A few years ago, search engine optimization (SEO) was the most buzzed about topic in online marketing. Today, we frequently hear, “Content is king.” While successful online marketing certainly does require the creation of high-quality, relevant, engaging and information-rich content, SEO considerations are still of paramount importance. The difference now is that SEO is more closely tied to the social exposure of your content. While keyword research still matters, the main concern of content creators should be creating highly “share-worthy” content. Each time your content is liked on Facebook, tweeted on Twitter, “+1ed” on Google+ or shared on LinkedIn, it is getting a stamp of approval—increasing its reach and magnifying your opportunities for higher rates of traffic and lead generation and improved SEO. Achieving high rates of social sharing indicates to Google that you are producing content that people value enough to share. Google search rankings are increasingly taking into account the social exposure and influence of content and the authors who create it. Google is the most powerful and influential search engine, so the changing ways it evaluates your content and website should be of significant importance to you.
There are some steps you can take to increase the social exposure of your content, including sharing it on syndication sites, such as Business 2 Community and Social Media Today, and all the major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Posting your content to popular social bookmarking sites, such as Digg, StumbleUpon and Del.icio.us, can be another source of increased exposure. Invest time in setting up Google Authorship, properly link all your relevant content from across the web to your robust Google+ profile, and set up author verification on your company blog and wherever else you publish original content.
While taking these steps in promoting your content will no doubt be beneficial, it is critical to address the issue at the core—ensuring that you are producing the kind of content that people are compelled to share. Consistently creating valuable, relevant and share-worthy content will inevitably improve your search rankings, as Google is increasingly informing their algorithms with social sharing data. Creating really shareable content will get others to promote your content for you.
Google Guidelines for Creating Highly Shareable Content
Google is tasked with the challenge of using algorithms to determine what type of content people find compelling, valuable and share-worthy and also offers an overall positive user experience. Google aims to rank such content high in their search results. If you want your content to get ranked highly, follow these guidelines, which were informed by the Google Webmaster Central Blog.
1. Your content should be trustworthy.
2. Your content should display thought leadership and genuine interest and passion about subject matter.
3. Content should be free of spelling errors, typos, grammatical problems and editing oversights.
4. Content should be original and avoid redundant articles on the same topics with only slightly different keyword variations.
5. Content should not only be created with SEO in mind; the style and substance of content must appeal to reader interest.
6. Your content should cover important industry trends and news and not merely push your own products or services.
7. Your content should aim to provide better value than other pages in related search results.
8. Content should be objective and present various viewpoints.
9. Your blog content will be more highly ranked, if your blog is able to gain recognition as a trusted authority on covered topics.
10. Content should be comprehensive and broad, while also providing thoughtful and in-depth analysis.
11. If readers find your content so valuable that they bookmark and share it with their contacts, it will improve your SEO.
12. Your website and blog should not be so jam-packed with ads that they distract visitors from focusing on your content.
13. Your website and blog should be neatly organized and visually appealing.
Follow these guidelines to create content that demands to be read, viewed and shared, because it is high-quality and provides real value to readers. Effective content marketing can improve your SEO and increase website traffic and lead generation. Without high-quality content creation, you will not be able to generate the social signals that Google is using to improve their search ranking processes.