As a content strategist I’m tempted to subscribe to a wonderfully utopian viewpoint, which is that if you build great content they will come. A position that suggests that it’s the search engines problem to find you, not you to invoke all manner of tricks to help it find you.
It’s unseemly like standing up in a restaurant and calling to a friend, “You hoo, I’m over here!” and the SEO craft has been so tarnished by spam comments, black hats and people calling themselves ninja’s that it all seems a little, well… grubby.
While Google continues to update it’s algorithm, to humanize it, give it a sense of context about what’s really relevant to my need to discover who invented the sandwich press, quality content is becoming more important. But, it is after all, just a machine and to be snooty about not pressing it’s buttons will leave our content ignored.
Maybe not ignored, but not on that all important page ONE of search results and will leave our content in a dark place (heaven forbid, page THREE) that’ll make us wonder why our mother even bothers to gives us lunch money as those cool kids on page one make off with it.
So what can we do? A Content Marketing Strategy is about telling a great story, who wants to be SEO artificially SEO putting SEO keywords into every SEO sentence? Won’t these ninja’s start messing with our art?
Well… no and I guess a bit yes – but instead of “messing” with our art, if we think of the first rule of SEO as being relevant, it would be informing it.
For example, right now I am working with a client who revealed during the discovery discussions that they have a product that the product team calls X. The sales team calls it ECKS, the website calls it EKX, but in actual fact, the rest of the world, the potential customer base, call the whole subject Y.
A simple example and while I’ve made it anonymous, it’s a genuine one and one that lots of us have, as we slip into our “inside-out” thinking about our products, their market, our shorthand for our industry at the expense of the people not in the club, but are actually thinking of buying something.
This is one area where the SEO craft has had to change; no longer is it sufficient to cheat the system with nefarious linking techniques, the SEO practitioner has to work closely with the content marketer to research and discover this relevance, to inform the author and the editorial team.
This doesn’t mean being a slave to the dogma and rehashing all of what your competitors are saying, it’s offering a nuanced perspective – or as Google put it in their rather wonderfully straightforward “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide”:
“Anticipate differences in users’ understanding of your topic and offer unique, exclusive content”
So, creating relevant, good quality, differentiated content is important for the algorithm in the machine – but of course your audience will like it and if it’s important to your audience it’ll also tick another box in the new humanized, contextually aware search algorithm.
If more people like your content, share it, refer and link to it, then Google will consider it to have authority and this will influence its position.
There is clearly more to SEO than great content, we do still need to structure our content correctly, have descriptive URL’s, tag it with appropriate metadata and make it easy find on our site (our visitors love that too) and there are some technical things we can do to welcome those web crawlers.
All very important things, all things that are addressed by a good content strategy and content management system that I’ve brushed into one paragraph, but it seems to me it starts with content.
It’s time to publish content for the people not for the search engine.
I’d love to hear what you think about the balancing act between strategic content development and managing towards the ever changing Google SEO algorithms. Leave me a note below