Why is Quality SEO Content So Hard For Businesses to Create?
I examine at least a handful of business blogs each week in my capacity as a speaker and CEO of my SEO company, and it’s the rare, rare day when I come across one that emanates real quality. To be clear, many of them are perfectly good blogs; but I’m talking about crossing the line from standard content marketing into true thought leadership.
I’ve often wondered why it seems so hard for businesses to write good quality content, given that the stakes are so high: they’re spending thousands of dollars per month on the content, and if it’s done correctly, it could bring in millions in new business. I think the difficulty stems from the fact that executives have this vague idea that blogging is good for SEO, but don’t understand the full picture. So they end up paying for blogging, and invariably it doesn’t do anything, so they stop. 81% of the 700+ blogs I’ve reviewed on company websites have had posting gaps of more than 6 months at one point in time.
If only these same executives understood that blogging is only valuable for SEO when it consists of true thought leadership and is predicated on careful keyword selection, they’d either find a way to produce genuinely high quality content, or just stop blogging until they can. If your company has a blog, I’d encourage you to pick one of the two, because anything in the middle is a waste of resources. And I mean that when I say it: our research has shown that if you don’t cross a certain line of quality, your content is treated differently by Google.
In case you don’t feel like clicking on the links above, I’ll give you the shorthand of what differentiates quality SEO blogging (aka thought leadership) from the standard content marketing found on most company blogs:
- A personal, anecdotal voice
- Original thinking people haven’t heard before
- Custom graphics, including charts or graphs
So why is it so hard for employees and content marketing firms to publish content of the quality that will generate new leads for your business? Well, first they don’t know enough about SEO to generate every article from a commercially-valuable keyword. And second, fulfilling the bullet points above is really hard work.
The reason creating thought leadership content is so hard is partly because it requires a high degree of creativity; partly because it demands excellent writing skills; and partly because it takes a lot of intellectual labor — writing a little more than usual, thinking a little harder, and planning the inclusion of visual aids to make the article stand out.
As a person who created a company just to fill the niche I’m describing — blogging for SEO purposes on behalf of businesses — I can give you a personal account about how hard it’s been to get this process right.
- We’ve been in business for 10 years. It tooks us about 7 to get the art of thought leadership blogging down pat.
- Creating high quality blogs is a task that, apparently, many SEO and content marketing firms fail at; nearly all of our clients have war stories about their pre-First Page Sage experiences.
- One person alone cannot produce high quality blog articles. It’s a team job. We have a 7 person team for each client for a reason. Any editorial department at an established news organization will tell you the same — multiple people contribute to, edit, and polish every piece before it goes to press.
- Google uses engagement as a metric in its ranking algorithm, so the real task isn’t just writing well, but getting your target audience to read your article from start to finish. Your analytics program can tell you how you’re doing with that.
- Reading isn’t enough; visitors also need to convert to customers from blog articles. Conversion should be part and parcel with SEO, and your team should be accountable for not just rankings and traffic, but revenue.
This is all to say that, if you’re struggling to build your SEO through in-house blogging approach, I feel your pain. You will need a talented and diverse team with expertise in SEO, one that is being held to revenue-based KPIs.
And if you’re in the other camp — stuck on how to begin generating leads through SEO — it may be better to outsource your SEO blogging.
Evan Bailyn is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership.