Optimize your content by sticking in as many keywords as possible. Avoid keywords– write for people. Publish 20 posts a day with a maximum of 300 words. Publish one post a week with a minimum of 2000 words. Welcome to the history of content marketing. 

What started as a way to create useful and relevant content for consumers, shifted to a cash cow for pumping out posts. Content marketers, realizing that crap was flooding the internet under the guise of content marketing, started backpedalling on some of their best practices, advising for more quality and new, better practices. Today, content marketers are trying to perfect the ratio of quality to quantity, bringing real thought leadership back into the equation, and finding that ever-so-precarious balance of keyword optimization and readability.

Throughout the evolution process, there have been arguments over keywords, word counts, and the mysterious quality barometer. Google’s gotten smarter at detecting spammy practices, while new technologies, trends, and social media platforms have all played a role in the direction that content marketing has taken over the past ten years.

In order to definitively say that, as content marketers, we’re creating valuable content for real readers, it’s necessary to look back at the history of online content marketing. We’ve been yo-yoing back and forth between one practice or another, but the goal of content marketing should really be to satisfy its original intention– to create valuable content for human beings.

Check out the infographic below to see the evolution of online content marketing tips, tricks, and trends so that we can avoid the merry-go-round of advice and get back to what matters most: the content.

The future of online content marketing

This year, we’re expecting technology to play a larger role in content marketing than it ever has: chatbots, AI, marketing automation, and mobile are set to shake it up in 2017 and beyond. Regardless, it’s crucial to remember that no matter which technology, trend, or Google algorithm change may take effect, if your content is genuinely good without using gimmicks or questionably tactics, it shouldn’t matter.

Get a leg up by on the competition by checking out the best content marketing software on the market.

Infographic data sources


Developing Keywords for All Marketing Activities
Top 10 internet marketing tips for 2008


10 Rules of Keyword Usage for Search Engine Optimization


Top 10 Takeaways from the 2010 Content Strategy Forum
B2B Content Marketing: 2010 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends


Where and When Your Keywords Really Matter for Content Marketing and SEO


B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends
2012 Year In Review: Important Shifts In Google SEO


Keywords Are Dead! Long Live User Intent!
B2B Small Business Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America


Why You Should Create Long-Form Content (And How to Do It)
The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO
B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America


6 Linking Techniques That Will Help Your Content Get Ranked, Found, and Read
B2B Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America


The Future is More Content: Jeff Bezos, Robots and High Volume Publishing
B2B Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America


8+ Tools to Find Related Keywords for Your Content
B2B Content Marketing: 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America

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