Posted by SteKenwrightThis post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SE...
Posted by SteKenwrightThis post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.
This kind of thing might happen to Rand all the time, but it’s not often that a digital marketing company based in Leeds gets 100,000+ people reading anything it does (at least on its own site). That’s what unexpectedly happened to us on www.branded3.com a few weeks ago – what essentially started as a rant from some guy having a bad day blew up and now has 1,184 votes on Hacker News (and incoming links from some of the biggest sites in the world).
I think it’s likely I’ll never replicate this, and I didn’t intend this either – so I’ll not preach: “this is how you get 100,000 page views.” Everyone else is just as qualified as I am to write a post that’s read all around the world, and that’s exactly what I want to happen. I’d like to tell you what I’m taking away from this, and how I’ll use it when I’m creating content for my clients in the future.
Commonly known as sharking. Google it.
1. ...but not always.
Google only wants you to list the links that are most relevant to and most important to your content – Eric Enge likened this to a research paper around a month ago on Search Engine Watch. The difference between your content and a research paper, though, is that your content doesn’t get discredited if there is nobody to link to that backs up the point you’re trying to make.
In a Webmaster Help Video earlier in the year, Google Engineer Matt Cutts said don’t link out to low quality sites – this is pretty much the equivalent of quoting from Wikipedia in an essay. You don’t have to get peer approved before people will read your post, though, so if there’s nobody to link to that’s talking about whatever you are then that could actually be a good thing. If someone else is covering the same subject as you there’s no real reason why you should get all the links, so you should definitely write about things that no one else is covering if you can.
NB: Not having anyone to back up your point doesn’t excuse you from not having a point in the first place.
2. Content needs to solve people’s problems…or highlight them.
I had a problem with Path and as of the time I started writing the post, nobody had solved it, though a few people had tweeted about experiencing similar problems. I tweeted @path at roughly 7am and the first person to reply was someone else who was (very) actively looking for an answer to the same problem. I embedded Design33’s tweet in the post and linked to him; let my cohort know; and instantly a problem shared is a problem…erm, doubled.
Whether your content is solving someone’s problem, or you’re just empathising with them; if you know where to find them…let them know it’s there and get your influencers on board.
3. Find out what people are looking for.
The principles behind content marketing are gaining real traction in the SEO community, and more and more companies are getting on board with long-term content strategies. There’s plenty to say about planning your content out for months in advance, but as Simon points out in this fantastic YouMoz post from last year, it’s not all about Google Keyword Tool anymore. There are some great tools out there to find hot topics (Bottlenose is particularly useful), but the best way to find what your audience is looking for is by using the same tools as they are.
Wil Reynolds is a great advocate of using Google Complete to find content topics (check out Wil’s LinkLove 2013 presentation, around slide 90) – start typing questions, don’t