Why Content Marketing is the New SEO

content marketing new seo

SEO is not what it used to be. You can’t just pop up an ugly website, throw up mediocre content, build a few links and expect to rank well. These days you actually have to build a good website, write high quality content that solves peoples’ problems, build thousands of links and get thousands of social shares.

But there is one big issue: it’s hard to scale all of this. Building thousands of high quality links manually is really expensive, and even if you have the money, it will take months, if not years, to build those links. And if you don’t have anything worth sharing on the social web, you won’t get social shares unless you buy them from spammy accounts.

So, how do you build thousands of links naturally and get thousands of social shares? Through content marketing.

Content marketing is the cheapest and most effective way to do SEO these days. Not only does writing high quality content produce links at a quicker pace than building them manually, but it’s also cheaper. Plus, your content will naturally get shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

My content marketing experience

I’ve always built my organic search traffic through content marketing. “Why?” you may ask. It’s cheaper, and it provides faster results.

We were able to launch KISSmetrics and get over 100,000 monthly organic visitors in less than a year just through blogging and creating infographics. We didn’t build one link manually… we just spent our time and money on content marketing.

I did the same with Quick Sprout. Google drives around 90,000 visitors a month to the blog, and I didn’t have to manually build one link. I just wrote a lot of high quality content: 311 blog posts to be exact.

If you don’t think content marketing is the new SEO, let’s take a look at the numbers:

Content marketing by numbers

At KISSmetrics, we’ve created a total of 47 infographics. An infographic on average costs us $600, which means we have spent $28,200 on infographics in the last two years.

Within the two-year period, we’ve generated 2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 backlinks from 3,741 unique domains, all from those 47 infographics.

From the social media perspective, in the last two years, the infographics have driven 41,359 tweets and 20,859 likes.

If you decided that you want to buy 2,512,596 visitors, it would cost you $125,629.80 if you paid 5 cents a visitor. If you bought 41,142 links from a service like Sponsored Reviews at a rate of $20 a link, you would have spent $822,840. And that wouldn’t even give you high quality links. We naturally got our links from sites like Huffington Post and Forbes.

If you want to buy 41,359 tweets, it would cost you $82,718, assuming you paid $2.00 a tweet. It would also cost you an additional $41,718 if you paid $2.00 a Like.

In total, if you were trying to game Google and get the same results as we did at KISSmetrics, you would have spent a total of $1,072,905.80. Now, that’s a lot of money, especially if you compare that number to the $28,200 we spent on creating the infographics.

The big difference between content marketing and paid SEO

There is one huge difference between paying to do all of the things above and spending the money on content marketing. Can you guess what it is?

Nope, it isn’t the price difference of $1,047,705.80. Guess again…

Content marketing doesn’t get affected by algorithm updates, while paid SEO does. Search engines can tell when you provide value, and in the long run, that’s the kind of stuff they want to make sure stays high in the rankings.

So, instead of investing in short term solutions that may increase your overall rankings and traffic, invest in the long term solution of content marketing.

Conclusion

Now that you know content marketing is the new SEO, you also have to know that spending money on it doesn’t guarantee results. Over the last few years, I’ve tested a lot of different types of content and found that certain types produce better results than others.

  • Detailed content – short blog posts tend to get fewer links than detailed, thorough content. Don’t try to replicate what Huffington post does by producing hundreds of new pieces of content each day. Instead, focus on quality.
  • Digestible infographics – if you can make complex data easy to understand in a visual format, you can get millions of visitors to your website.
  • Social profiles – a key requirement to a successful content marketing strategy is owning powerful social profiles. Make sure you build up your Twitter and Facebook profiles. You’ll need them to spread your content.
  • Collect emails – make sure you have email opt-in forms in your sidebar and leverage pop-ups to collect even more emails. If you have a solid email list, you can always email it every time you publish a new blog post or content piece. This is an easy way to kick-start the virality process.
  • Be consistent – if you can’t publish content on a regular basis, no matter how good your content is, it will be tough to get a good ROI out of your content marketing. Make sure you publish content on a regular basis.
  • Headlines matter – no matter how good your content is, if you can’t write attractive headlines, no one will read your content. Learn how to write good headlines.

So, what do you think about content marketing? Do you think it is the new SEO?

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Trackbacks

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Comments

  1. What about the new disavow links? I think this will eliminate the negative SEO people are talking about.

    • I think the new disavow link tool is a brilliant way for Google to get people to flag their own websites.

      Only affiliate marketers and SEOs pay much attention to backlinks in the first place, so if you’re using the disavow tool then there’s a very high probability that you’ve been purchasing links.

      I’m guessing that Google will manually review a large percentage of the sites that are entered into the tool (both linkers and linkees), and that a large number of those sites will get manually flagged for having poor content.

      • Hahaha that’s an interesting perspective.

        Yeah, it’s certainly possible.

        Lol. That’s actually pretty funny.

        Google: “Thanks for identifying yourselves.”

        “HQ, begin the cleansing.”

    • I think we should think about our content value for the users.

    • Yep, it should. I haven’t tested it yet, but it should do the trick.

    • hello again Neil spending tousends of dollars to get much trafic for seo marketing is also expensive as adwords social media may be gives the difference

  2. I know it sounds cliche but content really is king. I love SEO, but I believe building a brand image is really #1. If you focus on creating high quality pieces that are unique, it builds that brand image and the content will get shared so the “SEO” part will take care of itself.

