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The (Not-So-Secret) Secret for Creating Content for SEO

DATE PUBLISHED: August 01, 2014

We here at Palmer aren't inclined to fall back on corny one-liners, but when it comes to optimizing your SEO efforts, the old saying "don't sweat the small stuff" is actually true. By the "small stuff" we mean ever-changing back-end technologies, tricks, efforts to outsmart Google's algorithm, spamming, etc. None of those things are as important as creating compelling, engaging, and shareable content. That is the "big stuff." If your team remains focused on this single goal, you'll see your SEO fortunes improve. 

content marketingAvoid the SEO "Cat and Mouse" Game with Google

To understand why firms need to consistently publish compelling content for SEO optimization, one must first realize the larger SEO landscape which, quite naturally, is dominated by Google Search. Google has been continually tweaking its search algorithm across the past few years in an effort to thwart "black hat" SEO practitioners — the spammers and too-good-to-be-true SEO "consultants" who employ shady tactics to try and trick the algorithm. We won't bore you with how it works, except to say this: if you get an email blast from one of these consultants claiming they'll have you in the top 10 of Google Search within two weeks, don't believe it. Your money can be better spent elsewhere.

Ultimately, small marketing teams are left with two choices. One, pay one of these consultants to work their black magic with absolutely no guarantee of success, or two, ignore the Google cat-and-mouse game and instead, simply focus on creating engaging content that will resonate with users. (We suggest the second option, if you didn't guess.)

Why (Good) Content, More than Ever, is King

Now before you start rolling out content for SEO efforts, it's important to understand that previous-held buzzwords no longer apply to the SEO landscape. We're specifically talking about the idea that "content is king." It was a fashionable catchphrase five or ten years ago, but it's no longer true. Content for content's sake — republished articles, spam, meaningless articles that don't resonate with readers — is essentially worthless. In fact, it's precisely this kind of content that Google's algorithms seek to trivialize. 

Therefore, to modify the aforementioned adage, we encourage you to remember that good content — compelling, interesting, and original content — is king. This is content that was clearly written by a real-live human with expertise in a given issue. It's content that speaks directly to your buyer personas and their needs. It's content that readers will share with friends on social media. It's content that will compel readers to click to a landing page and reach out to your firm. Google recognizes these patterns and says, essentially, "Hmm…this site is creating powerful stuff," and their algorithm will respond in kind.

Sound Good, But How Can Firms Consistently Publish Good Content?

A great question. The recipe for publishing consistently effective content contains two ingredients: a source of content, and a plan to operationalize the publication and marketing of the content. It's a topic we've looked at very closely in other posts, but in an effort to strip this challenge down to the barest essentials, we'll say the following. First, your team, more than anyone else, is an expert on what types of content will resonate with readers. In fact, there's no shortage of ideas to help you generate great content, and many firms feel like they can do this in-house. At the same time, there are also no shortage of content-creating firms who'll take this off your plate. Therefore, do a cost-benefit analysis to see if such an arrangement makes financial sense. And secondly, regardless of who owns your content creation, you need to roll out an editorial calendar to operationalize publication and a content marketing strategy to make sure people read it.

Ultimately, the secret for generating great content for SEO optimization, isn't, well, much of a secret. Ignore the consultant buzzwords and "next big things" and simply focus on what matters most: creating engaging content that will resonate with your readers.

Now we'd like you to join the conversation. What approaches have helped your firm consistently roll out original content? Do you formally track your SEO efforts? Is SEO becoming more or less important to your inbound marketing strategy?