From Google Ranking Factors to Superbowl ads: content marketing trends

The most important Google Ranking Factors? Relevant content is top!

Understanding the Google Ranking Factors is integral to making sure your marketing efforts get the recognition they deserve. 
Google Ranking Factors

Aleh Barysevich used his latest Search Engine Journal column to put these factors in order, based on the latest research from SearchMetrics, Backlinko, and SEO PowerSuite.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, content was found to be the most critical of the Google Ranking Factors, followed by backlinks, mobile-first UX and other technical factors.

However, in recent years we’ve shifted away from keyword-laden content and towards relevant content. This content meets the users’ specific needs by prioritising semantic search terms and providing oodles of practical value.

Keywords matter less and less as the years go by. Here’s how SearchMetrics evaluated this year’s content crop:

  • Just 53% of top 20 search queries contain a keyword in the title tag.
  • Less than 40% of landing pages contain a keyword in the H1 field.

How do we optimise for this new digital world? Aleh suggests a hefty content audit that encompasses:

  • Finding and fixing ineffective or ‘thin‘ content
  • Exploring fewer topics in greater detail on each page
  • Becoming more of a topical authority in your niche

This process will be tough. But, semantic search and the new era of SEO are here to stay. So, the sooner you start taking steps to create more relevant content, the better.

White papers generate the most leads and revenue

Last week, we threw down some pretty bold statements about how potent a white paper could be. 

Fortunately, we haven’t had to wait long for a new study to come out and prove us right.

Demandwave’s 2017 ‘State of B2B Digital Marketing’ report put white papers top of the charts when it comes to written content generating leads and revenue.

White papers and case studies featured in first and third spot respectively. This shows consumers aren’t just crying out for any old kind of written content. They want long-form, authoritative content that goes into detail about a topic that can benefit them in one way or another.

It also suggests written content is still a nose ahead of video content when it comes to marketing, despite noises to the contrary.

Blog content sits comfortably in fourth, despite being the go-to option for most content marketers.

In fact, the burgeoning popularity of the white paper appears to have fundamentally altered the definition of a blog, with the average post becoming longer and more comprehensive.

While blogging’s still a critical column of your content strategy (especially if you’ve made the switch to long-form), this study should tell you that investing a little more time and effort in meatier documents might just pay dividends.

Spotted in the news…

Brands pay approx £4m per 30-second slot (£133,000 per second) for a one-off Superbowl ad. This proves the importance of well-placed content:

These are Ad Meter‘s gold, silver and bronze advertising medalists:

  1. Kia Niro: ‘Hero’s Journey’ (avg. rating 7.47). Disastrous yet hilarious mission to save the environment. The slogan “It’s hard to be an eco-warrior, but it’s easy to drive like one” pricks the pomposity of hardcore environmentalists while acknowledging its importance (and promoting their new hybrid).
  2. Honda CR-V: ‘Yearbooks’ (avg. rating 6.97). Inspirational quotes from animated celebrity school yearbook photos. The slogan “Here’s to chasing dreams, and the amazing places they lead” draws parallels between celebrity success, travel and reconsidering supposedly known quantities.
  3. Audi: ‘Daughter’ (avg. rating 6.88). Sepia soap box race overdubbed with father reflecting on gender equality for his daughter. The slogan “Progress is for everyone” alludes to both women’s rights and the universal appeal of driving.