Google is looking to highlight all the great content on the web and SEO is dead. Ergo, just create some content that your audience will like and you’ll be OK.

It’s a point of view I don’t adhere to, something that will come as no surprise if you’ve read this blog or met me in person.

How do you determine what’s relevant content, anyway?

Pink Fluffy ElephantHow are you going to write some relevant, quality material for your site? As a huge enthusiast about pink fluffy elephants (thanks to Tim Capper for trusting me with them for this post) you could create the definitive content on the social and political background of your favourite cuddly toy, or trends in manufacture, or whatever fascinates you.

But is there anyone else in the world who’s interested in your writings? If there isn’t, you’re in trouble, no matter how great your quality. Ot how much you think your audience will love it.

I don’t like leaving things to chance

As a marketer, I know there’s no such thing as a sure thing. But I do know I can weight the odds in my favour – and my clients’ favour.

Instead of the guesswork and received wisdom of traditional, non-digital marketing, there’s more data available from the web than even many professionals know what to do with! That doesn’t mean it’s all out of your hands. You need to know what you should be looking for and where that information can be found.

Do the right things, and you’ll be far ahead of most of your competitors.

I’m never content about contentContent - nice!

I’d like to have a stern word with the person who came up with the terms we used for digital and paper-based words. I mean ‘content’ and ‘copy’. What a way to undersell their importance!

Content is, well, content. Stuff in a container. And can cover a multitude of sins – sloppy writing, bad grammar, spun content from other places etc etc etc.

Your task isn’t just to fill your web pages, but to fill them with something that works for everyone involved – you, your company, your client, your readers, your prospects, your customers, your accountant, your suppliers…

It’s content that will attract, engage and lead to a longer and more profitable relationship.

So you need to create Content Plus. That’s a better class of content, or Content Plus Strategy.

Five Principles For Content Plus

Create content that attracts

Even with the rise of Social Media, the lion’s share of site visitors still come from search engines. That should come as no surprise. Good performance on search engines should therefore be priority for your content. That same content should also work beautifully with your social media initiatives, so by prioritizing search, you’re sacrificing leverage elsewhere.

Give your site a clear direction…

…and a rationale for that direction.

At the very least, look for some popular key phrases, ones that people are looking for information about and use that information as a starting point for your content creation.

According to Neil Patel, quoting the 2013 B2B Small Business Content Marketing Trends – North America by the Content Marketing Institute/Outbrain, 94% of B2B (business to business) sites use Content Marketing (2014 B2B Content Marketing Trends – North America by the Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs). My takeaway from this is that you’re going to have a hard task beating all your competitors unless you up your game.

He then lands the knockout punch. Nearly half of those 98% do not have a documented content strategy.

Join the 44% with a content strategy, and you’re one up on the majority of your competitors.

Let them thrash about aimlessly in the wilderness while you grab yourself a GPS. Just imagine how much time and money you’ll save by heading straight for your destination.

Where does your direction come from?

You need to put some structure and deeper understanding in place so that you can really interact with your audience.

Start from what you think you know. Your target readership – age, gender, education, geographical location etc.

  • Think about how they’d find your site. Write down some searches you think they’d make to find you
  • Use Google Keyword Planner to find more popular alternatives and long-tail key phrases that will help you interact with just the people who are your ideal customers
  • Try to find a keyword niche that fits perfectly, yet is not as competitive as most – you’ll get the fastest results

Create Quality over Quantity

Although Google does give you some kudos for publishing often, that’s with the caveat that you’re producing great material. Run-of-the-mill Content just won’t do.

Produce better and longer and publish less often – try to deliver your best quality quality once a week rather than filling web pages every day. Your readers will love you as you won’t be wasting their time, and so should Google.

Recently, I’ve been working on longer posts. I find I write between 400 and 800 words a post naturally. It feels about right to me as a writer and my picture of my audience.

But that’s my guess.

Get out of your comfort zone and deliver!

When I wrote the first ‘quick and dirty’ draft of this piece, it ran to 628 words. But I wanted to create more and better, to go outside my comfort zone. That means I have to add real value, not just extra words. I also need to keep to this site’s core value of ‘Plain Talk’ and not dive deeper into the subject.

Do the hard work!

With Writing For SEO, I’m trying to make SEO and Content Marketing simpler for you. That’s what I must deliver.

So keep in mind your ideal reader, and keep your content focused on them. And do the hard work for them.

Are you still listening to those who say creating relevant, quality content is all?

I’m hoping I’ve convinced you of the pitfalls of following hunches when it comes to your website. Don’t leave your success to chance. Get some facts under your belt and be sure you’re providing value to your visitors.

Do you agree?

Thanks to David Hall and Andrew Gray for their images, provided under Creative Commons Licence.