    Personally, if my client wants a resource to learn a little more about some type of marketing related to the internet, KISSmetrics is always the first blog I check first because I relate those simple but thorough resources strongly with your brand.

    Focusing on content marketing helps build the brand image and the SEO really takes care of itself.

  3. alan masarsky :

    You mentioned that infographics Cost you an average of $600. Do you produce infographics internally? Or do you outsource the work?

  4. You are right Neil only doing SEO is not important with that Content Marketing is also very important.They should be moving Head To Head and if we are able to do that then it will be very beneficial for us and blog too.

  5. Hey Neil,

    Another awesome post!

    I’m 100% agree with you about Content Marketing is the New SEO. Content Marketing is the need of an hour.

    I would like to add one more point under ‘Conclusion’ section that is “Content Strategy”, I think it plays vital role in the content marketing. What do you think?

    Also, recently I did a lot of research on it and have written a detailed post on creating a Content Strategy that drives the desired results. I really wish to publish this content on a blog which has readers who always seek for the posts related to Content Strategy. Do you have any blog recommendation for the same?

    Sincerely,
    Pratik

    • It does play a huge role. You can’t just crank out content and expect it to spread. You have to figure out how to write really good content and plan how you are going to spread it.

      Check out copyblogger.com

  6. Hi Neil,

    Interesting read but I’m going to play a bit of devil’s advocate here.

    I’m a bit perplexed though that you seem to imply that SEO and content marketing are 2 separate entities or did i get the wrong end of the stick? Isn’t great content always supposed to be a part of SEO anyway? I see it more fluid perhaps but i do think that these two are intertwined.

    You also seem to forget to highlight the investment spent on KISSmetrics to build its online presence throughout the years before it’s reached the height where it is now. I’m sure that’s worth a mention too.

    It’s all well and good saying you spent a “meagre” $25.200 for content creation but it’s a bit of a cop-out because once a site has gained a great traction with their SEO effort then it’s more likely the site gets the “love” needed from other sites through various forms.

    How to actually reach that point where your site has enough authority and trust to attract links, mentions, likes and tweets is more interesting and I am of the opinion that SEO is still at the heart of it. But that’s just me anyway.

    Cheers,
    Ragil

    • Ragil,

      I see SEO as a foundation, ie. your site has to be accessible by search engines and even some nice touches like the author tag help search engines make sense of the content. But, in general search engines are not writing smarter algorithms to be able to read html5 tags and index content, they are focusing on <> and <>

      The key that Neil is talking about is creating content that is both useful and easy to share (it is easier to share a info graphic than a 2500 word blog that few will read top to bottom). The second part of creating good content is developing a network of web influencers to push the content to (popularity). If you conquer both of those, search engines will naturally rank you higher (especially as they get better at ranking useful and popular), regardless of how well you use html5 and meta tags.

      Of course, in a perfect world money and time wouldn’t be barriers.

      Sincerely,
      Jared Smith

      • Sorry it looks like the two areas that search engines focus got dropped from my comment above. 1. How to tell if content is useful. 2. How to ingrate popularity into results.

    • When we started the content marketing, the site was brand new. We had no blog readers and we had to start from scratch.

      As for content marketing and SEO, yes it is part of SEO. But my point is, instead of focusing on manual SEO work, it is better to focus your time and energy in content building.

  7. Well neil i do share my posts everywhere…. whether its article submission or social networks…. and it really helps in getting traffic to my site and also some sites like scoop.it give backlinks as well :)

  8. I agree. I’m going to be building a new site soon and I’m not going to do any SEO at all. I’m just going to focus on writing nothing but good quality content that people will want to share. I really think it’s a mistake to rely on Google alone, instead you need to be focusing on getting traffic from all different sources.

  9. Great post, but I would spend only $5 using fiverr :)

  10. I kinda prefer inbound marketing vs content marketing…but I guess its all the same….as long as my boss doesnt call me the “seo guy”.

    nice post neil. quality as usual

  11. Neil-

    I think you are off on the likes and tweets. $2 a piece seems a bit high, but maybe someone else can chime in on that.

    The rest seem on the mark

    Mike

  12. What service do you use to create info-graphics. Though I am not going to spend those $25000. but will surely put forward..

  13. Content Marketing seems to be the topic of discussion everywhere now. I like how you provided some figures to justify the strategy!

  14. For B2B solutions, creating great content is fine, but you also have to have a distribution strategy that produces something more targeted than: our contents gets a lot of pageviews.

  15. To be completely honest it just makes perfect sense, it is the word of mouth phenomena but online. If you supply something that is good, useful and helps people, what do people do? they share it, acknowledge it and point to it.

    Cannot get any more natural than people doing the sharing your stuff for you.

    Cheers
    Andi

  16. Neil,

    I couldn’t be more on board with what you’re saying here. This is what I’ve done on my Marketing site and my insurance agency’s site… Mostly because in both locations I didn’t have a budget so I was forced to use Content Marketing…

    Then it started to actually work and I was like “screw paying for this stuff” if I produce awesome content the SEO just happens (for the most part).

    Appreciate you great content dude.

    P.S. I actually wrote about this a month or so ago… I put the link in the “Website” field love for you check it out and give me your thoughts…

    No worries if you don’t have time.

    All the best

    Hanley

  17. Hey Neil,

    Excellent stuff. This is true that content Marketing is one of the biggest thing which we have to do in SEO. If you have done content marketing then you can get the back links naturally and I would suggest that natural back links are more powerful then these kinds of scrape links.

