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A few years ago, SEO marketers were everywhere. They promised you quick action within the search engines, and could get you to a number one ranking under a variety of search terms simply by SEOing your site.

Yes, those SEO marketers still exist today, and they are trying desperately to bring people in using “old” tactics. And of course some businesses still hire them and try that way of marketing – you don’t know what you don’t know. And for many small business owners that fall into this trap, they will quickly find out that SEOing a traditional site simply won’t cut it any more.

Today the buzz is around content marketing. Yet there is a difference between SEO and content marketing, making the future wide open for the latter.

The difference is SEO creates content that pleases the search engines, whereas content marketing creates content that humans want to read.

If you create content for the search engines, the only ones attracted to the content are the search engines. People don’t like it once they get there. And they aren’t willing to share it on the social sites like Pinterest and Facebook.

With Google being one of the top sites online, and getting around 100 billion searches every single month, their mission is to be better at what they do … deliver content. But it can’t be just any old content. If people consistently get what they don’t want, they quit using it. Google knows this, so they refine their search delivery techniques all the time. And when they refine it, old content drops off using old rules, quality content moves up using the basic theory of business – give people what they want.

Whether you are just starting your site for the first time, or have been online for years, the five best practices for creating content on your site include:

1. Create quality content people want to read and share.

2. Understand keywords and key phrases and use them to write about things people want to read and share.

3. Create a quality brand. Google watches for exact domains (MyProductColorado.com) and for people that use subdomains (MySite.com/blog). They no longer want your site and content (blog) to be separate – they reward for being one and the same.

4. Develop your personality. With as much content as exists in today’s world, regurgitating what everyone else is using will give you the same results. Instead, create a reason for doing what you do, and be willing to share that every chance you get.

5. Never drift from your core. In every subject matter, in every niche, there are millions of ways of writing about things that matter to your business. Don’t drift to other areas that are pointless to your client base – such as talking about water conservation if you are a tax accountant. You may believe strongly about something. But unless it has direct correlation to your business, leave it out.

In every business model, the best piece of advice is to stay true to your brand and stay on track for the long run.

Don’t deviate with hidden gimmicks, huge promises, or far out guarantees. Remember the old saying of “if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is?” We’ve forgotten that in the online world.

Focus on what your business is and do something to move you forward every day.  It works today. And it will work just as well five years from now.