Category Archives: SEO

Why you can’t ignore content marketing as an SEO expert

The title of this blog post comes with a touch of irony. I address you as an SEO expert and then I try to explain why you cannot ignore content marketing. But it is not a complete irony – I still come across well-meaning SEO professionals who think that content is important, but it is optional and good search engine rankings don’t necessarily depend on good content. So this blog post is for them.

You may also like to read Why SEO companies are putting more stress on content writing?.

What exactly is SEO? Is it merely getting good search engine rankings? I remember once a client came to my office and requested me to set his website as my homepage so that every time I loaded my browser, it would increase his visitors count. I asked him what he was trying to achieve by that, and he said, it would instill confidence in his other visitors. When I asked him what effect a higher visitor count had made to his business, he flatly said, “None.” SEO hadn’t become a buzzword back then and nobody on this planet had heard of social media.

Why your SEO needs a healthy dose of content marketing?

I’m not an SEO expert but over the past 12 years that I have spent eking out a living on the Internet I have found out that there are 4 things that decide your search engine rankings

  • The quality of your content
  • General well-being of your website
  • The quality of your incoming links
  • The level of competition you face

The recent addition, the fifth thing that has an impact on your search engine rankings, is your author rank – how much social relevance your name enjoys on the Internet.

The relation between content marketing and SEO

What are people doing when they are using the search engines? They are looking for content in the form of information or entertainment. They seek information to keep them aware, to educate themselves, for researching, to find product or service they need, and to make good buying decisions.

Suppose you get good rankings for “garden sprinkling system” but when people come to your website they cannot make out what you are trying to do. The content is not convincing. Or it is full of errors. Maybe you haven’t highlighed the greatest benefits of the sprinkling system. Are you merely providing information or you want people to buy from you? And if they should buy from you then why? Just because you have got good search engine rankings or your sprinkling system is actually better than the others? People don’t do business because of your search engine rankings; they buy from you when your written content, your copywriting, is able to engage them and convince them.

This is just one aspect of content marketing. Once you have written credible and convincing content you also need to make it accessible to as many prospective visitors as possible.

The relationship between content marketing and quality incoming links

The days of paid links are gone, or going. Google heavily penalizes websites that aggregate incoming links by either paying for them or through link-exchange schemes. People should link to you for the value you provide, in terms of content or branding. Two legitimate ways of getting quality and reliable incoming links are:

  • Website owners, authors and bloggers voluntarily linking to you
  • You write for other websites and blogs and your link appears in the small bio or profile on the same link as credit

In both the cases you need high-quality content. If people voluntarily link to you then they must find something worth linking to. If you write for other blogs and websites then too, they won’t publish your blog posts and articles unless they are of a certain standard.

So you can see, whether you are focusing on onsite or off-site SEO, ultimately it’s the combination of the quality of your content and a well-coordinated content marketing strategy that decides what sort of search engine rankings you are going to experience.


What sort of content gets you good Google rankings?

You create content for your users and visitors, and not for search engines, and this is a good strategy. But it does you no harm, if Google likes your content too. This blog post on Copyblogger talks in detail how Google these days gives more importance to the quality of content rather than its quantity or the number of websites and blogs linking to it.

Despite scores of updates by the end of the day Google wants to present high-quality content to its users. What makes your content high-quality? If you are able to create and publish such content it not only pleases your visitors it also pleases search engines like Google.

The primary attributes of high-quality content are:

  • It is informative
  • It is topical
  • It is useful
  • It is relevant
  • It is well-written and well-formatted
  • It is engaging

How do you achieve these attributes? To be frank I never like to put content writing within various boxes, but according to tried and tested observations, the following types of content can get you good Google rankings aside from pleasing your audience.

Compilation of useful resources

There is a ton of useful information on the Internet but people either don’t have enough time to scour the web or don’t have the right tool to reach the right content. Why don’t you provide quality resources within one single blog post or article? Something like “50 Killer Tips On Content Writing From Best Writers On the Web”, or “15 SEO Resources You Cannot Live without”. These types of articles and blog posts rank well on Google because they pack lots of information at a single place and this information can actually help its users.

