Content Marketing · SEO

The Lazy Man’s SEO : Building Content That Matters

I’m a lazy man when it comes to SEO.

I like my SEO to happen as naturally as possible with as little marketing effort as possible.

I like to wake up in the morning and discover that I’ve got dozens of new high-powered links to an article I published just the day before. With very little marketing effort.

But we all know that content doesn’t market itself. The old adage “if you build it they will come” no longer applies, right? Yes and no.

I call my method of SEO, The Lazy Man’s SEO (LMS) because most effort does not go directly into SEO, but rather into the content. Content certainly doesn’t self-market, but it can do a whole hell of a lot.

The success of LMS comes down to these four items: 1) how much your content matters to a given group of people 2) how large the online presence of this group is 3) how important the people are that it matters to and 4) identifying the “key leaders” online in the group

Let’s look at each of these three factors.

How Much Does Your Content Matter?

The Internet is basically a mirror of human psychology. Humans are social beings, so it’s really a manifestation of group psychology. The better you can understand your target group and “what matters” to them, the more successful your Lazy Man SEO efforts will be. Just keep in mind that “what matters” is dynamic and always shifting and you need to stay on top of it.

Some tips for mattering:

1) Build it bigger and better.
2) Make it more useful than anything that’s out there.
3) Pull a bunch of data points together to support a popular idea.
4) Take a common idea or theme within a community, and make it visual (infographics).
5) Show that you understand the community by caring about their nuances.
6) Do rankings or awards that are defensible (people need to care about them).

Let’s run through an example and say that your target group is The Tea Party. It doesn’t matter if you agree with The Tea Party ideology. You’re a marketer after all. You give people what they want, not what you want. So what’s going to matter to people who follow The Tea Party?

Well, there are a number of angles you could take. My preference would be to develop some sort of flatter bait that deeply appeals to the sensibilities of Tea Partiers. Here are some ideas:

– The 50 Most Influential Tea Partiers
– The 25 Best Tea Party Bloggers
– The Tea Party Manifesto
– [Infographic] How the United States Went off Track (with appeals to common tea party mantras)

Now, let’s say that someone had already written a comprehensive “Tea Party Manifesto” and it had gotten fairly wide distribution. Chances are that you should ditch that idea, because once it’s been done well, it probably won’t matter as much to people the second time around, unless you can drastically out-perform the first instance.

But no worries. We’d just work with the other items on the list. The important thing here is to contrast these content ideas I’ve presented, which admittedly will take some research and hard work to develop on the content side, with the tendency of many bloggers to write thin content that matters to absolutely no one but themselves and their mamma.

This is ultimately how you break into an ultra-competitive niche. Become the site that consistently matters.

How Large is the Target Group’s Online Presence?

With online marketing you always have to balance between audience size and saturation. The larger the audience, the higher the chance that your ideas will not be unique, and that someone’s already done them. You could always do it better, but it’s an uphill battle.

At the same time, you don’t want to be targeting a group that’s too small to make a difference. That’s like developing a line of t-shirts that’s only relevant to people who actually live in Antarctica.

My preference is to target audiences that are large, passionate, vocal but relatively untouched by other online marketers. Going back to my Tea Party example, I’m willing to bet that they are a relatively untouched niche. Why? Because most Internet Marketers don’t agree with or understand the Tea Partier psychology and haven’t attempted to reverse engineer it.

But the group is big enough (lots of tea party blogs and forums) and passionate enough and has enough online representation that you can get some pretty damn good links. And the people involved aren’t super jaded towards online marketers… at least not yet.

How Important is Your Target Group?

By important, I just mean, how much online authority do they have and how integrated are they into the wider web. There are some relatively large fringe groups out there, and the fascinating thing is that they are so fringe that even their top sites don’t have much link “ooooomph” because they’re secluded from the wider web. So it’s important to ask: do they have a natural hierarchy with a few powerful, well-connected, well-referenced websites at the top, which set the group’s conversational agenda plus a wide but vocal group of second tier sites that join the conversation? That’s what you want to look for: a group that has lots of sites which source directly from a few powerful ones. Which leads me to the next point:

Identify the “Key Leaders” in That Group

As a marketer, I like to think of the web in terms of distribution points. Take the old snowball rolling down a mountain metaphor. The higher up you start your snowball, the bigger it is by the time it gets to the bottom of the mountain. On the Internet, the top of the mountain is represented by the “key leaders” – and these are the big influencers. If you can get their attention with your content, then you can let gravity do the rest. And that’s why this is the Lazy Man’s SEO.

You build great content that matters. And then you feed the content to a few “key leaders” in the right group. And then you wake up the next morning with a whole slew of natural, organic links.

Well-earned too. You’re making the web a better place.

 The Lazy Mans SEO : Building Content That Matters
Ryan Caldwell, along with many other things, is currently working with a good friend to build a web hosting review site that actually matters and helps users (rather than simply pimping the highest paying affiliate). It's a big challenge (lot's of competition) and a long road ahead, but the path will be marked by the concepts in this post. One of the things we intend to do to "make the site matter" is to produce annual hosting awards that web hosts actually care about, by maintaining clear editorial separation from revenue considerations.

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28 thoughts on “The Lazy Man’s SEO : Building Content That Matters

  1. I really enjoyed this post. One of the most difficult aspects of SEO is coming up with bigger and better when writing new content, preferably material that hasn’t been done to death. I think I might use one of your suggestions under the “Tea Party” examples for inspiration. Thank you for this information!

