Content Marketing, the Unspoken Truth
Most people I have spoken with think they have content marketing figured out. But the simple truth is they don’t. Content Marketing has NOTHING to do with selling. Content Marketing is about provided useful information and it has little to do with talking about your products and services until later in the process.
You need to provide high-quality content for each stage of the buyer’s funnel. Your potential customers will need new information at each stage. Your high-quality content will guide them to your website, guiding them to the information they seek. You are nurturing your potential customers and helping them solve a problem.
The trick is to create the best solution, better than your competition, to get them to trust that you have the best solution. Then they will then move forward looking for more detailed information. The last stage of content marketing is where your customer is ready to see a demonstration or buy your products and services.
Your customer is learning to trust you more at each stage of the buyer’s funnel.
What is High-Quality Content?
Have you ever taken the time to read Google's General Guidelines?
To gain in-site about high-quality content, I read the Google Search Guidelines. Linking to this guide is forbidden by Google. If you try to link a page you will get a 404 error, which means page not available. I read it for you to save you time. But if you want to get more information this article is good to read.
First, did you know trained people rate web pages?
To be a successful Quality Rater, you need experience using web pages. That makes sense.
Then you need to study the guidelines. That makes sense too.
Once you understand Google's guidelines, you need to practice using those guidelines.
So, what are those guidelines?
These guidelines are very long and detailed, with many examples. I'm only interested in the sections about web page content for now. The purpose of this article is to help you, the website content creator, with what Google is looking for on your web pages.
Please note, understand upfront, Google does not tell people or give very much information about their algorithms' or their quality scores for an individual site. A large portion of the information in this article comes from the Google General Guidelines, which is a training guide for people about quality, websites, and content on web pages.
The Purpose of the Page
Did you know Google likes it when you have a purpose to your page?
Below are a few things the trained Quality Guideline People are looking for on your web pages.
Your page must have a purpose that comes through clear and is useful to the end-user.
Your content should not harm, deceive, or make money without delivering your promise.
In case you're wondering, all pages get treated equally.
The purpose of a page can be shopping, news, forums, videos, error messages, PDFs, images, gossip news, humor, homepages, to name a few. Understanding the purpose of the page is the most important thing when determining a rating. (section 2.2)
Helpful web pages with a purpose can include these examples:
Information sharing on a subject or topic.
Personal and social information sharing.
Pictures, videos, or other media sharing.
Sharing an opinion or point of view.
Selling products, services, or ideas.
Post questions that are waiting to be answered by a user.
For users to share files and to download software.
Inform the end-user about an event.
Sell a product and give information about the product.
The above points are just a few of the many purposes that a web page can have for the end-user. (section 2.2)
Do No Harm
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages get stricter treatment.
The purpose of a YMYL page is to give the end-user important helpful and correct information about topics or subjects that could change a person's life and the choices they make. The guidelines for this type of page are much stricter. The reason for the more stringent guidelines is to protect people from information that is incorrect or can affect someone's life or wellbeing. Google's intent is not to reward potentially harmful information with a high-quality rating. Google may even delist a website that is proven to be dangerous.
The subjects on a YMYL page can be about but are not limited to:
News or events – information about events, business, financial stability, politics, science, technology, and safety are a few topics that fit this category. (section 2.3)
Government and laws – voting news or education on voting, government agencies, and legal advice and issues are a few topics that fit this category. (section 2.3)
Finances' – taxes, money planning, banking or money lending, and insurance information are a few topics that fit this category. (section 2.3)
Shopping – product or service information that would help a person make a better buying decision are a few topics that fit this category. (section 2.3)
Health and Safety – information for drugs, medical emergencies, doctors, hospitals, and safety tips are a few topics that fit this category. (section 2.3)
People who belong to groups based on - religion, ethnicity, race, age, gender, and disability are a few topics that fit this category. (section 2.3)
Miscellaneous other information – this could be physical fitness, eating habits and nutrition, information on housing or schools, and job placement are a few topics that fit this category. (section 2.3)
A Reputation is Very Important
Did you know your web pages and website have a reputation attached to it?