A list of things

The year 2012 was often called the year of lists in the circle of content writers because practically everybody was creating them and almost every list was going viral on social networking websites. This also fetched them higher search engine rankings. Lists still do great because, again, they provide lots of useful information at a single place. An example of a useful list would be “25 Ways to Lose Weight Without Eating Less”.

Product or service reviews

Well-balanced useful reviews help your reader decide what they should purchase and how they should spend their money. Therefore, this sort of content is highly useful and relevant. Often it is also vertically focused and hence easier for Google to rank.

Interviews with industry leaders

Interviewing industry leaders not only provides highly valuable insight to your readers, it also increases your search engine rankings naturally. Most of the industry leaders these days publish their own blogs. They already enjoy high rankings on Google. They have hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook. When you publish an interview of one of them he or she will surely mention it on Twitter and Facebook and if you’re very lucky he or she might also create a small blog post linking back to your interview. This will give you an immediate boost over Google.

Content that goes viral on social media and social networking websites

All types of content, including the ones mentioned above, can go viral on social media and social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, and there is no set formula. Again, the key is, creating highly useful content that people would like to share. You can also create attractively presented infographics.


Industry-specific news is quickly picked up by Google because millions of people are constantly looking for such information.

This is just a broad representation of the sort of content you can create for your website or blog in order to improve your Google rankings that are immune to the various algorithmic updates the search engine keeps on introducing every few months.


Why SEO companies are putting more stress on content writing?

Of late I have observed an interesting development. Reputed SEO forums, blogs and websites talk of content marketing and content writing more, rather than simply covering the technical and newsie aspects of SEO.

For instance, this article on Search Engine Land talks about some untapped content marketing assets for B2B SEO. This is just a small example I came across this morning but the trend is persistent and during the previous few weeks I have come across many content marketing and content writing-related articles and blog posts on primarily SEO forums and blogs. Why is it so?

The reason can be historical as well as contemporary. Historically content has always ruled the roost although many would like to disagree. Everything on the Internet is content. Everything search engines like Google crawl, index and rank is content. Whenever you are trying to improve your rankings you are trying to improve the ranking of your content pages. So overtly or covertly it is your content that is evaluated and ranked by the search engines. It is your content that is shared and talked about on social networking and social media websites. So far this has been an unstated truth.

Of late Google has been quite aggressive and it is heavily penalizing websites and blogs that use “illegitimate” ways to improve their search engine rankings. Many of these tactics and methods blacklisted by Google have been a staple of SEO companies. Back links and keywords-centric content – once the most acceptable ways of improving your search engine rankings – if done wrongly can plummet your rankings irredeemably. Many small businesses have had to create new websites from scratch. Engaging an SEO company has become a danger rather than a prudent marketing decision. I’m not saying all SEO companies are like this, but most are.

So what is the safest bet? User-focused content writing.

The Google guidelines say create content as if search engines never existed. Create content, write content for your users. Make your content writing as user-friendly as possible. Focus on the keywords not because you want to improve your search engine rankings, but because you want to convey the right message. For instance, my website and my blog is about content writing and content marketing. You can safely say that these are my keywords. There are two ways I can use my keywords.

Conventional way, the “SEO way” is to create lots of content using these two keywords in various combinations. It actually used to work. I’m not saying whether it was right or wrong, it is just unacceptable to Google. So use the right language, use your keywords but only contextually, wherever they are really needed.

This also goes for content pages and blog posts. Don’t just create content to cover keywords. Create content to serve your audience. Whenever you are creating a new page or a new blog post ask yourself, is it really needed? Does it add value to my website on my blog? Will my visitors really find it useful? Am I just creating it because I need another combination of my keywords?

If the answer to the last question is yes, don’t publish it. It can be counter-productive. You can actually lose your search engine rankings if you do that.

Since most of the conventional SEO has become a double-edged sword and since quality content still reigns supreme most of the reputed search engine optimization companies are focusing more on content writing and content marketing rather than simply selling risky SEO services.


