ImageSEO isn’t what it used to be. Once upon a time, SEO was this hallowed religion. Agencies and specialists knew the SEO bible inside out. Many used dodgy techniques – keyword stuffing, using invisible text and buying spammy links.

But the landscape is changing and you need to care about content nowadays. 90% of marketers think content will become more important in 2013, according to a report by Outbrain and Econsultancy. Content Marketing Optimization (CMO) is going to become a key part of our online marketing strategies.  You need to think about CMO now.

The Great Flood

We all bow down to Google’s almighty power. He is the internet God of the 21st Century. He can bring us millions of pilgrims and many, many customers.

When he saw all these underhand techniques, he wasn’t pleased with what he saw. Many people were abusing these tactics to cheat searchers. So Google unleashed a flood of updates (Panda and Penguin) to wash these baddies away.

Those who were good had already built their content rafts

When the flood waters receded, many businesses had survived, and arrived at the top of Google. They’d made rafts of content to keep them afloat. Others quickly capitalized and they found it remarkably easy to climb the rankings, especially for long tail keywords.

Just In Time, a financial PR agency, wrote a few articles about ‘financial pr agencies’ and climbed up the rankings very quickly.

Google wants content angels, not SEO devils

Google, like any benevolent father wants to please its worshippers. His searchers, and they are crazed devotees at the altar of content. If searchers want rich, meaty content, then Google will do his best to deliver it.

Google is ranking people by who has the best content. They’re trying to put the best content at the top. Now you’re in a battle with your competitors to create the best content! There are no more underhanded tricks (and if there were Google will soon eliminate them). So you now need to create more content, and optimize that content. Be a content angel, not a SEO devil.

So what do you need to know about CMO, then?

I suspect Content Marketing Optimization will be the next big thing and ultimately step in the place of SEO. CMO is adding that extra bit of sparkle to your content, framing it in a tasty way. Adding dazzle will make both your readers and Google love you.

Longer form content and rich media

There’s a great resource here of 11 content optimization tips from Jason Acidre. If you don’t have the time to read them – here’s the most important tip.

Jason talks about longer form content. Why? And why does Google value this so highly?

It’s because, the longer an article – generally the richer it is. If it’s bursting at the seams with analysis, examples, case studies and other thoughts – it is likely to be much more useful than a simple 400 word article.

Rich media is also becoming more and more important as well. Big brands are saying that visitors want more rich media content like videos and images.

It’s a bit old-fashioned now to just have an article. We don’t always have the opportunity to add multimedia to every article because we’re not big enough. However, people expect their content to be a bit more interactive these days,” says Sharon Flaherty, Head of Content and PR at price comparison site Confused.com.

Google has become more sensible, and has wised up to the black magic that SEO agencies were practicing. In its place, you need to create fantastic rich content. So, as the years go on, I reckon we’re going to talk much more about CMO than SEO.

By Alex Clifford