The Biggest Half-Truth In Marketing

Updated: Jan 15

“Content is king!” screams every marketing guru and the mini-gurus that pilfer from them, passing off unearned knowledge as their own. The working theory behind this is that as long as you are pushing content out across social channels, you will inevitably gain trust, and therefore, business. Content is great. We all love it. Whether you’re writing a blog, podcasting, or even recording a video, content is the way you deliver your message in a powerful way to consumers.

But there’s a dirty little secret that isn’t being given to you. There’s an elephant in the room that everyone ignores, in favor of bigger, sexier content: SEO & search rankings.

I’ll relay the message in a story. A few months ago, we were contacted by someone that was unhappy, feeling that their website wasn’t bringing them enough business. That they were spending thousands of dollars producing gorgeous videos and hundreds more promoting it across social media. And at the end of the day, they weren’t getting much from it.

So we ran a quick SEO analysis, checking on their rankings and a few other factors. They were ranked for 127 keywords. They were in the top 3 for 7 keywords, and in the top 10 for a total of 14. Not bad for a local business. They were ranked #1 for “best restaurants in (insert city name here)”! That’s a huge keyword, with TONS of search volume.

Just one problem. This person is an attorney. All of their top 10 rankings had to do with restaurants, bars, and attractions in their small community. Highest ranking legal term? Number 22, for “(insert name) lawyer”. Not even in the top 10 for their own name.

Now there were several reasons for this (some on the technical SEO side), but the fact remains: When people were searching for lawyers, this person was on page 2 or worse. Every time.

So what happened? Well, for one, they obviously took a webinar on building consumer trust. In this webinar, some disciple of some marketing guru taught this intellectually curious person that “if you just produce content, you’ll earn more business.”

So, our intrepid lawyer mapped out a strategy. They decided to invest heavily in video content. They took another piece of advice and interviewed the owners of local restaurants. They profiled different bars, attractions, even the local library. They promoted this on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and posted on their website, which was professionally designed and looked sleek and beautiful.

And then, waited. One day, our friend the lawyer was out renewing license tabs. Someone stopped them, and said “Hey! You’re that restaurant reviewer. We tried the steakhouse you reviewed, and it was so good! Thank you!”

Our lawyer friend felt very accomplished. Over the course of six months, they did not see an increase in the number of business calls. One person called their office, asking if the pizza place they had profiled was kid-friendly. It was, they informed the pleasant caller. “Oh, and I didn’t know you were a lawyer! How cool.” was the way the caller signed off.

Search engines didn’t know it either, apparently. For all the hoopla pushed about creating content, no one stopped to tell our lawyer friend the other side of the story: if your content isn’t purposeful and on topic, you will start to get lost in the mist.

When you are an attorney, clients want to know that you can competently handle their cases and legal issues. While they might appreciate knowing the best fishing holes in the backwoods part of town, it does you little good if they Google “best defense attorney near me” and you are on page 3.

Search engines are not consumers. They track what consumers are doing, and provide the consumer with the most relevant results, based on millions of data points. You may very well be the best in your field, but how does your knowledge of the top craft beers in the county make you a subject matter expert? It doesn’t. And search engine algorithms know enough to say “this business produces content that is relevant for queries involving beer, but not on matters related to other things.”

This is not an isolated incident. We have crawled hundreds of sites, and are seeing the same issues over and over again. The problem is created by a host of factors, but the most glaring seem to be bad coaching, as described above, and the rise of social media.

Yes, POSH manages social media, and leverage it to help our clients stand out. However, we do not ignore SEO, or the implications your content has on it. We create a robust content strategy, based on actual data, to help you get found when people are looking for you.

Social media has become an extremely noisy place. Much like television and radio, social media has become an advertiser’s paradise. Inexpensive, targeted posts can expose you to exactly the right audience, providing relevant content to someone. This is powerful, and good for business.

However, with all of the noise, more and more consumers are starting to place less value on what they see on Facebook and other social platforms, instead relying on search to find what they are looking for. The savvy consumer is even bypassing paid search ads more frequently these days. Without a strong organic presence for the valuable search terms in your industry, you will be bypassed.

At POSH, we offer free SEO consultations. Sign up for yours today, and see how PURPOSEFUL content is king. Content for content’s sake is the court jester.


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