((This is a continuation of our series of posts about why content is your best investment as a business. To view the entire guide in reverse chronological order, click here))
It should be clear by now that investing in content is easily the best method of developing your website and your business. No other marketing method comes close, and if you have a limited budget, content marketing is easily your best bet for long term success.
But content marketing isn’t perfect. There are reasons that some companies are hesitant to invest in online content, especially if they do not understand how it works.
There is No Perfect Strategy
Many companies claim to know the SEO secret, and you’ll find numerous articles about how an article needs to be written in order to rank well in search engines. The problem is that these articles are wrong.
All of them.
Some people claim that you need to bold keywords for search engines to value them. Some people claim that a keyword needs to appear once every 100 words exactly. Some people claim that keywords need to be in all the headers, or that keywords cannot be in headers, or that a keyword needs to occur within the first sentence.
All of this is based on pseudoscience.
The reality is that while keywords and keyword density do play a role, and certainly formatting has its place, search engine algorithms were developed through mathematical formulas based on reading books and actual content.
These algorithms try to read things like content quality, topic, and usefulness, and are certainly not going to be affected by bolding random keywords or strategically placing keywords within an arbitrary number of words. Some of these companies and article writers truly believe that they’ve cracked the SEO code, but that’s because they attributed success to all of the little additions they made, not to the one thing they did correctly.
Think of it this way. Let’s say you developed the greatest pen in the world. The pen could do all of the following:
- Never run out of ink.
- Sing the pledge of allegiance in linguistically perfect Farsi.
- Reduce the smell of spoiled tomatoes.
- Be used as makeshift chopsticks.
Now, let’s say you sold one million of these pens to people all over the world. If you thought the way many SEO experts think, you would assume that each and every one of those features played a role in the pen’s success. But really, that’s highly unlikely to be the case. Most likely, people bought the pen because it never ran out of ink. Maybe a few people bought it for the linguistically perfect Farsi. It’s highly unlikely anyone bought it because of the ability to use it as a chopstick.
Many of these so called SEO experts provide clients with hundreds of articles. These articles will have a list of features, which may or may not include:
- They build content.
- They use keywords.
- They bold keywords.
- They add meta keywords.
- They place the keyword once every 100 words exactly.
- They use exactly 5 paragraphs.
- They never use contractions.
Then boom – within six months their clients have achieved a great deal of success, and they’re heralded for their ability to create content that shows up in search engines and break the search engine formula.
The reality, however, is that only building content and using keywords had any effect on the marketing strategy. Everything else did nothing, or the effect was so minimal as to be essentially useless. Consider the following:
- Why would Google reward anyone for bolding keywords when it has nothing to do with content?
- Why would Google care about the number of paragraphs when it doesn’t make an article more or less informative?
- Why would any content without this type of formatting/writing show up above content with this type of formatting if the formatting and writing style mattered that much?
- Why would contractions matter to anyone?
- Why wouldn’t competitors just make an identical article and rank as high or higher than yours?
- Why would any search engine have an algorithm so simplistic that something arbitrary such as “place a keyword every 100 words” would make any sense for a ranking system?
Finally, remember that there is more than just one search engine, and all of them have their own unique algorithms. It’s already highly unlikely that Google rewards anyone for developing content based on those ridiculous parameters. It’s even less likely that every single search engine does the same. In addition, these theories completely ignore the effects of incoming links, relevance, and other aspects of marketing that play a significant role in your website’s visibility.
There is no secret code for content. What matters are three things:
Everything else plays little to no role in any search engine algorithms.
Because of that, however, there’s also no 100% perfect strategy. That’s why choosing high quality writers and investing in as much content as you can reasonably afford is so important.