    I really like your advice. :)

    Thank you

    Zane

  18. Awesome Post Neil!

    What would you recommend for a company that sell Aftermarket Performance Parts? Most of our visitors, and end consumers and wouldn’t have a site to link to? How would you recommend that we go about getting our high quality articles linked back to?

    Thanks,
    Charith

    • You can right articles that break down stats and facts about your products.

      Or you can create an infographic on how to tune up your car. Like add in parts… exhaust, headers, intake… and show the horse power each part adds.

  19. Awesome post Neil. Will have to give infographics a shot. I know I can make them but I always prioritized writing posts to creating them.

  20. How do you distribute the infographics for that kind of exposure. More than just put it on a blog post I imagine, but what exactly?

  21. Creating Infographics is great. In the same way using graphics you can create videos on YouTube too and embed it on the blog.

    Comparing to infographics, video creation is much more easier even for amateurs. Those who could not work with numbers and graphs can even create nice videos.

    In fact, if you are just getting started you’ll find a hard time like Neil did with infographics and you could not expect that your work will get featured on bigger sites like Huffington post. But for Youtube videos, if done correct , you can at least expect a nice amount of traffic to your site

  22. Hey Neil,

    This topic is interesting and I am glad that an expert like you brings it to the surface.

    I think we shouldn’t talk about SEO and Guest Blogging separately. These two techniques should work together to market and create relations with other gigs in a niche.

    Guest blogging alone can be used for the entire SEO marketing. If you do it for links only, you will be ignored by influencers in your niche. If you give them your best content, you will get an SEO link.

  23. The Man is on the money. Content marketing has been My main strategy for building my website. Yes it has taken a BIG investment of my time, writing and creating Great content that is useful to people. And its a long term strategy, but I am now reaping the rewards for that investment of time. Google like’s my website and I have built a following who constantly come back and seek to use my services. Also soon I will have products up. All based on producing Great, informative and usable content that solves peoples problems and provided free! Which people share and do the marketing for me. Content is King!

  24. It’s interesting to see your numbers laid out like that. It makes a lot of sense to do content marketing! RP, has a good point though. Just because you make content and infographics, it still has to be picked up by others and shared. I guess it helps when you’re name is Neil Patel :P

    • It does help once you have established a brand but I didn’t always have that name recognition. Just like most people, I had to start from nothing and build my name up.

  25. For Kissmetrics, how many blog post did you post in the first year? Or how often? And for the infographics, did you use a external source to help produce them for you (for the $600) or an internal team?

    Thanks

  26. I never liked getting tons of links through article spins and similar strategies. This is good. Write good content and you will get Google love.

  27. Good post Neil,

    Can content marketing be used for every online business? Did you use it to rank your website http://www.neilpatel.com?

    Thank you.

  28. Hey Neil,

    Nice post as always. Gaming Google is out of the question now. Before it was worth while for some people because there were actually good results that you can achieve from it but now, like you pointed out, it’s simply not cost effective. The problem is that most people do not know how to start going about creating quality content.

    • Thanks Mark,

      I usually suggest to those people to just start writing and keep writing. If you look back at my very first post till now you can definitely see a quality difference. Writing takes practice and the more you do it the better you become at it. If writing is not your strong suit then it is best to hire someone to do it for you.

  29. I have come to appreciate the value of content marketing over time. I read an interview on SEW about the publisher of universetoday.com. In it he explains how he got up to 3M UVs per month. Essentially, he built 0 links. All he did was identify content opportunities on search engine ranked. I still believe that traditional SEO has its place. But it should ride shotgun with content marketing as the driver, not the other way around, which is what too many SEOs do.

  30. Very true, this is going to be my focus anyway. The thing is we ,as humans, are very impatient. So the minute we read about som revolutionary over night traffic system we tend to want to take that route, which ends up leading us no where.

    So heres to proper SEO Cheers :)

  31. Neil, do you think there’s any actual SEO value to Pinterest, or is it just mindshare at this point?

    • Great question Jim,

      My take on it is that it has indirect Seo benefits.

      If you put quality content onto Pinterest it can drive a lot of quality traffic to your website.

      Quality traffic means “engaged traffic” which means the chances of them clicking on more than one page and staying on your site a bit longer will have a positive effect on your usage metrics. Improve your bounce rates etc etc

      But most importantly this type of visitor is a “Social Visitor” and will be more prone to sharing your content further. Improve your Social signals

      Google tested the experiences of human evaluators on 1000′s of websites to weed out “low quality” sites. Google then emulated these user experiences and incorporated this “Machine Learning” into one of it’s Panda updates.

      Hey presto, if you increase the quality visitors to your website through sites like Pinterest, then your overall site usage metrics are going to be emulating the pattern of what Google see’s as a quality site.

      Sweet!

      What do you say Neil?

      Duncan

      • I am with Duncan on this one.

        Also keep in mind that even if Pinterest does not have a direct SEO benefit, the referral traffic you can get from it is huge. In the end of the day, as long as you are getting good quality traffic that converts and you are making money, if it comes from SEO or Pinterest or somewhere else, it doesn’t really matter.

  32. Great post, Neil.

    How often do you need to be posting good, quality content in order to reap the SEO benefits, etc.

    Thanks,
    Ian.

  33. Hi Neil,

    Excellent post, as always. I’ve always been a content defender, but I think we must recognized some inconvenients from it:

    -For small businesses, be consistent with the publication calendar is something more than… difficult.
    -Create good content requires grammar and ortography skills, and not everyone have it.

