Do This, Not That: SEO Content Edition!

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I’m sure you’ve seen those handy guides in magazines that tell you to eat 13 pretzels instead of 100 M&M’s or taco pizza instead of taco salad. This is like that, only less delicious. (But reading, like celery, has negative calories!)

Here are a few ideas to help you a) use your time more efficiently and b) get out of a content marketing rut.

Target a Competitive Keyword with a Video, Not an Article

Unless you are lucky enough to write for a very authoritative domain, it’s pretty difficult to rank anywhere near the first page for competitive keywords – that is, if you try to compete with a blog post or article. In general, at least for now, it’s easier to achieve first page rankings with a video. This is because Google likes to incorporate videos into its universal results, so you’ll be competing with other videos, not every other page on the web, for one of those first-page spots.

Of course, not every keyword or topic lends itself to video marketing, but “how to” keywords are especially video friendly. Take a keyword like “how to trim your bangs,” “how to tie a tie” or “how to grout a tub” – these are all concepts that could be illustrated with a video more easily than an article.

With videos, as with text, focus on creating quality content, not thin content, and don’t forget your on-page optimization.

Update an Old Page Instead of Creating a New Page

I read once that something like 90% of scientific and medical studies don’t lead to any additional research or change in practice, and that most of the time, whatever questions a new study proposes to answer could be better answered by reviewing the existing literature (aka meta analysis).

Marketers are guilty of this too – starting over from scratch when frequently it makes more sense to repurpose or build on what’s already been done.

Before you reinvent the wheel to target a new keyword, ask yourself if you’ve already created high-quality content on a similar topic. For example, let’s say you want to target the keyword “green cleaning supplies” – do you already have a page optimized for “eco-friendly cleaning supplies” or “environmentally friendly cleaning supplies”? It might make the most sense to primarily target the highest-volume keyword (in your title tag and URL), and include the other variations on the page, to see if you can draw in traffic for all three variations. An older page that has already accrued links and value often has a better chance of ranking faster than a newly created page. You also accomplish your goal – getting traffic for the desired keyword – while putting in a lot less time and effort.

Similarly, if you’ve already created an authoritative guide on green house cleaning, you could simply add a section to the guide on green cleaning products. Often, by using optimized subheads and a table of contents with jump links, you can get Google to treat a section of a page as its own page in the results.

Do a Group Interview, Not a Singlet Interview

I wrote about the benefits of group interviews here a couple of months ago. To summarize, group interviews:

  • Are great for link building
  • Trigger an avalanche of social shares
  • Bring in lots of search traffic over time

Unless you have an opportunity to speak with someone really, really famous, the odds are that more people are interested in any given expert’s area of expertise than are interested in that particular expert alone. So let’s say you’re considering asking a star blogger to do an interview with you about blogging. Instead, consider gathering a handful of other big-name bloggers to answer the same set of questions. Your final content piece will have broader appeal and five times the shares and links.


Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert is the Content Development Manager at WordStream Inc., a provider of AdWords solutions and other tools for PPC and SEO. She manages the... Read Full Bio
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  • Anthony Pensabene

    Nice tips here. Reading offers negative calories while making the brain buff! Many niche businesses could celebrate tip 1; in marketing writing, I’ve come across many services/products which are difficult to ‘capture’ and educate about through text – video allows for further stimulation of multiple senses, something teachers strive for in classrooms. A brand could definitely leverage social media resources to call attention modern-day attention to ‘revived’ old pages (tip 2). I also like the group interview idea (tip 3) – maybe a blogger could secure several personalities but release the info through a series, compelling readers to ‘stay tuned.’

  • Three excellent tips thanks. In particular I agree that reworking older, existing content can be very beneficial and is often overlooked when planning ongoing SEO efforts. It can be a good idea when thinking through new target phrases to see which of your pages are already ranking on Google, an then reworking those if possible.

  • Hi, Great Tips, I like in special this one: Update an Old Page Instead of Creating a New Page, because I’m for long time in doubt about it. Thank you for sharing

  • I’ve been avoiding videos for a long time as have not learned exactly how to make them. I guess it’s time for me to bite the bullet and get one on my website. Does anyone know of a free and simple tutorial to make a short video, please?

    • Hi Ros,

      High-quality bespoke content is expensive to produce, however if you’re looking to do something low cost and you’re able to put together an engaging script yourself, then there are always options like Stupeflix.

      As Elisa mentioned, it’s much easier to achieve first page rankings with a video because of Google’s universal search results 🙂


    • Echoing Peter, it’s not always necessary to do something really high-res and fancy. You can use a Flip-type camera to record short videos that require minimal editing. In the post above, I link to a two-part guide with tips for optimizing videos. Good luck!

  • While it is true that long term approaches to text based content are hard to rank with immediately, but it is important to blend your content approach. Just focussing on one type of content may yield short term results but it is not a long term success strategy. If you just grab onto every new content trend as they come by you are constantly out of date and catching up with the leaders in the market space. Take a more blended approach, is my advice.

    David Skul

  • Thanks for the comments, all!

    @Social Media Expert: I suggest using video as a way to mix up your content marketing efforts. Certainly text is crucial to an overall content strategy.

  • It is good to attract different targets – some people learn by watching video tutorials others like to read documentation. I agree with your idea to gather a panel of experts, because the final effect (article) is more reliable, contrasting different types of view.

  • I think its a great point to be made, and video is more and more becoming the way of the future. As for Google, they have been favoring their own toys as of late, and YouTube is one of them that often gets promoted to the first page, given that your video has enough views, and back links. That said, other sites like Vimeo and DailyMotion often come up as well. A video is a great way to engage your audience, capture traffic, and funnel them over to your site. Even better, a video can very often be cheaper and easier to produce than an article, with a little imagination and intuition ofcourse.

  • @Elisa,

    Thank you for your clarification and taking the time to address Social Media Expert’s opinion. I also am a proponent of a marketing mix of content types that suit your target audiences. Video can definitely be one of those if used correctly. Great article and thanks

    David Skul

  • Most of the time Google incorporate alot of content other than blog or articles. That is why, you really need to maximize all of these avenues to get ahead of your competition.

    Thanks for reminding me to just update than create. Usually if some of my sites lose ranking, I tend to think to replaced them with new ones. I guess I just need to reinvent them and put more quality content on them

    -Jomer Gregorio

  • Is the using of new page for a related post is not good?I have seen many who just create a new page,new post instead of updating the past related post with the info to raise their site posts etc. etc.Is it good or not.I have nearly all related content.How should i optimize them?

    • Hi Govind, it’s not that creating a new page is bad — but updating an old page is often much faster and easier, and if you can get good result that way, why not save some time? You also don’t have to start over from scratch with accruing links to that page. Of course, it’s also important to grow your site and branch out into new areas, so you’ll need to fit both into your overall marketing plan.

  • Some good points here. I have first hand experiences of the SEO benefits of video (at least until Google changes their mind again!)

    Most cameras have a video mode these days, even smartphone will create video good enough for the web! If you use a Mac, the bundled software is more than up to the editing task – not sure about Windows but presumably MS now have something that will edit video?

  • For the most part, videos are still often underutilized in marketing. There’s a reason that YouTube is the second largest search engine. People like to learn visually. Creating an informative video and optimizing it for search will help to build your online real estate and improve the chances of being found.