New year, new you – but is it time for a facelift of your website’s content as well? To stay ahead of the competition and to win moments that matter to your customers, recognising the growing value of good online content is the first step; whether it’s launching a new blog, writing some guides, or revamping your landing pages and paid search text.
If you still need some persuading from the higher-ups, here’s our list of reasons for you to make content your king in the new year and beyond:
23. Keyword competition is never-ending, and even the most effective on-page SEO campaign can be scuppered by a new competitor targeting the same long-tail phrases as you. On-going innovation and investment in new optimised content helps to include a greater variety of key phrases on your site. This reduces the risk of losing your ranking if a couple of those phrases are targeted by your rivals.
22. Paid search remains similarly competitive. You don’t want to get into a bidding war for your primary target keyword bids if there are equally relevant phrases you could bag at a much lower price. Keywords are content of a sort, and content is king. So spend some extra time analysing and testing alternatives.
21. Landing pages provide a highly relevant place for paid search visitors to arrive on your site – so any tweaks to keywords used in your campaign should be reflected with tweaked or rewritten landing pages.
20. Microformats continue to make non-text content more search-visible in the same way that meta tags used to determine how your page was displayed by search engines. If your content strategy involves audio, video, and so on, make sure you’re making it as search-visible as possible.
19. Social networks increasingly drive the web audience to take action en masse – just look at the December 2012 Instagram exodus for proof. If you haven’t done so in the past, now is definitely the time to think about social and sharing factors when preparing future pages of content.
18. Televisions are set to make a comeback as the ‘first screen’ of most households, ahead of computers/laptops (the ‘second screen’) and smartphones/tablets (the ‘third screen’). Gartner predicts 85% of TVs manufactured in 2016 will have internet capability. This means it will be even harder to know what device your readers are using to visit your site. It’s essential to ensure your website is ready for visitors no matter what platform they’re using.
17. Apps further complicate the picture for anyone entering the mobile market in this way; your content strategy should include not only your website but also any in-app text and the descriptions of your app in the relevant marketplace or online store. ICM Research estimates that 28% of people downloaded a Christmas-themed app during the festive season of 2012, showing the scale of this potential market.
16. Local search is a different proposition from mobile, but the two are clearly linked. As more people search from GPS-enabled devices, producing content that caters for your local audience, rather than for the ‘global village’ of the web as a whole, can help you to establish your brand better in the real world.
15. Bing continues to compete with Google in core markets like Image Search and Shopping. Microsoft took things to a new level with the Scroogle campaign in December 2012, accusing Google’s Shopping results of being little more than paid-for listings. It’s worth keeping an eye out for the tide turning against Google, and making sure you’re ahead of any changes in search behaviour this year.
14. AdWords has a column showing which specific keyword within a search query triggered a PPC ad to be displayed to the user – adding an extra layer of transparency to accounts. Like any other interface change, it makes it a good time to review your ad copy and keyword bids, and make sure they’re optimised.
13. London 2012 may be over, but its legacy remains. With the event itself now consigned to history, look for opportunities to market your own goods or services based on the nostalgia and renewed interest in sport many Britons continue to feel into the new year.
12. ‘Not provided’ results now dominate Analytics keyword reports, since Google stopped providing that data from users logged in via an https connection. Review your content strategy in light of this, and make sure gaps in your data aren’t causing you to miss out on opportunities.
11. 4G mobile connections offer faster web access from anywhere that has network coverage, and won’t be limited to EE customers forever. As the full rollout of the higher-speed mobile data format begins, you’ll be able to serve larger amounts of content to mobile site visitors, without the worry of attrition due to slow page load times.
10. New social media sites might well emerge in the months to come – just like Google+ did in the summer of 2011. Notice them, consider them, and, if they suit your purposes, incorporate them into your content strategy. Early adopters can achieve big wins with popular new platforms. Just be ready to jump ship if they fail to establish much of a user base.
9. Navigation should work with touchscreen devices. With more tablets and smartphones being used to view desktop versions of sites, remember that dropdown navigation based on the cursor ‘hovering’ over part of the screen might simply not work and using it risks cutting off a portion of your visitor base from whole sections of your site.
8. Social spread is making it even easier to include less formal content on websites – particularly in your blog pages – and not purely on your social networking profiles. Consider your tone of voice, and whether you might find better levels of brand loyalty if you were to sound less formal and friendlier.
7. Inbound links should never, ever be paid for, or you’re at risk of vanishing from Google’s search results completely. If your site was affected by the Google Penguin update, 2012 has probably been a period of damage limitation for you. Let 2013 be the time when you begin to build afresh, through post-Penguin-friendly practices.
6. Uptake of new technologies shows no signs of stopping. comScore reports penetration of the EU smartphone market is now at 55%, and 62% in the UK alone. Serving content to this new mobile audience is a must, regardless of their choice of operating system, handset, or connection speed.
5. Inadvertent discrimination could cost you money. It’s a difficult area to discuss but some research suggests different ethnic groups are more likely to engage with different types of content. For example, Nielsen Wire reports that white people are much less likely to engage with social ads than other ethnic groups, while Asian people are much more likely to engage. Make sure no-one is missing out on your marketing messages.
4. Economic turbulence is on-going, but there are moments of brightness in various different markets. Whether your business thrives on recession (e.g. debt management) or on fresh growth in previously troubled industries, the coming months will be a key time to make the most of new opportunities.
3. Tech-savvy shoppers are changing the face of retail, whether you like it or not. Edison Research notes that shoppers embrace the benefits of technology, particularly when it helps them through a stressful situation such as intensive Christmas shopping sessions. Content that offers product details, clear pricing and sizing guides, or special offers and coupons, could all help to tap into this.
2. Responsive web design is becoming a widely used term as smartphones and tablets grow in popularity. Make your website properly responsive and you can future-proof it to make sure it remains functional for the foreseeable future, regardless of any changes within your customer base.
1. Google‘s on-going algorithm updates continue to make good-quality, informative, and relevant content the best way to rank for any given search term.
Any one of the reasons above should make it worth taking a fresh look at your content. Even if your website is performing well, make 2013 the year you review your content and see if you could do even better.
Image credit: 10ch