    In both cases, if a company owner wants to solve these problems, he will need to hire someone to deal with specific tasks. If this ‘someone’ is a good one, it won´t be cheap; if doesn´t, then why to hire.

    All of us know the virtues of Content Marketing, but I don’t believe in single solutions for multiple problems.

    Thanks for the post.

    Sergio

  34. Definitely it is, and it always was. Content is king is a long and famous line!

  35. Really good post.. It does make you think about other good seo strategies. I think quality always pays off and you could see for yourself on the small investment you made on your info graphics. You save so much money compared to reach the same goal as if you had paid to reach those numbers.It comes harder times now in the future for SEO experts but i think i like this new trend that quality actually is cheaper and at the same time more valuable and bringing much longer terms results.

  36. Hey Neil, happy new week.
    Personally, i think content marketing is the best route to go. With all the google updates going up and down, anyone that is still thinking of buying SEO now is out for a bigger slap.

    I think that even the last update about EMD, if you have a enough genuine content on your blog, even if you have an exact match domain, it wount affect you.

    The phrase that CONTENT IS KING is still and will continue to hold, so lets all focus on producing more epic content in order not get involved with all this google issues. Who knows, the next one might be google Anaconda……Lol

    Thanks for sharing Neil.

  37. Well’
    I have already started executing content marketing with most of my clients and suggested them lot’s of other benefits about how a quality content can impact on bounce rate, better interlinking, getting links through images and social sharing point of view..
    But there was 2 things seems new to me..
    1- Amazing results using INFOGRAPHICS.
    2- I am specially impressed with the statistics and comparison about other services then content marketing…

    Nice one again…
    Raj.

  38. Social Shares seem like they’re are slowly creeping to the top on importance scale. A post with 100 tweets will be deemed being more of a quality piece, with more juice, than a post with 5 tweets. If you don’t have a Google + account yet, or aren’t active, you best get going.

    It will be interesting to see what is the fate of the SEO industry. Will these changes lead to a widespread contraction of the vertical?

  39. This is a good post and the information is in line with stuff I’ve found on Microsoft’s own website. Microsoft had indicated back around 2006-2007 that the indexing software they were creating and using would be less focused on Meta Tags and more focused on the site’s actual content going forward. If a search engine is looking at your SEO (Meta Tags in particular) it is only so they can see if your site is spam or the real deal. Meta Tags can really hang you out to dry if you aren’t careful these days and less important these days than they’ve ever been in the past when it comes to search engine ranking. Neil’s got it on the money with this post. Content is everything and the code is only really the something that helps display the content. Awesome Neil! Rock on Dude!

  40. That’s truly an EPIC piece! THANK YOU, Neil!

    That’s actually one of the main reasons I read your blog. I greatly enjoy and get lots of value from the content itself that you publish. But I am also looking at it as a business model, template, prototype or however you’d call it of how you market your business, products and brand. It is a blueprint.

  41. Nataliya Yakushev :

    The questions is – please define “paid SEO”. Content marketing is part of SEO services, and majority of SEO firms will conduct keyword analysis and map out your marketing startegy based on this. If you hire a firm that will deevlop content for your website, always check if they have SEO specialist on staff. Infographics are great, but they are hardest to track and get credit for. They often get re-posted without a link back and /or any credit at all.

  42. Content Marketing is the Tool now. The more you share and get shared is what can bring you traffic

  43. Hi Neil, we are in the construction industry and so with no knowledge of Backlinks, SEO etc etc but tons of knowledge in our area of expertise we are now page 1 google. We have just been providing great content during 2012. Direct proof that what you say here Neil, content is the key though as a small business owner heaps of time.
    Cheers Paul

  44. How do you “write” great content for flash game sites where most have the same games? Also what to do for some industries where people dont search any content but do look for that services?

    • Marko, there is NO industry in which people don’t care about content. They might not actively search for it but if there is a product or service targeting a specific market, there is the potential to create good content. You can do reviews, comparisons between products and services, guides on how to use them, how not to use them, etc. Just my 2 cents.

      As far as the flash games, look at all the gaming sites like IGN or GameSpot and emulate what their are doing.

    • That is a tough, you just have to get creative. You could start by looking to your competitors like Kris below mentioned.

  45. Thanks for the article, Neil – anything which gives me more control over how and where we appear in search results, rather than relying on paid-for SEO is great news!

  46. Hi Neil,

    I have been silent reader of your blogs without adding any comments. Finally decided to a take a plunge. We completely agree with your comments of content marketing. We launched our company a year back and spent the initial few months on manual link building. Did not gain much benefits. Few months back we decided to take the route of content marketing and redesigned our blog page and started creating new blogs and infographics. We have 3 blogs as part of our new site and planning to add atleast 1-2 new blogs every week. We have started working on Infographics. But “Infographics ” are hard. Hopefully we can create some world class infographics. But when i read your blog this morning it was such a relief that a leading marketing guru like you is endorsing content marketing.
    THANK YOU

  47. Creating high quality and useful content for your target audience is definitely the most beneficial marketing activities one can do.

    But you still need to do the minimum basic on-page SEO such as doing keyword research, optimizing the meta title & meta description and URL. This is simple to do and it should be the minimum SEO that you should do for each web article or blog article that you produce.

