Content Marketing Is Marketing

November 8, 2017

Mixing it with the best in the business this week at Pubcon in Las Vegas. I’ve met some awesome people and been involved in some great SEO conversations. One in particular focused on the evolution of content marketing and how it’s changed for me.

What I learned

  • Content marketing no longer requires backlinking
  • Brand and trust go hand in hand
  • Content can be video, display ads or one-off articles
  • The relevance of exact match domains
  • Popularity can boost rankings

Video Transcript

Hey, welcome back, Rankers! Sorry for the weird lighting, but I’m coming to you from Las Vegas, and that’s the Strip behind us there, so we’ve got some dodgy lighting reflectors set up so we can get a bit of the view. Anyway, probably should have left it until nighttime, because then you would have got the neon’s.

I’m here for Pubcon, of course. So, if you’re here at Pubcon, please come and say hello. I’ve met some awesome people already and had some awesome discussions and it hasn’t even started yet! So, Pubcon goes from today until Thursday, so I’ll bring you some more about what I actually learn here next week.

I wanted to talk to you a little bit more about content marketing, because that’s what I’m talking about at Pubcon. For me, with content marketing we stopped doing the backlinking in 2009, and all those sorts of things. We switched to content back then, but it’s changed a lot in that time, and what we thought it was, to what it is now, but before I get into that, if you are new here, please subscribe to the YouTube channel. Just hit the subscribe button on the YouTube player whether you’re coming in from SmartCompany, or Facebook, or wherever you found us, hit the YouTube channel. Show’s been going 13 years, once a week, and we endeavour to have it out on a Wednesday. It’s been going since before YouTube started, actually. There’s over 700 videos up there to have a look at.

Brand is Trust

So, I was looking at bloggersSEO. So bloggersSEO, for those of you who don’t know, is our course for bloggers, to teach them SEO. We’ve noticed some things that were ranking fine, but we haven’t really tried that hard yet to do anything with the SEO. It would be more about setting the thing up, putting the course in place at the back-end, actually training the bloggers in the Facebook group, but the site itself, we haven’t SEO’d. There’s still a few things in the index that have been crawled that shouldn’t have been crawled, and they need to get those out. The speed needs to be lifted a little bit, we’ve got some random blocking issues, those sorts of things.

So, there are a few things to do on bloggersSEO, but I just wanted to show you these things, because I was showing this to John Lawson, a lot of you might know John Lawson from Retail Global, multi-media megastar. Huge pretty much everywhere, big speaker. I was talking to him on Saturday night about this, and we were talking about brand, and then he’s put a question of the day on his Facebook about what does brand mean to you? To me, brand is the promise of something. It means that you know that brand is going to give you something, and that’s a trust thing, right? A promise is trust. So, trust, brand, big signal in Google.

So, what I was looking at was some of the key phrases, and you can do this at home if you want to play along. You just go into your search analytics. There’s a number of ways that you can look at this data. You can do a comparison, if you’re looking for an uptick in say ranking or traffic. You’ve seen something come in from organic and you don’t know what it is. Well, one of the things that you can do here, is that you can just compare some date ranges and then sort by position, and then you can see the differences in position between the two dates, those sorts of things. What I’m using here, for us just to get an idea of the sorts of keywords that we want.

Now you can see here, the number one phrase that’s coming up is bloggersSEO as one word, which we want. That’s exactly what we want, and I would hope that we rank number one for that as a single word. I mean, that was our first goal with it. We just said, “Look, let’s just make sure we rank number one.” I didn’t say that properly. “Let’s just make sure we rank number one, for at least our brand.” You can see there, we do, and it is very much hooked into the brand, we’ve got site links. You see this here? We’ve got a site link for our thank you page, which is a big no-no, so that’s getting removed today. Hopefully, it’ll be removed before the show is published on YouTube, but we will see. So, that’s bad. That gives you an idea that we haven’t done a lot of SEO work on this site yet. Yeah, but we’ve got the Facebook, and we’ve got the Twitter account there. So, they’re all really good brand signals that Google’s found all of those things, and it understands that they’re all the one, and it’s put them all together, like to like, so that’s great.

Exact Match Domains

So, what about bloggers SEO as two words … Well, there’s a featured answer there, and we’ve got Moz, then we’ve got HubSpot, and we’ve got Blog Tyrant, and then we’ve got bloggersSEO. Now, I’ve spoken to some people, and I know some people think the same, “Ah, yeah, that’s exact match domain. You know, because you had the keywords in your domain, that’s why it’s there.” Well, yeah, maybe.

I’ve seen exact match domains before that haven’t ranked terribly well. This site’s got 36 pages, incidentally, so not a lot of content yet. My theory is that we’ve got that position there because there’s a lot of bloggers talking about us. I had a look at the backlinks earlier today, and it looks like we have picked up a couple of links from blogs around the place, so thank you, but I don’t think that is necessarily exact match domain.

To me, as I’ve said before, exact match domain is almost a trust signal in itself, that it almost has to be a trust signal, because if I’m looking for those two words together, and there is a domain with those two words together, is that a trust thing that I’m looking for that domain? Is that a trust signal that I’m looking for that domain? So, however, Google turned down the exact match domain signal back in 2012, and how often they do it, I don’t know, but I think it has possibly something to do with exact match domains that weren’t tied that strongly to the keyword searches that they were trying to rank for. Possibly something like that.

Anyway, so if then I say bloggers SEO system … and that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re doing an SEO system for bloggers, basically. So, bloggers SEO system, you can see there that it’s number one. we’re in Las Vegas, and where are we? Let’s go Los Angeles … And remember, this site hasn’t been optimised, right. Same there, I think. Yeah, number one there.

Popularity Boosts Rankings

Now, what I have noticed is that the strength of the rankings with this site seem to be tied to the activity around the group. As the group in Facebook gets stronger, we seem to have more rankings, more people looking for things. So, my point here is just that there’s not a lot of content that has gone public on this site, yet, 36 pages. So, as far as content marketing goes, the only content marketing that has been going on, if you want to call it that, is basically the training of the bloggers in the Facebook group, and talking to them, and doing free weekly site audits in the Facebook group. So, every Thursday morning we do free site audits, and that gets people talking about us. It gets people telling their friends about them. If they’ve got a site, if they’ve got a blog, and sooner or later that sort of search mounts up as well. Google starts to see that, that’s our theory of why, and people start linking to us, and that’s our theory about why something like that can rank so well.

Now, last week it was also ranking for SEO system, which was ridiculous. I don’t know if it is today, I think it’s dropped to page two. Oh, no, there we go, still on page one, in Los Angeles, anyway. So, what I’m saying here is that your content marketing doesn’t have to be a weekly blog post. It might be, that might be the best way to reach your audience, your target audience, your main buyer personas, but that’s what you’re looking to do. What’s the piece of content that you need to produce to connect with your buyer personas? It might be a video ad. It might be a series of Facebook display ads. It might be a kick-ass post on LinkedIn, or something like that. It could be a whole variety of things, but you’ve got to understand first where those buyers are, who you’re connecting with, and then deliver the most effective piece of content to them. Maybe it’s on a regular basis, maybe its a one-off, but that’s what you’ve got to do.

Hopefully that’s helpful, and we’ll bring you more about Pubcon next week. Thanks, very much, everyone. Bye.

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