Let’s Kill SEO Content

Now that the Helpful Content update is here, let’s kill SEO content. To be clear, I am not saying anyone (clients, or Tyler Jordan himself) should fire their content marketers—I’m saying it’s time for a mindset shift around your content strategy.

If you talk about some content on your site as “SEO content” and other content as just “content,” you’re telling me that you spend some of your time prioritizing an algorithm over your audience. So many companies look at organic marketing as a math equation. X = 3Y+5Z, where X is traffic, Y is the number of blog posts per month and Z is how many times a keyword appears on your page. These practices only serve to make everyone miserable. They’re stressing out your copywriters. They are, at best, adding no value to users. And now they’re making Google mad.

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It’s About People, not Bots

In August Google announced it would prioritize content “where visitors feel they've had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn't meet a visitor's expectations won't perform as well.” The update has shaken SEOs to their core, but it isn’t new.

Google has been trying to tell you all to stop writing for it for over a decade. The Panda update in 2011 was “designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful.” In 2018, many sites were affected by the so-called “Medic Update,” which added extra scrutiny to legal, medical, financial and lifestyle content—anything that can have a major effect on someone’s life.

Through these core updates, the message has been clear: make your content better for the sake of your user, get rewarded. Try to trick Google, get nothing.


How to Write Useful Content

Blogs should be helpful and this one is no different. If the helpful content update has left your blog strategy in tatters, there are steps you can take to create useful content.


Put your audience first

Before you set hands on keyboard, ask yourself who wants to know. Ideally, you were already doing this on some level by finding relevant search queries around your content, but now take it a step further and ask why someone wants to know from you. 

Google’s helpful content announcement poses a list of questions to ask when taking a people-first approach, including:

  • After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they've learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they've had a satisfying experience?

Write content people want to read and they will read it.


Prove that you’re worth listening to

Show your readers why your content is trustworthy. Find and properly cite good sources from trusted websites. Go the extra mile to link to the original research, not someone else’s website. Analyze external information, don’t just re-print it. Whenever possible, use your own research and data to add more to the conversation instead of repeating the noise. Provide an author bio that shows you are an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic.


Reframe “musts” as “nice to haves”

Throw out your requirements and quotas. Keyword stuffing has been frowned upon since the early 2000s, but to this day marketers are still searching for the magic number of direct-match queries they need in content to get to page one. Marketing departments have also been searching for the magic publishing cadence, word count or title format.

Here at JDM we’ve already adapted our content briefs. When previously we would recommend a keyword be used a specific number of times or a strict word count based on current performing content; we now leave it up to the writer and editor’s discretion. Does the content answer the question thoroughly in 400 words? Are all 1000 words good and without fluff? If the answer is “yes,” publish without impunity.  


If you need help reframing your content strategy, Contact Jordan Digital Marketing to work with a team of content and SEO experts.


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