You’ve heard it a million times.
“Content is king.”
Create amazing content, and you’ll automatically win in the SERPs, drive a legion of visitors to your site, and basically win the SEO game.
But that isn’t quite true.
In reality, content is only one piece of the puzzle.
Without the other pieces, chances are your stunning content will remain invisible.
So, what are these other working parts you need to boost your traffic?
And is amazing content overrated?
Can you skip on quality and simply focus on other SEO factors?
Let’s get these questions answered.
The Burning Question: Does Quality Content Really Matter?
First things first.
If content is only a piece of the puzzle, is it OK to skip over quality?
The short answer: No.
The longer answer: without the content your audience craves, none of your SEO strategies will matter.
Picture yourself in the shoes of a searcher on Google.
You want to learn how to start your own blog. So, you type your keyword into the search engine.
Now, imagine that a thin piece of content magically made it to #1 on Google’s SERPs.
You click on it and right away know it’s not the piece you’re looking for. So, you click away.
A thousand other people do the same. No one actually stays to read the worthless content, much less subscribe or buy anything.
Soon enough, Google will notice and rank this site much lower on its SERPs.
So yes, although it’s true that you can’t rank on Google with great content alone…
…it’s also true that you can’t rank on Google without it.
In recent years, SEO has more and more closely resembled content marketing.
So, what kind of content wins on Google?
The answer: content your audience craves.
Here are two examples of how crave-worthy content centered around the right audience brings success.
Michelle at Making Sense of Cents
Ever heard of the Dr. Seuss saying, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world”?
This is how to win with amazing content.
You select a niche, figure out what they crave, and create content they’ll jump on the moment you click the publish button.
A stunning example is Michelle, founder of Making Sense of Cents.
Michelle started her blog as a way to keep track of her personal finances and help readers do the same.
It sounds generic, I know. There are so many financial blogs, some of them written by savvy experts and investors.
But there’s something about Michelle’s honest, down-to-earth, actionable advice that readers related to and loved.
As a result, Michelle grew her audience to more than 300,000 readers.
My Work at Content Hacker
I started Content Hacker as a way to give practical content marketing advice to freelance entrepreneurs.
And no, I didn’t invest in sleazy marketing funnel tactics. I’ve never even paid for a single ad.
All I rely on is stellar content that fits in the sweet spot between my expertise and what my audience craves.
As a result, I pull in around $10,000 a month on the side, excluding my consulting and DFY projects.
With crave-worthy content that goes the distance in enriching your audience’s life, you’ll go far in your online marketing efforts.
3 Ways to Boost Your Traffic (That Go Amazingly with Winning Content)
Yes, amazing content can earn you a legion of fans and seriously boost your revenue.
But you still need to optimize for search if you want to be found on Google.
The key is to use crave-worthy content with other SEO strategies.
Here are three to take note of.
1. Earn Quality Links for Your Cornerstone Pages
We know that links are important for SEO.
They tell Google that your content is valuable enough to deserve attention.
So, let’s say you’re ranking for a few keywords but you haven’t reached Page 1 of Google yet.
If the content on your pages is solid and valuable, consider earning links to it to boost it higher in the SERPs.
Here are three ways you can earn quality links:
- Guest post for a prominent site and link back to your page.
- Share your post with influencers (if they like it, chances are they’ll link to it).
- Link to influencers’ content (if they like what you wrote about them, they’ll likely mention it in their space, with a link back to your page).
If you’re new, gaining links can be tough.
But keep going.
The better your content, the higher your chances of gaining those coveted links.
For more tips, check out Search Engine Journal’s two link building guides:
2. Keep Your Content Up to Date
You go on Google to find out how to start a blog.
You’re torn between two enticing headlines…
…but one blog was written in 2010 and the other one just a few months ago.
Which one do you choose?
Naturally, you’d choose the newer one.
That’s because the rules of blogging change constantly, and you don’t want to waste your time on outdated advice.
Surprisingly, you’re not the only one looking for fresh content.
Some types of content don’t need “freshening up,” or updating.
For instance, if you write on a historical figure, you probably won’t need to make changes to your piece anytime soon (unless the historians discover new facts).
Google won’t rank you lower just because your content is a few years old.
On the other hand, if you write news and current events, Google will look for the latest pieces and rank them first on the SERPs.
It all boils down to the kind of content you write.
Take note, however, that even evergreen content needs to be updated once in a while.
For example, you wrote a piece on how to make fast tomato soup five years ago.
In that piece, you gave examples that today’s readers won’t relate to.
Or maybe you linked to a site that is no longer working. You’ll want to change these in order to prevent turning away readers.
3. Get Google to Index Your Site
Getting indexed and ranking are two separate things.
Getting indexed is showing up for the race.
Ranking is winning the race.
Of course, it’s impossible to win unless you first show up.
So, how do you get your site indexed on Google?
First, head over to Google Search Console and click Start Now.
Copy and paste your domain or URL prefix into the correct field.
Click continue, where you’ll be asked to verify that you’re the owner of the site.
Wait for Google to check the URL, then click the “request indexing” button.
Repeat this process each time you publish a new post.
Content Is King: The Biggest Lie in SEO?
OK, so the “content is king” generalization isn’t exactly true.
In order to rule, your content needs to be:
- Craved by your chosen audience.
- In-depth and actionable.
- Authority-level and trustworthy.
Also, you need to make sure searchers actually get the chance to find your content on Google.
It’s amazing how a few tweaks in your SEO will allow you to rank much higher on the SERPs.
- Content Marketing: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to What Works
- 10 Tips for Mastering Your SEO Content
- It’s Time to Put the ‘Marketing’ Back in ‘Content Marketing’
All screenshots taken by author, October 2020