Google changed the game. That’s a comment you’ll hear from a lot of marketers and one you’re likely to hear again in the months and years to come. SEO, for the most part, has become Google’s game and they will change it whenever they feel like it. At the moment, people who make that claim are specifically referring to Google’s Panda update early last year.
The ‘change’ was a shift in focus towards high quality content. Although Google’s and SEO’s importance may decline as time goes by, for now, Google asked for quality so marketers must produce quality. Now more than ever, digital marketing strategy has become focused on content.
Before Panda, all the talk was about links, keywords and metadata. Those issues are still important but now they’re combined with a need to be a trusted resource. Post-Panda digital marketing strategy is all about creating useful, relevant content. The funny thing is, this most modern of changes means marketers should follow the lead of a website created in 1996. The ideal strategy is to emulate Web MD.
It’s A Household Name
You may be wondering why we’re putting Web MD as an example but you’re definitely not wondering what Web MD is. Despite the fact that Web MD is a relatively niche website, few people spend their online time researching illnesses, it’s still well known. We all get sick and when you do there’s always someone willing to use Web MD’s resources to diagnose the problem. It’s the first port of call for most people. That should be the target for your website too. You should be the resource people naturally turn to when they need your services.
It’s A Trusted Resource
People use Web MD because they trust it. They believe in the information being provided and actively seek it out. This trust is built through the prestige of the website and a long standing record of providing good information. As digital marketing strategy has shifted towards content, it’s created a huge opportunity for businesses to be known as experts in their industry. You can become a trusted resource, just like Web MD, by constantly offering useful information.
People Often Use it for Reference
Because people trust the information provided on Web MD they will often refer to it first, before visiting an actual doctor. This is similar to the online research process businesses and individuals go through before they purchase a product. They look for information online so they understand the product before they make a choice.
These days people research everything online, even intangible services like consultancy and financial advice. Which presents a problem for some consultants and can stifle their content-based digital marketing strategy. They’re afraid to give away too much information online, in case they lose potential clients because they found the information they needed for free on the website.
Nobody (Sane) Relies on it
Web MD offers comfort for those concerns too. Most people have encountered Web MD in some form, but few actually rely on it. Web MD can help people understand symptoms, but it’s not a replacement for actual medical expertise. Just like an illness, needs within a business are unique to that business. They can’t be diagnosed through online content. Prospects still need to talk to an expert – you.
To describe Web MD in one sentence, it’s a trusted online medical resource providing expert created reference material for aiding understanding of medical issues. If you replace the word ‘medical’ with your industry, that perfectly describes the ideal website for a Post-Panda digital marketing strategy.
Web MD might be able to offer medical advice but it can’t diagnose your marketing symptoms. SiliconCloud has created a whitepaper so you can better understand your marketing strategy.