Promotional and informational content are two different things. Understanding the difference between these two types of content and the queries they are directly related to, could make the difference between your business blog or website SEO and content marketing success or failure.
Published in 2017 updated for 2021
Your blog vs your business pages
Making this distinction with clients often helps to grasp not just the different type of queries, but also how these relate to the notions of content marketing and even “being social”, on social media. As opposed to broadcasting only your own sales message.
Your business pages – content pages where you sell your great product or services, and these have a clear intent to sell something. A user landing on this page will often come with the intention of performing a transaction.
Your blog posts – with the exception of a company news category, most of your blog posts should be informational and about your subject matter, rather than directly about your service or product. For example, this post is about queries and content types and not about how awesome and great we are. Even though we may well be 🙂
Of course, you can also have informational pages, depending on your site and target audience.
Here’s Wikipedia definition of the two types of queries, I know what you are thinking, Wikipedia, yes perfectly to the point in this case.
Informational queries – Queries that cover a broad topic (e.g. Colorado or trucks) for which there may be thousands of relevant results.
Transactional queries – Queries that reflect the intent of the user to perform a particular action, like purchasing a car or downloading a screen saver.
Promotional content and content marketing
Generally, by its very nature, promotional content is not suited to do content marketing.
Content marketing is its own discipline now firmly established, and the golden rule in simplistic terms, is do not promote, participate, contribute and inform instead.
Let your users and target audience find out how awesome you are all by themselves, no need to tell them yourself. We could also say that promotional content is best suited to paid media or paid attention where you actually pay directly for the attention in some way.
Promotional content for SEO and social
The relation here is not the same as above, of course, you need to rank and optimise for your services and products directly, this means, you want your “business content” to rank for transactional queries.
“[service] consultant London”, Blue widgets, yellow socks, Xmas pies, etc. etc.
Again as opposed to the above, these pages are not very well suited for social and content marketing, if you pay attention, most sites, for example, may not even offer social sharing buttons on their service pages, as it is not very likely users will share this type of content to their social streams.
Informational content and content marketing
Informational content is very well suited to content marketing and social media, as you are not attempting to shove your sales agenda down your visitors throats at every opportunity.
One of the reasons business blogs and blog posts fail to gain any social interaction and very little SEO or ranking power is due to the failure to grasp this simple concept.
We could go as far as to say the Author’s, authority and social presence, play a role here not just with users but also with Google, even though they scrapped “Authorship” – [author’s G+ profile pictures on the SERP, Google results page]. Those principles and their underlying value still as relevant as ever.
Informational content for SEO and social
informational content is great for SEO and social, long live informational content, now that you read through all the above and know the difference between these two, how they relate to the types of queries and directly to how social friendly your content is.
All you have to do is to get a little creative and think about your users, what questions they might have, answer those and participate, REMEMBER to be informational, you need to leave your sales agenda out.
There is plenty of space for that in your business pages, your informational content will assert your knowledge and authority in your subject matter, once you do that, your users or at least some of them will come looking for your services or products as a direct result of your informational efforts.
Google tends to find sites and in particular, blogs that truly operate on that basis, more trustworthy and thus having a better chance not just of ranking, but of maintaining these rankings over longer periods of time.