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.
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?