A recent discussion at a conference made me realise something – the reliance on search is still far too high. I was chatting to a fellow digital marketer who’s very much ingrained in the SEO realm, every time I mentioned a project or a content-based piece of work we’ve been working on, he asked me…

“But where’s the search value in that?”

Every time he asked, I got a little more annoyed. That, blended with the below-par canapés meant my knitting was truly ripped.

Yes, search is important, but it’s not the only reason for creating content. In fact, it’s one of the last reasons we create content. In the vast majority of cases, we’ll create content that is to be used in order to communicate with a client’s customers and prospects. Key uses for this content include:

  • Helping people – ‘how to’ guides for example.
  • Reaching out to people – actively searching Twitter for questions or discussions that pose an opportunity to be of service by means of sharing relevant content. A helpful, non-pushy approach is hugely effective.
  • Short-term content – this content revolves around a certain topic that comes and goes – Halloween for example. It’s used to ensure a client’s output is highly topical and ‘in the moment’.
  • Brand and personality building – looking at the people and processes behind a business.

“But where’s the search value in that?”

Qualified leads, advocates and seriously strong brand sentiment. Pretty valuable. This approach will create opportunities that are far more informed and valuable than a cold search will provide.

“Wait, there is search value”

The chances are, if you do these things well, there’s every possibility that said content will create lovely levels of search value. The problem arises when you only think about the search value. Don’t create for robots.

Robots vs Zombies, vs Ninjas vs Pirates

“Just because somebody dots every  SEO i and crosses every t and gets all their HTML structure right, doesn’t mean that it’s good content. Even if you do brain-dead stupid things and shoot yourself in the foot, but have good content, we still want to return it,”

Matt Cutts said that, back in 2011. He also said that that Google don’t want people to ‘have to do SEO – first and foremost is content’.

Time for the search-first way of thinking to die people.

Am I right, wrong, completely off my head? Do tell me in the comments below.

Image credits – Header – https://www.flickr.com/gsfc – robots etc – https://www.flickr.com/kwl used under creative commons


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