We're All Content Marketers Now
I have to admit that much of my early search engine optimization success could be attributed to dumb luck. When I started writing for the web, Danny Sullivan had just started his Search Engine Watch website, Google didn't exist and SEO hadn't even been given a name. It turned out the websites I created were optimized for search because the content was optimized for our readers. In the early years, this wasn't the result of a strategic plan on my part, it was just a matter of editorial instinct, and years of magazine editing, ad writing and PR. Without knowing it, I was practicing content marketing.
Now we know that the digital age has taken content production to a hyperlevel. We've got corporate websites, downloadable whitepapers, blogs, YouTube channels and social media that place the focus on consumer-friendly, authentic content. It's a significant departure from the sort of advertising we saw with mass media, and content marketing has become the prime driver of sales and sales leads in a widening range of B-to-C and B-to-B industries around the globe.
With organic search engine referrals as the primary source of today's website traffic, a whole new industry has formed around global SEO and its close partner, content marketing. The secret to successful content marketing is no secret at all: a commitment to producing a continuous, quality stream of useful, engaging information that's hyperlocalized and — if needed — in multiple languages.
From the beginning of online communication, there were those who instinctively resisted mechanical, quick-hit tricks to spam the search engines. These were the pioneers of content marketing, whose long-term commitment to creating and publishing valued content has given them a growing market advantage. As Google and other search engines seek to penalize search engine spammers and reward those who produce original, authentic content, content marketing has become the gold standard for online success.