The Wise Content Marketer’s Guide to Sensible SEO

The Wise Content Marketer’s Guide to Sensible SEO

Reader Comments (26)

  1. I am actually trying to get new people to my blog. It is not an easy task, and getting Google traffic is probably the most time consuming. I don’t go out of my way to write posts to attract traffic, but I do try to get links and post links. At this rate it will probably take forever.

    I figure once I have some reasonable traffic, maybe my readers will help with the links, you never know.

    • In that scenario, while you’re building lots of good stuff on your own site, you want to start developing relationships with the other publishers in your topic. Snag my book on Content Promotion in the free member library for some thoughts on how. πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Sonia,
    This is indeed an informative post. As someone rightly said, we should write for people and optimize for search engines, I completely agree with you that we shouldn’t rely solely on SEO. If content really addresses the issues of a buyer persona, it can be viral on social media. I really liked reading this post.

  3. Two super simple tips:

    1. Internal links (links on your website that point to other pages on your website) have been recently proven to matter a whole lot.

    Search Copyblogger for “cornerstone content” to see a solid internal linking strategy that’s nice for bots and humans.

    If you want a post to rank, but the only internal link to it is from page 3 of your archive, you’re doing it wrong.

    2. Publish dates matter to Google, maybe way more than they should. Make sure your posts have visible publish dates and don’t feel shy about updating old content.

    Sean Jackson wrote about this:

    Fresh, quality content gets “auditioned” by Google near the top of search results. If users react positively then your page may stick at the top.

    Constantly updating your content is also good for users. Find new information? Quoted an outdated stat? Your post deserves to be pruned to remain evergreen.

    3. Publish on Medium. Building your home on rented land is bad, but Medium has a technical feature that can benefit you.

    Medium posts can use a “rel=canonical” defence to point back to an original post on your site.

    This is the Google approved way to repost duplicate content on other sites. Google will display your original content over your Medium repost, and will count links to your Medium post to your original post.

    This is good for users because they can discover your content in Medium, without you polluting search results with duplicate content. You can even gain external links to your Medium post from people who may be hesitant to link to your more commercial site.

  4. Hi Sonia,
    I’m the SEO bug-eating type as well – and you’re right in that content really is king. It’s always a great idea to optimize your website for SEO, but too much SEO focus can potentially take away from the user experience.

    • It’s not so much “too much SEO focus” as “misunderstanding what SEO focus should be.”

      Because the search engines have evolved a lot, there are a lot of weird recommendations out there. Good SEOs stay well on top of it, but of course, most people in any endeavor aren’t fabulous at it. πŸ™‚

  5. Sonia, SEO is a technical topic but I liked the way you explained it in an easy language, something I can easily understand and can relate to. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  6. “Linkbuilding is community building”. And that’s indeed what it is. I see too many SEO’s solely relying on their PBN. They spend quite a lot of money on chasing expired domains / websites and don’t put time or effort in community building. I place about 20% of links on my PBN, but no more. It’s thank toy community-building that I got my #1 ranking on “seo-copywriter” and #2 ranking on “seo-copywriting” in after 1 year. The links are strong, relevant, come from trusted sources. Also, guestposting is very powerful in my experience.

    • Any scheme to game real links will fizzle eventually. Real links from real sites with real readerships will lead to actual human contact (and business). The search rankings are just a helpful part of that larger puzzle.

  7. Hey Sonia,

    SEO is a topic worth spending the time to think about. But the main concept is to keep your audience engaged.

    You can’t rely on the technical SEO. What would you get if your readers wouldn’t understand your point?

    Creating a user-friendly environment will bring more visitors and the SEO of your blog will automatically increase.

    Thanks for pointing this out.

    Have a great week ahead.

  8. I find SEO reasonably interesting (but I also watch documentaries about serial killers and cold cases so I’m not a good judge) but I love all of your points about focusing on useful content, rather than just playing the Google game. I get most of my traffic from social media because I, you know, talk to people.

  9. Thank you, Sonia! This is a great post that goes back to the most important thing about SEO: it’s about helping people find what they’re looking for.

    I always write with the “reader first” mindset. Then, I might optimize for SEO, in the traditional sense, but if it’s good for readers, and helping them, I believe it’s also good for Google.

    Because, after all, isn’t Google trying to discover how people search and trying to find the best info for them? I think keeping this in mind always lowers the SEO frustration.

  10. “Write about the whole picture.” This tip really triggered some ideas for me, Sonia. Funny how I can think about content all day and forget the obvious stuff. Thanks for herding these important ideas for common sense people. SEO can get so wonky, when it’s really quite simple.

  11. Great post Sonia.

    I’m one of those people who geeks out about SEO. What you said about keeping up those wily engineers at Google describes me well.

