This is the second in a series of blogs on the next generation of search engine optimization. To read the first post in the series click here.
Audiences crave content, and search has evolved to reflect this demand and priority. Google’s search engine, which handles a whopping two-thirds  of all internet searches, previously located and ranked sites based on keywords and inbound link counts. It now weighs expertise, authority and trustworthiness of content as well.  Google and other providers will continue to move in this direction to ensure their searches deliver the most accurate, relevant and useful results possible.
This means old SEO tricks like overstuffing a website with keywords and or buying inbound links don’t work anymore. While keywords and inbound links still count, there’s no doubt that having quality content on your site is an ideal way to reach the top of the search results.
The search engine experts agree.
Search engine experts have seen this coming for years. Consider this 2010 statement from Google:
“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website ranking more than any of the other factors discussed here. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email forums, or other means. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.” 
Microsoft’s Bing is the world’s second-most popular search engine.  What tops Bing Principal Group Program Manager Rajesh Srivastava’s advice for achieving optimum rank for your site?
“Develop great original content (including well-implemented keywords) directed toward your intended audience.” 
Content + SEO = Continuous Growth
Imagine two retailers in the cookware business. Both list and sell products on their websites. But one site also features free content, including recipes, cooking blogs, how-to videos, menu planning, a wine and beer guide and a wedding and gift registry. Which site do you think will draw more traffic? Engage customers longer? Generate more social media word-of-mouth? Drive more sharing? Rank higher in search results? Sell more product?
Clearly, the website offering consumer-pleasing content has the edge. What’s more, once this site ranks high in search engine results, it will be found by more and more consumers, who will generate more social media sharing, which will further boost the site’s search rankings. That’s the power of content and context in the new era of search engine optimization.
Be the source they seek.
Creating engaging content is the cornerstone of content marketing, also known as “in-bound marketing.” In-bound marketing attracts consumers and draws them in throughout every step of the buying journey. This differs from “out-bound” marketing, including traditional advertising, which typically reaches out to grab a consumer’s attention in the final stages of the buying journey.
Of course, creating engaging content and using it to power SEO takes planning, time and resources. Like any other form of marketing, it’s a serious investment in the future of your business.
Looking for SEO Content Expertise?
If you’d like help creating content for your business, or want to learn more how next generation SEO, contact us online or call 888.573.4773.
1. Editorial Staff, July, 2016, “Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines,” eBizMBA.com, eBizMBA Inc.
2. “How Google Works: A Google Engineer’s Story,” Paul Haahr, SMX West 2016, March, 2016, San Jose, CA
3. Editorial Staff, 2010, “Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide,” Google, Inc.
4. Editorial Staff, July, 2016, “Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines,” eBizMBA.com, eBizMBA Inc.
5. Rajesh Srivastava, September 3, 2009, “Search Engine Optimization for Bing,” blogs.bing.com