  48. Hi Neil,
    Great “content” as usual.
    As a small business we have spent our time providing only quality content for our customers and have never bothered a great deal about backlinks etc. Hence Googles updates have not bothered us. However I do feel the paid Google ads maybe more of a threat to us small guys out there slaving away providing all this information but low on cash to splash around. How do you see the future competing with paid Google ads ?
    Cheers
    Paul

    • I think it will get more expensive and harder for smaller companies to compete in the long run. You will have to look for new channels to market your business if you don’t have a lot of cash.

  49. Content is king! This is encouraging. Time is better spent creating great content for your visitors then spending most of your time building back links.
    Thanks!

  50. The whole concept of an SEO strategy that didn’t overlap in some significant way with content marketing always seemed like a farce to me. It was a shortcut, and not a sustainable one for the long run (like a “hole” in the search engine algorithms which are now being more aggressively patched).

    I think SEO and content marketing go hand-in-hand, Neil. Your strategy of creating valuable infographics is a good one when it comes to building backlinks.

    I think another effective means to accomplish the same task is what I call “Alliance Marketing.” This is where you have a group of people (your allies) voluntarily promote one another’s content (via retweets, linkbacks, etc.).

    (My product product, http://SaberBlast.com, streamlines this for bloggers and content marketers to help everyone benefit from increased distribution.)

    Alliance Marketing goes hand-in-hand with a solid content marketing strategy by leveraging existing online / offline relationships to expand one’s total potential audience (which in turn will also help one’s search rankings ;) ).

  51. Today’s search engines work in such a way that relevancy places a very important part. High relevant content adds value to the online users life and therefore is able to attract the correct type of online crowd.

  52. I like the cost comparison between content creation and the paid methods.

    Be consistent is something that I am still working hard with over at Sprout Geek and yes, I am starting to see results in terms of traffic when I really start spending time on coming up with quality and resourceful content rather than having mediocre guest bloggers on the site who are just basically looking for links.

    Thank you for the article, Neil. Keep inspiring us. :)

  53. I guess content marketing takes a lot of time and effort but I always see positive results in that idea. If building good content is their problem, Well I recommend that they have to read this. Thanks for the post Neil. :)

  54. The important thing all marketers have to note is “Content marketing doesn’t get affected by algorithm updates, while paid SEO does.” Thanks for wonderful post.

  55. well said,
    is info graphic must for a blog post ?

  56. i’m so happy you came up with this. a few months ago, i decided to stop all link building and focus instead on building my twitter and facebook networks so i can get more shares from these sites. i was not yet sure if i made the right decision, but after reading this, i think i have.

  57. Google update and social media
    Hi
    I read that social media precense does not itself influence page rank. Is that true?

  58. Yes, I agree with your points. Spend money on generating contents rather than SEO to win in the long terms. If a visitor comes to my website then he must be fully satisfied with what I have written on my site.
    Contents is the future SEO. Thanks for sharing this article.

  59. Great post! I completely believe you are correct! The one thing I’ve had a hard time adopting to is the scheduled posts. I’ve heard both arguments and still not completely convinced one way or another. I worry that with a constant deadline looming, quality will not be there. Thanks so much for your info. I am looking forward to the next!

    -Keith

  60. Neil great post, I agree that content marketing is the new SEO strategy. Nowadays people are getting more into the content aspect of their online business which is a great strategy for creating an audience. Great post Neil!

  61. Nice post Neil, well written :)

  62. Hey Neal,
    Can’t say I like the title of the post, but I sure like what you have to say. Love the math.

    I just presented something similar at PubCon about the most cost effective way to get links… by attracting them. I had the audience do the math too. Pretty eye opening.

    Hope to see you on the road somewhere. Take care.
    Arnie

  63. I think “SEO” is content creation. It seems like this article should be called content marketing is better than “on-site optimization.”

  64. Hi Neil

    I like the post but there are a few things I have to disagree with

    Title: .. I would agree with you if it said Why Content Marketing is the New Link building ( that said it was a good click bait .. not that your posts need them I have found them to be a good read )
    SEO does not all have to be about building links .. there can be a lot of other optimization techniques that goes in like structuring a page with Schema.org meta data for RichSnippets in SERPs for better click through
    A good SEO strategy can give a business an action plan to follow for engaging potential customers on social media

    That said I can understand how ” paid SEO ” often refers to bulk link building and that is what you have focused on and it hurts my pride when SEO is classified as that :(

  65. Hey Neil! You are the man, and yes I am agreed with your point of view! actually, I am also investing my money in content marketing, and the results are totally wonders.

    These days, SEO is like a war against search engine, but Content Marketing and Social Marketing / Branding is kind of pain killer.

    BTW, yet another mind provoking post from you :)

  66. Hi Neil,
    Checking in for the first time (recommended by Nicks Tricks). I love the internet but have certainly not mastered SEO yet. We believe great purposeful content must be the foundation of any sustainable website and have managed to rank 6th on page one of google for our main keywords. Now just trying to learn more to push it up further.
    Many thanks for sharing your expertise.
    SM

  67. Hello,

    We are social entrepreneurs who rely on great content to keep our visitors coming back although I’m not sure I understand the difference between SEO and Content Marketing. (Thus far we have done everything ourselves) Who do you pay, what do you get and can you learn to do it yourself? I guess infographics are the kind of thing we see in Google Analytics, graphs and charts?

    Thanks

  68. I am new in the SEO field can someone help me to excel!?Specially Neil.

  69. You know, I’ve always wondered about SEO. I’ve read quite a few books and have implemented my own strategies. In no way do I consider myself a pro or even close to it, but I’m glad this article has confirmed my deepest and darkest of suspicions.

