What you will learn
- Why SEO tends to yield boring content
- Examples of boring content created because of SEO
- How to fix the issue
Why SEO Makes You Create Boring Content?
Most traffic heavy keywords tend to be boring informational searches related to problems some people in your market may have.
However, many times, unless the reader has that specific problem or issue, the content is not of direct help to him/her and as a result it gets less engagement.
- ”Health Benefits of Peanuts” (2,400) vs “5 Things to have a healthier 2016 (0)
- “What is online dating” (590) vs “12 funniest Tinderr Messages (0)
- “Best Tablets” (40,500) vs “5 features you fill find on every 2016 tablet” (0)
Why is boring content a problem?
If you want your subscribers and followers to remain active with your brand, you need to show them content THEY care about. If you fail to do that they will slowly disengage and you will have a hard time getting them to come back on your site.
It is also important to note that social shares and engagement is now an SEO factor and if most of your content does not get shares, there are chances that your rankings will actually decrease.
Finally, if nobody shares and talks about your content, it is hard to be recognised as an authority in your market.
Therefore getting out of keyword centric content can be a good idea.
How you can fix this issue
There are 3 ways you can solve that issue while also enjoying the incredible power of SEO focused content:
1 – Kill 2 Birds in 1 Stone
There are ways to make SEO focused content more appealing to social media. Here are just a few ways we use for our sites:
- Use social snipets to change the title & image for social media and make it more click baitsy
- Insert shareable infographics & images for image based social such as Instagram & Pinterest
2 – Strike for Editorial Balance
- Post a mixture of social friendly and SEO friendly posts
- Social posts can be quick and easy to create (repost videos, infographics, lots of images, few words etc).
3 – Produce Different Kinds of Content for your Audience
Try different types of content for your regular audience, things like:
- Emails with content
Are we saying that you should not do keyword oriented content? Hell no, keyword oriented content drives a ton of traffic to our sites. But if you are looking to build a following, keyword oriented content will not be enough and you should look at diversifying.
Welcome to the Authority Hacker podcast, the place to learn field tested, no BS tactics to grow hack your online business, and finally, live life on your own terms. Now your hosts, Gael and Mark.
Gael: Hey guys, welcome to the Authority Hacker podcast. In today’s episode, we are going to ask an interesting question and that question is like every question, we are not going to have the ultimate answer to that, but we are going to be able to give you some firsthand experience, as well as some opinions, and we’d love it if you actually go on Facebook, go on Twitter, go on the comment section of this episode and tell us what you think about that debate. And that debate is “Is SEO Making You Create Boring Content?” And, I’d like to explain that a little bit before we actually jump in, but first, I am going to welcome Mark because he is on the podcast and I always forget to welcome him.
Mark: Hi. [laugh]
Gael: So hey Mark. So Mark is on the podcast as well, and let me just introduce the problem. So, keywords for SEO tend to target some pretty boring informational searches, and people when they Google stuff they are not looking for viral content, they are looking for answers to their questions most of the time and as a result the content that comes from this keywords is just not very fun, not very interesting. And it’s only interesting to the people that are actually searching for it, s if you are actually searching “how to get rid of back pain” than that’s a very interesting article you are going to find, but if you are following Health Ambition, our health blog and we release a blog post about how to kill your back pain, and you don’t have back pain, well, you don’t really care about that article and that’s the problem that you touch a very narrow part of your audience if they are following your website. And an example of SEO oriented content versus more shareable and community driven content would be on one side you would have the health benefits of peanuts which is a keyword with 2400 searches per month and on the other side you would have an article, like the 5 things that you can do to have a healthier 2016 which has a search volume exactly 0. But right now we are in January 2nd 2016 and I think the 5 things to have a healthier 2016 would be a little bit more interesting to me. Another example also would be “what is online dating,” and for maybe 70 years old grandma that has no idea what that is and wants to find someone again, that would be an interesting query but if you have a site on dating it’s pretty boring to answer that and you would assume that most people just know what online dating is. However, a piece of content like the 12 funniest tinder messages answers that you can find on the internet would be an interesting thing and more shareable and would go better on Facebook etc. So, that’s basically it.
