Are you wasting your time creating content for SEO?

by Tim Hill (aka Doodled)

July 7th 2015
The SEO obsession with content
Do you know if the content you are creating is doing you any good?

There has long been a mantra that 'content is king' banged out by many in the SEO world which causes website owners to rush off and blog or write articles ... but does it work?

I will just point out the obvious here, we are talking about creating quality content, not some generic drivel that is on offer from thousands of sites providing articles for a few dollars.

I have to say it because I still get too many people contacting me and claiming they have been creating quality content which in reality is just bland waffle.

What's the point of creating content?

Well it should achieve two goals:

  • It will help your site rank for more keywords as text content is something search engines like Google can get their head around. That in turn should increase your visitor numbers which you would then hope convert (buy something, sign up to something - whatever your 'goal' is).
  • It will act as link bait. Other people will want to share the content by linking to it from their websites, blogs, etc. And links help the overall site rank higher.

Does it work for goal conversion?

You can check if all your efforts to create content are actually having a positive affect on achieving your goals via Google Analytics.

If you have an ecommerce site you can set up Analytics to register each sale and its value.

If your site is not ecommerce you can define your goals and give them a value - e.g. a visitor reaches a certain page, fills out and submits a certain form - and then give each of these goals a value. So you could say a visitor that fills out a form requesting to be contacted about your services is worth $10.

Now, still within analytics, if you go to Behaviour-> Site Content-> All Pages you will see a column marked 'Page Value'. This tells you if users who visit a particular page ever go on to do anything of value.

For example, a page with a value of $2.50 tells you that the average visitor of that page creates $2.50 of value for you. This could mean they spend, on average, $2.50 on your ecommerce site or (using the example above) one in four fills out the form that you defined as a goal with a value of $10.

Many webmasters are shocked to find that all the content they slave over never actually adds anything to their bottom line!

Does it work for getting more links?

OK, so maybe you discover your content earns you chuff all or close to chuff all. But if the content gets linked to then this helps your rankings. So how to check?

You can analyse this in Google Webmaster Tools under Search Traffic - Links to Your Site and then clicking more under the 'Your most linked content' area.

This data can be downloaded for use in a spreadsheet if it helps but it is here you can track back the links to your content and see which are follow and which are no follow. i.e. which links are helping your rankings and which aren't.

If you have a ton of links you might want to consider a paid service like Moz which will do this sorting for you.

Again many webmasters are shocked to find that almost all their links are no follow and the few do follow links there are come from websites which Google probably ignores.

Have you been wasting your time creating content?

To conclude your content creation efforts have been a waste of time you need both of the above to be true. In other words:

  • The page values of your content are near to zip.
  • The links that are created are all no follow.

That's important because no follow links can be extremely valuable if they deliver visitors who achieve your goals.

However, if you carry out the above analysis and find that slaving away over articles and blogs is doing you no good at all don't be too downhearted. After all, at least you know now!

This doesn't mean you should put the brakes on. Its just time for a rethink on what content you are creating and how to change your approach. There could be multiple options such as:

  • Are there clear calls to action on the content pages?
  • Are there other attractions on the content pages that would tempt the visitor to go deeper?
  • What content could you write to attract do follow links, perhaps fewer articles but more indepth.
  • And so on ...