    I’m grateful that you wrote about how SEO and writing can go hand in hand. I came to SEO probably the opposite of most, from copywriting and content marketing. In some ways I count that a blessing. Like you said, it’s all about creating content for the user and In their vernacular.

    Google’s algorithm seems to getting good enough these days that the only way you can rank well is to create quality content that will engage users. Basically what copywriters already do. In my opinion, the SEO industry is going to need a lot more copywriters as search engines become more advanced at returning relevant results.

  12. Thank you Sonia for your post. I feel myself… in your field.
    I agree that SEO is important if it helps us to write content useful and appreciated by our audience.

    In Italy there is a website which gives advice about everything connected to the internet or computer problems. It’s successful but… reading their text is, for me, like a torture. It offends Italian language repeating and repeating the keywords in an boring and annoying way.

    I don’t want, Sonia, to believe that SEO is an irritating way to get searching readers. But a nice way to care our audience.

    That’s why I wish to thank you, and Brian Clark and the Copyblogger’s team, for helping us to work for true people. Not for stupid computers.

  13. Question: If I’m looking to come up with a new post, (that answers a question in a satisfying way) should I be thinking about bounce rate? In other words, should I be happy if someone just reads the post, or is there an advantage to a lower bounce rate? (if they click to another page)

    • Phenomenal question Missy!!!

      Despite Google never explicitly saying it, SEOs have reason to believe that on-page ‘engagement’ is a ranking factor.

      However, there is a distinct difference between a ‘pogo stick’ (when someone clicks on your site, only to click back to the search results, and click on a different result) vs. a satisfied ‘bounce’ (someone found the answer they were looking for on your page and left without needing to look elsewhere.

      You’ll notice Google trying to satisfy searchers with quick answers via featured snippets (Answer Boxes ^ People Also Ask Boxes) in search results.

      What SERP (Search Engine Result Page) features there are for the query you are trying to answer? If you discover some answer boxes popping up, dig into that ranking page’s content and format your answer similarly (bullets, list, paragraph, table, etc.).

      It’s also smart to add a strong call to action at the end of your answer for something that particular searcher might also be interested in. This can help lower bounce rate, increase page views, increase conversions, increase time on site, etc.

      Pro Tip: Refurbishing your content/answer for unique use cases can also give you a big leg up on competition!

      Try creating a brief video answering the question (many searchers prefer video), add an audio option (if someone is out for a walk), provide an easy to consume graphic explaining the answer, format a SlideShare answering the question, etc. (and link off-site content like SlideShare back to your answer page.)

      Hope this helps,

  14. Thanks Britney! So, I’m wrapping my head around incorporating a “call to action” to get people to stay on the site. I was relying on “related posts” for that, but i don’t think it was engaging enough. Thanks again for the reply πŸ™‚

  15. As a marketer, I want to say with all my heart that great content is going to make an impact and blow people away and rank on its own merit etc, etc, etc.

    But I often get the feeling that the battle is too uphill for most SMEs to be able to make any sort of headway.

    With all the content that’s published on a daily/hourly/minute-ly/second-ly basis, I wonder how hard someone who knows the most about a subject, who deserves to be listened to, REALLY has to work to get their content in front of people.

    If marketers, people whose job it is to make this stuff happen, struggle with this, how hard is it for the average business owner?

    How hard is it for the average blogger?

    How hard is it for the scientist or the engineer or the doctor, the people whose opinion we should probably be listening to a lot more closely than the marketer who once talked to an engineer for fifteen minutes and then wrote a 2000 word article on a subject they don’t understand on even a basic level?

    Is it even worth trying? Are marketers doing the world a favor by writing content about subjects on which they are NOT experts?

    With so many professional writers and SEOs out there flooding the market with targeted, well-written, content, how can actual SMEs (who may not be the best writers) get noticed?

    I feel like their content is going to be much more valuable than the content of a marketer (for the SMEs’ area of expertise), but they’re ultimately going to disappear under a mass of optimized content written by people who know much less about the subject and much more about SEO and content writing.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve researched a subject within a few client niches and come across an incredible amount of useless junk that is ranking because a marketer wrote it, only to find that the most valuable content was buried because the SME didn’t pick the right keywords or wrote giant blocks of text or was missing an H1.

    If we’re talking about content related to something innocent like sandcastles it’s probably not a big deal, but when articles written by SMEs in the healthcare industry, for example, are getting pushed down by content written by marketers, I really start to wonder how good that is for society.

    Not sure I have a question at this point, ha! Or maybe it’s this β€”Β what’s a SME to do who doesn’t have access to (or the time to learn) all these techniques? Who is just never going to be a great writer or an interesting writer (but who still deserves to be listened to)? Are marketers really doing the world a service by just pushing content to the top of a SERP? Is there an ethical dimension to all this that we’re missing?

    I’m not sure.

  16. Some great tips Sonia. Content promotion may be the weak link to our strategy. Even the best info if not discovered by the right audience is of little value

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