Mark: The way I think of it is kind of like imagine anything you would read on BuzzFeed and compare that to the kind of articles which you are ordering from your writers. I don’t think BuzzFeed really target SEO at all and for that reason their content is kind of built in a different way which is more kind of viral or socially appealing, I don’t know if those are the right terms.
Gael: Just like you want to click on it, right?
Gael: Yeah, exactly. And it’s not a problem to just do SEO at the beginning, because nobody is expecting your next blog post, right? But when people actually start following you and care about what you do, if you keep releasing very niche articles, people are going to lose interest and you are not going to have retain people around your website. So on Authority Hacker it’s a good example, if say I produce only SEO based content around broad keywords, it will be pretty boring actually, because you guys want to hear about the latest online marketing stuff etc, and our experiments, and so on, and to be honest, these are not matching any good keyword. If I want to match keywords, that would be like online marketing tip so SEO backlink or whatever, something that’s pretty boring and would make me kind of that would actually engage you less, and so that’s a problem as you become a follower, right, and most importantly, social shares seem to become more and more important on your site. We have sites that have like a lot of social shares and not that many links, and so if you want search do well, you kind of need the social shares as well, and it’s hard to get the social shares from this kind of keyword oriented content. And most importantly, you won’t be noticed and you won’t be like seen as a real authority if nobody shares your stuff, if you only write keyword based content people that know it just going to know that you are gaming SEO and you might be getting a lot of traffic, but you won’t be like regarded as an authority and that might hurt the rate of like link acquisition you have etc. So actually in the end, creating only keyword based content actually hurts your SEO and I think that’s quite important to consider.
Now, how can people fix that problem there is different ways to fix that problem. I think one thing that I have been doing quite a bit with Authority Hacker so during 2015, I have been publishing a lot of keyword based content, you might not noticed, but a lot of the big long blog posts that we have published last year were very keyword focused. And, it was a little bit difficult to make them shareable, but what I did is I actually optimized the title on the blog post for the SEO but now you can actually change the social snippets and you can actually rewrite the titles to make them more shareable. So I think a good example for that is my article on the Amazon affiliate program so I think I called the article the “beginners guide to Amazon partner program for the blog post” so that it would target like guide Amazon at partner program etc, and rank for all these terms, but I think the social title was “How to newbies make a $1000 a month with the Amazon affiliate program.” And when you actually share them on Facebook or share them on Twitter it actually changes the title to something that is way more clickbaity.
Mark: Just to clarify what Gael said there, the yoast SEO plugin was a WordPress plugin; allows you to define what titles will be displayed in different places so you can have a different title for you the blog post which then appears on the Google search results versus different title which appears when you share that on Facebook Twitter etc.
Gael: And most importantly, you can also change the cover image, so like I was actually experimenting. There are some posts on Authority Hacker where you share it instead of having the Authority Hacker guy and the text you actually get a picture of a hot girl int he title and that kind of stuff and actually do some kind of test around that. It didn’t really work so well in online marketing that’s why I didn’t really keep doing that but some of these you can actually do and you can work on like a really clickbaity image as well like BuzzFeed would do, like screenshot of like a red circle and an arrow and like , Oh my God or something like this. You can definitely do these things, and these are going to result in a lot more shares, not necessarily a lot more shares on the article, but when people actually do share it, it’s going to generate e lot more clicks and re’shares and likes and so on and as a result you get more social signals. Another little trick that I’ve found as well is to embed related infographics inside the content and use Pinterest to pin these infographics, you know the infographics are popular, on Pinterest and you pin it and you get like dozens of repins and then you just go on Pinteerst itself and find an infographic that is related to the topic then go on your site and give a link attribution to the source so they are happy they have their backlink, that’s why they did the infographic, and then pin the image form your site and I actually managed to get a lot of social shares, like thousands of shares, to many blog posts on Health Ambition that are using these tricks. So it’s a pretty good one, it’s the reverse infographic, you don’t create an infographic, you embed it on your post and you add this kind of like image social shareable thing.
Mark: Did you try that much on Authority Hacker or do you think it’s quite sort of like niche specific which when that would work?