    At the end, go ahead and implement as many link building tactics as you want or strategize about the best keywords to use. But ultimately, it all comes down to value – what do you have to provide your customers that they find valuable? I remember reading Frank Rumbauskas’ book on sales tactics and this is exactly what he mentioned as well. He used to focus so much on SEO that neglected the aspect of value. Now that he focuses purely on his site’s content, he’s found that not only has business increased, but the leads he gets as a result of the value he provides are increased tremendously.

    But when this advice comes from a guy like Neil, it’s set in stone for me. Thanks for the VALUE you bring to your audience, Neil.
    - John

  70. Hi Neil,

    I love how you always take complex issues such as SEO, and boil all the conflicting information down into valuable and easy to digest suggestions.

    As a marketer and blogger, I have been trying to convince clients that quality content is the way to build their brand, but they lean towards SEO as the sexier choice. I’m going to send your article to every one of them!

    Thanks.
    Susan

  71. I have been working on content marketing for more than a year and I have come up with a system called the content marketing engine. It relies on content, email, social shares and search.

    System is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRNI7nhuyNk&feature=plcp

    Hope you like it!

  72. Great post. I agree with you for the most part but I don’t think content marketing is the new SEO because even if you have great content you still need to keep SEO in mind when creating content. And you will still need to do some SEO to supplement the content for the best results.

  73. Neil,

    A very informative article and great responses from it. I have recently built a new website and done a lot of SEO research. Most talks about on page (keywords) and off page (links) optimization. At one point I was considering paying for back links. After reading this content and responses it reminded me how fast thing changes in the IT world. Here I just learned about keywords/links and it sound dated .

    With response from Theodore Nwangene about Google updates, where can I get up to date information on Google updates release that will affect SEO? Also, I noticed some user names are in blue and others in black color on the response. Why is that?

    Thanks All!

    • Derrick,

      Black names are the ones with no link, blue names are the ones that left a link to a website (like you) when the left a comment.

      Search Engine Watch and SE Roundtable along with the blog on SEO Moz are a couple of places where you can keep yourself up to date on what is going on with Google’s updates.

      As far as paid links go, I would suggest you stay as far away as you can from them. You are better off having NO links than PAID links.

      Just my 2 cents on your questions.

  74. Hey Neil, thanks for sharing the new SEO always, I think most SEOers know that content marketing is much more effective than building links manually, but they just have no idea about how to generate high quality content for the site and most people can’t wait such a long time to see the effects.

  75. Hi Neil – you mention some impressive statistics: 2,512,596 visitors, 41,142 backlinks, 41,359 tweets and 20,859 likes. But I’m confused. I have to ask some Devil’s advocate questions: So what? What was your ROI, i.e., what were the bottom-line results of all that online activity, in terms of income? And how can you prove that those sales happened as a direct result of your content marketing activities? Do people who Like you on Facebook actually BUY from you? How do you convert traffic into sales? (Please don’t get me wrong – I love content marketing. But I’m just wondering about the measurable results.)

  76. wow, this is really inspiring man, i have struggled just to get visitors to my website and the more i follow your posts the more i get strenght to make my blog better……the world is huge need of people like u Patel…thank u

  77. Hi Neil,

    Great post, thanks for sharing! I am extremely surprised to see the positive results you had with info-graphics and I want to try it. I agree with you that today the quality is far above than quantity and if we provide the right content we will succeed.

    Best,

  78. Agreed! Since my time is limited, I have always looked at it as where my time is best spent. Instead of spending so much time begging for links, I spend twice as much time creating the content and the links will come naturally.

  79. Neil, I loved this article! Most of our social media strategy falls on content marketing, and we couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks!

  80. Neil, another amazing article! It makes me reconsider my methods. Thank you!

  81. Yeah thats what I was thinking content is king. Having a great content thats really helpful.

    Thank you for the great article.

  82. Nice article. I know that for great marketing content is the most valuable thing. Not google or something make you site best, only content which moves your business at the top.

  83. Content is King and Marketing is Queen :) Write for content quality first and then use social & syndication for amplifying the great content.

  84. Hello Neil, I’m new in this world of SEO, Internet Marketing and all other stuff.
    Your website was recommended to me by my mentor who taught me the basics of Internet Marketing and Blogging (he is your follower for a long time). I keep reading your posts as much as I can.
    Regarding this article, I have one question: did you engage outsourcing company to create Infographics for your purposes? Can you recommend a software/tool for creating Infographics?
    Thanks

  85. Wow Neil! interesting numbers… you know! I have already clear this about content marketing, but the explanaition is realy cool and easy to understand, after this, my dad (with who I work together) understand better about it!

    Thanks for that and greets from Paraguay

  86. Fantastic post Neil – loved the comparison. Loved it so much that made an infographic out of it ! :) Just published it here –

    http://productnation.in/a-kissmetrics-case-study-infographic/

    My calculator says $600 X 47 is $28,200. That’s the number I used in the infographic – I hope I’m not misleading. Thanks ! :)

  87. Great post. This will be a great share for our team to really understand much about all aspects of content especially the consistency part.

  88. Another great article. This is exactly what I do now, since I’ve been learning more about how to rank better. I just focus on writing great content, the highest quality I can. Building links manually is not fun at all and makes the whole website building experience horrid. Simply focusing on writing great content is far more powerful.

    Thanks again.

