South Africans love Google, even more than the rest of the world. 93% of all our internet searches are on Google, and it's every marketer's dream to get their website onto page one.
Of course, this isn't just ego, it's good business. Companies listed on page one get most of the traffic, and after page two, it's hardly worth bothering. With two recent studies reflecting very similar results, the value of being on page one is clear.
You can certainly use paid listings to get to page one, but the organic search results (those that haven't been purchased) just have more credibility. And with only ten listings per page, the competition is tough.
One of the most important things you can do is add regular content to your site. But quality is even more important that quantity.
There's more to content strategy than identifying key words. There's not much point in adding content that is crammed full of words chosen for their SEO potential if it doesn't add value to your target market. If you're just adding new pages for the sake of new pages, no-one will care. And since the primary objective of a website has to be to engage with people, you need content they'll want to read.
Furthermore, search engine spiders can determine the quality of your content and will reward you accordingly. I know that sounds absurd, but there are two key issues you need to remember.
Firstly, never duplicate content. Don't publish an article on your website and submit it to another site for publication too. Google treats duplicated material as spam, and you'll be penalised.
Secondly, your content needs to generate comments. Now this is harder than it sounds. How often do you comment on websites yourself? Or compare the book reviews on Amazon and Kalahari. But if your content generates comments, Google sees the "engagement" and will reward you.
So while content marketing is still a new buzzword here in South Africa, building it into your marketing strategy is vital. And like every form of marketing, you need to know what you are going to say, to whom, why and when. Then you need to create the content. If you don't have the time or resource internally, outsource it.
Content marketing is not a stand-alone activity; it needs to be part of the marketing strategy and planned and executed with as much attention to detail as the rest of the marketing plan. But it doesn't have to be onerous. Like so much, once you know what needs to be done, getting started is quite simple.
If you'd like a copy of the research on click-through rates and search engine position, feel free to contact me.