Is Content King Again for your SEO Strategy ?

by on October 19, 2011

Content is king again and there is an endless supply of great reasons why content is the life blood of any successful SEO campaign. Why content is king for SEO appears straight forward, great content will keep you free from panda’s clutches, it helps earn you social kudos that may influence ranking and it’s a great way to pull prospects into your site.

But it’s easy to get lost in the myth that great content is the solution to all our SEO woes. Content strategies are more complex than simply throwing out a bunch of blog posts and waiting for your rankings to improve.

Google Loves Fresh Content

Is what we are told by the experts or has been included in 90% of agency pitches around content lead strategies for SEO. What do we mean by “Google Loves Fresh Content”, if we produce a lot of rubbish content on a daily basis, is Google going to show us some love. Most of the “gurus” will spout the line about fresh content, but it doesn’t actually mean anything. Google wants to provide the best results for a user search query. If it that query is time based, then yes, fresh content is better, but only if that content is good. Google still looks to quality signals around fresh content. There needs to be a proper strategy around the content that is produced.

This isn’t new

In an article on June 9th 2003, Matt Cutts said:

People visit and link to sites that offer unique and substantial information. So, start developing more content if your site is lacking it. Build up FAQ pages and articles about topics related to the search terms that you want to be found for. You are more likely to receive links, as a result.

Content to extend your keyword reach and great content is more likely to earn you links. That was over 8 years ago. Nothing much has changed, but it seems to have come full circle and “Content is King” all over again, but after Panda, with a lot more voices behind it.

The Problem

The problem is “Context is Also King”. It would be great if creating the best content for your industry meant number 1 positions for the best keywords in your market. These are usually “buying” keywords and are ultra competitve, think “car insurance quotes” or the market below.

In this case Andropenis.com is clearly the bigger site (758 pages indexed) with better content (don’t hold me to that, I am just making a point :)). But gets outranked by a far smaller site, who have made a concerted effort to build links for their target keyphrase (558 domain links for that exact keyphrase).

Note to Audience: Anyone who has dabbled in the affiliate market and found some questionable pages spammed with links, will get to know what a lot of the spammy segments are, hence my selection to make this point :)

The Point Being

Context is King, and a proper content strategy coupled with a high value link acquisition strategy tailored for both brand + anchor text links is the master war lord of the universe.

There are countless of industries and countless keywords where content will not put you on the top page of Google, never mind the top spot. It should also be noted, “buying” keyphrases are often not suited to the kind of content that attracts links, especially with the anchor text you are looking for. This is why there are a whole bunch of industries where the link profile of top sites is made up of links that have not been attained naturally.

BUT ….

I am passionate about inbound marketing and content is a massive part of a proper inbound strategy, so am not for one moment questioning it’s importance. I just think it’s easy to jump on the content is king bandwagon with no explanation of what you mean. We should keep in mind:

Funnel Mapping

Content needs to be clustered into buckets and matched against your content personas and purchase funnel:

Just blindly creating content with no objectives and goals may not get you the right outcomes. Are you producing content to pull in early stage prospects on long tail phrases with the aim of hitting them with a soft CTA like an email sign up ?, or are you producing product relevant content that is aimed at moving someone a step further down the funnel?

Keyword Selection

Due to the nature of how blogs are setup, posts are not equipped to rank for competitive keyphrases. Creating lots of content around “car insurance quotes” on a blog, is not going to have you ranking for that phrase and do you even want to rank a blog post for a “buying” phrase. You need to structure your content in a manner that makes sense. Competitive keywords as near to the home page as possible and target long tail keyphrases against content that is continually being updated (blog posts). Of course, you can create the ultimate guide on something and rank for a competitive keyphrase that way, great example from Distilled with this Link bait guide.

And Finally …

All research conducted was for this post only, I am quite happy with what I have got !!!

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