‘Content is King!’ Or so they say.
Whether content really is the king or not, it is hands down, one of the most important aspects of a successful SEO strategy or marketing campaign. And regardless of whether you’re a SEO consultant, a webmaster, an internet marketer or a search engine marketer; unique, high-quality and high-value content remains of the utmost importance.
This especially holds true after Google’s updates to its search algorithm (dubbed the ‘Panda), after which Google starting de-indexing and permanently banning low-quality blogs and websites, in particular those which had copied or spun content. Subsequent updates to Panda (such as the latest one, called ‘Penguin’) have only gone on to reinforce this assertion.
Therefore, a successful SEO campaign, that yields tangible results such as high-rankings, traffic and monetary gain, certain on-page and off-page SEO factors must be considered. An important on-page SEO metric is high-quality content. Content that not only is unique, high-value and relevant, but content that is shared within the community, shared on social mediums, and of course, content that can help you get high-PR and high-authority backlinks.
However it is easier said than done!
How to Create High-Value Content
Content creation is a step-wise process, which if done correctly, can potentially yield high returns. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to come up with a well-rounded content creation strategy:
1. Research: The first step towards creating valuable, quality content, and arguably one that is the most time-consuming. Often times, all the research and the time one spends reading up, looking stuff up and analyzing data ultimately ends up yielding close to nothing. In other words, time wasted. Look at it from a corporate or a client’s point-of-view, what tangible results do you have to show for all your research? On the face of it, it might just look like wasted time. However it remains one of the most important step, and a foundation for all the subsequent ones. Research allows you to create content that is relevant to your niche, factually accurate, provides quality is popular, and perhaps most importantly, is interesting. Using tools like Google News Google Trends, Google Insights and Reddit, StumbleUpon and Twitter will aid you in this process.
2. Presentation: Once you’ve laid the foundation, i.e. research, you will be required to determine how to deliver it. Value is the key term here. What can you provide your users with, that provides them with value, that forces them to read what you have to say, subscribe to your posts and share it online? How can you be unique while at it? What are the different ways of putting forth the information – good old text, image (infographics), videos, flash-based content, etc. What will the information be focused upon – an event, a celebrity or athelete, etc.
3. Placement: So you have your information, and how you will present it, the next step is determining where it will be placed, aka. placement. In most cases, the content will probably end up going on your own website. If not it is essential to determine who your target market is, and what niche does it belong to, in order to be able to place your content and its various aspects (such as language, tone, and style) effectively. Whether you work on placement of your content before creating it, or afterwards is totally your call. If the content is meant for another website (such as a guest post), make sure to run it by the owner before publishing it.
4. The Creation: D-Day is here, its zero-hour as you will now set about creating the content. This process will depend heavily on the kind of content you’re putting together, as well as your target niche. However you could go with an array of content types: infographics, text (blog posts), videos, flash-based games, eBooks, etc. Use colors, be vivid and be creative. Give your viewers a visually-stimulating experience. Be creative. Look up online for ideas. Blog posts are generally a great way to create content, they can be informative, educative, as well as entertaining, and a wide array of content (images, for instance) can be put in with text. Google in particular seems to rank websites and blogs which are informative and provide value to readers. A few rules of good blog posts are as follows: (a) they are grammatically correct, (b) they provide valuable information, (c) these posts are engaging, and invite visitor feedback (in the form of polls, comments, etc), (d) are helpful to readers (such as provide tips, information, facts, etc) and lastly (e) are well organized posts, properly formatted and broken down into readable paragraphs.
5. Promotion: After you’ve made sure that you’ve covered all bases, and end up hitting that ‘publish’ button, it is now time to promote your content. This is the process where your off-site SEO will be truly put to the test! There are dozens of ways you can go about doing this. Send emails, submit to online directories, put links on authority sources, share your content on Facebook, Google Plus, Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social networking mediums. Commenting on other blogs, Facebook pages and websites is another good source of promoting your content, but as a rule of thumb, make sure your comments are helpful and add value; avoid spamming at all costs. Engage in guest posting, ask people to guest post on your blog and put the link to the post on their blogs, and vice versa. This way, you’ll create a valuable network of backlinks very easily. Don’t promote your content in a haphazard manner, be meticulous about it and plan it out. Above all, make sure your content gets across to a wide range of people when it is ‘oven fresh’, as irrelevant, outdated or old content would understandably garner little interest. Ask people in your niche to plug your content for you (especially authority sources), and don’t be afraid of doing some good old offline marketing as well!
So in a nutshell, the content creation process can be listed as follows:
Research – Presentation – Placement – Creation – Promotion.
If you have something to add to the content creation process, agreed or disagreed with anything from the article, do not hesitate to comment in the comment section below!