Ever wonder if the advice your colleague, that self-proclaimed marketing “guru” (nope) or even digital agency gives you is on point? Or more accurately, do you doubt that it is?
I recently had dinner with a friend who runs a growing multi-location chain restaurant. After we ordered our meals, she immediately started to tell me about her latest chats with SEO and marketing agencies due to her new expansion. She heard some interesting recommendations, so she wanted to run them by me.
“They suggested that we create more than 100 pieces of content, specifically blog posts, during the coming few months. Also, we should optimize each blog post around long-tail keywords. What are your thoughts?”
I paused, took a deep breath. “That’s … not the best suggestion. Actually, that may be the worst, most broad approach to SEO that I’ve ever heard.”
If you’re wondering why, here’s your answer: Publishing a high quantity of mediocre content doesn’t work anymore. It’s an outdated approach.
To further prove my point, I explained why fewer but higher quality content outperforms quantity. Create content that caters to people, and Google will figure it out.
Search engines employ hundreds of ‘Quality Raters’ to help evaluate their search results. Google provides guidelines that outline exactly what it considers colorful and compelling content. The top search engine recently updated these guidelines in May. It’s nearly 160 pages. Here’s the TL;DR scoop:
Google rewards sites that provide content that answers questions or queries completely. If a site has an unsatisfying amount of valid, findable content, it’ll be ranked lower than those that invest.
As any content strategist worth their salt will tell you, “comprehensive” doesn’t translate to a bunch of keywords for the sake of length.– Quality content is both precise and thorough. Learn to ride the fine line between being thorough and effortless.
Avoid keyword stuffing
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Keyword stuffing is just as it sounds, inserting keywords throughout content for the hopes of gaining traction and visibility for that keyword, but it comes across as spammy in the eyes of Google and readers.
It surprises many that Google puts keyword stuffing in the same category as content that’s created with little to no time, effort, manual curation, or additional value for the user. OUCH!
Basically, in the eyes of Google, keyword stuffing can and will destroy your content. You can easily let Google know what your company or specific page is all about without keyword stuffing.
Kill the clickbait
Clickbait, (n): intentionally spammy, exaggerated wording used to elicit click rather than provide value. While it may work for some in the short-term, it backfires when users realize that they’ve been tricked or simply feel that way.
What many don’t realize is that you don’t need clickbait titles to gain traction. Instead, try using titles that speak directly to what the content is and that will also appeal to users. That’s clickable, if you ask me.
Seriously, which would you rather click: ‘5 Best Vegan Restaurants in Phoenix’ or ‘You’ll Never Guess What’s in your Tofu! Click to Find Out!’
If you picked the second, I have a feeling you’ll quickly back out of the post. The goal within headlines is simple, it has to reel people in, while also appealing directly to the content within the post.
When it comes to determining whether the advice may be good or bad, remember that SEO is a long-term investment. It’s going to take some time before results become apparent. But just like anything that takes time, it involves quality work, rather than a bucket load of content. Not like what my friend was being pitched. Successful SEO comes from long-term quality work, not fast-paced quantities.