When I left university last year, I never imagined I’d have my own desk in the office of a growing digital marketing agency 9 months later. Yet a pit stop in copywriting has brought me here, falling down the rabbit hole of SEO and just like Alice once did in Wonderland, I’ve found myself delving deeper and deeper.
If there’s one definitive lesson I’ve learnt during my short stint in the world of SEO, it’s that Bill Gates was right back in 1996, content is king. You may have shuddered reading that [yup, still shaking - Ed.]. It’s so overused that if SEO was a Game of Thrones house that would be its motto, but I’m new here, give me a break.
You do have to admit he was right though. Once Penguin 2.0 put a stop to that particular phase of black hat link building, content marketing started to reign supreme. Thanks to Google Trends graphs we can see when interest switched from building links to marketing content.
See how link building is overtaken by content marketing around the same time a major Penguin update showed up? While links still remain an important part of SEO, the correlation between natural links and quality content became all too apparent. If you could publish content that entertained, informed and enthralled audiences, you could easily earn those sweet, sweet links. You just need to do a bit of grafting.
Rand Fishkin believes good content needs to die. While that may initially sound like a threat to copywriters, it’s instead a look at how content needs to evolve. The blog recommends going that extra mile, creating content “10 times better than the best result out there.” That’s what we try to aim for here, content that not only makes you think but also tells a story.
Since 2011, content marketing has managed to maintain a rise in interest, which has led to the web becoming saturated with content. Let’s not beat around the bush, subpar content won’t do you any favours in the SERPs and Google’s “phantom update” has now been renamed the “quality update.” So why has there not been a similar surge in interest for quality and unique content?
If there’s one thing that ruins a date with a blog, it’s reading an article that gives me the exact same information as another. They’re not the secrets of being a great manager if the other million results on Google echo the same information. Interest in unique and quality has barely changed over the last ten years and while quality should be expected, uniqueness is more important now than ever before.
Depending on who you believe, there are over 7 million blog posts published every day. That’s almost 300,000 posts an hour! It appears that everyone and their nan is creating content nowadays and, as if that wasn’t enough to worry about, you also have to deal with me sitting here and telling you why it needs to be unique and have genuine quality What exactly are you supposed to do with that information?
Your first thought when approaching content creation will naturally be ‘what will my audience be interested in?’ However, conforming to what is popular in the public sphere is an easy way to fall into the trap of creating generic content that your competitors wrote months ago. If this is the case and you can’t do the same thing at least 10 times better, try taking one of your own passions and making your audience care about it.
This means you have to do a bit of research. Look at what content already ranks highly on the SERPs and find your own angle on the topic. Consumer insight is a massive aid here and there are plenty of tools available to help you. Recently, I’ve been exploring Answerthepublic, an easy to use tool that displays results in a lovely visual.
Let’s say you’re a local wigmaker. You’ve started to rank on the first page thanks to local SEO, but you’ve had a taste of the page one life and now you crave more. You blow the dust off that old blog you’ve posted two articles on in the past four years and now you want it to reach the upper echelons of the SERPs
You’re wondering how you can find a peaceful middle ground between content relating to wigs and pieces your audience will want to read. In search of inspiration, you can turn to Answer the Public and enter your keyword.
Next you’ll be greeted by a beautiful display of questions frequently asked to Google. All you have to do is choose your angle, add an original twist and get moving.
Creating unique, quality content week after week may seem like a chore, but once you start writing about the things that brought you into your selected business, the letters will flow onto the screen. So come on people, let’s stop producing content that could be found on any old blog and let’s start increasing the interest in unique, quality content. Content that can only be found on your blog. Content that is so moreish people never want to leave your blog.
Do it for your rankings, do it for your audience, but most importantly, do it for yourself.
Creative Commons Image: Kevin Pack