From shallow content to language simplification – content marketing trends

Google set to kill shallow content sites in 2016

Google’s Knowledge Graph has enabled programmes like Google Now, Cortana and Siri to find Shallow dictionary definition representing shallow content context-based answers to search queries that allow the user to find what they’re looking for without needing to leave the search results page. In Google’s googly eyes, this is more convenient for the user who just needs a quick answer to a simple query.

It also diminishes the need for users to click through to websites that contain ‘shallow’ or ‘thin’ content. With the company’s Knowledge-based Trust and RankBrain set to take centre stage in 2016, this is likely to mean that traffic to such websites could dry up altogether.

To continue driving traffic to their websites, marketers need to replace generic SEO and keyword-led content with higher value pieces that explore niche topics in depth.

Legal firms no longer ‘pleading the fifth’ to content marketing

Having long been considered an over-technical content backwater, recent figures indicate that up to 50% of law firms have now adopted a coherent content strategy. And as it turns out, they’re absolutely smashing it – on the other side of the pond, at least.

US Criminal Defense Attorney Grant Bettencourt explained: “When people have a legal question or are worried about the fallout from an old DUI, immigration case, or felony conviction, they turn to Google for information”.

Legal topics receiving high volumes of search traffic range from intellectual property rights and data privacy to government contracts and what to do about an old drink-driving conviction. Every box is being ticked; content marketing savvy law firms have ditched the legal spiel for a solutions-based dialogue, become industry thought-leaders and have learnt how to piggyback off relevant news stories – there’s no shallow content here!

So, if you’re looking for a content marketing case study to guide you in 2016, you might be surprised to find so many great examples being set in the legal sector.

Ooh la la! Will England follow France’s lead in language simplification?

French linguists are revolting! Revolting, that is, against the subtle erosion of their cherished language. The internet is now awash with the grumbling of grammaticians from across the channel, all of whom are rallying around the #JeSuisCirconflexe hashtag to vent their fury in the only way that web writers know how.

But, what’s all this fuss about? Well, having deliberated on it for over 25 years, French publishers have declared that simplified spellings of 2,000 words are set to replace the traditional version in kids’ school text books.

This signals the phasing out of the (never-understood-outside-France) circumflex, the combining of many hyphenated words and the wholesale revision of others. If the country that gave us Balzac, Proust, Camus and Sartre has chosen to bite the linguistic bullet, that must indicate that the prevailing wind points towards simplification.

We’ve already seen this pervade into format and tone, but is there any way that we would ever start playing around with raw, elemental words? We’ve had text speak, and the logical endgame is a sickly-sweet emoji-based world.

So, to avoid emoji-geddon, it’s time for copywriters to make a concerted effort to simplify their language and focus on creating content that speaks in human terms.