Google recently changed the way it ranks websites with content in search engine results. So all the dozens of article directories (also known as content farms) are no longer ranking at the top of search results. If you’ve been using article directories to increase your ranking, you’re now wasting your time.
Essentially, Google now looks at the quality of every site that links to yours and determines its value. Of course, Google’s secret formula will never be known, but what we can glean is that it doesn’t like:
- Sites with a lot of unrelated content
- Sites with lots of ads
- Sites that don’t appear to be moderated
- Sites that are overstuffed with keywords
- Sites that link to many others without reason
You know those sites when you visit them. And while many companies bemoaned these new rules, they’re actually really good rules, if you know how to play the game.
Rule 1: Deliver Good Content
This should be the only rule, honestly. If you’ve been mindlessly churning out articles with little value and lots of keywords, you need to change your strategy. Instead, focus on what your customers want to know. This could be how-tos on your products, frequently asked questions, industry commentary, company news or op-ed pieces. Find out what pains your customers have, then ease them by providing useful content.
For example, you came to Small Business Trends because you were looking for information related to small businesses. You (we hope) find the content useful, and might even come back to see what other good stuff we’ve got going on. You can do the same thing we do on this blog on your own website. Be the expert in your industry and drive traffic to your site through content.
Rule 2: Keep It Fresh
Google loves new content, so don’t write one article and think you’re done. Create a strategy for putting out several articles a week and determine what you’ll write about. You might ask different people in your company to write on their areas of specialty to keep it diverse, but still relevant.
Rule 3: Invest in a Good Writer
Most CEOs don’t have the time or ability to write awesome content week after week. So don’t skimp. Hire a freelance writer or agency specializing in blogs and articles to help if you don’t have someone on your staff who can do it. Look for someone with experience in writing blog posts. You want a pro to drive traffic to your site.
Rule 4: Share Your Content
Your content’s only as good as the people who read it, and if that includes just your mother, it’s not doing its job. Set up an RSS feed from your blog; publish links to your posts on social media; share links in your company emails. Eventually people will find your content on their own, but you need to help them get there.
Look at Google Panda as a positive change that will help you rise above competitors who were doing a bad job of content marketing. If you follow the new rules, you’ll be able to effectively use content to get new customers.