There are certain myths which come to mind when it comes to content strategy best practice. Some of these myths are rooted in outdated SEO approaches, while others emerged from long-held assumptions. However they eventuated, it’s time to finally kick them all to the curb because they’re holding back your content strategy.
By identifying not only which myths you hold, but also the possible consequences of those beliefs, you can develop a stronger content strategy for your business. Below, you’ll learn about 5 of the most pervasive myths out there, and discover truly effective ways to advance your company’s content strategy.
Myth #1: Longer content = higher rankings
One of the most widely-held myths about content creation is that more equals better. Although Google does look favorably on comprehensive, well-researched, and well-structured content, writing long, but poor-quality content is not doing your content strategy any favors.
In fact, publishing content which lacks useful or thin information is a red flag for Google’s Panda algorithm update.
As Moz outlines, your website could be affected by the Panda algorithm if your content is:
- Too thin: Content with little relevance, substantive text, or resources
- Duplicated: Content copied from other websites or from your own
- Low quality: Content lacking depth, usefulness, and practicality
- Lacking authority or trustworthiness: Content with non-definitive or unverified sources
And, if you think you can game the system, you won’t. Google’s algorithm is constantly improving to more easily recognize instances of low-quality content. Recovery from a penalty is a long and arduous process, so it’s definitely not worth pushing any boundaries.
The Reality: You should write in-depth, well-researched content
There’s no magic number to hit when it comes to the upper limit of word count, so don’t be tempted to write in a contrived way, or repeat yourself in order to write a longer piece. (That said, experts generally recommend writing a minimum of 300 words).
What you should instead focus on is publishing original, in-depth, and substantial content which addresses user intent. Also, you should follow best SEO practice for structuring content, so that your information is clearly and logically conveyed.
Writing in such a way will allow you to work towards achieving two major content strategy goals:
- Capturing your audience’s attention
- Achieving a higher ranking in Google
If you’re not sure where to start, there are numerous resources which will point you in the right direction. Hubspot, for example, offers a simple step-by-step guide to writing a strong blog post. Ahrefs’ 75 actionable SEO tips is another recommended resource for upping your website’s SEO game.
Myth #2: Keyword density percentage is important for SEO
A debate, which continues to create points of contention in the content marketing world, is whether an ideal keyword density percentage exists. Every time the question pops up (and it does–a lot), there’s a wide range of numbers thrown into the ring.
But, the truth of the matter is, there is no such thing as an ideal keyword density.
That isn’t to say that strategic selection of keywords doesn’t matter, or that your placement of keywords won’t make a difference. They do. However, trying to chase after a magical percentage of keywords is a surefire way to damage the integrity of your content, and subsequently, your SERP rankings.
SEO experts concur that focusing on keyword density is harmful to your content strategy. Copyblogger founder, Brian Clark, offered the following explanation:
As far as I’m concerned for Google KD is a non-factor. I’m not saying the algorithms don’t take it into account at all, but I am saying it’s a bit fruitless to even worry about. Plus, in this day and age of the link and conversion mattering most, worrying about KD when you should be focusing on clear, actionable copy seems to be beside the point.
Keyword frequency matters to a certain degree, one would think. But again, if your writing comes off stilted and awkward, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Pay attention to titles and subheads, and creatively make the keywords and copy flow at those crucial points. Then go back and read the rest afterwards.
If that didn’t put the nail in the coffin, Google tore the concept completely apart in the following video:
The Reality: You should be more concerned about keyword stuffing
One major risk of focusing on keyword density is that it can lead to keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing, for those unfamiliar, is when a keyword is used too frequently on a page. Although there are some black hat marketers who purposely keyword stuff, many people don’t even realize it’s wrong to do so.
Keyword stuffing is a major reason why some pages fail to rank highly, or worse yet, fail to rank at all. Google views keyword stuffing as a deliberate effort to manipulate a page’s ranking in its SERPs, so keyword stuffed pages are a red flag which may result in a penalty for your website.
Even if you aren’t penalized, keyword stuffing will result in a higher bounce rate because it adversely affects user experience. Think about it: would you feel compelled to continue reading content which doesn’t flow and fails to answer any questions you had in a straightforward way?
In order to prevent this from happening, you should audit your past pages to identify instances of keyword stuffing. Check over usage of keywords in both the body of your content and also in your headings, alt text, captions, and meta description. A quick way to identify instances of keyword usage is to search using “command F”.
Myth #3: You can get away with posting infrequently
If you maintain a company blog, you’ve probably questioned how often is enough when it comes to posting frequency. Perhaps, you only post when you have a new update to share, or sporadically, when you’ve got the time.
