Social media might get a lot of buzz, but an article I read recently suggested that from a search engine optimization perspective, content-heavy sites have a significant advantage over social media. The article focused on a recent Searchmetrics report examining 2015’s SEO visibility “winners and losers.” Topping the list of winners was theatlantic.com. Others holding top places among the winners were sites like apple.com, youtube.com, and theguardian.com.
Among the biggest losers: twitter.com, tumblr.com, and yelp.com.
The report behind the article wasn’t necessarily taking issue with social media, but instead highlighting the real value of quality content in driving SEO. Based on the sites that emerged as winners, Searchmetrics concluded that, “The clear overall winner is content. Domains that offer unique, helpful, and current content were typically the biggest winners in 2015.” The report went on to note that “Publishers and news sites are among the biggest winners overall, as their main product is up-to-date, relevant, and often holistic evergreen content.”
Of all the factors that might have influenced the outcome of the 2015 SEO winners and losers list, Searchmetrics found that “Content quality is decisive.” Google rewards sites that offer quality content and a good user experience while fulfilling user intention, the report said. With that in mind, the fact that newspapers and magazines typically offer comprehensive content on a variety of subjects is one of the reasons many did so well in the 2015 rankings, according to Searchmetrics.
Here at Leff Communications, we’ve been arguing quality content’s importance to SEO for a long time. Of course it doesn’t have to be an either/or when it comes to content or social media. In the best case, you should be using your social media presence to support your content efforts. You’re creating quality content to tell your company’s story. Smart use of social media that calls attention to that content will help make sure your story is read, viewed, or heard.
There are a number of companies that use social media very effectively to promote and drive traffic to their content. Global insurance broker Willis Towers Watson is one such business. In addition to using social media to promote its various articles and reports, the company is very active on its Willis Towers Watson Wire blog and actively promotes those posts on social media. For example, a blog post on the impact of lower oil prices on the energy industry is accompanied immediately by a Tweet promoting the post.
Willis Towers Watson makes good use of the blog to highlight the company’s insights and expertise, as well as making it a vehicle for sharing information the company thinks readers will find valuable. In concert with the content, the company uses social media effectively to drive readers to that blog content.
Done properly, your content creation efforts can distinguish your business in the marketplace. Thoughtful use of social media to support that content creation will help drive the point home.