Content is the new SEO. We said it, numerous other top sources (like Huffington Post and Neil Patel of Quick Sprout) have said it, and now Rand Fishkin of Moz is talking about it in his latest video.

Just how far does this go? How is search engine optimization (SEO) and content invested so much in each other?

Think about it, in very simple terms. When you search on Google, great content pops up: it can be pages, blogs, landing pages, and websites. When you click, you’re either ready to: a) read something or b) watch a video. And by reading something, I mean anything, from a brief synopsis on the movie you’re looking up for a Friday night date to an article on toenail fungus or pet hair care. In essence, content is SEO (search engine optimization = your content ranking in the SERPS).

What Rand Said: Is It Possible to Have Good SEO Simply by Having Great Content?

In short, his answer was yes. He talked about something very pivotal, too: intelligent, non-manipulative ways of earning links. This is a brilliant concept. An easy way to not be manipulative is when you blog and keep up on reading your industry or competitors blogs. You leave a comment because you were interested and had something to share on the topic, which is close to your heart. You might even link to a blog that’s related that you want to show them. They might be interested to go see what you talked about because they know what you’re talking about, and it makes sense to them. Think of it like a real world conversation. It really doesn’t get much harder than that!

Using content to drive SEO is something that has been the focus of several blogs I’ve written for the past few months. I think content is one of the most vital parts of any website, and it will drive more traffic and SEO results.

However, the formula discussed by Rand isn’t something everyone can do just yet. He points out that people need to work on some link building for a bit, but it is still important to attempt driving SEO with your content. Simply follow what is mentioned above to start building links through easy, conversational ways, but know that it will take time and patience. Eventually, you can get to the point where you do not have to focus too hard on links.

While he does say this isn’t for everyone right now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t focus on more content driven SEO results. In fact, now is the perfect time to start this and work your way to being able to rank based solely off your content and communications with those in your industry. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how well it can start working for you, just remember, be patient! You never know when your strategy will randomly turn viral, but it doesn’t always happen right when you want it to.

How Can You Focus On Great Content?

Focusing on good content instead of linking building to get great SEO results seems a little daunting. Link building does bring in some great traffic not to mention boosting you up the search engine results page. Yet, as I said earlier, Rand does say that content can help boost your SEO results. How can you do this? I am going to take a quick look at this and give you a few handy tips to help you get more from your content and help your SEO rankings. 

  1. Research Your Chosen Topic. One of the best ways to have content help your SEO is to research your chosen topic well. You don’t want to write something off the top of your head. Research can help you craft an excellent piece of content that drives more traffic, as well as boosting SEO. You can do exactly what anyone else does, enter your search terms into Google and find great articles that help give you more in-depth information on your topic. 
  1. Write Naturally, Without Focusing Too Much On Keyword Usage. When you are writing content to drive your SEO, you should consider not using too many keywords, or at least not focusing on them. This can help you write a natural-sounding and flowing piece that readers will enjoy while also helping with SEO. A great way to write natural-sounding content is to write about something you have a passion for. This can be compelling for your readers, and help bring people back again and again to read your other blog posts.

Writing naturally also helps you with the SERPs because Google wants content that is written professionally. When you write naturally, you are more likely to have excellent and professional sounding content that Google will love. If you are afraid you aren’t going to be too great at writing naturally, you can always hire copywriters who are skilled in natural content creation.

  1. Write Excellent, In-Depth Articles. Aiming for content driven SEO results is great for writing in-depth research articles. In-depth articles give you the ability to talk about specific topics, giving readers more information. You can consider making some multimedia content to go along with an in-depth blog such as an infographic or a small flow chart to help people remember your main points. 
  1. Encourage Customer Reviews Of Products And Services. A great way to help with content is to have customers leave reviews. This is a great idea to show people your company is one to be trusted. Yes, you can get traffic to your site and higher SEO results for a little bit, but if you don’t utilize reviews, you could find your rankings starting to diminish. What reviews do is show new visitors that your website and company is to be trusted. In fact, Search Engine Land says that many people will trust a customer review as much as they would a personal recommendation.

If you were to visit a website for a particular product or service, would you simply purchase the item or research it? Many people choose to research, which is why reviews can be beneficial. You know that if you see several great, positive reviews of a product or company that you are more likely to choose them. The same is true of your potential customers. 

  1. Comment On Competitor’s Or Industry Leader’s Blogs. As I mentioned earlier, a great way to get your content to boost your SEO results is to comment on a competitor’s blog or someone who is a leader in the industry. This can help you get in contact with others and help boost your site with natural link building. You don’t always have to share links to your site, in fact, consider sharing links to articles you think others will find interesting. This will help build a sort of communication between you and the person, helping to create a relationship. If you develop a friendship or work-relationship, you can then have someone who will share links to your site, and you share links to theirs. Everybody wins! 

Remember A Few Key Things

When you are focusing your SEO strategy on content, instead of links or keywords, you still need to remember a few key elements. Remembering these can help you craft some excellent content that will help to boost those SEO results and bring in some exceptional traffic and eventually great revenue. Let’s look at a few things to remember with content-driven SEO.

