Back in the “pre-historic” days of Google, just before the first major Pandas rolled out in all their glory, there was such a thing as links.
Through the use of links, from the use of a “linkwheel” to the worst of the negative, black-hat SEO link structures, webmasters were able to gain almost overnight rankings. This dramatically changed in 2011 when the first major Panda update from Google cracked down on thousands upon thousands of websites.
These websites lost first-place ranking and huge revenue streams overnight. The outcry was awful. However, in time, the terror changed to a realization the Internet was getting better. Instead of links and spam-filled, over optimized content, it was time to invest in real, readable blogs, web pages, and content that were written by qualified people and optimized for the reader.
Today, in 2014, exactly how do links still factor in? Do they factor in at all, or offer any use for us? Let’s take a look!
Are Links Still Important?
The biggest thing many people have forgotten is that link building is very different from content marketing.
You need to make sure you have a strong content marketing outlined first before considering your links. Here’s the thing, links and SEO are all about getting you to show up in the search results. Once you’re there, you’ll probably start doing the samba and feeling pretty great about yourself, but if your content is crummy, you’ll lose any visitors you get.
Unfortunately, people aren’t seeing this and are still shelling out lots of dough for links in their content instead of buying great, valuable content. According to a survey held by Moz, about 40% of people they polled said that their businesses were focusing 51 – 75% of their SEO budget on link building. This leads one to the assumption that only a small portion of SEO budgets are aimed at getting great, quality content for their sites. This can really come back to bite you in the tush if you aren’t careful.
7 BIG Reasons Why You Should Start Investing In Great Content
As the majority of blogs out there are pointing out that quality content is becoming more and more the name of the Google game. You either have great content or you start to lose. It is a harsh statement, but quite true.
Let’s take a look at why content marketing is something you should be investing in:
1. Quality Content Keeps Visitors On Your Site Longer. Once you get people to your site via search results and ranks, you are going to want to keep them on your site. If you don’t invest in content, you will not keep those customers. While seemingly unfair, many people are going to skim over your content to see if it is worth their time to read; if they feel that it isn’t, then they will click right over to your competitors. Keeping people on your site opens up the opportunity to become more than just visitors, but clients as well. Basically, investing in content keeps people on your site and converts them into leads. Sounds like something worthwhile, doesn’t it?
2. Those Links and SEO Keywords Don’t Create Your Brand. Sure, links and SEO can help you rank as we have established, but the thing to remember is that it doesn’t build or create your brand. Only you can do that, and do it successfully. You know what you want out of your brand, what you want people to see, and, most likely, have an idea of how you will craft and achieve it. This is why it is important to invest in great content and content writers. You can easily give them the information you want to share, the voice you want them to use, and let them have at it. This gives your brand a personal touch that is completely lost if you are spending a significant sum of money on links.
3. You Can Save Money By Focusing On Content. Content is a great investment that you will see great returns on over time. You will realize that as you focus a great chunk of your budget on content that you are making more than you thought you would. The more you write and produce great content, the better your revenue will be. For example, if you spent time and money to optimize a product that helps people get to sleep without harsh additives, but not on quality content, you might not get as many purchases as you thought you would. With great content, you will turn that browsing individual into someone who wants to try your product. Like we’ve said time and time again, it isn’t just about getting a visitor to your site, it’s also about converting them into clients. Your quality content will do just that. Eventually, you may notice that you are able to invest more money in your budget for content creation, links, and SEO, but you’ll only get there if you make a content investment.
4. Content Ensures You Are The Expert In Your Field. When you are selling items online, you always want to make sure you come across as an expert or authority in your field. When you purchase items online, you most likely double-check to make sure the person whom you are buying from really knows what they are doing and understands what they are selling. The same goes for when people make purchases from you. A great way to establish yourself as an expert is through, well, content! Ah content, the magic term. Content is going to set you apart as a leader in the industry because you will have webpages, product descriptions, and blogs detailing information surrounding your products, services, and industry news. This is another great reason to move away from spending a large amount of your budget on links and SEO and move towards investing in content marketing.
5. You Will Generate More Client Interaction. Engagement is a big part of any company, and we are sure you already know that when it comes to making sales or dealing with clients face-to-face. A great way to engage in client interaction is to ask clients to give feedback. Clients might be more inclined to provide feedback if you have content that has engaged them in the past and many will be willing to make a review as soon as they receive the product. This is something that is important for all businesses; you can see that when you purchase a book from Barnes and Noble or make a purchase on Etsy. Within a week or two of making a purchase, you are asked to review an item. Now think back to when you last made an online purchase and left a review, did you feel more inclined to because of the level of interaction? Odds are you did feel more inclined. This should be a pretty great example of how other clients will feel when purchasing from you.
6. You Will Beat Your Competition Into The Ground. Besides just bringing in and keeping customers, investing in content will make sure you beat your competitors into the ground. Great, engaging, and high-quality content is going to help you standout from your competitors, especially if they aren’t on the content bandwagon yet. Clients really enjoy reading quality content because they feel like they are learning more about a specific product or service. Quality also helps them decide on a company because if the company has great content, then many believe the company will have quality products, services, and employees.
7. Your Reputation Will Be Maintained. Like it or not, you will get a few negative reviews at some point. While some might be justified, several others might just simply be trolls trying to bring your reputation marks down. This is something that is done for books, music, and any other time of product out there. Just take a glance at various Goodreads pages for books that have yet to be released, several have one-star reviews talking about how bad the book is or will be. Having consistently great content is going to help people know which reviews are truly one to take heed of and which ones they should just ignore. People will generally dig a little more than the basic reviews when they want to learn about the company, and this includes going to the business’s web page and seeing how they handle things. If your content is stinky because you’ve been focusing all of your attention on links and the rest on SEO, potential clients will begin to believe the negative reviews.
As you can see, content really is the name of the game and will greatly benefit your company overall. You will start saving and making money, develop great relationships with your clients, and start beating your competition. Start re-considering your current link, SEO, and content budget and start restructuring it to allow for more investment in high-quality content.