Step aside SEO! You need to think about CMO now

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SEO isn’t what it used to be. Once upon a time, SEO was this hallowed religion. Agencies and specialist’s knew the SEO bible inside out.  Many Step aside SEOused dodgy techniques – keyword stuffing, using invisible text and buying spammy links.

But the landscape is changing and you need to care about content nowadays. 90% of marketers think content will become more important in 2013, according to a report by Outbrain and Econsultancy. CMO (Content Marketing Optimization) is going to become a key part of our online marketing strategies.  You need to think about CMO now.

 

The Great Flood

We all bow down to Google’s almighty power. He is the internet God of the 21st Century. He can bring us millions of pilgrims and many, many customers.

When he saw all these underhand techniques, he wasn’t pleased with what he saw. Many people were abusing these tactics to cheat searchers. So Google unleashed a flood of updates (Panda and Penguin) to wash these baddies away.

 

Those who were good had already built their content rafts

When the flood waters receded, many businesses had survived, and arrived at the top of Google. They’d made rafts of content to keep them afloat. Others quickly capitalized and they found it remarkably easy to climb the rankings, especially for long tail keywords.

Just In Time, a financial PR agency, wrote a few articles about ‘financial pr agencies’ and climbed up the rankings very quickly.

 

Google wants content angels, not SEO devils

Google, like any benevolent father wants to please its worshippers. His searchers, and they are crazed devotees at the altar of content. If searchers want rich, meaty content, then Google will do his best to deliver it.

Google is ranking people by who has the best content. They’re trying to put the best content at the top. Now you’re in a battle with your competitors to create the best content! There are no more underhanded tricks (and if there were Google will soon eliminate them). So you now need to create more content, and optimize that content. Be a content angel, not a SEO devil.

 

So what do you need to know about CMO, then?

I suspect Content Marketing Optimization will be the next big thing and ultimately step in the place of SEO. CMO is adding that extra bit of sparkle to your content, framing it in a tasty way. Adding dazzle will make both your readers and Google love you.

 

Longer form content and rich media

There’s a great resource here of 11 content optimization tips from Jason Acidre. If you don’t have the time to read them – here’s the most important tip.

Jason talks about longer form content. Why? And why does Google value this so highly?

It’s because, the longer an article – generally the richer it is. If it’s bursting at the seams with analysis, examples, case studies and other thoughts – it is likely to be much more useful than a simple 400 word article.

Rich media is also becoming more and more important as well. Big brands are saying that visitors want more rich media content like videos and images.

It’s a bit old-fashioned now to just have an article. We don’t always have the opportunity to add multimedia to every article because we’re not big enough. However, people expect their content to be a bit more interactive these days,” says Sharon Flaherty, Head of Content and PR at price comparison site Confused.com.

Google has become more sensible, and has wised up to the black magic that SEO agencies were practicing. In its place, you need to create fantastic rich content. So, as the years go on, I reckon we’re going to talk much more about CMO than SEO.

 

Alex Clifford is Marketing Executive at Virally where he writes about content marketing, social media and how they’re changing internet marketing. Virally is a software platform which empowers you to track and amplify your content marketing.

25 comments
SteveBorgman
SteveBorgman

Indeed, content marketing has been the new trend for the last couple of years I believe.  It's only going to become more of a trend, only with the need for audio and video to add to that content.  I balk with the audio and video, because it take more time that I don't have, but I may need to find the time if I want to stay relevant.

exlink2001
exlink2001

I agree with you that content is power. Ever since writing started content and stories is the king. I am happy that Google is taking notice on this very important aspect.

jsncruz
jsncruz

Content finally gets recognized - in a formalized manner. In my country, black hat SEO practices are rife, and it's a struggle to compete with bloggers and other online writers who can game the system. More and more though, I'm seeing that CMO - as well as Author Rank - is starting to become a LOT more important when determining who appears where.

si1very
si1very

When I clicked in from a social media stream to read this, I'd assumed it was about Chief Marketing Officers... The title is nonoptimal.

patricksplace
patricksplace

So to boil it down even further, the point should be to focus more on the reader than on the search engine? It's sad to me that people need to be TOLD things like this: if your content sucks yet you rank at the top of the search engine, people may find you, but they're not going to come back once they know the content isn't there. 

 

Sure, you need to do things to make sure the search engines can find you...but you definitely need to make sure what's on your site is worth the click.

 

Seems like common sense to me.

 

But I am glad to see more people getting the message. Thanks for explaining CMO, Alex. I like the concept.