  1. You Need To Use The Full Formula Rand Gives In His Video. When you are starting to use content-driven SEO, you still need to be sure that you follow the full formula given by Rand in his video. This includes some link building for domain and page authority. Eventually, you will be able to get to where your content is driving most of your SEO results, but you have to take it one step at a time. One thing you can do is reformulate your SEO strategy by putting a much stronger emphasis on content, slowly shifting it from links, keywords, and other SEO tricks we’ve all learned over the years. 
  1. Let Links Come To You. Again, let the links come to you instead of chasing after them. Rand says this a few times, reiterating that leaving a comment is a great way to get links from others. Again, it sets up a great form of communication between you and competitors, and in the end can help both of you out significantly. It might seem a little strange at first, but help from competitors might help you win in the end.

It will also help to have connections within your industry from industry leaders. Do some basic networking by emailing people, going to Google Hangouts, and physically showing up at industry events. Everyone has business cards with all of their social media and website information, so bring along your cards and hand them out. Make sure to smile, leave your sales pitch behind, and just be relatable and friendly when you are networking. By simply engaging in basic networking practices, you can create a great system and eventually bring links to you.

  1. Remember The Other Channels. In his video, Rand makes a point that there are several “channels” some people are ignoring when it comes to marketing, but are integral parts in content-driven SEO. The various channels he points out are:
  • Product Quality. Product quality is important because when you encourage people to leave reviews, you obviously want positive ones. If your product quality isn’t that great, your reviews will match.
  • Press Releases. This is an important piece of content marketing that many people are starting to believe isn’t very helpful. In fact, press releases are still vital. They haven’t gone the way of the good old Tyrannosaurs Rex just yet.
  • Social Media. This is imperative to any online business or if you want to get a great presence on SERPs. As you start crafting a content campaign, you need to consider what you want out of your social media accounts and just what you need to do to achieve this. It is just as important as your blogs, if not a little more so, since you have to have someplace to share blogs and web content.
  • Offline Marketing. Yes, online marketing is great to get your company noticed, especially when ranking for SEO. However, another element to have a successful content campaign is to do offline marketing. What you can do is have paper ads, mail out press releases to news agencies or customers, or any other sort of offline campaign. When you do this, always make sure to include things like your Facebook, Twitter, website, email, and any other online website and social account your company may have.
  • Email Marketing. Don’t forget about sending out emails for your marketing campaigns. This is another great form of content that can help drive up your SEO results. Emails give you the chance to reach people when they first wake up, go on a lunch break, or get home from work. Once they check their email, they are likely to click your link, which will drive up traffic, therefore driving up your results on the SERP.
  • Word Of Mouth. Word of mouth is still a great marketing scheme, but it might look a little different now than it did 10 or 20 years ago. Most of the word of mouth marketing happens online and is how you get your social posts shared. Forbes even says that word of mouth marketing is one of the most important aspects of having a social media presence. What happens is one customer thinks your website, product, and services are cool and they want others to know about it. They share your website or a particular product and say just how much they love it and presto! You have several new clicks checking out your site with every possibility of turning into clients. Sometimes, however, you may need to encourage the word of mouth marketing. A great way to do this is to give people an incentive to share your site.The company encourages their clients to share a $5 give certificate via Facebook and Twitter, saying that whenever someone uses the code, the client will get two “frequent cup” points. When you write a review, you automatically get three points but get six if you share it on Facebook. When you mention Adagio Teas on Twitter, you get points. All of these points go towards getting free tea or tea products. Do you see how brilliant this is? Clients are sharing information, advertising for the company, but are also getting rewarded for it! How’s that for word of mouth marketing?
  • Content Strategy. When you are aiming to have your content drive more of your SEO, then you need to make sure you have an effective content strategy. While it seems like you can simply write a few blogs and post them, this isn’t really the case. Planning for what you want, how you want to reach people, and the voice you will use are all vital. Content strategy includes writing blogs, web content, landing pages, social media, email, and offline marketing. It encompasses any and all forms of content so don’t leave anything out! 
  1. Avoid Any Manipulative Or Nefarious Means For SEO Results. When you are attempting to shift your SEO strategy away from link building and keywords, you always need to make sure you do not participate in black hat SEO. Trying to get your site to rank can come with a few temptations, but those temptations will turn to penalties quickly. Instead, focus on writing great, quality content without any of the nefarious methods some sites have been known to use. You should also make sure that you aren’t being manipulative with customers or competitors. This will help you create great content, and it will also help you craft an amazing reputation. Your reputation is vital in SEO to help you rank.

Try Shifting Your SEO Strategy To Content

As Rand points out in his video, content-driven SEO results is something that Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted. They saw the Internet as a vast utopia driven by content. While this isn’t always the case, it is something that many people are moving towards. Even if you aren’t sure if this strategy will work for you, it is a great idea to move away from things such as link building and focus more on content. Not only will you see more traffic, but you will also see more people willing to shop with you and suggest your company.

When you focus on content, you are able to set up more of a relationship with your clients, as well as convert visitors to leads.

Take some time to look over your current content and SEO strategy and start investing more in content. Your rankings will thank you.