After all, is it really that important to schedule regular posts if your blog doesn’t have considerable traffic, or if you haven’t seen many conversions as a result of your posts?
We understand that it can feel fruitless to spend time, money, and effort, only to receive little to no return. But if you’re writing high-quality posts, the very problem with your content strategy could be that you’re posting too infrequently.
The Reality: Posting frequently pays dividends
Posting high-quality content on a regular basis has been shown to have a significant impact on both a website’s overall SEO strength and consumer engagement levels.
Just look at these impressive stats from TechClient:
Links, Lead Generation, and Indexing
- Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages
- Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads
- Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links
- 90% of consumers find customer content useful
- 82% of consumers enjoy reading relevant content from brands
- 81% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post
- 70% of consumers learn about a company through articles rather than ads
- Interesting content is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media
Beyond this, posting compelling content regularly will allow you to establish your company as an industry leader. If people start turning to your blog as a useful resource, they will be more likely to consider engaging with your brand as a whole. That’s not to mention the strong relationship between blogging regularly and SEO.
Myth #4: Freelance writers can’t get the job done
Freelance writers often get a bad rap. You’ve probably received countless emails from less than stellar freelancers making ludicrous promises to revolutionize your content. You may even have personal experience working with one who just couldn’t get the job done.
So, is it fair to cast all freelance writers aside because of a few bad eggs? You can, but you’ll be doing your content strategy a disservice. Just consider, when huge companies like Amazon, American Express, and Xerox are openly recruiting freelancers to help with their multi-million dollar content marketing campaigns, there must be sound reasoning why.
The Reality: Freelance writers have a lot to offer
Flexibility is one major reason companies, big and small, are increasingly turning to freelance writers. Just ask Steve Dongo, managing director of the outsourced sales and marketing firm, The Plato Group.
Like many business owners, Dongo has experienced the often volatile nature of business demands suddenly increasing and decreasing due to external factors, like the success of setbacks of competitors or clients. The on-demand nature of hiring freelancers provides an easy solution by allowing you to only order the content you need, when you need it.
This brings us to the next key benefit; decreased costs. Outsourcing your content needs, from an in-house writer to a freelance writer, turns a fixed cost into a variable cost– leading to significant savings in your content budget.
While the annual in-house content production cost for a small business is $82,526, the annual outsourced cost is only $12,600. Yes, you can expect an annual saving of around $70,000, by just switching from in-house to outsourced content production.
Moreover, there are numerous other benefits that freelance writers offer, like SEO skills, copywriting and blog writing expertise, a fresh perspective for your brand strategy, amongst others. Just make sure to set clear guidelines about your expectations with your freelance writer in order to reap the most benefits from your experience.
Myth #5: A nofollow link is basically useless
We all know the disappointing feeling of getting a link from a reputable website, only to discover that it’s a nofollow. It’s a common misconception that nofollow links are useless, and don’t add any value to your content strategy.
When content marketing articles constantly emphasize the importance of gaining dofollow links, it’s easy to believe nofollow links are useless and lament their very existence. But, as you’ll see below, nofollow links aren’t all doom and gloom.
The Reality: Don’t equate nofollow with no value
Nofollow links may not have the glory of passing on link juice like dofollow links, but they are valuable in a number of other ways.
One of the most notable advantages of obtaining a nofollow link is that they allow you to diversify your link profile. A diverse link profile is a key means of demonstrating to Google that your links are naturally obtained. Since Google gives penalties and rewards largely based on a site’s link profile, developing a healthy link profile should be a fundamental objective of your content strategy.
Furthermore, nofollow links also provide an opportunity to attract new visitors, and thus, potential customers for your website. The average person isn’t going to know (or care) if your link is a dofollow or nofollow. “Trust” speaks volumes for consumers, so getting the nod of approval from a high-quality website is an easy way to encourage more people to engage with your website.
Social media is another area where nofollow links shine. Although any links posted on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites are nofollow, they serve as a unique evaluatory tool for search engines.
As highlighted in the article, 25 Super Easy Ways to Create a Diverse Link Profile, “Google as well as Bing are using social to influence search results (despite what some might say). It is visible within search results that they are looking at your connections who have liked, tweeted or +1’ed a site or link hoping to influence you into clicking the search result.”
Wrapping it up
In order to create a strong content strategy for your brand, you need to ensure that your content adheres to SEO best practices. Identifying the misconceptions you hold about content creation is one of the simplest and most effective improvements you can make to your content strategy. The five myths identified in this piece can help put you on the right track to develop a content strategy that yields significant rewards for years to come.