content marketing strategyWhat if I told you that the #1 secret to outstanding SEO is something you already know, even if you’re brand new to social media marketing?  What if I said that after Google’s last updates, Panda and Penguin, that SEO became simpler than ever?  And would you believe me if I announced that the less you know about anything any expert told you about SEO marketing, the better off you are in your online marketing efforts?

Those claims about online marketing sound pretty audacious, even to me (and I’m the one making them).  But I honestly believe them with everything that’s in me, and here’s why.

Once upon a time (aka, before Google updated its search algorithms), optimizing the pages on your website was a bit of a crude art.  It mostly relied on choosing a set of 10 or 15 keywords that you pretty much stuck with, and tried to work them as many times as possible into your article, even if that meant sacrificing the readability of your page.  And that was the legitimate folks.  Illegitimate marketers would create entire pages and sites stuffed full of nothing but keywords, and unfortunately, those results would rank pretty highly in Google search.

But the folks at Google did some tweaking and updated the algorithms used to deliver search results over past year or so, and the quality of search results improved as a result.

It was a bit funny, though, to see marketers get worried about whether the changes to Google would affect their placement on Google search negatively.

If you read Google’s remarks on the changes they implemented, it became very clear that their intent wasn’t to affect the ranking of legitimate businesses offering relevant, useful information online. It was to limit the use of artificial tactics such as article marketing and over stuffing websites with keywords to “rig” the search results.  Google continues to tweak the algorithms to deliver better results.

(Good) Content Marketing is Great Business!

For legitimate marketers, this is FANTASTIC news, and here’s why.  It eliminates the advantage that was supposedly gained by trying to game the system with crappy content (yes, that’s a technical term).  It levels the playing field, allowing the content to speak for itself when it comes to online marketing (with some minor SEO savvy tweaks in the background).

Yes, as many social media marketers are proclaiming these days, content is king!

With one caveat.

Content is King, but…

If content is king, then context is the kingdom Gary Vaynerchuk says that context is god.  I can’t quite bring myself to say that publicly given my faith background, so I’ll stick with saying that context is the kingdom.  But I’ll still credit him with articulating its importance.

What is context?  It’s understanding each article, each page, and each website as a holistic entity.  It’s the setting of your article, page, and website.  It’s in terms of the context of your page and your site that your article can be understood.

Quality Content Matters!

This means that more than ever, quality content matters.  No, you don’t have to be Shakespeare to produce well-written content.   And you don’t have to have a Ph.D. in your subject matter to be able to create informative, thoughtful information about it.

What you do need is a genuine desire to create something that delivers real value for your audience.  Creating real value means that you inform, inspire, or entertain your readers in some capacity.  Content that creates real value leaves your readers with the feeling that they gained something by reading your article.

In other words, creating content that delivers real value to your audience means understanding the context of your article.  Your article doesn’t exist to be found by a search engine!  SEO is not the ultimate end of your content. Discovery and engagement by real people is.  Content created without this understanding of context is being penalized and weeded out by Google and other search engines – and to this, I say, “Bravo!”

Traditional SEO matters – in terms of fine tuning your Google placement.  But after that, your content and your context must deliver a combination that is so engaging, people can’t help but click through, comment, and share your content.  Anything less than that does a disservice to your audience and deserves the Google burial it receives.

How are you creating value for your audience?  Entertainment/humor?  Information? Inspiration?  Some combination of the above? I’d love to hear – leave a comment below!

21 Comments on Content Marketing: The #1 Secret to Mastering SEO For Your Business

  1. LizManess
    November 14, 2012 at 8:25 am (5 years ago)

    Fantastic Post my dear. It is amazing how much SEO has changed in the last 10 years and you nailed it! Content.. that has people coming for more is what will give you that social proof that Google likes. Yes there are still a few teaks here and there but the game has changed for the better!

    • Pauline
      November 14, 2012 at 9:14 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Liz. It amazes me how much people get worried when Google updates its algorithms, but the only people who should be genuinely worried are the illegitimate content providers. The whole point of the updates is to weed out the garbage and reward great content.

  2. Anastasiya Day
    November 14, 2012 at 9:24 am (5 years ago)

    Pauline, I love this post – great content and easy to understand. Yes, I also think the same to what Liz wrote – there are still a few teaks here and there but the game has changed for the better! Thanks for sharing.

