Monthly Archives: January 2012

Why big brands are failing at web content

On paper, they have the budget and resource to offer killer content on every page, so why are so many big brands failing miserably when it comes to web content?

Restrictive sign off

Big businesses often have slow and painful sign-off processes for even the smallest of content changes. With Google’s algorithm increasingly rewarding freshness, this means they are their own worst enemies when it comes to SEO.

Duplicate content

For many brands, populating pages involves lifting and shifting directly from manufacturer-supplied copy and images. If they are late to the party in being indexed by Google, this content will be seen as duplicate, which will prevent them from ranking. For businesses operating multiple brands under one umbrella, this is a massive headache.

‘SEO’ copy

All too often, big brands make the mistake of distinguishing between regular copy and SEO copy.

argos placeholder FAIL

Argos Dishwashers page 5/12/2011

Many websites allocate a portion of the page (usually just above the footer) to poorly written, keyword stuffed copy, in the misguided belief that this will improve Google rankings.

Argos are one of the worst offenders of this, with a formula-based approach that generates some interesting results…

Multiple agendas

Most big brands have several stakeholders producing content, each with very different agendas. In many cases, they do so without communicating with each other. This leads to a lack of consistency, not to mention duplication.

The solution

In his presentation at the SearchLove 2011 event, Distilled’s Tom Critchlow discussed what he refers to as ‘The Content Gap’, a lack of consistent strategy between teams in the production of content.

To combat this, Tom proposed the introduction of a ‘Chief Content Officer’ position within a business. The idea is that by having someone with top level visibility and responsibility for all content production, you can prevent the above from happening.

Copify’s content marketing predictions for 2012

The start of a new year is a great time to consider your content marketing strategy. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here’s Copify’s content marketing predictions for 2012.

The death of ezine article marketing

Thanks to Google’s Panda update, links from Ezine Articles et al are now virtually worthless. So hopefully 2012 will see an end to those dreadful, mundane, “10 things you didn’t know about cat food” type of articles that have been cluttering up the internet for far too long.

Blogger outreach

For the uninitiated, blogger outreach is the process of reaching out to bloggers and offering them content and in some cases payment or goods/services in exchange for coverage and those all important backlinks.

If these blogs have a decent authority and the links are in context, the value of this in SEO terms can be very valuable indeed.

Advertorials

Most local and even national newspapers are now pimping out space on their websites to advertorial content. If you can find a contact who will publish content for you, these below the radar links will be hugely beneficial for SEO. Get in there before everyone else does.

Hopefully 2012 will see an end to those dreadful, mundane, “10 things you didn’t know about cat food” type of articles that have been cluttering up the internet for far too long.

PR

If you’ve been doing generic press release syndication via services like PR Web then it’s likely that you will have reached a saturation point in terms of links. 2012 should see a growth in smarter PR syndication and the increasing importance of promoting this socially and putting in the leg work of talking to journalists and publishers.

The return of infographics

More and more people are consuming digital content via devices such as tablets and smartphones, which means that displaying it in an appealing way has never been more important. As a result, we predict that infographics will become increasingly popular in 2012.

Summary

Investing the time and money in high quality content that people actually want to read and share will pay dividends in 2012 and beyond.

What’s on the agenda for your 2012 content marketing strategy?

The return of the Infographic?

A few years ago, infographics were all the rage. Then as the hysteria died down, and access to affordable, reliable graphic designers became more and more scarce, it all went a bit quiet.

So what of infographics today, is there any value in them? We recently threw one together as an experiment. I’ll show you how we went about it and the all important results.

Coming up with a concept

The History of SEO

The History of SEO

The first step in creating an infographic is coming up with a concept. As the majority of our client base are SEOs, it made sense to focus on this as a subject, as it is something that would generate interest with existing and prospective customers.

I decided on ‘The History of SEO,’ charting all of the main events and miletones in the industry in a timeline. I felt that this would be interesting enough for those within the SEO industry to read and share

Research

Once I had the concept in place, I started by looking at some other infographics from the SEO community and some of the information they had included. I then added to this with research from blogs and articles on SEO, including anything that I found to be relevant and interesting. All in all, this research took no more than a couple of hours.

Briefing

Once I had gathered the information that I wanted to include, and written the copy, I passed this on to a friend of mine, who is a graphic designer. He agreed to do this as a freebie on the proviso that if it was successful we would use him again in the future.

I gave a brief overview of what I was looking for, but I wasn’t too prescriptive in terms of the design, letting him put his own mark on it. He returned a couple of days after with a draft and after a couple of amends, we were ready to publish.

Top Tip: If you’re on a limited budget, approach a junior graphic designer who is eager to get a piece for their portfolio. If you offer them a share of the credit, they may be willing to work for payment in kind, or even free.

Publishing

We published the content on a new page on the site, on our blog, and to some aggregators such as Visual.ly.

Results

Since going live on the 7th November, our infographic has received almost 1100 views on Visual.ly, 58 Tweets, 9 Facebook Likes, 2 Google Plusses and 20 other shares.

The infographic was republished by several sites in the UK, as well as blogs in the USA, France and Germany.

Summary

With the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, presenting information in an easily accessible way is a great way of reaching out to people. For this reason, it should be part of every content marketing plan. If done well, it’s also a valuable tool in the SEOs armoury for attracting backlinks.

Do you create infographics as part of your content marketing and SEO campaigns?