Content is king — and the realm is enlarging

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There are two key takeaways from this week’s news that Google was encrypting ALL key word search data.

  1. It is increasingly harder to separate SEO from content strategy
  2. Content is king and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future

For me, the most important comments from the news were found in this HubSpot blog post. HubSpot, by the way, continues to be johnny-on-the-spot with this kind of reportage on the online marketing world. These two comments emphasize that more than ever, content is the driver of all things relevant, and that relevancy is even more important. My emphasis added.

Since SEO-optimized content is generally themed content around a specific topic, you can still track the SEO performance of all of your URL’s. I’d argue that tracking organic content at a page level, rather than an individual keyword level, makes a lot more sense given the recent increases in keyword ranking volatility.–Larry Kim, Founder & CTO, WordStream:

And then there’s this comment:

While secure searches may seem frustrating to many SEO marketers, this is actually a great move for our industry. Great SEO today is great content with powerful digital endorsements from relevant and authoritative websites, which results in business results that transcend the keyword conversation.–Aaron Aders, Co-Founder, digitalrelevance

So … we’re all on the same page now. Moves like this from Google really aren’t that surprising if you continue to chant this mantra: …it’s all about the content/it’s all about the content.

 

Content marketing for SMBs: Giving leads to more business

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Recently on a weekend trip to Bar Harbor, Maine, I witnessed a great example of one of my favorite bits of advice to SMBs: you have to give value to get interest — and you have to be honest about what you can and can’t do.

Notice the latter part of that advice. Your business is probably good at a handful of tasks or practices, but you know there are more customers out there drawn to your business for a variety of reasons. I see many SMB websites that struggle with over-promotion, trying to be all things to all visitors.

That’s a mistake.

Saying you’re good at everything is really just saying you’re good at … nothing. I’ve always been a firm believer that businesses should do a little more for those customers who come to the door, and find out either your business or services aren’t a good fit for them.

Why? I’ll give you one example from Bar Harbor. While in an internet cafe in Bar Harbor (if you know the area this won’t be hard to figure out), a couple of customers came in, perused the baked goods on offer and asked about cookies. Without breaking stride, the owner directed them to a lunch place right across the street where, she told them, they bake fresh cookies every day. She said “if I don’t do it well, I’m happy to direct you somewhere else.” As it turns out, the customers stayed anyway.

But you see the point … that bit of goodwill was worth a lot more than any lost business from two cookies. The point is to focus on what you do best, and not worry about “losing” every prospect. Some prospective customers shouldn’t be customers for that moment.

I recommend to all clients that the first order of business is focusing on your unique value proposition … and secondly to help those you can help anyway. Whether they are a potential customer or client or not.

No, you don’t have to give the store away. But you should be freely giving out honesty and generosity when you can. Is there some way you can help out that prospective customer or client who’s not a good fit? Where can you find space on your site — and in your business — to help them?

It’s worth considering.