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Last week, I attended the Digital Summit here in Denver, and I heard some pretty staggering statistics about the state of content marketing.

For example, Rand Fishkin gave a really interesting keynote on search and organic traffic from Google. Not gonna lie, some of it went over my head, but here was my big takeaway:

Eight out of every 10 searches done on Google today do not result in a click to a website.

People click on native Google results (like to find out the hours of a restaurant) or get the information they need right inside the search (like when Google defines a word for you in the search results) which means they do not click any of the actual search results and go to a website.


In other words, you could rank number 1 for a search term, but Google is siphoning off potential traffic so that only 20% of people are actually clicking a search result and going to a webpage. (On average; obviously this will be different based on different search terms.)

tl;dr — Google is stealing your traffic by keeping people on Google.

Next, I watched a presentation about making Facebook work for business in this day and age, and learned that, due to recent algorithm changes, Facebook business pages can expect to reach about 1% of their fans with any given post.

That means if you have 1,000 people who like your page, only 10 of them will see any given post from you.


Now, you may have also heard the advice that engagement is king — on Facebook and elsewhere — and the more engagement a post gets, the more people will see it.

While this seems to still be true, Facebook has quietly started giving “meaningful interactions” preference over simple “engagement.” What that means is that just getting a bunch of likes on your post isn’t going to cut it any more; Facebook is looking to promote posts that actually get a conversation going in the comments.

In addition, any post that links away from Facebook (say, to a blog post, for example) is going to be penalized by the algorithm (unless it gets a ton of “meaningful interactions” I guess.)

So if you’re relying on Facebook as a major distribution channel for your content marketing — and you’re not paying to boost those posts — your strategy is suffering. And this is likely to be equally true for other social channels now or in the near future.

tl;dr — Facebook is stealing even more of your traffic by keeping people on Facebook.

(Are you sensing a trend here?)

Finally, this statistic rocked me in my seat:

According to a presentation from Salesforce, only 3.25% of the traffic that actually makes it to your home page is actually going to click through and look at your blog (or vlog or podcast, etc.).


That means that if someone lands on your home page, your about page, or literally anywhere else on your website, the likelihood that they will click through and read a blog post of yours is slim. Which means you have to grab those people immediately, wherever they land. The presenter called it a “zero click experience” — meaning you have to make the experience of landing on your website so personalized, so frictionless, that they get what they need without ever making a second click.

If all of these statistics have you ready to curl up in the corner and start rocking and crying to yourself, I want you to take heart, because there’s something all three of these scary statistics have in common:

Quality content is still queen.

When we look at what each of these actually mean, we start to see that the kinds of surface-level, lightweight content that marketers have figured out how to “automate” — whether we’re talking about Marketing Mondays and Taco Tuesdays on social media, or fluffy list posts, or blogs that simply remix information that can be found 100 other places on the internet — is no longer going to help us get traffic.

The time for fluff is past.

The time for quality, in-depth content that is unique to you and your business is here.

  • If you answer a question no one else is answering, you’re going to dominate that search on Google.
  • If you focus on long-tail SEO and search queries, your ideal customers won’t be able to get their answer from Google and they’ll have to come read your brilliance on your site.
  • If you create real, thoughtful, engaging content on social media, people will want to talk about it. (Remember that this is #social media…)
  • And if you craft thoughtful, compelling content that speaks directly to your ideal customer, they will click your blog posts from your home page or about page, or wherever else you’ve linked them (you are linking them, right?) and learn more about you.

In other words, the answer to all of these depressing statistics isn’t more content, or faster content, it’s better content.

And to me, that’s a win for all of us.