In the last week or so Google has announced changes to its search algorithm that is designed to favor “fresh” content over old, stale items. The change is designed to “make sure you get the most up to the minute answers,” according to a post on Google’s blog.
In “Giving you fresher, more recent search results” Google Fellow Amit Singhal says that some 35% of searches will be affected, especially those that focus on:
- Recent events or hot topics
- Regularly recurring events
- Frequent updates
The change has significant and positive implications for marketers using content on their websites to improve search rankings. How? Ben Wallis, writing in the Marketing Pilgrim blog, says that it “comes down to having new content.”
As it happens, I am reading one of the best books on creating new content for business marketing I have read in a long time. Michael A. Stelzner’s latest book, Launch: How to Quickly Propel your Business Beyond the Competition, provides a start-to-finish plan for using content as the primary means of marketing your business. With Google’s new search algorithm favoring the new over the old, Stelzner’s advice is all the more relevant.
What gives the book its power is the credibility Stelzner brings. He practices what he preaches; many of the book’s examples are drawn from his own business, SocialMediaExaminer.com, a website that provides educational content, written in magazine style, to marketers.
I am a bend-the-page reader, and I’ve bent an awful lot of pages I want to go back to in Launch. Here are a few:
The Elevation Principle (p. 7)
“The elevation principle says that great content plus other people minus marketing messages results in growth.” The examples of audience identification and how the principle works at Hubspot and the SocialMediaExaminer.com are compelling.
The Three Gift Circles (p. 88)
Stelzner takes this idea of friends and family, current clients, and your prospect base from Seth Godin and shows how to give (or not give) appropriate gifts of content to each.
Creating an Editorial Guide (p. 119)
Stelzner explains how magazines use editorial calendars. But he doesn’t stop there. He provides an example of SocialMediaExaminer.com’s editorial guidelines and content calendar.
Creating and Using Primary Fuel (p. 127)
This chapter describes the primary types of articles a business can write and how to write them, with examples of each.
Seldom do I finish a book without having a few critiques. The rocket ship metaphor used throughout the book seems strained at times, though it works perfectly to demonstrate how content can propel a business into the stratosphere. By the end of the book, I also thought it somewhat misnamed.
If I were to glance at the book in passing at the bookstore, I might think it’s about starting a company in general and not about basing a business marketing strategy on the key activity of generating content to propel the business forward.
Readers of Launch who can put Stelzner’s advice into practice should find it even more effective as a result of Google’s recent commitment to fresh content over stale content. Launch is an eminently practical manifesto and manual to building a business based on publishing great content, attracting interested readers, and converting them—gently and conversationally—into long-term paying customers and raving fans.