Gael: I would need to build up my Authority Hacker Pinterest account first, so this works well on Health Ambition because we use a lot of groupold 8:53 and we have access to a lot of photos essentially. And so, this is a piece of work I would need to do on Authority Hacker but actually yeah, in this niche there is quite a bit of shares on Pinterest so if I put the working and I actually get my access to these grubles and I actually grew our Pinterest accounts through the latest giveaway so I think we have like 500 to 600 followers on the Authority Hacker Pinterest account, already. And so if I actually made my way into some grubles I could actually do that-
Mark: I was under the impression that Pinterest was more sort of targeted toward women and internet marketing just isn’t-
Gael: It is, but there is a lot of money bloggers on it and money bloggers talking about making money online etc, and I could definitely target that sub niche and there is actually quite a few bolds in that niche etc. So, for Authority Hacker it would work if you are targeting problems essentially it’s not going to work although I have some of them working for like farting problems etc on Health Ambition and still, with thousands of shares.
So it is possible in pretty much any niche that has some kind of graphic element to it let’s just say. That is one trick you can do to make your content more social. Now thi sis trick, right, it means that most likely your SEO traffic will not necessarily share the content unless it’s something that’s shareable so if it’s like a list of recipes on Health Ambition then yes, people will share it on Facebook and so on but if it’s how to solve like nose acne problems, then people are probably not going to share that. So there is going to be a limit still even though you use this tactics so this helps compensate but it’s not perfect. When we started website, it depends now but most of the time most of the content is going to be geared towards SEO because that is the main way we get our daily traffic, you know the traffic that happens if we do nothing on the website, that is the way we generate most of our traffic on our site and that’s why we mostly create like long articles, 1500 words, that are targeting keyword etc, as we start gathering emails and start gathering an audience, what we do is basically we start not just producing this kind of content, we start creating as you say, BuzzFeed type article, you can see a bunch of them on Health Ambition that we did long ago and all of them gathered so many shares and actually drive quite a lot of traffic, I mean, Pinterest is like 800, 900 visits per day or something, on the site which is pretty good without trying very hard, I am sure we could actually grow to like 10K a day if we really tried. And we do things like re-posting infographics, we do things like this BuzzFeed type memes, that are kind of like a line of text and image, line of text and image, and we re’post videos as well, like viral videos we just re-post them, put a blob of 200 words and then just share them on our social media and email them to our list so that we keep our email list entertain and at the same time we still produce this keyword reach content etc we just don’t promote it nearly as much to our community. It’s just like, we just press publish, we do our link building, we do all of that, we don’t necessarily tell the community unless we feel like there is some kind of interest. SO for example we have a lot of juicing on Health Ambition so if we produce even a keyword based article on juicing we would still probably email it to the list and so on, just because so many people opted in because of juicing. But, if we do something we might promote it on a Facebook group etc we might not use an email and use hundreds of subscribers over that, we rather drop something that’s more shareable to that email list and then an email promote something than doing that. So we kind of like balance things as the community grows and we kind of have this parallel stream of content coming out that is just here to entertain the community and then on the side of that we still produce a lot of SEO content. So that is what we do right now. And also another thing you can do and that’s something we are doing on Authority Hacker as well is we produce other kinds of content for the audience, so instead of just producing blog posts we produce podcast like this one, or you can produce video posts like hopefully I am going to be launching soon on Authority Hacker again, or you just email content to them, you literally just email stuff that is interesting to your audience but you need to keep giving them value and keep them entertained with your content. And your SEO doesn’t always do that. So, that’s basically all I wanted to say for this podcast actually, that’s a quick one. Do you have anything to say about that?
Mark: No, just I am kind of thinking we haven’t done it yet but like when we are looking at structuring Health Ambition we sort of had that discussion about creating the library content which is fixed and then having like the blog section which is specifically targeted more towards this kind of like social viral kind of content less kind of SEO targeted. So, I am just thinking that maybe that’s a better way to think of it in your head in terms of how to split the-
Gael: Yeah, you can differently put these kinds of content in different places.
Mark: Yeah, so we are thinking of putting like for example, all our juicing related content which is you know, like how to juice, which juicers to buy, and like do this kind of heavy informational stuff which is like SEO keyword targeted we are going to have like a basic category on our site which is displayed and like the menu and you can kind of drill down into the very sub-levels of that and get the information you need. But, there is like a blog section and rather than just putting all content that we publish on the blog, we would actually make the blog like something which people just go to see more kind of like entertainment content, right. I mean, it still provides value and it still educating them on the industry, health in this case, but it’s much more of like all of those posts we share on Facebook and write on our blog.
