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Google is constantly evolving their standards, and with that, we have to continually stay in front of them in order to guarantee long-term rankings for our websites.

In this video, we talk about some of the recent changes we’ve noticed and how they map to how we should treat our websites and clients to continue to drive results in 2020 and beyond.

Video Transcript:

Everyone, welcome to another episode of Content and Links and today I wanna share some lessons and some thoughts about how we should be changing our thinking about content marketing in 2020.

So, these are just generally some thoughts on a macro level that have evolved for us in the last year that I think reflect the current state of where we need, we are, and where we more so need to be in terms of moving the puck and moving towards the puck as companies, as agencies, and etcetera.

So, you might be thinking of some of these already, but they were new for us and hopefully new for a few of you as well.

1. Aim to be Memorable, not Linkable

The first is just the idea that linkable content is not enough. Memorable has to be our new standard for building brands for our company.

So why I say that is that I think it’s possible to get to a B level with a site and make it linkable, such that you can pitch that content and people will link back to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna resonate with them or leave an impression that creates a brand experience, that makes them want to come back.

And why this is important, that kinda ties to another point is I see increasingly the case that there are these sites that are just cropped up with solid, linkable content and solid SEO content, but they don’t create a memorable experience. Those companies are increasingly getting hurt and losing traffic in the mind of Google because of this.

So I think us as content marketing practitioners and as SEOs, need to start thinking and taking it to another level of feeling like that linkable standard is not enough to really future-proof our efforts, if not present-proof our efforts against what Google is doing today.

2. 100% SEO-Driven Content Isn’t a Good Thing

Another thing relating to that, I think it connects as well, is for a long time I used to think this efficient, SEO-optimized website where every single article, it was a fine-tooth, finely pruned tree where every single branch was a useful part of the SEO strategy was the right move.

And what this did was it would create kind of connecting to point one, a site that wasn’t memorable, because a lot of these articles and thinking in that thought process specifically, is disconnected from the idea of brand.

Brands don’t function like that. They don’t have 95 articles on their blog that are clearly targeted against keywords and that mindset, specifically, is going to create a disconnect that will allow you to, not allow you to create a brand in my experience.

My thought process, and I think our thought process evolved from it’s no longer right to actually have an experience where all you’re doing is SEO-driven content. You should as a brand be doing something additional to that, that creates that experience and often you can’t really create a true brand experience with 100% keyword focus content on your site.

You have to find that Venn diagram of yes having that be in a percentage, but I think increasingly the high performers that I see, you go to their sites and it’s not just a clear inventory of keyword-driven work, there’s a mix of stuff that’s maybe survey driven, or news releases, or something specific thought leadership-wise that doesn’t tie to keyword volume, but is important for saying what they wanna say that makes them who they are as a company.

So I think that’s something we all should move towards as well.

3. Pushing Towards Passive Links as a Focus

Last year as well, we’ve also pushed more aggressively towards the idea of not optimizing for manual link building, but rather helping our clients optimize for passive link building.

And I think this ties to what Google wants to reward as well, ’cause if you can build a pleasurable site experience, also rank for topics that passively require links, that says this is the kind of thing that Google wants to reward, not just something you have to do manual link building to.

‘Cause if you’re naturally making the sites good enough and memorable enough that someone would link to it without manual link building, you’re more likely to actually be the kind of thing Google wants to reward. And of course there’s scale to that as well.

You’re gonna be more cost-efficient, but thinking about that and thinking about how we can again push our site experiences to be even better, and also think about the content topics that we can passively get ranking early for our clients in order to generate passive links and scale up the link acquisition for them over time is a vital part of the strategy that we employ and I think everyone should employ.

Should be obvious, but if your content strategy is 100% manual link building, there is probably something wrong with your business that will eventually impact your rankings.

I think that’s a probably pretty clear indicator your overall site quality is not good enough. And ties back to point one, it’s just not memorable enough to be resonant.

4. Sitewide Changes Over One-Time Assets

And I think, generally, tying back to that site experience idea, we did a lot more big content in the beginning of the year and I think today we recommend doing less of that. More so, we were thinking about how can we help our clients invest in sunk cost frameworks that allow them to scale that quality to a more 2x experience, rather than 10x experience.

Because, not only is that, I think, more scalable to spread that effect of that quality experience, but it’s also more cost-efficient for our clients. And what I mean by that is maybe we need to push for a better site setup, a better blog design, more than just investing in one, giant linkable asset that’s one-and-done and doesn’t create that brand experience that cycles back to the first point that I mentioned.

5. Links Can’t Hold Up Bad Content Anymore

And in one of my final points is just, I don’t think links can hold up bad content anymore.

For a long time, really what we were solving for as an agency on the other side of us was technical challenges. If your technical site structure was broken, we would make recommendations against that and we’d occasionally not put a close enough eye on what the key word driven articles that our clients were making, if they were just tasking us to generate links.

And what I’ve increasingly noticed is for a long time, you could actually prop up an entire site that had somewhat okay content from a keyword driven content standpoint, simply by basically barreling down the door from a link generation side of things.

Today, I’m seeing that increasingly not be the case and more and more you should find this synchronous, effective, keyword-driven content, being linkable content at the same time, and hopefully having those be inter-spliced in order to have the best possible results for your 2020 campaign.

So, hopefully you found some thoughts that were useful in this video. Love to hear what you’re doing differently or thinking about doing differently in 2020. If you like this, give it a thumbs up, subscribe, and let us know what you thought in the comments. Thanks for watching.

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