Doug Karr’s SEO Is Dead, Long Live Content talk at Blog Indiana last week was a good lesson in the importance of high quality content for companies that want to succeed online.
In the past, you could hire SEO firms that would use backlinking strategies, keyword stuffing strategies, and any other black hat or gray hat tactic you could think of. And for several years, they worked great. Spend more money, and the rankings go up. Abandon your SEO company, and your rankings would drop.
Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have all but killed the traditional SEO industry. It’s gotten so bad that small SEO companies have shut down completely, and the big SEO companies have laid off staff members as they retool and redefine themselves.
But the smart companies are retooling themselves into content factories. They finally got the message that they needed to produce words — lots and lots of words — and quit spending so much energy on on-page SEO, page sculpting, and all the other little tricks.
Google wants you to make your stuff awesome. They want you to produce good quality content, and they’re not so worried about the old techniques..
This has really helped the social media savvy writers and content producers, because they’re the ones who 1) know how to produce the best content that people want to read, hear, and watch, and 2) they know how to share it to the biggest, but precisely targeted audience.
As Doug said during his talk, “You need to capture the scale of intent for the problems people are trying to solve online and talk to people the way they want to be talked to.”
In other words, speak to the dog, in the language of the dog, about the things that matter to the heart of the dog.
Content Marketing Just Got Harder
This has made marketing more difficult. It is requiring us to turn off Fast Eddie’s Super Fantastic Automatic Marketing Machine, and actually do some old-school marketing, crafted carefully by hand, and done by trained professionals.
It means you can’t automate. You can’t phone it in. You can’t ignore the quality of the writing. You can’t ignore the grammar and punctuation. And you can’t do a half-assed job in your writing.
It means you need to hire people who know how to write good stuff. Who can shoot good video. Who can record interesting podcasts. Who know how to build community online and effectively communicate to them.
It means you have to pay attention to your audience and what they want. You have to know what interests them. You have to know what they want. Basically, you have to listen to them.