- The normal advice around merely enhancing on the content already rank at the top of the SERP is fundamentally flawed.
- SEOs frequently limit their content possibilities by thinking of SEO content material from purely acquisitional perspective.
- Thinking of content from a personalisation perspective leads to differentiation plus aligns with Google’s focus on topical expertise and authority.
- Emerging AI writing technologies may not be symmetrical with Google’s evolving algorithm.
I have a bone to pick using the way our industry thinks about content. In general, I think we regularly don’t appreciate what good content really is. Nor do I think we consider what should go into creating great content. Here, in particular, I want to challenge the notion that all content is “acquisition” content material.
I don’ t just mean landing pages, but blog posts as well. That’s correct, not all content should be made up of the objective of getting more conversions or even more traffic to your site.
Will that sound outlandish? Maybe. But by the time you complete reading this, you might agree with me. (Although let’s be truthful, you probably won’t).
SEO from a personalisation perspective
I often think of SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION from a branding perspective. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Well, that’s a crazy declaration right there! ”. Outlandish as it could sound, thinking of SEO in terms of branding will greatly impact how you see “SEO content”. Why? Because in terms of way of thinking, content creation and branding are very similar.
Let’s substitute “your brand” with “your site” because your site is your brand to both users and search engines.
Think of your site as your brand. Just like you think about your brand’ s identity and perception– that’ s how you should think about your site because that’ s how it’ ersus seen by Google.
We, as SEOs, might refer to this as your site’s “trust” and “authority. ” Once you break those concepts down fundamentally, what you’re actually talking about is how your internet site is being perceived based on exactly what it’s meant to be doing (that is, its identity).
Put simply, what would the fundamental issue be with a site that offered cancer treatment help and advice while peddling payday loans? It could be the perception that the wellness advice is, at best, “tainted”. Even if the site wasn’t “seedy” and offered cancer treatment advice as well as investment suggestions, there would be a severe lack of identity.
In many fundamental ways, things like E-A-T and brand identity (and subsequently, perception) are the same thing.
So let’s ask, if you wanted your own brand to be perceived as trustworthy and authoritative how can you go about writing your content? What would your content look and sound like?
That kind of content material would have to be substantial, nuanced and detailed. Most importantly, it will have to be unique. Having brand name identity that is borrowed from another brand is completely antithetical to having your own brand identity. This would apply to many methods from an in-depth blog post to a product image or explanation. Brand identity and difference go hand in hand. Differentiation plus nuance go hand in hand. Would you see where I’m going here?
Does your “SEO content” sound like this? Are we all hyper-focused on differentiation?
Just the opposite. A lot of the basic advice heard about writing “good SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION content” is about replicating what the top-ranking sites are doing currently.
The normal “content for SEO” is definitely irksome
The typical advice about producing “SEO content” flies when confronted with content that has a unique identity and brand value. Namely, it often calls on folks to see what’s ranking on the top of the SERP and make sure the topics that the top-ranking sites cover make their way to your content material as well. Differentiation is darned.
Worse, this advice is often focused to new SEOs plus it’s presented without a touch that there’s more towards the story here.
Obviously, surveying the top-ranking pages plus taking some ideas away is really a fine thing to do. However , it does not create unique value. Skyscraper content, as it’s known as, doesn’t help you differentiate your articles in any substantial way.
For those of you who adhere to the notion associated with simply improving upon exactly what currently ranks let me request you, would you take the exact same approach with your brand?
Could you be happy with a brand identity which was simply a take on another brand’s identity? That kind of feels a bit cheap and it isn’t a truly effective branding strategy.
Why is your content any different?
Is regurgitating what’s already out there going to help your content stand out or be memorable? (The answer is no in the event you were really wondering)
In addition, there is a fundamental flaw on this approach. Namely, it rests on the assumption that what is there already is the best that it can possibly be. But , isn’t it entirely possible that Google would prefer content that took the subject from a totally different angle? Isn’t it possible that the articles already ranking isn’t the best, but is simply the best Google has at the moment? What if you had been to take a new approach or even introduce new relevant subtopics that other pages don’t? Isn’t there a chance that you simply would rank and not those people other pages?
However , if you only look at content that’s already ranking, you will not think about the content that people want and need, that does not exist yet. That’s potentially a huge opportunity that you would be missing out on.
So , exactly why is this tolerated? Why do we spread the idea that many it takes is a wee little bit of keyword research and some surveying of the ranking sites?
I believe it comes down to mindset. We generally think of content as acquisitional and that’s a bit problematic.
The problem with thinking about articles as purely acquisitional
When you think about content as being purely acquisitional, you feel blinded by the drug which is acquisition . Whenever your sole goal is acquire you’re not thinking about such things as:
- What’s genuinely great for the user?
- How do I differentiate our content?
- What does my articles say about my brand name?
The idea of content being acquisitional is not intrinsically problematic. Content should bring in new users, it should generate visitors, it should result in sales…but it should also do more.
Content material should help give identity to your site. It should produce relationships with users. It should lend an air associated with authority and expertise for your site. (We’re right back on the whole E-A-T thing once again because branding and E-A-T are two peas within a pod)
However , we don’t live in a world of identification, relationships, and authority. The world consists of clicks, traffic, conversion rates, sales, and so forth. In turn, all of us distort content, which in this particular author’s opinion is not essentially about acquisition, into only being about acquisition.
