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Talking Content Marketing with Andy Crestodina

Andy Crestodina and Content Strategy

Talking Content Marketing with Andy Crestodina

Content Marketing with Andy CrestodinaAndy Crestodina is a co-founder of Orbit Media, a 12 year-old, 35-person web design company here in Chicago. Andy’s written hundreds of articles on topics like email marketing, search optimization, social media, Analytics and content strategy. He is also the author of Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing.

I recently read Andy’s book and found it to be a fantastic guide to experienced and aspiring content marketers. This week, I interviewed Andy via email.

How have recent updates to Google’s algorithm changed SEO and content marketing?

Not as much as you might think. We’ve lost access to some of the keyword data in Analytics with the final nail in the (not provided) coffin, but life goes on. And the principles behind SEO haven’t changed. But many of the tactics have…for the better.Google is at the point now where the only sustainable, repeatable SEO tactics are around great content. I don’t know of anything else that works. In other words, if it doesn’t help visitors or readers, it doesn’t help your SEO. No shortcuts.

Often people ask me “In what order does Google prioritize what’s important for search?” It’s a difficult question because there is not a defined “order.” How do you address this question?

Content Chemistry by Andy Cretodina
Content Chemistry by Andy Cretodina

There are many factors and they are not equally weighted. I think people know this intuitively. Some people who used to pay a lot of attention to things like ALT tags know deep down that these don’t help much. So they know that there is different weight to different factors. But I don’t know of an “order” to things. The question is, which factors are the most important indicators of relevance? That’s probably a better way to think about it.

Where do you see search going next? Backlinking is the big thing right now. Where do you see Google moving next in terms of important weights for SEO results?

I don’t see links as ever going away in importance. They are a powerful indicator of relevance because they are hard to fake. Since links are important, it’s really the editors of the big blogs and media sites that are the guardians of quality and Google rankings. Since editors always honor their audiences, they become excellent barometers for trust in general and that trust translates into rank.
I suspect that general, all-purpose rank will become less important as the web becomes more personalized. So “ranking” for a specific group of people will be more important. The more personalized search becomes, the more important social signals are to rankings. That’s a long way of saying that Google+ will become a much bigger factor.

What is one bold prediction for 2014 in digital marketing?

There will be cage fighting between celebrity bloggers at conferences. I’m excited to see Lee Odden take on Jay Baer. Lee’s bigger but if Jay gets out that folding chair, look out…

What are some blogs and other resources that you would recommend for aspiring digital marketers?

I think you mentioned a book that you recently read. That sounded useful. 🙂

I do recommend my own blog of course. We occasionally publish really deep content like this giant guide on how to generate leads. But our newsletter is only bi-weekly, so it’s not going to satisfy the super ambitious marketer. I like Content Marketing Institute for content marketing and Whiteboard Friday for SEO. Also, anything by Neil Patel.

What are some shining examples of content marketing done right? What companies should we look up to? What example would you show the C Suite to demonstrate the power of proper content marketing?

There’s a great example in almost any field, so I would normally chose a relevant example. If you’re taking to a finance company, use the AMEX Open Forum. If you’re talking to a software company, show the Crazy Egg or BufferApp blogs. Or give them a copy of Content Rules. That’s got a ton of examples.

There are thousands of amazing example of people winning relevance. They’re building massive, engaged followings. Depending on who you’re talking to in the C-Suite, you might want to scare them a little. If a competitor gets on the content train two years before you do, you might never catch up.

In “Content Chemistry,” you mention several times that anyone can follow these steps to start becoming a content marketer. Where do you suggest people start on their way to content marketing?

You can start almost anywhere. But first, get your site into shape and your Analytics setup. Don’t turn on the content machine until the site is optimized to convert readers into subscribers, followers and leads. And if you don’t have filters and goals setup in Analytics, you won’t be able to measure ROI properly.
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