From content stagnation to Google Fact Check: content marketing trends

Why one quarter of B2C marketers are suffering from content stagnation

According to the new ‘B2C Content Marketing — 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America’ report, everything’s going tickety-boo for the majority of content marketers.content_stagnation_stuck_dingy_drought

63% of B2C marketers view this year’s endeavours as more successful than the previous year, while 77% believe they are better at content creation this time around.

But, what about the 23% who feel their content marketing has gone stale? Well, the factors at play break down like this:

stagnant-content

Only the top three responses fall under the remit of B2C marketers. All the other options are more of a company or department-wide factor.

‘Strategy issues’ has broad connotations. The issue might lie in their ability to create an effective content plan or calendar. It could also have something to do with how well they are targeting specific demographics. Alternatively, it might come down to how they promote their content.

‘Not enough time devoted to content marketing’ raises a tricky topic. Many brands are simply after a quick win. Either that, or they just don’t have the capital to sustain the 12 – 24 months Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi reckons it takes to generate results.

‘Content creation challenges’ is another one that’s hard to pin down. It might mean that they need to brush up on marketing 101, or that editorial oversight isn’t up to scratch. In a wider sense, their company may be reluctant to release enough information for marketers to publish content that’s original and engaging.

Whatever the specifics, the good news for these struggling brands is that you can outsource these three issues. The 23% of B2C marketers might just need a little expert assistance to help them on their way.

Google unveil new ‘Fact Check’ label

Google has just made it easier for brands to label content in way that emphasises its factual credentials, helping Google News users identify the most credible sources instantaneously.fact_check_blocks_colour

The Google Gods have added a new ‘Fact Check’ label to their existing bank of qualifiers, which includes:

  • ‘In-Depth’
  • ‘Opinion’
  • ‘Wikipedia’
  • ‘Local Source’
  • ‘Highly Cited’

The Fact Check label now appears for content that meets the relevant criteria under the article link in Google News, right next to the brand or publisher name.

This label will undoubtedly add weight to authoritative content. However, Google hasn’t actually implemented any processes for manually checking the facts used in articles. Instead, you’ll be expected to check the accuracy of your own work and add the Fact Check label yourself.

You can add this label by using a new form of schema markup called ClaimReview.

But, the opportunities for potential exploitation are clear. To dissuade users from incorrectly applying a Fact Check label to content, Google intends to come down hard on anyone found to be abusing the markup.

This might mean that Google will simply ignore future markups, or remove the whole site from the Google News index.

And, as with all Google updates, it’s entertaining to see the inventive ways that early adopters are experimenting with their content to make it meet the relevant criteria. This article from The Washington Post is our favourite Fact Check-labelled example so far.

The piece is in fact a post about fact checking others (in this case, Donald Trump). It features a ‘Pinocchio Test’ and provides a link that readers can use to send in their own facts. In case you haven’t already clocked it, the word ‘fact’ appears 16 times on this page, while ‘check’ appears 15 times. They’re truly hammering home this fact checking malarkey!

The Fact Check label might not be the most revolutionary of Google’s updates, but — used properly — it can be a useful tool for content marketers to gain both authority and visibility.

Google prioritises mobile-optimised content in index split

Ever since we put down our flint axes and began worshipping the wondrous deity that is the Internet, content prioritised desktop use over every other format.mobile_desktop_colour

But, according to Google’s Gary Illyes, we’re about to enter a whole new online epoch.

Within the next couple of months, Google will split its index in two. One version will be a rapidly updated mobile version. The other will be a desktop version that’s updated less often.

Essentially, this move recognises that desktop has now been surpassed by mobile devices, and enables Google to prioritise content that’s optimised for smartphones and tablets.

This is a wise move by Google. A recent study by Medium found that of the 82% of Americans who use a mobile device, 89% use it to access news and other informative content.

For content marketers, this means the time has come to start designing content for mobile first, and desktop second. Speed is among the most important factors when it comes to optimising for mobile, so using Google AMP and gaining Google News status are integral to your mobile success. Google News status can help you get your content indexed faster, as well as improving the overall search rankings for a page.

So, what are you waiting for? Optimising your content for mobile before the split happens will help you keep ahead of the pack.