Why “Content Is King” Is the Biggest Myth in SEO

Adam White

Sep 16, 20166 min read
Why “Content Is King” Is the Biggest Myth in SEO

Over the past decade, you have probably been around someone in the SEO world who has regurgitated the phrase, "content is king."

I have a real problem with this phrase for two reasons. One, if you know how to do link building the right way, link building is king.

Most people don't know how to build links the right way so  they tell you content is king because producing content is so much easier than getting good links to point to your website. If an SEO company is any good than what they would tell you is great content and link building go hand in hand.

The second reason I have a problem with the cliche that content is king is because of the laziness of most of us, that little three word phrase is all of the information most people are actually hearing and absorbing.

If a website owner simply ran with the information that "content is king" they might go down this path:

OK, content is king. Let's go produce 10 million words of content and we will dominate the search engines. Let's take an article and publish it on our blog. Then we will take that article and spin it (rewrite it in different words) and publish it again. Then lets do it again and again. Sure we're not adding any value to the internet or to our users but content is king. Google will love us. While were at it, let's hire a writer to create 100 pages of content that all say pretty much the same thing as our home page just reworded to trick the search engines.

Many spammers have tried this approach. This is not what is meant by "content is king."

The phrase actually needs to be rephrased to tell the real story. Here is what people should be saying:

Great Content Strategy + SEO Is King

There are basically three pillars to producing successful content that drives traffic and increases sales. 

1. Create a Great Content Strategy 
2. Create Amazing Content That Solves A Problem
3. Create Search Engine Friendly Content

Let’s talk about the three pillars of SEO content in a little more detail.

Pillar 1: Create A Great Content Strategy

With any website you run you need to know exactly how to write SEO rich content that fits the purpose of the audience you're writing for. 

The next step is to put yourself in their shoes. What do they want? What are their points of pain in business and in life. How can you help solve those problems for them?

For example, when I create content for Guest Post Tracker I am writing to SEO companies and consultants who struggle finding authority blogs where they can guest post. 

My strategy is to create amazing content that fills the needs of this group so that I can establish myself as an authority in the SEO space. That way those who run SEO companies will know and trust that my software can help them build awesome links for their clients.

With this in mind you need to start making a list of blog post ideas that address the needs of your audience. Adding content just to rank for a certain key phrase is not enough. Adding great content that your target audience will truly benefit from is the strategy that will drive traffic, links, and shares.

This post from Gnarly Nutrition, a sports supplements company, is a great example of a content strategy that makes the lives of their target customers better. They do this by giving them creative ways that they can consume whey protein so it is not always in a shake. 

This is how you need to implement your strategy. 

Pillar 2: Create Amazing Content That Solves a Problem

In the second pillar, you need to now create the amazing content that will solve a problem that your customer might have. 

But here's the thing:

You have to spend your time doing research. You must take the time to generate a piece of content unlike anything that exists on the internet.

You want your target customer to read this piece of content and not only think you are amazing but also be willing to share it with his peers because it hits the nail on the head. It makes his life better in some way.

You won't get that if you don't spend the time and make the effort to make it great.

And it needs to be long. 

In a study from Brian Dean at Backlinko, he says "the average word count of a Google first page result is 1890 words."

You have to remember that one of the main ways that Google looks at a web page and decides what that page is about is from looking at that content of that page.

The more content you have on the page the more you can convince Google to rank you higher.

Again, this will help differentiate you from the other websites trying to rank for the same key phrases. When I am adding content to a website now I usually will do a minimum of 1500 words but have even written a blog post that was over 10,000 words long.

It takes more time and money to create this type of content but the time is an investment. Write a 5,000 word article and build links for it,and watch as it drives traffic that makes you money 24 hours a day 7 days a week for years to come. To me that is an investment in my business that is time well spent.

Pillar 3: Create Search Engine Friendly Content

Anytime you add content to a website you need to have a purpose. In other words, you need to be targeting certain key phrases that you want to rank for on Google. I don't think I need to spell this out for most small business owners but I will anyway, the key phrases you try to target in your content need to be phrases that will bring targeted visitors to your website.

There is no use writing a 3000 word article about a concert you went to and then getting 5 million Justin Bieber fans to your website that sells industrial wrenches. (Why were you at a Justin Bieber concert in the first place?) 

What you want is targeted traffic. Your content strategy should be to use the content on your website to get buyers to visit your website and, of course...buy. So with each blog post or new page you add to your website you need to target phrases in your industry that you know your potential customers are searching.

So let’s say I was writing content for a real estate website in Arizona. I might add content one day that targeted the phrase “homes for sale in Phoenix” and maybe the next time write an article that will target “house values in Arizona”. You can target more that one key phrase when you write an article but you should focus on one main phrase. 

The way you target the phrase in your content is you literally include that phrase in certain places. For example, the exact phrase should be part of the title of the blog post. You should then include an H1 tag at the top of the post that includes the phrase as well (If you use Wordpress to blog on your site it will automatically add the H1 tag from your blog post title).

Then in the content of the blog post you need to include the phrase just 1-2 times and maybe a variation of the phrase 1-2 times per 500 words. It is important not to overdo this part of it. Adding your phrases more than that looks spammy to search engines.

GOGO Charters, a charter bus company does a great job with this strategy. Their target audience is people who book and travel on charter buses so they've written an article that describes 10 games the passengers can play while traveling on a charter bus.

The article hits both key phrases that their customer would search and solves a problem for their target audience.

There is no use adding amazing content if you aren’t going to get targeted traffic from it.

Content Myths For SEO

One of the biggest myths about adding content to your website is that you need to be consistent with the content. Again, industry "experts" would say that as a general rule you should be adding content to a website at a minimum of once per week but 2-3 times is much better. 

The truth is there is no research to back up this claim that adding content all of the time will help you with SEO.

The only strategy that has been tested and proven is that if you create amazing content and get natural links pointing to that content you will rank in Google.

That needs to be your strategy moving forward and you will create a long term flow of targeted traffic to your website.

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Author Photo
Adam White is the founder of SEOJet, backlink management software that helps marketers build amazing backlink profiles, and Guest Post Tracker, an online software that helps SEO companies get access to 1000+ guest blogging sites. In his spare time wrote and directed a feature film. He lives in Arizona with his wife and 6 children.