Google does look at what others have to say about your information. (section 2.5) It is a good idea to be truthful and honest in all you do. Google does check reviews for credibility. (section 2.6.3)
"Recommendations from expert sources, such as professional societies, are strong evidence of a very positive reputation." (section 2.6.1)
Make sure all your content is of the highest quality, and the information and ideas get proper citations.
When you do your research and provide helpful information for your users, you should be rewarded with a higher quality score. As you know, Google does not share your ranking score with you or anybody else. It is up to you to make sure your content is accurate, up to date, and truthful, or your web pages will rank very low on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness
What is E-A-T?
Are you aware of the Google algorithm update called E-A-T? E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritative, and Trustworthiness. Google encourages the E-A-T concept to make sure your content is relevant and correct.
Web pages that have all three of E-A-T concepts included for the topic in their content will do very well in the Google search engine.
E is for Expertise – 1: the skill of an expert 2: expert, opinion, according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary.
To demonstrate expertise in your content, answer the questions and give information your searchers want to find. What this means is do the keyword research to get ideas about what people are looking to find. When doing the keyword research, find the intent for your searchers? Provide the answers to their questions in specific, accessible, engaging, and understandable content.
FYI: you could also have an author box with a link to the author's profile to demonstrate the expertise of the author.
A is for Authoritativeness – 1: having, marked by or proceeding from authority 2: possessing recognized or evident authority: clearly accurate or knowledgeable, according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary.
To demonstrate Authoritativeness, link to another site that has already shown authority. This type of link will enforce that the content is correct.
If your content is excellent, others may even share your information. This type of linking is called a backlink. When backlinking happens from another authoritative site, people see your content as trustworthy, and it becomes a signal to Google too about your authority.
T is for Trustworthiness – 1: worthy of confidence: DEPENDABLE, according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary.
Trust is a big issue when it comes to doing business. You need to be monitoring your brands' presence to make sure there are no negative reviews. If there are negative reviews, you should address the concerns mentioned immediately.
Below are a few points on Trustworthiness:
Always have easily found contact information for any complaints or positive comments.
Protect your site with a security certificate, https, for your website. This security will make it much harder for a hacker to interfere in any way.
Clearly state any return policies if your site is selling items.
Make sure your product or service information is accurate and complete.
Keep in mind Google will be recommending searchers for your web pages. It is Google's reputation on the line, as well as your reputation. Make sure to live up to Google's expectation and provide Expertise, Authority, and Trust.
Make sure you provide purpose-driven, helpful content.
If you find this information interesting and helpful, please let me know. Or better yet link to this article.
Take the time to research and produce high-quality content that your potential customers are looking for. Make sure you have a different, useful purpose for each web page. Pay attention to Google’s EAT algorithm update. Keep tabs on your reputation. Create content that incorporates Expertise, Authority, and Trust. If you do all of the above you will find success in your conversion efforts.
Now go E-A-T your content and be up to date, relevant, and an expert in your field!
Booth, Ian. “E-A-T And SEO: How to Create Content That Google Wants.” Moz, Moz, 26 Dec. 2019, https://moz.com/blog/google-e-a-t.
“Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America's Most-Trusted Online Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/.
Slegg, Jennifer, et al. “Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines Updated: Beneficial Purpose, Creator Reputation & More.” The SEM Post, 26 July 2018, http://www.thesempost.com/google-search-quality-rater-guidelines-updated/.
White, Rebecca Lee. “How the Marketing Funnel Works From Top to Bottom.” TrackMaven, TrackMaven | The Marketing Insights Company, 14 Aug. 2018, https://trackmaven.com/blog/marketing-funnel-2/.
Artwork Credit: Wendy Danko at WenKo LLC