SEO all-knower and the head of Google’s Webspam team Matt Cutts recently revealed another nugget of intel from inside the search engine’s Californian HQ – larger websites don’t automatically rank higher than smaller ones!
Yep, that’s right, just because you’re blessed with the biggest site on the web doesn’t mean you’re going to be out-ranking every other site vying for top spot on Google. ‘Well, why is this important?’ I hear you ask.
Thanks for asking. It’s because without ratcheting up your corporate content marketing efforts in an ever-changeable global market you’ll start feeling those small-fry sites nibbling at your heels.
Cutts reckons the sites that rank highest are those willing to adapt. They need to be agile, dynamic, quick to respond and timely about rolling out fresh ideas. With these key characteristics, lighter-weight websites will be able to mix it up with the World Wide Web’s heavy hitters that aren’t so regular with updating their content. Don’t let that be you.
Indeed as we saw with the rollout of Google’s algorithm update Panda 4.0 this week, the search giant is clamping down further on sites with poor content, to give priority ranking to sites that produce high quality, dynamic and fresh content – a prime opportunity for the smaller new upstarts to make a significant impact on big corporate.
Greeting a changeable marketplace
As someone prone to bouts of absent mindedness, I regularly forget people’s birthdays (I’ve even been distracted enough to forget my own on occasion). This unfortunate attribute means I’m often scrambling to get birthday cards bought, written and in the post before the big day. This happened most recently while I was travelling in Australia last year, and the penny dropped at 10pm the night before my father’s 61st. Panicked, I jumped online to source a solution – ‘An e-card will save me!’
I was surprised to see that not one of the big-name brands like Clinton or Hallmark topped my Google search. In fact, I didn’t recognise any website on the first page. Had I seen a brand I knew and trusted like good old Clinton Cards atop page one I would have surely clicked straight through and had all my birthday card problems solved immediately. As it happened, I decided to go with one of the ‘small-fry’ sites instead and now I’m signed up to an annual subscription at Jibjab.com. I’ve not forgotten a birthday since. Anniversaries are another story, however.
Davids v Goliaths
In the words of Marcus Sheridan, author of the marketing and business blog The Sales Lion, “content marketing is the weapon Davids use to slay Goliaths every day”. And there’s been scores of instances where small businesses have rocked-up and laid claim to a particular portion of marketing space once dominated by the giants. Even Google itself was once only a teeny tiny two-man outfit operating out of a garage. If that example’s not quite enough, here are a few others.
Health bar company Good Greens grew by 50% in a matter of weeks by simply reaching out to local bloggers. The Ohio-born business was able to up the number of reviews, mentions and search engine results for their product, which became the top-selling health bar in Cleveland soon after.
English taxi dispatcher Lauren Luke launched her own line of makeup and beauty products, By Lauren Luke, that grew to take on the likes of Estée Lauder without having to spend a single penny on traditional marketing. Her success stemmed purely from her cleverly posting ‘how to’ videos on YouTube.
In 2009 Mari Luangrath started her online cupcake ordering company, Foiled Cupcakes. On opening day, disaster struck and her website needed a total redesign, leaving her online business completely offline for six straight weeks. Remaining resolute, Mari took to social media and blogged like her life depended on it. By the time her site was ready for its relaunch she’d built a loyal following that helped Foiled Cupcakes reach legendary status in its birthplace, Chicago. Yes, Chicago: the same place that only the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and Buddy Guy managed to reach legendary status. That’s a serious amount of kudos for some cupcakes.
Magnolia started life on the American west coast as a father-and-son-run photography store back in the 50s. Before long, it moved into the business of selling electronics but struggled to cultivate a large customer base. That was until in the final years of the 20th century Magnolia launched its mini-magazine called Buyer’s Guide Place, which educated shoppers on electronic goods in much the same way a blog would. In a matter of just 18 months, the business completely transformed and Magnolia was recently sold to Best Buy for a cool $87 million.
So, for large-scale corporations to compete with this level of ingenuity it’s important your content marketing strategy is active, fresh and versatile, even when you’re already number one. Gone are the days when simply having a website with a large amount of indexed pages equates to top billing on the search results – basically, big businesses needs to stay on top of things if they want to remain, well, you know, on top of things.
P.S. As it’s a UK bank holiday on Monday we won’t be publishing, instead we’ll simply say enjoy the [hopefully] sunny long weekend and we’ll be back with more content marketing insights on Wednesday as usual.