June 22nd, 2010
As Sumner Redstone rightly said, “Content is King.” This little phrase is the first thing you learn about SEO, and has been awarded more articles than any other topic on the Internet. More recently, many articles have sprouted with the claim that content is not King, or that distribution, or connectivity is King. Most people still support the role of content, so this is less about how content is King, and more about how the King will survive now that the Queen has come into her own.
Redstone chose content as king over distribution many years ago with the belief that, though there will continue to be channels of distribution, content will always be necessary. He was mostly referring to television and media sources, but this belief is scalable to most other genres, including Internet presence. Now that there are thousands of ways to pirate content, the value and profits of distribution have all but fallen by the wayside, while the content itself has retained its desirability and value. The new player comes in the form of social media, and its connectivity potential.
Placing this phrase in context with a game of chess, rather than kingdom royalty and jungle dominance, content is still clearly King. However, the combination of connectivity, networking, and social media (as the forms of distribution) is now Queen.
The King can stand alone, but once your King is dead, you lose the game. Content is necessary to keep a website afloat; be it in landing page content, blogs, or other sources. The Queen is the most powerful piece on the board; she is able to move around and interact with the other pieces more than the King. She offers versatility and aggressiveness to the game. If your Queen is dead, you can continue playing, but probably not with as much capability and versatility, and not for much longer.
Social Media is the way you network and interact with other Internet users. We know that the web can technically survive without it, since it did a good job of surviving before social media became so popular. However, in order for your Internet presence and website to thrive, flourish, make advances, and surpass others, you need your Queen: Social Media.
With over 400 million users on Facebook, and Twitter at about 105 million users, it is accurate to declare Social Media as the Queen of Internet marketing, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing. Or rather, declare it as the most versatile and efficient aspect of any solid Internet presence.
Keeping the King alive is not about writing for search engines. The creation of Facebook’s OpenGraph, as well as the increase of the Queen’s overall popularity may very well make many of Google’s old tactics obsolete. The web is becoming a personalized user experience with web-wide Facebook “Like” buttons, Google’s semantic search and an advanced local experience. It will become even more necessary to log out of services and clear your cache if you hope to find new, unbiased and unmodified search engine results. Or, you can embrace living inside the box in which your search queries and past website visits have placed you.
In the new, more open web experience, individuals have the most to lose, namely their privacy and potentially their good reputations, while businesses have the most to gain. Rather than gathering focus groups, a business can simply conduct social media research to figure out how to market products.
The new Internet is headed towards a single, embedded, cohesive, unique user experience. Log in to Gmail one time and find yourself automatically logged into all things Google: search engine results, Yelp, YouTube, and more. This is the connectivity of social media and social networks, and they are very powerful channels of distribution for various forms of content.
So, if content is king and connectivity/social media is queen, which one is most significant after all? The battle may not be laid to rest just yet as we turn the corner on a game that is consistently changing.
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