Still, while it's important to do this SEO work, it's not the be-all, end-all of web writing and content creation. Everyone and his dog are doing SEO now. Yeah, keyword-stuffed garbage doesn’t rank on Google's first page like it used to. Yes, this makes the old "black-hat" tricks not work so well any more. So now, the “experts” preach you need more quantity than ever, without sacrificing any quality.
Really, though, is that a realistic expectation for content?
When I took my online Inbound Marketing certification course for HubSpot, they preached blogging at least once a day. The idea is that you write everyday so that Google gets used to looking at your site every day. So, how do you go about finding what to write about every day?
The ideal scenario involves hunting down long-tail keyword phrases relayed to your business or blogging niche. These are phrases of more than 3 or 4 words. Then, you find those that don't have exact matches for them on page one of Google. Therefore, by focusing on these phrases in your content, you can very likely get some traffic just by being a top result for a given query.
While the keyword research can be time-consuming, there's always something out there to rank for. However, there are a couple of caveats to this approach. Firstly, how often will you come across phrases worthy of targeting? Then, just how many of these highly-targeted posts can you churn out in a week? Five highly targeted posts are not easy to do, but possible. But can this sort of content strategy be kept up 24-7?
Anytime you have a website where impressions make you money, it's extremely nice to think about getting posts that get hundreds or thousands of views in a short time. But here's the thing. I'd much rather enrich the online community with great, enjoyable "evergreen" content than write posts about trending topics on Twitter or Facebook. Also, a strong long-tail; keyword phrase now may be irrelevant tomorrow.
This isn't to say you should ignore SEO entirely. You should definitely try to optimize your posts to rank for whatever keyword phrases that you can, especially if there’s little competition for them. But content is not all about quantity. Google rewards quality. They also like interactions.
One thing that some SEO people don't mention is that comments mean a lot. Social shares do, too. But comments are more important. Why? The more interaction a post has, the higher that page will rank because it's seeing constant updates. So it's important to write about popular topics, but also create discussion topics that people can sound off about.
Not only do good strong and thoughtful comments create a great sense of community, but people seeing them will want to join in on the discussion. Inevitably, this discussion how many blogs grow. Actually, a lot of trending articles happen because of the amounts of comments that they receive. It’s important to Google to see that particular pages are getting proper ranking if they’re gaining high amounts of interaction.
Therefore, it's important to put quality ahead of quantity. Yes, write as often as you possibly can in order to keep your name out there in the community. However, don't ever make your content about ranking on Google. Appearing on the first page of Google for anything on your website alone is a great place to be. As someone who used to be obsessed with SEO, I now remind myself that pretty much everyone is doing it. So, I just need to keep it in mind rather than base my entire strategy around optimizing everything around trending keywords.
I'd rather build community around my writing, not just get thousands of views that may or may not be well-targeted. I'm into blogging for the long haul. Trying to make some big hits on Google isn't enough for me. I want to be able to inform and discuss a wide variety of things with people, not just get random users to like my posts and never be seen from again. I want to know my audience so that I can write things that they want to read.
After all, what's a writer without a real audience?
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