  89. As someone who is quite new to building websites, i think it just makes sense that it is all about content because (a) you can’t get penalised by the big G for dodgy links (b) it gives you a much better chance of hitting longer tail traffic and most importantly of all (c) its actually what your visitors want to read about!

  90. Well apart from the wise words, I would like to pull your attention to the banner image of this post. Great choice Neil ;)

  91. Content has always matters for me, becuase all websites that I’ve created were build to solve a problem that people have.
    So my websites were designed to give THE answer and not crappy contents…In fact Google never penalized me until now!

  92. I think it’s not about whatever “great” content you can put out there. The truth about Content Marketing is emotion; you have to be able to tell a story. What’s your story ?

  93. Hi Neil,
    I have 2 questions for you.
    1.How do i get the kind of images/graphics you use above the fold along with your articles? I like the images, they tell a 1000 words.
    2. In my country somewhere in(W/Africa), i foresee companies needing SEO specialist in the nearest future. How can i be your student?

  94. Hey Neil,

    Whats your take on this strategy for small niches that is not going to have a bunch of people that will link to content? Is this still the best way to go.. or are you better off going out and building links via guest posts, etc?

  95. i do agree 100% that content marketing is one of the best SEO strategy right now.

    Not only you attract links and social links, it also allows you to target a lot more keyword (especially the long tail ones).

    From reading your comment, i learn few sites which can be used to create free infographic. How about adding that as resources in your blog post? I think it will be a very nice addition.

    :D

  96. i agree with you neil that content marketting is more cheapest and effective way to do SEO. its a precious post i must say.

    thank you for this.

  97. Thanks Neil you are incredible i been following your past 2 years i have gained so much out of your articles your my Seo Guru, Sir

  98. Great article and awesome tips, Neil. I couldn’t agree more, but writing quality content on a consistent basis should be part of the initial blogging strategy to begin with. A way to supplement content marketing and content creation is through monitoring what others are saying and what your competition is talking about. Postano is a great way to monitor and inspire content marketing- http://www.postano.com/solutions/for-monitoring/ .

  99. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice,
    keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. Cheers

  100. I’ve been content marketing for 13 years, and I can attest to getting tons of long-tail traffic from that content. And good content build loyal readers, and increases conversions with the appropriate CTA’s.

    Cheers,
    Mike

  101. Of course, making and distributing valuable content that truly serve people need and want the sure way to build brand, authority website and get long-term traffic from Google. spend $50 on producing quality content is better than spending $50 dollar everyday using Adwords or media buys.

  102. Excellent article here. High quality content is always very important, and being able to deliver a consistent stream of high quality, rather lengthy content can help any webpage build a high pagerank and gain higher rankings in the SERPs!

  103. That’s really an excellent piece of information. Content is the king of SEO. I think instead of using traditional techniques like forum commenting and blog commenting, its time to use content marketing for better results. I appreciate your ideas.

  104. Hi Neil,

    Another great post with attractive title. Though already an ardent lover, practioner and evangelist of content marketing, yet this article added to my knowledge. Mathematics would be your favorite subject during student life. :)

    Great post!

    Yasir

  105. Content is such an important source for websites.

  106. Thanks for giving a brief explanation on Content and its marketing

  107. Thats really a great piece of information:)

  108. I need to increase trafic to my blog:

    http://genuinecontent.blogspot.com

    any help would be appreciated.

  109. Hi!,,,,,,

    Really good post.. It does make you think about other good seo strategies. I think quality always pays off and you could see for yourself on the small investment you made on your info graphics.But anyway thank you for sharing!,,,,,,,

  110. Indeed content marketing is the new search engine optimization.SEO ranking can be increased only by putting active and engaging content online which will lead to higher search rankings and better website worth. The content management team at Synechron is constantly monitoring content so as to derive maximum results.

  111. Content is king! Both onsite content (which is very important) and the one you distribute through social media or on normal online sources.

    Have a no content website and try to market it and bring it to top spots in Google. You can’t, unless they have a venture investment for their SEO needs :)

    So the onsite content is equally important as the one you distribute.

  112. That’s an excellent piece of information. Content on the internet is always the king of SEO.

  113. thanks for sharing & hi from vienna!

  114. Well said. SEO is no more about keyword stuffing and link building. It has evolved to content marketing where content speaks. Marketers now need to humanize and reach their target audience by engaging with them in discussions and groups. It more about interaction and building social relationships with users.

  115. Howdy very cool web site!! Man .. Excellent .

    . Superb .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds also?
    I’m glad to seek out numerous helpful information right here within the submit, we’d like
    work out more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.
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  116. Amazing information Neil! But what if we cannot afford making Info-graphics as a start-up company? Is there any way we can add value to people? How does this work for small websites and forums?

  117. This is a good post about organizing thought processes for content production. Content strategy involves feeding your potential audience with the information although we can’t deny of which some content writer pretty much forget this. They are focusing considerably more on the search engine on learning to get on it while disregarding the leading target which is the customers.

  118. IN general blogging this is a valid point but if you are doing for some company or business so you should be specific for market area and that will do not generate this big figure what do you say?

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  120. Hello Neil !
    This is awesome post. You are right that heading should be attractive and catchy for the readers so that customer may attract to read the whole article. The reading of your content is dependent on the heading of the article. The heading should show the solution of your customer’s problem.
    Thanks.
    Hanaye

  121. Hi Neil,

    I wonder if you can help me. Imagine the situation if you will – a client who work in a highly specialised, technical industry – very niche – their staff still approach the website as being a “marketing” tool – so content is deliberately brief and vague and doesn’t really convey that the client is an authority in this area. The business area is governed at international, continental, regional and country levels by many, many rules and regulations, is incredibly complex. I am writing great content to go on their site – content containing the keywords that people search when they wish to find out about this area.

