content-marketing-is-about-people-not-seoSo you’ve heard of SEO (you know, search engine optimisation) and you have probably heard of content marketing. By now, you have probably received lots of emails from, or had meetings with, SEO companies that try to convince you to buy their service on the strength of their ability to “do content marketing”.

Now stop, take a breath and consider this. Your content marketing strategy should not be driven by your SEO requirements. It should be driven by the customers you are trying to reach.

Let’s qualify that a bit, because it sounds like I am saying content marketing doesn’t help SEO. Content IS a vital part of your SEO strategy, but you have to understand the relationship.

Google and Bing want quality, not quantity

There was a time when you would stand a better chance of gaining rankings for a particular keyword if you simply wrote article after article about the same thing.

If you were a wedding dress company, you would simply publish lots of short articles containing the same phrase – ‘wedding dresses’. Then Google changed. Websites that published lots of short articles that looked the same were regarded as thin, low quality content and they stopped ranking as well.

The aim was to promote only quality content that people would actually want to read and share.

Cat reading, by Julie Manzerova

Human citations are better than links

Search engines are looking for signals that content is created by real people and read by real people. See my previous article, Publish content written for people, not for robots.

Compare two examples:

Example 1

You write five articles about car maintenance, all linking to your main car maintenance website. These five articles are published on low-quality blogs that are not well known and few people read them.

The articles have a high bounce rate and they don’t appear in rankings so not many people link to them.

Example 2

You write one article on your own website that is very informative about something your customers want to know about. You share this article on your social accounts and it is shared by other people on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook and other networks.

The article is good enough to encourage other writers to use it as a reference for an article on their own sites. These articles are also shared by humans and they link back to you.

What’s the difference?

The difference is that, by taking the time to create content for your own website that is there to help your customers and your readers, you are more likely to have more human signals being seen by search engines.

Google and Bing can see your content being shared and talked about, they can see the quality of the sites that are linking to your content, and that these sites are all about people too.

Thinking about your reader and not about the search engine will stand you in good stead.

I recommend you also read Sarah Howard’s article, Eight reasons why content marketing isn’t the new SEO. Also, Stephen Sumner’s article, How social media can kick-start your SEO.