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Adam White

Why “Content Is King” Is The Biggest Myth In SEO

Adam White
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 what the purpose of the content you are writing is. You also need to decide exactly who your audience is that you are 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.

Adam White is the founder of 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.

Comments

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Quasi1
OK so if a homepage should have 1500+ words, why does your own site not have anywhere near that many words. Same applies to my competitors, in fact most sites don;t have anywhere near 1500 words on their homepage. Please explain. I previously had lots of words on my homepage and an 'SEO expert' said it looked bad for a homepage and to cut the number of words and use more images/diagrams. Thoughts?
Steve Downes
Interesting Adam. Quite a novel approach - write a click bait headline then repudiate it, without irony, in the body. But no cigar I'm afraid. No-one with any authority would link to it. So, here's your entire 'feature' in a simple sentence; Producing high value content will attract links from sources with high authority which will boost your SEO.

You're welcome.
Mark S Elliott
Mark S Elliott
Great article and one that both 'debunks' some of the myths I often come across and helps readers to shape a strategy based on rationality. There is no doubt that original, quality, researched content will draw the right kind of traffic, links and ambassadors (these days measured in links+shares). Thanks again, I am going to share!
Suertz
Thanks for this great article. It solidifies my perception that long form content does better. I'm never publishing another post with less than 2000 words.
George
George
Yes! Well spoken. I read a similar post over at social triggers but it was more focused on headlines. I like the more rounded approach you take to debunk this rather bad tactic of using a content mill to churn out garbage.
Thomas Zickell
Thomas Zickell
I agree with you the essence of somebody/most (writing a piece of content) has to be back by a lot of authority on the subject e.g your someone like Rand Fishkin and talking about in SEO (yes it will be linked to) or you will not see 1-3 for your terms written about.

You are talking about small businesses that don't automatically r talking about small businesses that really need those links in order to boost rank for the topic of the post 20 minutes after posting.

I'm with you on that if it's the case.
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Sabrina Nicole
Thanks for the blog Adam. I found it particularly interesting as I'm trying to incorporate search engine friendly content for my blog. However I'd rather my content have a purpose than creating content for the sake of it!
Remove Online Information
Remove Online Information
Sabrina Nicole
Agreed. It's much better to have just enough useful content than a lot of extra useless fluff.
Frank Sandtmann
Frank Sandtmann
Thanks for sharing your opinion, Adam.

I strongly contradict the claim in your heading that "Content is King" is a myth. But I assume it was mainly ment as click bait, as you are voicing a more balanced opinion later in your article.

Of course it is true that Google was hammering home that matra for a very long time. However, with the advent of RankBrain and its machine learning capabilities I am pretty certain that content is more important than ever - of course meaning "great content" as you put it.

Links have been at the core of Google´s algorithm from the beginning, and they still have a significant influence. But in the future this needs to be backed up even stronger by great content.
Zebedeerox
Great overview. I frequent the digital freelance agencies often and you wouldn't believe the amount of clients asking for content for content's sake.

And as for persuading them to spend anything more than a tenner on a blog article? Well - they sure need an additional strategy to rank for their desired keyphrases if cheap copy is all they're willing to buy.

The one addendum I'd make here, Adam, is that content must add value.

For sure, you touch on the topic in this quote:
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.
Let's not dwell on the fact that Google can appraise a page at concept level, thus eradicating any benefit from spun articles.
I mean, if content adds nothing to the web, why rank it?

And that's my point. In an otherwise smashing article like this, adding value should be stressed further.

Yes, as a writer or business owner, we must solve problems for our potential customers
But we must also add value to the knowledge bases over and above that which search engines are corroborating info they find on page in order that they can rank pages with greater confidence.

IMHO, value-add is an invisible pillar in itself that goes beyond satisfying the prospect…

…which, upon consideration, is probably why clients don't (or won't) 'see it' (or pay for it). Good stuff! ☺
Benjamin Cussigh
Thanks for this blog Adam,

I find the information you post about is extremely helpful and I try to teach the SEO team here at: www.aiad.com.au to use this method a lot more, the main reason being that I have used this method a fair few times and the process has proven to work so much better than any other methods that people have written about.

I think that you hit the nail on the head when you said that people trying to build good quality links, get bored with how long and hard the process is when trying to build the best quality & most niche relevant backlinks from authority sites.

But I think it is a time consuming investment that pays off in the long run, if you have good quality content that is at least 1500 - 2000 words & if the content for the blog, post or article solves a problem or offers great solutions to the target audience.

Keep up the great blogs.
Ram Babu
Thanks adam, To understand the importance you need to know all aspects of its impact from your user behavior end.
Adam H
Adam H
Authority is King, Content is a pawn waiting patiently to be Queen.....that only comes when King/authority gives it the power to be seen.
SeoKungFu
I love the smell of linkbuilding in
the morning !
Noname
eventually marketers forget the importance of content and focus on selling there products .
i as a owner of www.crowdcouncil.com never force my employees to sell our services , we crate trust and branding ,, which automatically increases saes for my company.
Marcel Iseli
True words. Exactly my point of view.
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