Content marketing has become key to successful marketing as the internet is increasingly present in our everyday lives. It is a powerful tool whether it’s for sales, brand awareness, social presence or increasing the significance of your website in the search engines.
The launch of Google Panda and Hummingbird have highlighted the importance of content for SEO. While Google Panda’s algorithm aims to remove poor quality content and thin pages down on SERPS, it favours websites that contain good quality content which engages users. Hummingbird is extremely content driven – it focuses on the context and intent of search queries with the aim to return precise and better results to users.
While Google appreciates high quality content, Yandex, Baidu, Naver and Yahoo Japan have also similarly emphasised the significance of content. Yandex and Seznam’s algorithm are very much similar to Google. They focus on penalising content that is duplicated and keyword- stuffed.
Meanwhile in Asia, despite the fact that localisation is almost a must for Baidu, Naver and Yahoo Japan, it is important to remember the culture and regulations of these countries when you create content. In China, content can be censored on Baidu to keep in line with the country’s set of laws. You need to be careful with the keywords and nature of content when you submit them to the search engines.
So what are the things that search engines look at?
Search engines give low value to thin pages. If you have less than 300 words on your page, you may want to consider adding more content to your website. It is necessary to place a good amount of content and valuable information on your website so that your audience are given adequate information about their search queries. When a user arrives onto a thin page and cannot find any relevant information about their search queries, they will naturally bounce from the page.
If your bounce rate is high, try identifying the reason your visitors are dropping out by looking at the content and also design. You may want to do an A/B test with a different set of design and content to trial the effectiveness of your page.
Low Quality Content
Pages that contain very similar content to other pages are considered low quality. If you have any duplicated pages, there is a high risk of getting penalised by search engines. To avoid the risk of getting penalised, you may want to start by identifying these pages and create unique, engaging content for them.
If you must and can’t avoid having duplicated pages in your website, remember to include canonical tags on the page itself to tell search engines to only index one version. It is also common to have pagination issues so you may want to apply tags on them as well.
High quality content is the main contributor to driving social signals significantly on your social media profiles. Research by comScore has shown that the global average monthly time spent on social networks is 5.2 hours. Having content that engages audience will beyond doubt encourage likes, shares and comments or even trigger the ever so popular check-ins on social media. Your social content should not only be written by native speakers, it should also be written from the eyes of the local region.
For example, Chinese New Year is one of the biggest celebrations celebrated in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. Just like Christmas, flights, trains, coaches, hotels, restaurants, pre-booked food will be fully booked months ahead before the day. When the celebration is around the corner and if you’re targeting regions especially in Asia Pacific, you might want to consider focusing your social campaigns around this celebration. As the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot: sending out the right content at the right time contributes considerably to social signals.
We know search engines love links but they equally love content freshness! They want to know that you are constantly adding new valuable content to your website. This adds value and increases the presence of your website on the search result pages. Have you noticed that on-site blogs and news pages are becoming more popular these days? This is one of most popular approaches to add content freshness value to your website. They will of course also add value to your social signals too. Consider testing the water by adding new content weekly. You’ll be surprised to see the amount of long tail traffic these blogs can drive to your website!
Last but not least, localisation is a vital element of international content marketing – as it will improve your bounce rates, rankings and most importantly engagement with your audience.
It is important to have your content written and reviewed by local native speakers, to ensure it is both linguistically and culturally accurate. Content which lacks relevance to and understanding of the local users will be much less successful.
Think about it. If you want to buy something in Canada, and you’ve land on a page that doesn’t use Canadian-French, you might think twice about buying from the website? For example, French speakers in Quebec call flip flops “gougoune” while French speakers in France call them “tong”, they are “nus-pieds” in Switzerland and “claquettes” in New Caledonia.
Image credit: Rebecca Barray
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