    Firstly I’ve noticed that Google is punishing me for creating this content. I move a page from 200 words to 600 words cleared as 100% original through copyscape, with certain keywords (they appear only once or twice, I’m not stuffing), full academic references and no change to the inbound linking. So this is somewhat disappointing – I’m hoping that Google will “right” itself but if you know different please share!

    Secondly – my client hates the content. They agree that the new content is engaging, involving and factual – it’s strong content, it’s well written. But they believe that their web pages should just outline a few basic facts – potential clients should get in touch to find out more. I can’t get through to them that the old system with a few headings and vague mentions of “quality” and “service” and “compliance” don’t really cut it.

    Without Google backing me up it’s doubly hard. Any advice would be gratefully received – not just by me but I suspect also by your many fans who are also doing SEO.

    Thanks

    Simon

  122. Hi Neil,

    I’m a huge fan of yours, what you do and how you do it. I’m really excited to meet with you in person at this Friday’s meetup in Silicon Valley and learn what you have to share.

    I’m following the Content Strategy path to improve our Company Website’s SEO + SMM + Traffic + Engagement + Conversion.

    I agree with Neil, a 1000% that a good Visual Content Strategy is the shortest route to better SEO, stronger Branding and more Social Media Engagement with much better Brand Retention.

    Here are some staggering results for Social Strategi achieved with $0 on Marketing and purely on Content:

    Improved Alexa Rank by over 7000% in 3 months

    Increased Reach by 400% in 1 month

    Increased Daily PageViews by over 250% in 3 months

    • Agarwal, WOW those numbers really speak for themselves. It’s amazing how you achieved such great success with virtually no budget. I look forward to the event and hopefully we can meet up speak more in depth about your website. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

  123. A Very mind inspiring post Neil. It not only talks about importance of good content & it’s marketing today but also about it’s cost effectiveness. Nevertheless who would not like repeat visitors on their website by writing good contents.

    • Parag, some great points you bring up. If you offer your readers a value proposition that is great they will come back and want more & more of your articles. Thanks for reading!

  124. Great post Neil. Been reading your blog for a while and I think this is basically the go to guide for anyone who wants to learn how to build and grow traffic to their site.

    Looking forward to going through all the posts again to refresh my memory and figure out the shortest way to building our content strategy.

  125. I love the exposure that has been conveyed. if every day to follow the changes google, it just create headaches. :D

  126. I agree with you, Neil. Great post, by the way. It’s all about content and people with black hat SEO are starting to finally feel the effect. It’s not Google’s fault you cheated the system and got away with it all this time.

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  128. You are right Neil only doing SEO is not important with that Content Marketing is also very important.They should be moving Head To Head and if we are able to do that then it will be very beneficial for us and blog too.

    Thanks

  129. Amazing article. SEO is no more about keyword stuffing and link building. It has evolved to content marketing where content speaks.

    Thank you for share.

  130. Neil I believe that content marketing an SEO is entirely different thing and content marketing can never replace SEO. Neil I want to Thank you for your engagment with your blog readers and commenter.

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  132. I agree with Neil, a 1000% that a good Visual Content Strategy is the shortest route to better SEO, stronger Branding and more Social Media Engagement with much better Brand Retention.

  133. Hi Neil,

    What do you think about the Matt Cutt’s video in which someone posed the question to him if Google would ever consider removing backlinks from the algorithm. Matt stated they have done internal tests, but they always point to backlinks improving the quality of the SERPs. Can’t one infer here that Mr. Cutt’s is saying content is NOT king? Thanks.

    • There are people on both sides of the fence, some side with content, some side with links, ultimately it is the two of them combined which is king, and content marketing provides the perfect opportunity to do this.

  134. Hi Neil

    Excellent stuff. This is true that content Marketing is one of the biggest thing which we have to do in SEO. If you have done content marketing then you can get the back links naturally and I would suggest that natural back links are more powerful then these kinds of scrape links.

  135. Hi Neil

    Very true, this is going to be my focus anyway. The thing is we ,as humans, are very impatient. So the minute we read about som revolutionary over night traffic system we tend to want to take that route, which ends up leading us no where.

  136. I am eager to know many posts in the blog of the business website per week can be perfect in content marketing? Also can I take the free image from Google Images for my post with alterations or will I also have to make a unique image for every post? Please assist me in this.

  137. Hi Neil

    Nice post as always. Gaming Google is out of the question now. Before it was worth while for some people because there were actually good results that you can achieve from it but now, like you pointed out, it’s simply not cost effective

  138. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist
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    Cheers!

  139. Agree! i always believe with a phrase that content is a king
    good content = good engagement = good conversion

  140. Content Marketing is the Tool now. The more you share and get shared is what can bring you traffic.

  141. Why Content Marketing is the New SEO is true, i agree with this statement

  142. Hello Neil,
    Thank you for this insight. So can we understand that the key in SEO is Content Writing? Do you think that it’s enough? or link building is also important or remains the main key on SEO ?

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  144. how can you send me guidebook for seo? :/

  145. very goood information for seoss.thanks

  146. Short and well written article! Content marketing comes first because at the end of the day Content is King, right Neil? :)

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