Gael: that we email to the list as well to keep them active and entertained and feel like we give them some value, and it touches most people, most importantly.
Mark: Yeah, exactly. And even people that aren’t necessarily looking to get healthy, it’s like a curiosity thing that is kind of like going off in their brain, you know.
Gael: Yeah, exactly. So yeah you can actually set these streams of content we haven’t done it yet, but there is a good chance we’ll actually do it in the end, you know. So yeah, that is definitely a way to do that. I am actually going to do that on Authority hacker so the podcasts are going to be in a different feed as well, it won’t be on the blog anymore the videos I am not sure yet, maybe maybe not. So yeah, you can just separate the content and kind of like put the blog forward on your site, put the SEO content a little bit behind so like your site looks like big shared thing etc and then you also have a lot of traffic from the SEO content in the back which doesn’t need nearly as much shares and stuff.
Mark: yeah, and if you are looking for ways to- I mean, most of us know how to do keyword research by now I guess, if not I am sure there is plenty of resources on our site to help you with that, but if you are looking to figure out how to create this kind of more shareable kind of viral content that is more interesting as a broader appeal, there is some good places to look at. First of all, sites like BuzzFeed they are absolute masters of doing his I mean, the way they write their titles, the way they structure their content, it’s designed entirely to do this. So just go to buzzfeed.com and like study 10 to 20 headlines and the articles like the way they structured them. And you’ll learn a lot just from that. Also, I have noticed that a lot of newspapers do this, well not specifically the newspapers but they have like adverts, they use like these kind of ad platforms at the bottom at news articles, where they will have these other companies who are posting kind of like adds at the bottom which are made to almost look like related content links, so it tricks you in a way because maybe you think you are clicking on another article by this well established newspapers say, but it’s actually taking you to some other site like BuzzFeed or something smaller or something similar. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I am being re-targeted or something, but I see a lot of the same ones like there is this picture of some like, it looks like an alien spaceship on Antarctica, and I see it everywhere. And it’s like “ten things you didn’t know about Antarctica” or something like that. It’s like, “What the hell is that” and there is other ones like, “12 celebrities you didn’t know were gay” like these kinds of things they are kind of a bit controversial almost, but like really kind of-
Gael: These are not the articles that get social content, and social traffic, you know.
Mark: Huge curiosity.
Gael: Yeah, but as a SEO you kind of need to give ot away in the title if you want to get the traffic.
Gael; That’s why these are like really different kind of content, and your audience when they follow you, they need that kind of like snacks they don’t always want to read like 5000 words and so on. So, you want to give them these snacks. And also, one good thing is like this kind of content is very easy to produce, it’s very easy to turn one of these articles in like one hour or something, and so, as a result, it’s much easier to just keep your list entertained or keep your followers entertained, publishing that kind of content. And then you can focus a lot of resources on your high quality content. and take your time, you don’t even need to like promote it or anything. I mean, you promote it with outreach you don’t have even to like email your whole audience and so on I would still share it on my social profiles and so on but you don’t need to go nearly as far with like putting it in front of the people because you have this kind of snack content to put in front of people which they enjoy more anyway. So, yeah, that’s basically it, for this “Is SEO Making You Create Boring Content”, well- probably and out solution is to create these kind of different more social snack content on your site maybe put it in a different feed, maybe put it in your blog, call your blog a blog and then call your SEO content resources, that kind of stuff, and then you can put the rest of your resources into SEO. One thing as well is you don’t need to scale that content a lot, you just need to have enough of it to keep your audience entertained. If you want to scale your social traffic, sure scale that content a lot but if you want to focus on SEO and selling well, keeping an audience entertained, then you maybe need like 2 of these a week or something, and send these to your audience and it’s going to be enough to balance against maybe like more commercial emails that you are sending. So, that’s basically it, do you have anything else you want to say.
Mark: No, that’s everything.
Gael: Cool, well, that was a little bit shorter podcast but it is I think an interesting topic and I think a lot of people create a lot of very boring niche sites that is not gear toward creating an audience and that people will get bored very quickly with it, so it’s something to think about. Thank you for listening guys, and we’ll see you guys in the next episode.
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