If you haven’t read Google’s guidelines on creating “helpful, reliable, people-first content”, you should.
No, I’m not a Google purist – I don’t blindly follow every single thing they say.
But if your objective is to get traffic from Google, and Google has a user manual with guidance and specific instructions on exactly how to do that – you should read it.
I have, and there’s one sentence in it that I’ve been thinking about for many weeks now: “avoid creating search engine-first content”.
My first thought after reading that sentence was, “How the hell do I do that?”.
My second thought was, “Why the hell would I do that?”
Isn’t getting search engine traffic the entire reason I’m doing this?
That’s why I’m waking up early and staying up late working on content – to get organic traffic, monetize that traffic and get paid.
That’s certainly why I created my first site.
My first site was 100% search engine-first content.
Every single post was written targeting a specific, long-tail keyword that I deemed “low competition”.
In fact, that was the ONLY reason I wrote an article – I wouldn’t write any content for that site unless I thought it would get at least 500-1000 organic visitors a day.
And that worked.
Until it didn’t.
That site, and many sites like it have been hit hard by past, and current algorithm updates.
It’s as if Google has figured out how to determine whether or not your entire site is what I like to call a “keyword grab”.
If it is, WHACK – your traffic is gone overnight.
So that’s why I’ve been thinking about that sentence so much – “avoid creating search engine-first content”, because I don’t want my new site, Stay New England, to get whacked.
But I kept coming up empty.
Then one day driving home from dropping the kids off at daycare, it just hit me – interviews.
My wife and I should do Q&As with the owners of our favorite local New England bars, restaurants, and hotels.
The content wouldn’t be search engine-first content, AND we’d enjoy doing it.
Getting to learn more about the owners of some of our favorite destinations and hear their story is exciting.
And there’s so many other benefits:
- We become mostly editors as the business owner creates/writes the content themselves
- It’s original content not found anywhere else on the internet (with original photos)
- We’ll target specific areas as we go, and those interviews will help with topical authority
- We’ll interlink the interviews with all related content
- It’s likely that these interviews will attract highly relevant backlinks over time
- The owners become aware of our site and our brand in the process
- I even think we’ll be surprised by how much organic traffic the interviews get. I suspect, even though we are not targeting any specific keywords, the posts will inherently rank for a bunch of stuff, but we’ll see.
And so, “Meet New England” was born.
Our first interview went live last week, and we’ve got 4 more in the hopper.
We’re still going to continue creating great, helpful content that targets specific keywords (like Block Island Hotels with a Pool), but we’re going to work hard to balance that type of content out with content that’s NOT search engine-first content.
I think this is the way forward.
Some content “for Google”. Some content for you (and your audience).
That could take the shape of interviews.
Or you could just publish your newsletters (like we do with NicheTwins).
But I’d do something other than just keyword hunt (but do that too).
Anyways, something to think about.
Happy Friday to you.
Enjoy the weekend!
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