Many business owners find themselves at a crossroads: they need to find a way to stand out among the competition, but they also need to find a way to keep costs down in order to remain competitive. This means that shelling out a lot of money for new marketing gimmicks, opening new locations, or expanding the work force is usually out of the question.

That’s why so many have turned to the internet to help their business grow. If you are still on the fence and asking yourself “do I need content to drive SEO and sales?” there are a few things that you should be aware of to help you make that decision.

Valuable information is more important than keywords

Keywords are still important, and where they sit on your page is still important too, but well-written, informative, and engaging content is more important these days.  A single keyword could make or break a campaign even just a few years ago. In the modern search engine optimization world, 70% of Google searches are affected by synonyms of the keyword. For example “photos of Lincoln” and “pictures of Lincoln” turn up nearly the same results. The reasons for this change in the thinking of search engines are:

  • To provide the best experience
  • To find the most relevant information
  • To let the best filter to the top and the worst be flushed out

Keyword-stuffed pages can no longer rank at the top (thankfully).

The experts agree

Who better to speak to about these things than the people who do it for a living? Those people on the front lines of the battle of the SERP know it better than anyone. Look at some of these statistics about content from companies like Brafton and SmartInsight:

  • Nearly 1/3rd of marketers think that content marketing is the most significant digital marketing trend for this coming year.
  • 76% of marketers with SEO content strategies invest in content creation, and that number has probably increased since the last survey.
  • Nearly 80% of CMOs agreed that content marketing is the future of marketing

It’s hard to argue with those numbers. It is only natural, though. As the algorithm becomes smarter, it will be able to understand semantics more fluidly. On top of that, consumers are becoming bored and annoyed by direct advertising. The way you are going to reach them is by giving them entertaining or useful information that attracts them to your product.

Consumers LOVE it

We can say whatever we want about Google or CMOs and marketers, but when it comes down to it, your customers are the ones who are paying you. The good thing is that they agree with the other guys, too. In a recent UK survey, more than half of the respondents said they were positively influenced by original content creation as opposed to 10% that said the same about direct ads.

More than half in a similar study answered yes to whether or not a blog influenced their purchasing decision. On top of that, 61% of consumers polled just a few years ago said they were more likely to purchase from a company that offered custom content. When you stand out from the crowd, people take notice.

Your marketing goal in the modern world should be to find the middle ground between advertising and informing. Those who can do both are going to be the winners on the web. In short: Google, marketing experts, and consumers alike agree that you do need content marketing to drive SEO and sales.