When I rewired my first
house, Igrabbed what I thought was aground. It gave me a shock.Unlike laboratory animals, Ididn’t learn from that, andgrabbed the wire 4 more times. Hey, stupid: Do not touch Especially you, Ian Sigh.
But SEOs are doing the
same thing, and have beenfor years. Going back before even the Floridaupdate, Google’s hammered site owners who triedto rank through link spam. Let’s build linksGoogle says any form of link acquisition could bespam. But we keep trying to ‘acquire’ links.We grab the wire again, and again, and again. Bzzzzt Let’s build links Bzzzzt Let’s build links Bzzzzt
I really do mean this
in a nice way. ‘We’ includesSEOs, clients who believe link building is a goodlong-term strategy, pundits who recommend it, andme. Why do we keep doing this?! ARE WE ALL IDIOTS?!
I suspect link building is
now Google’s favoritedrinking game. Every time an SEO mentions it ortries another harebrained scheme to ‘fool’ Google,someone at the big G gets a free beer.They get lots to drink there. LINK BUILDING G O O G L E ’ S FAVO R I T E D R I N K I N G G A M E
The best analogy I can
think of is the old days of PR. We’d contact journalists to let them know why our client’s story would matter to the journalist’s readers. If we’d done PR the way we now do link building, we’d call journalists and say: “ can you write about Hi, my client so he can sell more stuff?”It’s nuts. Note that I’m not saying ‘Artificial linkbuilding never works!’ Of course it can work. It justdoesn’t work consistently, or permanently. And thewake-up call can be a nasty one for a businessdependent on Google traffic.
CONTENT MARKETING A G R
E AT WAY TO S E L L M O R E B O O KSWhat it really is is a trendy term that doesn’t meanmuch. Mentioning ‘Content Marketing’ may getfolks to read a blog post or buy your book. It’s nota strategy. It’s not even a tactic, the way mostmarketers define it.
LET GO OF THE WIRESTOP
IT. Let go of the damned wire. Stop looking for easy solutionsto authority-building. ‘Cranking out’ crappy content won’t do it.Neither will buying, begging for or otherwise artificially acquiringlinks.Understand this: THERE ARE NO EASY SOLUTIONS. Acquiring linksin such a way that Google won’t quickly detect it isn’t easy. Nor issuccessful content spam.You’re better off focusing on marketing.
LET GO OF THE WIREStop
grabbing the wire.Rant: The truth is, we keep grabbing the wire – we’re not clinging toit. We just keep grabbing it and getting shocked, again and again.
Create marketable content Don’t build
a marketing strategy around ‘cranking out’ content. Build your strategy around creating marketable content. That means good stuff. This isn’t the focus of this talk, so I’m not going to go into more details. Hopefully you know the difference between marketable content and total dreck.
Build authority through conversionTHIS is
what I’m talking about tonight: Build authority by startingwith the assumption that everyone converts in some way. Everyvisitor to your site should read something, or share it, or ‘like’ it, orsubscribe to your blog/newsletter, or request info, or buy…Everyone converts, somehow. That’s the goal.
MARKET YOUR CONTENT (This is
content marketing) CONTENT MARKETING: Building authority for your site and your brand by creating & promoting fantastic content. NOT CONTENT MARKETING: Writing one 500-word blog post per day, for as little money as possible, then announcing it to my 10 Twitter followers.
THE PROCESSThe process:1. Create great,
free content so good that it’s a service in itself.2. Promote it.3. Convert readers into fans into customers.Lots of people talk about #1 and #3. I’mgoing to show you some tools and tacticsfor #2.
OUTBRAINOutbrain: A service that lets
you placelinks to your content in an ad widget theyput on major sites, like Slate. You pay bythe click. The links are not crawlable, so noGoogle TOS problems.
IMPORTANTNOTE: I’m not suggesting you
write crapand then spend $9999 getting visitors toit. I am suggesting that you have a lot ofcompetitors, and waiting for organictraffic to something you slaved away atwriting for a week may lead to indigestion.Paid advertising is a great way to givegreat new content a boost.
Once you do that, you
need to see if it’s working. That means looking at content effectiveness.TEST YOUR CONTENT
Sigh. My bounce rate is
ridiculous… MEH MEH GAH!This report shows traffic from theOutBrain network, and whether it’s doinganything for me. If I was tracking goals likesubscriptions and sales, I could look atthat, too. In this case, I was sloppy, so all Iget is visito duration and bounce rate.
Portent.com/reading-time.htm And, for that top
article, I need to see how long it SHOULD take to read. We built a quick little tool that lets you evaluate reading time and grade level. Here’s the report on that article. 2:37 to read. So an average time-on-page of :24 is pretty awful.
5% RESHARES (so far)And generated
a 5% RESHARE RATEthrough Google+, Twitter and Facebook.Every reshare helps build site authorityand rankings, AND increases the chancessomeone will link to that page.So this is a win, to say the least.
Outbrain Visit Pixel FacebookIn this
example, a reader sees your articlefor the first time via Outbrain. Then they Adgo to Facebook. Because FacebookExchange retargeting uses Outbrain data,we can show that person an ad for thesame content again. Share/LikeIf they come back, they’re even more likelyto re-share.
FACEBOOK CUSTOM AUDIENCESYou can also
build and target Facebookcampaigns based on your ‘house’ e-maillist. That’s even better targeting. Thesepeople already like you. They just need agentle reminder that your stuff is there.
Can you even prove it
works?Of course, someone will ask if I can provethis works. I wonder why? When the sameperson spent $500,000 on TV ads, or$25,000 on a print ad, or $5,000 on aYellow Pages ad, did they demand thatlevel of measurement? Nope.But anyway…
TOO MUCH NOISEThere’s too much
noise to know for certainwhen someone links/re-shares contentbecause of a paid campaign.The ‘noise’ in this case includes clicks fromsocial networks in the normal course ofbusiness, visits from organic searchbolstered by the brand reinforcement ofprevious content marketing, etc.
$9/LINKOn average, campaigns like this
cost $9/link. Pricing by the link is a little silly, sincesocial shares matter too, and link value isso inconsistent. But people insist, so thereyou have it.I dare you to find a less-expensive way toacquire authority this fast.
EVERYONE CONVERTS Plus, you’re getting
more than just ranking authority. You’re getting real brand authority, because potential customers/ clients learn how much you know, subscribe to your newsletter and come a step closer to full conversion.
Let’s build links BzzzztLet’s build
links BzzzztLet’s build links In other words, you can just keep grabbing the wire. Bzzzzt The problem, of course, is that you’ll continue to get shocked.
CHANGE THE CONVERSATION Instead, I
suggest we change the entire conversation. Talk about smart marketing and authority building. Talk about diversified strategies. Help people test results. Never use the phrase ‘crank out’. Accept a different definition of ‘content marketing’.