There’s no doubt that success in marketing your business online is dependent upon the quality of your content. Your content is more important than your graphic design, your website’s even more important than your products and services because, without good content marketing, your products and services aren’t going to sell. It has been said that “content is king” and that “content equals cash,” on the internet, and marketing guru Seth Godin claims that “content marketing is the only kind of marketing left.”

Yet, if you aren’t aware of the principles of effective content marketing, it can be hard to stand out on the internet and to succeed. In this article, we’ll be covering five rules of content marketing that will help you to rule the internet and expand your business...

#1: Create Value With Your Content

The information age has given birth to a completely new type of consumer...the educated consumer. If your content does nothing more than promote your products and services and offers no tangible value or tips to your prospective customers, your would-be customers will probably skip over your content and move on to someone who is willing to provide value first. So as you hire writers to create articles, blog posts, emails, and web content make sure that you’re focusing on providing value with about 90% of your content and use the remaining 10% of your content for aggressive promotion.

#2: Think Quality First, Quantity Second

As you are reading this, there are dozens of SEO companies and content creators who are willing to provide a lot of content at dirt cheap prices. While it’s tempting to use cheap content providers in order to “save money” on content creation, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. It’s been said that the only kind of marketing which “costs” you is marketing that doesn’t work. Remember, your content is your voice on the internet and if it represents your company, it needs to do a good job and give you the best chance possible at success. Focus on quality first, then as your profits increase you can scale up and start creating more content.

For more information on selecting quality content providers, see our articles on creating good sales copy on your website and on hiring freelance writers.

#3: Content Marketing is an Ongoing Process

If you want to reach and retain high search engine rankings, creating content for your website must be an ongoing process. There are other companies in your niche who are consistently adding fresh content to their site in the form of blog posts, articles and press releases, social media platforms and this means if you’re not doing the same, these competitors will take the higher search engine rankings away from you. When creating articles or blogs for your site, or even posts for your social media platforms, it’s a good idea to vary your lengths and have at least a few blogs that are over the 1,400-wordmark.

Having varying lengths and longer blog posts/articles will cause your content creation process to appear more natural to both your visitors and the search engines and thus help you achieve higher rankings while creating a better user experience.  

#4: Encourage Additional Reading

As you build up a good “library” of content on your site, it’s a good idea to encourage your readers to read other articles or posts on your site. For example, at the end of this article, you’ll find three or four “additional reading” suggestions that are related to the subject of content marketing. You can also do this by adding anchor text within the body of your articles which links to other articles and blog posts on your site. This is important because the search engine companies like Google take user behaviors into account when determining the value of your content.

Thus, the more internal links you have (that’s links leading to other pages on your site), the more you’ll encourage user behaviors that will boost your search engine rankings.

#5: Structure Your Content to Prevent “Theme Bleeding”

The more content you create for your website, the more variety of topics you’ll have represented on your site. This is good because it adds value and variety for your readers, but if your site isn’t properly structured, it can be hard for the search engines to determine the specific theme of your site. This is why it’s important to structure your site so that it’s VERY clear to the search engines what the main theme and the subthemes of your site are. You can accomplish this by selecting the main theme and a few subthemes for your site, and using “silo structure” to organize your content according to those themes.

Failure to do this leads to “theme bleeding.” which is where the subthemes of your site mix together, making it difficult for you to achieve high search engine rankings for both your main theme AND your subthemes.

#6: Keep Content Fresh 

If you use Google a lot (which you probably do), you’ve likely seen the effects of Freshness. Now, whenever you type in a query that deserves freshness, you’ll see results that were published—in some cases—within minutes.

Obviously, this is great news for searchers. Want to see the results of a ball game that ended 10 minutes ago? Google has what you’re looking for! Want to see who just won a presidential debate? Google knows!

But it’s not only good news for the searchers. No, it’s also fantastic news for SEO’s who are keeping on top of things. With the latest updates, Google’s given SEO’s plenty of options for ranking on page #1.

Many people see the Panda and Freshness updates and only think about the damage that came with them. But Panda and Freshness didn’t just destroy – they also created a plethora of new ways SEO’s can get quality content ranking well.

With Freshness, if you refresh your website, you’ll have vastly improved chances at reaching page #1 – even if your site is fairly new. 

How Can You Keep Your Content Fresh?

Consistent Content Publishing

First, let’s get one thing straight: Panda and Freshness are both designed to work together. Google understands that fresh content is key to a website that provides value. People are interested in visiting websites that are constantly updated.

Therefore, Panda now ranks websites based on fresh content, and Freshness ranks websites based on the immediate time-relevancy of the content.

So making sure you’re always creating fresh content is absolutely crucial to post-Panda SEO.

The best way to do this is to set a schedule for yourself. You don’t necessarily need to be posting new content every single day. That is unless your niche relies on daily updated content.  But start posting content at least once per week. Really, as long as you can keep the content unique, high quality and relevant, posting as often as possible aren’t going to hurt you.

Google Alerts: Your Own News Robot

Freshness gives us a fantastic opportunity, sure. But how are you supposed to stay on top of everything that’s happening? Well, one fantastic way is to use Google Alerts.

