Want To Be Found Online? Concentrate On Content

Michael Bissell, President of Conquent in Portland, likes to disagree with his clients.

When it comes to things like having a presence on Facebook or an iPhone App, Bissell says, “Don’t just do things because you’re ‘supposed to’ — do them because you have a reason to do them.”

Bissell’s clients also want their site to appear on the first page of Google’s results, when people search. Here’s what he says about that:

There are things you should do to make your website get indexed properly by Google — good content being the first thing you should do but, unfortunately, is the last thing anyone ever seems to work on. But even if you do everything “right” (and “right” is subjective based on today’s marketing plan), Google isn’t one thing.

Google filters your results on over 50 data points even if you’re not logged in. They look at things like what operating system your computer is running, what browser you’re using, your default language, your connection speed, where you are in the world… You can type the same query into two different browsers on the same computer and get different results — it’s pure fantasy to think you’re going to be able to control where your keywords show up on Google.

Why is producing quality content such a difficult hurdle to clear? There are lots of providers, traditional and new, just waiting to run with the brand’s content ball.

Clearly the idea that “every company is a media company today” has not sunk in yet. In many cases, the idea has not even been uttered, or heard, by the content-deficient client in question. Is this about to change? Or will clients continue to talk about features and benefits, while the audience moves to higher ground?

Disclosure: I make branded content for a living. Ask for my help next time the content question comes up.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.