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Digital Man

For the love of all that is good in this world, write your content for humans — not robots

If you are reading this, chances are you have heard about search engine optimization before and most likely about content marketing as well. You also might have received loads of emails from chaps abroad trying to convince you that your business cannot live without their SEO and content marketing services.

Anton Koekemoer
I'm your friendly neighbourhood digital marketing specialist. I specialise in helping brands connect with targeted customers by enhancing their online presence through emerging web-based communication channels. I... More

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I have received hundreds of those emails, but are they actually telling the truth? No. Your content marketing strategy for your digital marketing campaign should never be driven by your SEO requirements. It doesn’t work. The customers you are trying to reach should always drive it. Don’t think of “content marketing” anymore, but “magnetic content marketing”. Magnetic content is content that draws people in instead of being pushed out.

You might think I’m saying that you don’t need a content marketing campaign to support your SEO, but that’s not it. Content will always be the centre point of your digital marketing strategy. You only need to understand the relationship between content and SEO.

Focus on quality content

Back in the day, before the pandas and penguins, it was easy to gain a top organic ranking by targeting a specific keyword and simply writing a bunch of articles targeting that phrase. If you were a hardware company, you would simply publish loads of short keyword heavy articles containing the same phrase – “hardware store”. Then Google changed. Website channels that were publishing these short keyword heavy articles were regarded as thin, not authoritative, and sites loaded with low quality rankings dropped from Google with one of their algorithm updates.

The reason why Google implemented these updates was because it only wants to provide quality content that people will actually read and share. Quality over quantity.

Human signals

Google and the other search engines are looking for signals that content is created for real people and not for robots.

Here’s an example: You have a wedding business and you write a couple of articles about weddings, all linking to your main wedding website. You publish these articles on a couple of low quality article directories and blogs. Your articles will most likely have a high bounce rate and will not appear in the organic search results, so no one will link to them.

Another example: You take the time and write one article that is magnetic and informative about something relevant that your customers want to know about. You share this published article on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ profile. This article is valuable to many and might encourage others to use this article as a reference on their own articles. These articles are also shared by real people to their own social circles, and have a much better chance of ranking organically on the search engines because real people are linking to it.

By taking a little time to create magnetic content with the aim of helping your readers, you are more likely to spark the human signals that Google and the other search engines are after. Google can immediately see if your content is shared and sparks a conversation. They can also see the quality of websites linking to your content, and that these websites are run by real people.

Write your magnetic content for humans and think about your readers first.