Most important is the unique and valuable experience you offer your site visitors. You shouldn’t let your entire content model be solely based off of targeted search phrases, unless of course you have some engaging high quality content in mind for each and every single post.
What I’m trying to say is, make sure you offer a lot of ‘you’ in what you do and try to form your own brand identity. The only way you can do that is to shoot from the hip and provide visitors with an experience that is ‘uniquely you’. Unless you’re an absolute authority, prolific writer and total marketing badass, it will be hard to put out a stream of genuine quality stuff if all you’re doing is letting keyword research dictate your content calendar.
The problem with keyword research
Don’t get me wrong… keyword research should be a vital part of your content strategy, but be responsible with it. For example, when you are targeting a specific keyword phrase you want to be sure that your content is going to deliver. You see, getting the rankings is important, but what really matters is what your visitors do once they’ve found your content.
When you’re going after a search term with the intent of dominating for that keyword, you want to make sure that your visitors find what they’re after when they hit your page. You want them to stay on your site, share the post or page they found, leave a comment and hopefully visit more pages on your site.
Unless you’ve got a budget that allows for additional content creators -or- you have loads of time on your hands, sometimes it can be a struggle to deliver something Digg worthy every time. For this reason, every now and then you just need to sit down and write something. I mean, make sure it’s relevant, but when you add an article that’s truly original and uninspired by keyword research, you’re producing something that’s unique and endearing to your visitors.
Targeted articles should be premium content
When I sit down to attack a targeted topic, I plan on being engrossed in it for awhile. Those articles take time because I put a ton of effort into the value of the content, the formatting, and the SEO. I know the page is going to rank, so most important to me is that I give searchers precisely what they’re looking for when they click my link. After they’ve read my review, article, guide, post or whatever… I want them to like and share it on social media, link to it, leave a comment, join my mailing list, and most important… convert on my call to action.
A huge part of SEO, which some people fail to realize, is that visitor behavior and engagement on your site is a major influencer on your rankings. You might be able to get ranked for a certain term if you use some good basic SEO, but you’ll quickly slide if visitors are not finding what they were after when they hit your site.
The value of quantity and quality
Quality is always going to be better than quantity, but who says you can’t have both! When I sit down to update one of my sites, I don’t necessarily approach each new entry as a way to dominate search, but I do approach each entry as a way to engage with my visitors. This allows me to operate somewhat freely of the burden of having to try and ‘nail’ each and every single post. Instead I try to make every single post interesting, then every so often I deliver something exceptional. The exceptional posts give my site authority and traffic, thus encouraging visitors to further explore and discover the content that is truly and uniquely ‘me’, or my brand.
An actual example
I run a few sites in the online gaming niche. If there is a more difficult and labor-intensive niche for delivering high-quality targeted content, I’m not aware of it. Gamers are obsessive fact-checkers, masters of detail, and many of them can be incessant trolls. For these reasons it is absolutely imperative that I research thoroughly and deliver my targeted articles with complete precision. Failure to do so would result in, well…complete fail. If my guide or article is not 100% on the nose, it won’t get liked or shared, and therefore will not rank or convert.
Some of these posts can take days to complete, so you see…I cannot possibly produce these on the regular. Much of the time I just discuss whatever comes to mind, and because of that, I’ve managed to attract some regular visitors who love my site(s) because of the more spontaneous and unplanned posts.
The idea is to keep your site fresh and provide visitors with something they cannot get anywhere else, and that’s you. Whether you’re out there as the face of your brand, or anonymously behind the scenes, either way… often times it’s good to just be genuine and not base every single article off of strategy.
Like I said, unless you’re a gifted copywriter and marketing ninja, it’s going to be really tough to produce gold for every single targeted article. However, if you focus on pushing out a bunch of handcrafted sterling articles, with the occasional platinum one, that’ll not only keep things fresh, but also ensure that visitors will be browsing all of your offerings once they arrive.
Visitors can tell when a site is adding posts for the sake of ranking for those keywords. Unless your content is well-researched and well-presented, your visitors won’t be happy with the results and your rankings won’t last. Always strive to write quality content, but when you’re going after the rankings, take the utmost care in making sure you’re giving people what they want. Take your time and do it right.
Give people what they’re searching for, but also make sure to give them what they didn’t know they were searching for, which is the content that’s uniquely you.
You don’t have to write a top 40 hit with every single post…sometimes you just gotta jam. Searchers will discover you for your ‘hits’, but they will remember you for your ‘album tracks’. 😉