It isn’t really hard to see how a mindset that revolves around viewing what already works and replicating it came to dominate our industry. Things like identity and consumer trust, nicely those are “marketing” concepts. What do they have to do along with SEO? SEO is about traffic. Let’s create content that will brings in that traffic, no?
Except, I would argue, SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION is not that at all. Search engines will be using who your site is and what it claims to be (and if the content you have aligns with that). They are knowing your expertise and specialist. They want to match the user along with helpful content that aligns to query intent.
Search engines like google don’t care about your visitors and conversions. They value users, much the way that the more ‘brand-centric’ outlook upon SEO would care about how a user perceives a website.
What should content be created for otherwise the acquisition of more sales or traffic?
So if you’re not really writing content for acquisition then who and what are you writing content for? I don’t know, how about your market or potential audience? (I’m referring to creating content for the user, so cliche, I realize. )
There are various starting points when thinking about content that serves users. One of which is thinking about yourself and your site and how the content you develop represents you. Because once you do, you sure are not going to want to put out anything that offers you the wrong way.
Really dont want to get into the whole “is keyword research dead” controversy (it’s dead, it’s not a legitimate debate). Do what you want along with your keywords. I don’t care about your keywords, I care about your content.
Your content is you. The content you have on your own site is who you are towards the users who visit your site. Your articles is branding. There is not a way around that. Therefore while you’ve been focused on scraping every topic plus subtopic you can from your rivals, your users (can we call them readers? ) are asking why your content looks and feels like every other piece of content they’ve find. Congratulations.
(By the way, I personally believe search engines are most likely stating the same thing. That is, what is the real value in ranking this page over what’s already right now there, if fundamentally, they are the exact same? )
Traffic and growth and conversions or however you want to frame this is not the linear equation. Driving more traffic or getting more conversions is a complex plus messy endeavor. You can’t imagine about what is immediately ahead. How users feel about your internet site and perceive your brand over time is an important part of the equation. The content your readers consume, whether it be a product description or even a blog post, define you and your brand name. That can determine if they go back to your site, recommend your site, connect to your site, mention your site, and so forth.
Is this not part of SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION? Because if it is, that only happens when you do things like considering content from a “perception” or even “branding” (or whatever you wish to call it) point of view.
Furthermore, thinking of your content and your site overall from a brand authority perspective naturally hones your own topical focus. It forces you to create substantial articles that reflects well upon who you are. And as I described earlier, that topical concentrate gives your site identity in order to both users (in the shape of brand identity) and to search engines (in the form associated with, “hey, this site comprehensively discusses this topic over multiple posts, let’s rank all of them for this topic across the board”).
But this only happens if you step back from the pay for mindset and think of your content from a wider and less strictly “traditional SEO” viewpoint. This only happens when you write content that’s differentiated, that focuses on quality, and that isn’t about making sure you cover certain topics for the sake of covering a certain topic.
What I am trying to say is that content is naturally nearer to branding than it is to SEO (at least SEO as many of us know it). Unless you look at your content from a branding/perception point of view you are fundamentally missing out on what content is.
That, in turn, means creating strong and quality content will be an uphill battle for you personally. And that means that ranking long term is also going to be an uphill battle for you personally, as Google continues to refine how it understands language and how it profiles sites.
Succinctly, rather than asking “how will this content get me more traffic? ”, ask yourself, ‘“How will this content make me look to my users? ”. That will put you on the path to writing unique, helpful content.
GPT-3, it’s a trap!
I could end the piece here, but I have an additional “concern” that needs to be addressed. AI writers.
Do I think AI writers, namely GPT-3 is likely to be good at writing a product description? Yes, I do. I think AI writers will ultimately perform a wonderful job with something such as a product description.
Do I believe AI writers, namely GPT-3, will be good at writing something titled, “A Speculative Critique of Relativity from a Quantum Physics Perspective”? Absolutely not. Can you?
As this field rapidly develops I want to issue a warning: don’t fall into the trap. Don’t think that you can get away with using something such as GPT-3 to write a deeply nuanced and differentiated article or blog post.
Yes, I actually do think people will try to complete just that. Why? Because of the same acquisition mindset, I complained about earlier. When it comes to more substantial content, an AI writer just can’ t deliver the nuance and quality that you need to make a difference.
As I see it the risk is that it’s an easy task to get caught up in emerging technology and go all-in on it. Just remember, Google can be an emerging technology, and lots of what it’s doing in the algorithm stands in contradiction to the full-on adoption of AI articles.
While the emergence of AI writers might make it easier to create content, you could be creating the very content that Google does not want. And while something like GPT-3 would, all things being equal, work well on a landing page, the content it produces for a topic your blog handles may need more nuance and depth.
Of course, all of this hinges on thinking there is a world of content beyond acquisition fluff. (If you love fluff, go ahead GPT-3 yourself to death. )
Have the perception pressure
How do users perceive your site? How do they experience you after reading the content on your site or interacting with your site? Thinking about your site’s perception can be a pathway to creating content that is substantial and ultimately effective (and I mean from an SEO point of view).
The thing is when we get so swept up in linear metrics that individuals don’t even feel that pressure. When SEO content creation becomes a hustle to outrank whatever is currently at the top of the SERP it sacrifices perspective. That perspective can be the big difference between being another piece of the same ol’ content versus being something both users and search engines value.
End the hustle.
Mordy Oberstein is Liaison to the SEO Community at Wix.
Source: searchenginewatch. com