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For the past several years, content has been a component of search engine and social media marketing that fell far below the tricks and techniques that helped achieve business goals. It was possible to be successful with limited or low-quality content. In fact, there are those who were able to succeed with no content at all, fooling the search engines and social media sites with methods that proved to be more fruitful than actually creating content that the audience wanted.
Those days are finally behind us. It has been a long time coming, but now that search engines, social media sites, and people themselves have seen through the tricks, it's a whole new world in marketing. Today, content rests at the top of the marketing funnel with search engine optimization and social media marketing reduced to components of an overall content marketing strategy. Here's what it all means:
Despite the proclamations of many marketers over the years, content has not been "king" until very recently. It was always useful, but great content without supporting inbound links would not rank and great content without strong social media promotions would not go viral. Things have changed.
Amazing content that is useful, entertaining, or both now has a better opportunity to be seen through both search and social. Google is finding the content more easily, making it possible for it to be found without having to artificially inflate the inbound link count. Today, link-building is still an extremely important component of a proper search strategy, but it must center around quality content rather than boost up poor content.
Good links are still powerful and high-quality content can help to generate these links. With a little seeding, the links can come in more easily than in the past when most of the links that marketers created were bulk rather than quality.
From a social perspective, there's still a distinct need for some promotions. Unlike Google, Facebook and the other social media sites will not actively find your content. However, by getting it a little promotional exposure by sharing it and focusing on it from the website homepage or landing pages, the content can be found. From there, it's a matter of allowing the content to be easily shared.
Rising social sites like Pinterest and Tumblr are ideal for seeding the promotions of content. It can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as well, of course, but the tighter communities on Pinterest and Tumblr actually create an easier path to take content viral on social media than the larger sites. There's a need for a strong account or two to promote them, but it's not as involved as building power accounts on Facebook or Twitter. One can be exceptional at Tumblr and Pinterest very quickly.
Content is at the top of the marketing food chain. It's the spark that generates search marketing links and social signals. It's also the source of social media sharing. Rather than use content for SEO or social media marketing, smart marketers will switch it up and use the content as the central point through which search and social marketing can flow.