Google is making a big push to reward websites and business that produce great content. While most experts in SEO are doing their best to create unique, interesting content, far too often their approach is not what’s best for their website or client. Many want to create content that will generate a lot of links, which are still important to improving your website’s authority. But this is not the right approach to content marketing. The goal of content marketing is to create interesting and unique materials that others will want to read. When someone absorbs a great piece of content, they feel compelled to share it with their friends, family, and potentially blog readers. This will help build your backlink profile in a natural manner. Here are six of the common mistakes I’ve noticed that can limit the potential of your content marketing strategy:
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket! What if your content marketing strategy only consisted of infographics and Google decides to devalue those links (like they did to guest posting links)? You want to diversify your content, and you shouldn’t focus on just one approach. Your readers may get bored if you just share blog posts or infographics, so switch it up to keep your customers interested in your next content piece.
Far too often we decide on a type of content and think about what it will look like before writing the information. Instead, plan out everything you hope to accomplish with the content that you are creating. Once you have all of the information and messages laid out, then decide how you want to present the information. While you may have thought that a guide would be the best medium, you may later decide that a video would be a better piece of content to share this message.
Once the content is created, the next step is to do some outreach and try and earn social shares and links to the content. But that’s usually where the process ends for most marketers. After investing all of the time and energy into creating outstanding content, you should think of other ways you can use it or repurpose it. If you’re wondering how to repurpose content, one example might be if you have an infographic that did really well, consider using it for a print advertisement or flyer. If you have a blog post that did really well, you can reformat it as part of an email to clients. If a video does really well, consider adding it to the homepage. There are so many ways to get more mileage from your content; don’t sell yourself short!
Far too often, we focus on creating content that can generate links and social shares. This is the wrong (and dangerous) frame of mind to have. Instead of focusing on hitting a certain number, think about what potential customers would find interesting as your strategy for how to build quality links. If your audience responds well to humor, consider a funny video or blog post. It may not generate as many links as you’d hope to, but it could seriously help with conversions on your site. At the end of the day, wouldn’t you rather have a piece of content that converts visitors into sales than a piece of content that gets a dozen links and social shares?
Google will grant more weight to websites that they feel are an authority on the topic being searched for. For example, a pizzeria would be a great example of a site that could speak to the topic of pizzas. Creating great content on pizza on a pizzeria’s website can carry a lot of weight in the eyes of Google. However, if a pizzeria wanted to create a beginners guide to social media, this would seem weird. While the pizzeria may have a very large social following (and a great communications strategy), they shouldn’t aim to create content that veers away from what they are an authority on. It will also send mixed signals to Google when they see a handful of marketing and social media marketing blogs with links pointing back to your pizzeria.
A great piece of content does not need to be perfect to generate a lot of links. While many of us aim for perfection, those last few edits can take a lot of time (and money if you’re hiring someone to do any design or writing). What matters most is the meat of the content. If readers find it interesting, they will engage with your brand and share it. They don’t care if the colors are perfect; so long as the content can attract the reader’s eye. With that being said, you should make sure that there aren’t any basic errors, such as misspellings or poor grammar. Far too often, we rush to create content that we can then push out to lots of blogs and websites, and this isn’t the way Google wants to see us link build. Rather, we should focus on a pull strategy by creating great content that compels someone to share it. Pushing out content and manually building links can leave a footprint, which can ultimately land you in Google’s doghouse. One way to look at it? Google won’t penalize you for creating great content that others want to share. The right approach is to create great content that others will WANT to share and find a few authorities to share it with their audience.