Google Alerts allows you to set up keywords and phrases to monitor. Whenever something is indexed by Google that contains your keywords or phrase, you’ll instantly get an email.

Here at, besides our own algorithm testing, we have several alerts set up to keep us fully updated on everything that’s going on with Google. Our alerts are designed to catch the news on “Google Panda,” “Google Update,” etc. 

Whenever something is indexed in Google that matches these phrases, we instantly get an email. Using this technique with your own business ensures you’re always on top of the latest news in your niche.

First Come, First Serve

Lastly, it’s important to remember that with the Freshness update, it’s first-come, first-serve. Therefore, even though setting up Google Alerts and establishing a posting schedule will certainly help you, it won’t always get you to the top of the rankings.

This is because when you use a service like Google Alerts, you’re still getting second-hand news. Sure, you might get it the second it happens, but that means someone else has already published the news, causing you're alert to trigger.

The solution? Know your niche, inside and out. Become an industry leader. In some niches, this is easier than others. Be an authority in your niche – someone who is proactive in finding out the latest news. Don’t just wait for it to conveniently land in your inbox.

By optimizing your website for the Freshness algorithm, you give yourself even more opportunities to rank well on Google. Additionally, you meet content guidelines set out by Panda, ensuring that you’ll also be ranking on the search engine positions – not just the “latest news” portion of the results page.

#7: Learn How to Properly Use Social Media Platforms

We’ve talked about how social media plays a BIG role in post-Panda SEO. Web sites with a large percentage of “shares,” “likes,” and “tweets” on every page are much more resilient to Panda than websites with little to no social media presence. 

Additionally, a few months ago, we speculated that social votes may replace backlinks. And with the continuing decline of backlinks (and backlink building methods), it’s looking like social media is backlinks 2.0.

But this is a big sticking point for a lot of SEOs and online business owners. It’s one thing to say, “social votes increase your authority!” It’s quite another to be able to get those social votes.

Sure, you might be able to toss up a few “like” and “follow” buttons, but how many people are going to actually click those? If you have a significant amount of traffic and your content is interesting, you may get quite a few. If you’re just starting out, well… good luck.

Until today! In today’s article, we’re going to be giving you some real pointers you can start using that will dramatically increase your site’s “sharability.” 

Target Content Towards Close-Knit Communities

When most online business owners start creating content, they create it based on their interests. They create it based on the direction they feel their website should go in. If they’re very lucky, that direction may intersect with a group of people who also feel the same way. In this case, the content gets shared and may even go viral.

But more often, these business owners never find their niche. They never get those crucial shares. They don’t have people reading their content and plastering it on major social media sites.

So how do you tap into those people? Write content specifically geared at an already passionate and close-knit community.

Let’s say you run a political blog. Now, with the upcoming elections, you may be tempted to give your opinion on the major presidential hopefuls. But that’s what everyone else is doing – and “everyone else” has a lot more authority than a website that’s just starting out.

Instead of targeting a major candidate, why not find a close-knit passionate group of people who support a more underground candidate? For example, instead of writing content on Mitt Romney, you could write content on Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Since Gary Johnson receives little to no mainstream media coverage, his supporters are always looking to share any media mentions he does get. By publishing content specifically geared towards this passionate community, you dramatically increase the odds that people will share it. 

Have your Audience Choose Content Topics

Another way to increase the number of shares you get is to get your community involved in the content writing process. Next time you’re looking to write some content, instead of just picking a title and going with it, pick out a handful of them. Then, send an email to your newsletter or post a message on your Facebook page.

List the five titles and ask your community which one they would prefer learning about. This does two things:

  • Helps you create content your audience really wants.
  • Ensures that once you publish content your audience asked for, they’ll read it and will most likely share it.

When you get your audience involved, they invest themselves in the process. If you send out a list of five topics and one gets an overwhelming response, you can then create content based on that topic. Then, everyone who wanted you to write about that subject will see that yes, you listen to them.

Since they already invested in the process by giving feedback, they’ll almost certainly read the content. And provided its top quality, they’ll also share it with everyone they know.

Lastly, you’ll now know what the majority of your audience wants as far as content goes. So you can begin creating content specifically geared towards the topics your audience selected. 

Conclusion and Action Steps for Applying This Information

The first step to applying these rules it to look at your content marketing strategy and ask how you can start creating more valuable and high-quality content for your readers. Then, start creating a scheduled plan for updating your site with fresh content on a regular basis using the principles of structure (read more about this in our article on “silo structure”) while also encouraging additional reading of your content.

Want More Post-Panda SEO Tips?

A lot of SEO’s are swimming in confusion after Panda. But as you can see from this article, flourishing in the “New SEO” isn’t really that hard – all you have to do is put a focus on quality and stay updated on what Google’s doing.

We can help you out there. To receive updates on what Google’s doing, or to receive helpful tips on how to optimize your site for the “New SEO,” go ahead and fill out the form below. Or if you prefer Facebook, head on over to our page and give us a “like!”

Lastly, don’t forget to do an on-page SEO analysis using our free analysis tool!

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