    1. My kind of SEO really depends on creatively identifying and engaging target groups. Going into relatively virgin spaces that most SEO’s haven’t tapped.  

      But again, it all comes down to understanding human psychology and human social behaviors.

  2. Really Great post Ryan. Well according to me SEO is also like SDLC (System Development life cycle). 70% of analysis and then actual development starts with in 30%. Same way spend most of the time to find the audience for your product, Then by just small effort you can get best success. 5 niche link is more important then 500 random links.

  3. Even better would be to prempt what people will be searching.. whats campaigns will be running shortly? What do you know that the market will be interested.. Get in early and hold the advantage,

    1. Yes, I tend to agree with this strategy.  Again, it all comes down to understanding human psychology and group mentality. 

      If you win the race to the top of the rankings, people start citing you and reinforce your position at the top, so long as your content is decent.

      However, if you want to compete in a saturated niche, which is still very possible, there is very little pre-empting and more just out-performing.

    1. you can’t just throw out bullshit rankings and awards.  you have to put in the time to make them insightful, relevant and useful… and well produced.  then the people who get the awards will be honored and often link back to you.

  4. “then you can let gravity do the rest”

    I don’t know if I completely agree with this. Even great content could use a little help getting in front of the right eyeballs. You can’t just hope it works.

    1. yeah, i say that in the article.  “You build great content that matters. And then you feed the content to a few “key leaders” in the right group.”

  5. I often hear people moan “it takes too much effort to come up with great content” or “my topic is too dry for it to be interesting”.

    Well hire a copywriter then. They can make something interesting out of the driest of subjects and it means you get to be even lazier…

    1. Actually, I don’t agree with this.  I think that to be successful you need more than a copywriter.  You need a good researcher.  You need a good rule follower.  You need someone who cares about production quality.

      Copy alone is not sufficient.  It’s the total package.

      But in one sense you are right:  hiring the right research and development talent is my and every other marketer’s bottleneck.

  6. I often hear people moan “it takes too much effort to come up with great content” or “my topic is too dry for it to be interesting”.

    Well hire a copywriter then. They can make something interesting out of the driest of subjects and it means you get to be even lazier…

    1. I don’t say it’s a guarantee.  

      “As a marketer, I like to think of the web in terms of distribution points. Take the old snowball rolling down a mountain metaphor. The higher up you start your snowball, the bigger it is by the time it gets to the bottom of the mountain. On the Internet, the top of the mountain is represented by the “key leaders” – and these are the big influencers. If you can get their attention with your content, then you can let gravity do the rest. And that’s why this is the Lazy Man’s SEO.”

  7. It is a relatively simple concept, really.  In my opinion, all SEO should begin with “Big” content.  I really don’t think it is necessarily “lazy,” though.  I think it is smart.  Thanks for the insights.

  8. For increasing the visibility of the website,  a lot of SEO techniques are in used like article submission, blog submission. During article submission, its required that the article must be unique and relevant to the website. “How to write relevant content” is not possible for any business owner. So it’s better to use an expert of writing unique and relevant content from a seoservice provider. From zigseoservices, I have got that proper keyword stuffing in content is  necessary for writing content for increasing the traffic.

  9. I agreed to you Ryan,

    I think SEO is not a easy job. It is not only hard work, but there are so many hidden hazard on the way to achieve the perfect link. I think mainly we have to focus on our audience and engage them with us. Share the useful information on various sites and be interactive with your engage people.

    Suppose i have a twitter account and i have share 1 article link regarding motorcycle parts and someone is need that thing so that member come across to my tweet and find it useful so that person would be happy and recommend other one to your link likewise you can do afterwords.

  10. For many companies, both major corporations and small business entities, the optimum solution is to engage a professional writing service to supply your web content. Most of these organizations have copywriters who are experts at SEO web content. It requires a certain level of expertise to incorporate keywords into text that grabs the reader’s attention, flows well and presents your company as the premier source for your products or services. It is truly disheartening to see how many websites contain text copy that reads as if it was written by a child or alien. Misspelled words, improper conjugation of verbs, disgraceful punctuation and verbiage that does not make sense to anyone who actually speaks English is not the way to promote any business.

  11. Content of website is the most important part of a website. Obviously, it matters because it attracts unique or genuine traffic towards the website, right changes in the content of website will help you to get improvement in the position of search engine result page.

  12. Focusing exclusively on off-page SEO is now becoming a short-term strategy with no long term results. For results that stick, a foundation of great content needs to be in place to anchor the present and future traffic.

  13. Focusing exclusively on off-page SEO is now becoming a short-term strategy with no long term results. For results that stick, a foundation of great content needs to be in place to anchor the present and future traffic.

    1. That’s where article marketing and social presence comes into picture if you want  your quality stuff to be discovered you’ll have to bring people to you. It be via article marketing sharing your knowledge or via related and trusted blogs, forums from your niche.

  14. Quality content is essential to any website because the quality of traffic is also important.  Poor Content- low quality web traffic.  Overall this is a great read, thanks for reminding us about the essential basics!

  15. My thoughts are no different from the people who had already commented on this article..I think the new Google Panda update changed the perspective of “good grammatically correct content with proper keyword usage”.
    Now its the user experience that matters most in ranking of a website. So if a website is having such interesting content that I am forced to share it with my friends, will definitely be ranked well in the search results.