  3. denny hagel
    November 14, 2012 at 9:49 am (5 years ago)

    Love this…”Discovery and engagement by real people is.” Each time I read your articles I understand more and more!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Pauline
      November 14, 2012 at 11:01 am (5 years ago)

      Thank you, Denny! It definitely amazes me when SEO folks get so hyperfocused on being found by Google that they forget to make it readable by the humans using Google!

  4. Olga Hermans
    November 14, 2012 at 9:59 am (5 years ago)

    Thanks Pauline for this great information; quality content and its relevancy gives your site more and more authority. I like the way you explained it with your won sense of humor to it; can you rub off something on me?? I am usually way to serious! Thanks

    • Pauline
      November 14, 2012 at 11:01 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks, Olga! The secret is…being just tired enough with the little ones that the first layer of worrying what others think as I write goes out the window. 😉 (and I enjoy reading your posts as well!)

  5. Sherie
    November 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm (5 years ago)

    Pauline, I felt myself heave a sigh of relief when I read your post. “The less you know about anything any expert told you about SEO marketing, the better off you are in your online marketing efforts”…whew…for me, on my site, it has always been about the content that I share…love this post!

    • Pauline
      November 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm (5 years ago)

      I’m delighted to have provided relief, Sherie. There’s a role for people who know SEO, but more and more, that role really needs to take a back seat to the actual content itself. Great SEO on a mediocre or soulless article does not do anyone any favors.

  6. Terressa Cortez
    November 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm (5 years ago)

    Thank you for the great advice regarding SEO and that providing content is the real key to success with your business and clients.

  7. Pamela Gail Johnson
    November 14, 2012 at 6:55 pm (5 years ago)

    I always try to inform, inspire and make the world a little happier. Fortunately, it’s a broad topic range.

    • Pauline
      November 15, 2012 at 5:48 am (5 years ago)

      You sure do, Pamela! Love how your content contains elements of all of those benefits.

  8. Edmund Lee
    November 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm (5 years ago)

    More true than ever in this day in age. I’m glad that the playing field is being evened out and quality of content is winning out.

    • Pauline
      November 15, 2012 at 5:48 am (5 years ago)

      Me too, Edmund! While I continue to learn more as a writer, I am so glad that we’ll see less of the purely keyword-driven posts in Google results!

  9. Lorii Abela
    November 15, 2012 at 2:20 am (5 years ago)

    Quality content does matters and delivering the real value is a MUST. Great article and thanks for sharing!

  10. Suzanne Jones
    November 15, 2012 at 6:00 am (5 years ago)

    I too am very glad it has gone to what it should have been all along, content. This way we who do write get that opportunity to get noticed.

  11. Patricia
    November 16, 2012 at 9:51 am (5 years ago)

    Audacious rant! Awesome!! The only part I couldn’t wrap around in my head was your statement, “Your article doesn’t exist to be found by a search engine! SEO is not the ultimate end of your content. Discovery and engagement by real people is.” I’m not sure what that means. Without being found by SEO (reasonable keywords) discovery is impossible. So then if it can’t be discovered, neither would the engagement. I gotta think about this one… great stuff – love patricia

    • Pauline
      November 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm (5 years ago)

      Hi Patricia! Great feedback, and I can see where that statement would cause some confusion. What I mean is this – while it needs to be found by Google (et al), its purpose isn’t to be found. It’s purpose is to educate, inform, entertain, or otherwise provide value to a reader. If your article is found by the search engines but the title isn’t engaging enough to entice someone to click, all the SEO in the world won’t actually do a darn thing for your business. If someone clicks on your article with an engaging headline – but after a few sentences they’re not willing to read to the end, explore your call to action or other products, all of your fine SEO will gain you nothing. SEO is important – but it isn’t the ultimate or final purpose of your content. Being compelling enough for people to read and act upon (and come back for more) is the ultimate end of your content.

      Does that make sense?

      Thanks so much for an engaging comment!

  12. Mike McDonald
    November 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm (5 years ago)

    Awesome information. I always try to create valuable content for my readers and this has really increased my page rank. Of course getting people to read it and them being able to really helps too.


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