Google is playing a war game with SEOs for quite some time. Seems now they made a big hit. The latest Panda and especially Penguin updates made millions of man hours link-building work going down the drain.
While the updates are far from perfect and lots of honest webmasters have been thrown out of 1st page results, I can’t disagree with the intent of the updates. They are to favor quality content and real natural links over low quality article rewriting, spammy link building, and all kind of gray hat SEO methods.
So the things are going back to the old “content is king” mantra stronger than ever.
But constantly producing great content is really hard especially in most product niches. OK, you have described your product from every possible aspect, explained how it solves customer’s problem, gave tips and advice to solve related problems, recorded videos showing how to get the most of it. What else? Threading words in rows to say the same thing again and again but in different way is not going to work. You have to be really creative. Here are five ideas that will help you. The hard work to explore them and play with them remains for you:
1. Academic papers and raw data
This is where most webmasters give up before starting. Academic papers can be really boring and hard to understand. Getting out usable information from them can require a lot of work. And this is where the opportunity lies. If you put this hard work and turn academic information into well written content with pictures, charts, highlights, and why not videos, you can have content that no one else has.
In similar fashion you can make great content by using data from public data sets. Charts is the first that comes to mind, but info-graphics often work better than simple charts. If you can extract useful conclusions from the data and combine it with proper presentation you may build a piece of content that will attract natural links. Finding public data sets with free access is not hard – just search for “public data sets” in your niche. The hard work is to figure out how to turn the information from them into something useful.
Wikipedia can be a source of content ideas in similar fashion. While the information there is much better presented it’s still often too dry. And Wikipedia is much easier to search by topic than raw or academic data so finding ideas for your niche should be pretty easy. However just explaining what’s already explained with different words isn’t going to work. You will need to get more creative:
- Turn content into video. Maybe it’s possible to present something explained there by producing a good video about it.
- Make it visual – again info-graphics come to mind. Another options are comic strips, slide shows and so on. This approach works best when the info you are presenting is hard to understand by reading text. For example a lot of articles on Wikipedia explain various building techniques but the visual stuff is never clear enough.
- Expand on it. No matter how detailed Wikipedia is you can always add more aspects to what they say. In some cases if your content is credible enough you can get a link from the Wikipedia article itself.
3. Your own stats
Everyone knows to look for the keywords that people use to find your site on search engines. Indeed you can get ideas what to create from them. Pay special attention to two categories:
- High number of visits and high bounce rate with short time staying on site. This usually means you are ranking well for a search but people don’t really find what they are looking for. I don’t need to tell you what to do here. Just create the content they are looking for and make sure it’s of good quality!
- Visitors who made a lot of page views. Maybe they liked your site too much which is good but doesn’t offer you new content ideas. But maybe they didn’t find what they wanted and decided to check the other pages on your site searching for it.
4. FUD on forums and discussion groups
A lot of questions are asked again and again on forums and discussion groups. There are plenty of topics full of FUD regardless the tons of blog posts about them. Take for example Google’s algo changes. The latest Penguin for example. Thousands of people give contradicting advice on forums how to recover lost rankings, whether to remove directory links or not, whether on-page SEO matters and so on. If you can create content that clears some of the fears and doubts and is credible and factual, you are a winner. For example this article got hundreds of links (yes, one from me too) because the authors shared real data clearing some of the doubts.
5. It’s not just content
Finally, stop thinking that content is something that can be only seen and read. Content is also useful stuff that can be interacted with in some way, played with. Need examples?
- A game. Games require a lot of development efforts but a single game can attract more links and traffic than hundreds of articles together. If you have idea for a game that fits your niche, why not?
- Software and tools. Estimators, calendars, trackers, Excel extensions, Firefox extensions, WordPress plugins… All this is still content and can attract links. And because creating software is harder than writing an article you can immediately get ahead of competitors who do only the former.
- Sound. Audio content is often overlooked. Podcasts, audio-interviews and music however often stand out from the crowd of same old text.