You’ve probably heard people talking about the importance of content and content marketing. It almost seems like it’s all they talk about at SEO conferences nowadays. “Content is King” they say, “build content and the links will follow”. Perhaps you even tried “doing content” and after 6 months and 30 blog posts you found out that the above statements are far from true.
I’ve seen plenty of people publishing content and wondering why their websites don’t move up the rankings. I don’t blame them for falling for that as there is a lot of hype being published about content and even some big websites often don’t get it right.
What I’m going to explain here today is why you need content and what type of content you need.
Why do you need content.
So the answer to the first question is pretty simple. You need content to attract visitors and links. There is a bit of a catch 22 here as without links your content is not going to rank and you are therefore very unlikely to get visitors from organic search.
Let’s talk about links then. As you are probably aware, the link acquisition game has change tremendously after the release of the first Google Penguin update. Getting organic links to your homepage or your money pages is (for vast majority of websites out there) simply not realistic, and using old school spammy tactics is not going to help you and can result in a harsh penalty. What you need in today’s post Penguin era is something people will be willing to link to, something that will add value and look good. Once you have that something on your website, your link building will become much easier.
What type of content do you need.
As mentioned above, you’ll need something that people will be willing to link to.
There is a number of types of content which usually makes link building easier but not all of it is suitable for business websites. There is however one type of content which, from my experience, works best. If I was to describe it on one word I’d say “useful”.
What I mean by “useful” is something that will answer people’s questions or provide information they are looking for. The best example on our website would probably be the guide to AdWords Exams. We have answered a very popular question, and because of the quality of the content and links pointing to it as well as the links pointing to our domain, this guide now ranks on Google page one, attracting quite a lot of traffic as well as organic links.
So let me give you a couple more examples of the types of content which do work.
“How to do …. “ tutorials.
These usually do well as they add value, can be easily linked to, and also have a capability to attract traffic. Tutorials work especially well when used in a video form.
Here is a good example of a very specific tutorial on using the recycle bin in Microsoft SharePoint 2013 As you can see, it answers the user’s query perfectly and could be easily linked to from sites in the tech/software niche.
We are overloaded with content and data so the way you present your content can make a big difference. People browsing the Internet have a very short attention span, instead of reading, people tend to skim through the content. This could be to some extent address with formatting but if you have the time and resources you could create an interactive piece of content which, if done correctly, will increase the engagement and be much easier to promote in your outreach campaigns. There are number of types of interactive content, anything from games through interactive infographics to timelines. Here is an interesting example of interactive timeline presenting the history of tennis. As you can see, it has already attracted over 1000 shares on social media. Another great example, is this interactive infographic on the 100 Years of Rock Music.
Stats are also very good when it comes to link-worthy content. If you can do a survey or get hold of good and interesting data of a decent volume, then it is very likely that you will find people who are willing to use it, quote it and link to it. It is no coincidence that the Office of National Statistics has got over a million links from over 22 thousands domains.
Surveys are also doing well provided you choose an interesting topic. Here is a good example of a survey on the most generous wedding guests in the Home Countries. I’m pretty sure this piece of content we’ll be popular among wedding planners and lifestyle bloggers.
Will these types of content work for you? Well, it depends, but for most of the businesses we work with it does work. However, every niche is different so before you start putting time and money you should do some research and see what works in your industry. See what your competitors are doing and if it is working for them. Don’t be fooled by social signals though, as these can be easily bought or faked – just because something has 10,000 Facebook likes means nothing there will be any real impact in the form of links.