How to level up your 2023 content marketing strategy
Google continues to make it abundantly clear it rewards website content that’s relevant and satisfying for readers. This has long been a priority for Google, with several Broad Core algorithm updates that took place in 2018, the Quality Update in 2017, and even back in 2011 when the Panda Update was first announced. Late last summer, Google reiterated the importance of content quality by announcing its Helpful Content update. In the update, Google shared that the update is “part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”
Knowing the standard Google continues to set, your content marketing goals must align. Crafting valuable written content, however, is easier said than done. For one, search engine algorithm updates continue to change at an unprecedented pace. This can make it difficult to discern how to shape and shift your content marketing strategy. Second, a mindset of content abundance can lead to thin and low-quality content.
We can’t predict the future of content marketing, but we can focus now on the content strategies winning in the competitive search landscape by leaning on the advice of content marketing and SEO experts. Recently we hosted a webinar and were joined by a panel of industry experts who shared their expertise on how to create valuable content, write content for people rather than search engines, the role artificial intelligence (AI) is playing in content creation, and much more.
Our panel of experts included:
- Lily Ray, Sr. Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research at Amsive Digital
- Carrie Hill, Local SEO Specialist/Analyst at Sterling Sky
- Miranda Miller, Writer/Editor, Content & Digital Marketing Strategist
Below, we’ll share a quick webinar recap of our experts’ tips for how to optimize your 2023 content marketing strategy.
Create unique and personalized content
Eighty percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. Broad, unrelatable content will no longer suffice.
For example, if a potential customer clicks a website link on your Google Business Profile for a specific location they’re interested in visiting and they’re taken to your business’ corporate page, will the user find this to be a positive experience? The answer is likely no.
They likely wanted to find up-to-date information regarding that individual location. This might include offers specific to that location, nearby landmarks to know what to look for when they are driving to find your store, employees that work at the store, and more.
Our panel suggests going beyond simply having templated location pages that have your store’s name, address, and phone number. Include more in-depth personalization specific to that store to create a better user experience and answer potential customers’ questions without having to search for information elsewhere.
Optimize content for mobile
More people than ever are searching for information on their mobile devices. As of November 2022, 60.28% of all web traffic came through mobile phones. Google too predominantly uses the mobile version of your site’s content for indexing and ranking with its mobile-first indexing. Yet, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is an often overlooked opportunity.
Our panel suggests looking at your website from a mobile user’s perspective. Open your site up on your phone. Is there an abundance of text before you get to your call to action? Do you have any interactive content or is it strictly text-based? Is it easy for the user to find the information they need quickly to make a purchase decision or conversion?
Customer experience must be at the forefront of your content plan, and this includes your mobile experience. Keep your audience in mind as you create content for both desktop and mobile to consider the diverse experience they’ll have with each. For example, if you’re on a desktop, 200 words aren’t too overwhelming to read. However, if you’re on a mobile phone, 200 words of strict text will require ample scrolling to get through.
Word length doesn’t matter
Historically, it was thought that long-form content outperforms short-form content. However, more often we’re seeing that content length isn’t playing a large role in how the content ranks, regardless of if it’s short-form or long-form content. What’s more important is if you’re delivering information that matches search intent.
There is a caveat to this and that is your content can’t be too short. A best practice is to keep content no less than 300 words. This ensures your content isn’t too thin or not providing enough information for the reader.
To avoid this when creating visual content or audio content, draft an introduction and conclusion. Tell readers what they can expect to see when they watch your video content, what they will hear when they listen to your audio content, or what they will read when they engage with your visual content (such as an infographic). At the end of the post, give readers a quick recap of what they just heard, read, or saw.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to measuring content performance
As marketing professionals, we want to be able to measure the return on investment to ensure our content marketing efforts are worthwhile. The same can be said for our other marketing campaigns, such as email marketing, social media, and more. It would be simple to look at one metric for the measure of success, however, that isn’t how it works for assessing content performance.
Content performance can best be measured by how it helps you meet your business goals. Set clear and consistent goals for what success looks like for each of your marketing efforts. For email marketing, this might look like an open rate that’s above your industry’s standard. For long-form content, such as a whitepaper, this might look like filling out a form or requesting a demo. You may look at how many followers and how much engagement you’re getting on your social media platforms to see if your content is converting.
Define your content types first and identify key metrics for each. Since you likely already have a content marketing strategy in place, see what pieces of content are performing well and what pieces aren’t. Use your top-performing content to set clear benchmarks to measure what success means to your business.
Don’t neglect optimizing existing content
If you’ve been creating content for several years, it’s likely that your content will become outdated at some point. Outdated, irrelevant content won’t attract the attention of your target audience and it certainly won’t improve the user experience. Therefore, content marketing plans should include content optimization as well. In fact, 28% of our webinar attendees said their top priority for 2023 in terms of content marketing is to optimize existing content.
When determining which content pieces to optimize, look at content that isn’t performing well. This might include content that isn’t receiving many impressions, clicks, conversions, and interactions or content that isn’t keeping people on the page. You may want to take this content and add it to a relevant page that is performing better. Redirect the old page to the better-performing page.
In terms of optimizing existing content, use a content optimization tool such as Frase or Clearscope to identify content that is close to ranking. This type of software can help you determine what additions need to be made to your existing content to help its chances of ranking higher in search. This may include adding different keywords where relevant or including more high-quality photos.
Once you’ve modified your content make sure to change the publish date to make it more timely. Also update any outdated links, broken links, or mentions of older years.
Don’t rely too heavily on AI
The advancement of language models, such as ChatGPT, and processing has caused much excitement for marketing professionals. Some have even considered using it to replace content teams and relying solely on AI to draft content instead. However, AI hasn’t yet replaced the need for humans just yet. In fact, if you rely too heavily on AI to write your content, you’ll likely notice the quality decrease.
High-quality content relies on human intelligence and emotion. Consider relying on a robot to tell you how to handle getting through the loss of a loved one. It probably wouldn’t be able to communicate effectively how to do this or with the same tone and compassion a human could. That’s just one reason why robots won’t be replacing content marketers any time soon.
Our panel, however, does note that AI can help significantly with some tasks for content creators such as creating outlines, finding useful stats, and analyzing existing content. It can also help draw inspiration, find out which keywords can help bolster your content, and discover content topics to write about.
Just as with other digital marketing trends and strategies, content marketing is continuously evolving. To stay on top, you must continue to ensure you’re keeping up with what Google is looking for. Most of the time, that’s creating an optimal user experience.
As a general rule of thumb, focus on creating high-quality content that will benefit the end user. Don’t create content for the sake of creating it if it doesn’t serve a purpose. And, keep up with industry publications, such as Rio SEO’s blog for all the latest guidance and best practices.
Interested in our solutions? Get in touch, and we can bring you up to speed.