Brent@Echelonseo.com
Brent@Echelonseo.com

Good article Alex - good points - good content! My only bone of contention is that it is still SEO - I understand that you're making a point about content - and a very good point given the changes that Google has undergone this past year, but I tire of the "SEO is dead" or " _ _ _ is the new SEO" mantras that keep popping up. Sure - SEOs are having to adjust and adapt like everyone else (some more than others), but true SEO is about making sure that content is being found and recognized by the search engines. Beyond the tricks that were used by less scrupulous practitioners, content creation - good content creation - has always been part of it. If people are using search engines to find the content, it is still search engine optimization. : )

stevenjfromm
stevenjfromm

Great post.  My only concern is whether actual readers will want to read long articles.  I just posted a long article at my blog but was concerned since it was over 1600 owrds.

Seth Baum
Seth Baum

But Google still can't really crawl rich media/video - can it?  So how does one most effectively included it (from a CMO perspective)?

rgoutal
rgoutal

Not only did I learn something useful ("long form") but I had a lot of laughs while reading, like "So Google unleashed a flood of updates (Panda and Penguin) to wash these baddies away." The whole Noah analogy was terrific.

 

I do wonder about the trade-off between long article attraction to readers vs the value that Google may put on it. It may be loaded with examples, case studies, data, etc - but is it readable?  Of course, if the writer entertains as you do, dilemma solved!

 

I will say that some of the longest posts I have actually read were by Viperchill aka Glenn Allsop. They are the epitomy of great long form posts. But the other interesting thing is that he posts far less than what many bloggers say is essential.

marquita.herald
marquita.herald

You've made some good points here, but honestly I think bloggers need to start paying more attention to their audience than bending and twisting themselves into whatever form happens to work best with the Google Gods at the moment. I am aware of the value of SEO, but my primary focus is to deliver something of value to my readers. Fortunately, over the past year that has translated into tripling my subscribers and a huge leap in traffic. Thanks for the valuable information - I think it's always important to stay up on trends, and then find a way to make them work with your strategy.

BruceSallan
BruceSallan

Why is it either or? SEO or Content? Rather than both. I find most of what I write can be tweaked - with NO impact on my writing - to have better SEO!

alexcliff0rd
alexcliff0rd

 @jsncruz That's a shame Jason - but Google is going little, by little, eliminate their power. Which country do you live in?

alexcliff0rd
alexcliff0rd

 @si1very Woops Chris! Sorry you ended up here.

 

I could have it put the headline as Content Marketing Optimisation... but it's a bit long.

alexcliff0rd
alexcliff0rd

 @patricksplace I'd agree with you - the reader comes first. It is sad, Patrick that people need to be reminded. It is common sense, but you'd be surprised how little there is of that!

alexcliff0rd
alexcliff0rd

 @Brent@Echelonseo.com Thanks Brent! You're right content has always been important. And I completely understand why you're fed up with the "SEO is dead"-type posts.

 

SEO will never die, but it'll become broader. It will encompass more and more things like CMO. Would you agree?

alexcliff0rd
alexcliff0rd

 @stevenjfromm Good point! I think as long as you break it into subheaders so that people can skip ahead - it shouldn't be an issue Steven. :)

alexcliff0rd
alexcliff0rd

 @Seth Baum Interesting point you raise there. I think Google is struggling to crawl rich media. But if you look at how many videos now appear in search listings - I think they are starting to get the hang of it.

 

I would say - keep videos below 3 minute mark to get as many hits as possible. Longer videos tend to put people off. This is only guesswork - but lots of hits on your videos ought to help from a CMO perspective.

alexcliff0rd
alexcliff0rd

 @rgoutal Haha! Thank you Richard! 

 

I think as long as you subheader your article well your readers can skip ahead. And you don't go completely overboard i.e. 3000 word post... then you can work out that trade-off.

alexcliff0rd
alexcliff0rd

 @marquita.herald Absolutely Marquita - I'd agree with you!

 

There's no point in writing crumby articles only to scoot to the top of Google. Because then you'll get a high bounce rate and Google will notice that - and then demote you.

 

Thanks for your kind comments!

alexcliff0rd
alexcliff0rd

 @BruceSallan Good point Bruce. I'd agree we do need both. It's just I think SEO is disproportionately emphasised over Content - hence why I wrote this.

 

Tweaking your work to fit certain keywords is a good tactic actually. As long as your work still feels natural - then it's good idea!

jsncruz
jsncruz

@alexcliff0rd the Philippines :)

Brent@Echelonseo.com
Brent@Echelonseo.com

 @alexcliff0rd Absolutely! Google is getting closer to its "ideal" - finding and delivering the best content around. Great content (CMO) and social signals are  the way to be found on the search engines. Cheers!

stevenjfromm
stevenjfromm

 @alexcliff0rd Agreed, and also tried to use bullet points and short paragraphs.  Even still, I was concerned with such a long article.  Thanks for your feedback Alex