How quality content writing can help you reduce your PPC campaign cost

According to this article in New York Times more and more small businesses are scaling down their PPC campaign budgets and investing more in creating content that naturally improves their search engine rankings. You can do this too.

Cost of pay per click programs like AdWords are bound to rise as most of the commerce is shifting onto the Internet. From basic services to the most advanced purchases people are turning to the Internet to not just buy but also research in order to make informed purchase decisions.

PPC campaigns can be great if you have the budget. You can target the exact keywords you want traffic for and provided you have created a nice landing page, even the conversion rate can be awesome. Provided you have the budget you can start getting targeted traffic for the most competitive keywords within the next 30 minutes of launching a new website or a new product or service. The key is, “cost”.

Average PPC cost ranges between $ 1-20 depending upon your business. Of course there are many less competitive keywords that might cost you less than a dollar but you have to keep in mind that this is recurring cost and less competitive keywords cost more and convert less.

Content writing can help you reduce your PPC campaign costs.


You can improve your search engine rankings organically rather than through a PPC campaign. Once you have obtained good rankings and your links begin to appear on the first page of search engine results, whether you get 1 click or 1000 clicks the only money you have spent is on the content writing job.

Of course you cannot get good rankings just by creating a couple of pages. You need to optimize your content and make it search engine friendly, you have to cover all the topics and subtopics, and have to publish regularly in order to make search engines crawl your website and index new content. The greatest benefit of improving your search engine rankings through quality content writing is that you don’t have to pay for every click no matter how many visitors you get.

Optimized content writing also improves your conversion rate tremendously. There are technical as well as psychological reasons. When you’re getting traffic via PPC campaigns you don’t pay much attention to the quality of content. You may spend some time on particular landing pages that draw traffic from your PPC programs, but other than that you are not much bothered about user-friendly language and optimized content. This keeps both search engines as well as visitors primarily unsatisfied.

When you start creating content for better search engine rankings you automatically end up creating high-quality content. This is because, due to the recent ranking algorithm changes, search engines like Google insist that the more human-friendly your content is, the better rankings you get. So it becomes a self-serving circle. You create content to reduce your PPC costs, to increase your natural search engine rankings, and in order to do that, you need to create content that serves your visitors better. And when you serve your visitors well, your conversion rate automatically improves.

According to the article mentioned above, quality content writing also reduces your PPC bidding. If you are improving your natural search engine rankings, the money that you need to pay for every click is also reduced.

As more and more competitors join the fray the PPC campaign costs are going to rise. They have already become prohibitive for many businesses. Content writing on the other hand gives you an advantage that your competitors may not have because not everybody can create quality content. So don’t stop your PPC campaign if you don’t want to, but along with that start investing in an experienced content writer who can start creating high-value content for your website, business blog and social networking profiles.


This entry was posted in Content Writing, SEO and tagged Organic Search Engine Ranking, PPC Campaigns, on by Amrit Hallan.

Are you over optimizing your content?

Over optimizing your content can cost you search engine rankings. While all the time you’re talking about optimizing your content for search engine, what exactly do we mean by over-optimization?

We already know that we have to create our content around our important keywords. Up till here it is well and good. The problem arises when we get too obsessed with our keywords and instead of focusing on quality we start focusing on quantity.

Even if you remain conscious of the quality factor, sometimes you can produce too much of similar content. To be frank I tend to do that. Sometimes I simply go on creating pages and blog posts on similar topics. Not being in SEO person I didn’t even realize that my content was having a negative impact on my rankings until it was a bit late. I realized that, and fortunately, I could recover by removing and reorienting my content. Being a professional content writer was certainly helpful.

Here is a nice blog post on how to recover from over optimization.

The writer rightly puts emphasis on quality and purposefulness rather than simply flooding your website with lots of keyword-centric content.

But then what about covering all your primary and secondary keyword combinations? Again, this is no longer acceptable to Google. Have all the primary pages, use the right language that sounds natural to your human visitors and then, on a regular basis, publish content that is relevant, timely and useful.