Digital Marketing Hacks

How to Create High Quality Content 01

How to Create High Quality Content?

You often hear about the term: content marketing being thrown around by search engine marketers, website designers and ‘tech guys’.

So what the heck exactly is that? Is it writing a bunch of articles, and then publishing in on your website? Is it creating a bunch of random videos, and then putting it on Youtube and hoping it gets thousands of likes?

Well, the sum it up: content marketing is simply as putting yourself both search engine and people shoes and asking yourself: what would they want?

The internet isn’t a complicated place. It’s simple. Both Google, and users want to reliable, non-plagiarised, original and engaging content. This helps both your SEO efforts, and your social media marketing efforts.

Google exists to condense, filter, and return information. For Google to continue as the leading search engine in the world, Google is always, attempting, to return better and higher quality results to its users.

My personal belief is that of content marketing will be increasingly qualitative as Google, Youtube and Facebook regularly updates their algorithm. Older tactics such as keyword density, thin content, paid links are already being devalued by Google, over the recent years.

The State of Content Marketing in Singapore

I was researching my competitors in the SEO Service niche and I figured a good majority of them aren’t really putting any effort to curate kick ass long form content. Their strategy probably revolves around: spinning out low quality content, driving backlinks from private blog networks and other questionable SEO tactics. Whilst they might be able to to still rank (well, Google isn’t perfect) it diminishes user experience, and user value in the long run.

So, well, what does this mean for you and I? For every industry where there’s a gap, there’s opportunity. If you write great content, and promote it the right way, there’s no reason why you can’t both outrank and outmanoeuvre your competitors.

Research also shows that content marketing has not caught up in Singapore and in Asia. There’s a whole article written about this. Here’s another one.

SEO rankings aren’t everything. I figured out the hard way. I was able to rank websites on Google page 1, rank 1 using grey hat SEO tactics, however, I was barely converting traffic… to buying customers. So what’s this fuss about SEO rankings? Is it really that important? Or is qualitative factors such as engagement, user experience, unique selling proposition, more important?

So, how can you create great content, that converts traffic, into actual buyers of your product?

1) Publish High Quality, Researched Content

It’s common to hear that that “content is king” amongst SEO circles. That’s a true adage that stands true till today.

In the old world of SEO, SEO can come across as technically driven with jargon like keyword density, keyword prominence and etc. It’s a science that can seems to be driven by numbers, links, and hard data, rather than qualitative metrics such as quality of content and user experience.

Google isn’t looking for Hemingways or the best writers, however, they are looking for the most relevant information to put upfront on their Google search results. They rank content based on using quantitative metrics such as backlinks (and their relevancy), bounce rate, time spent and user engagement.

Here’s the problem with thin content. The internet has already too much data, too many guides. How can YOU stand out?

Reverse Engineer the Process

Well, it’s not rocket science to figure that out. It’s as simple as reverse engineering the process. This can be accomplished with a simple Google search, taking a look at your competitor’s content, and publishing a unique or better angle than them.

Steve Jobs himself said that great artists steal.

One bread and butter approach of writing content that both search engines and people enjoy reading are: How to articles, Guides, Listicles and anything that can better or inform their lives.

For Eg:

  • 5 Creative SEO Content Development Methods
  • How to Do On Page SEO Yourself – Ultimate Guide
  • The 1 Simple SEO Trick That The Experts Won’t Tell You

Well, you should already know this by now, there’s tons of ‘How To Guides’ on the internet.

However, a lot of them aren’t really backed up by any research. You can differentiate by writing a guide that has links to citations, scientific studies. Not to mention, long form content is found to rank higher on search engines.

  • Including Citations & Footnotes
  • Linking to Resources

Not to mention, long form content is found to rank higher on search engines.

Whilst academic research and all fine and good, people are looking for real life solutions to their real life problems. You should also include case studies and real life examples in your guides to gives others a sense of practicality and realism. Ps. Refer to my secret grey hat technique tutorial.

Now, all this might come off as a tall order for an entrepreneur, SEO consultants and business owners. Some prefer to outsource their content. Here’s the thing about outsourcing content, there millions of writers on Upwork that are able to churn out an article for as low as $5. I’ve personally gotten writers online to write articles on SEO for as low as $5 per article.

It’s quality that makes all the difference.

I’m not against the idea outsourcing, however, I’m pretty sure you’re going to get the price your paying for. If you’re paying less than 20 dollars per article, you’re going pretty horrendous writing.

Pro Tip: Hiring a Singaporean writer to research and write personlized articles will help small medium enterprises here in Singapore be more relatable in their content to the local audience. Singaporeans will be able to relate to a locally written article. Especially if you’re targeting a local keyword such as: content marketing Singapore.

Government websites do a great job at putting out authoritative content. Singaporean government websites are often well-done, loaded with information and are extremely often detailed. What’s stopping the small medium enterprises here from following suit?

You can use copyscape to prevent plagiarism. Copyscape is a paid tool (it’s really cheap don’t worry) where you can check your own content against the rest of the internet. It’s one of my most use SEO tools. I highly recommended if you’re outsourcing your content to check if it’s paraphrased, copied or plagiarized from other sources.

Pro Tip: You can save that few bucks and do it traditionally. The good old Google Search works wonders.

2) Writing Using I, and Personalise it with Stories

It’s 2017, don’t be just another brick in the wall.

Writing with the words “I” and “You”, is powerful, and it offers a personalized brand and personal voice. The web is technologically driven already, you don’t want to sound like another robot churning out content.

This ties in with my first point. You can research books and tutorials in your respective industry and put them out your website whilst giving your own unique perspective on them.

Well, whilst most website designers and SEO consultants would outsource their content to content writers from freelance sites such as Up work and etc. I personally prefer to write all of them out myself. That’s how I differentiate from all of my competitors.

Remember, You don’t have to be the next coming of Shakespeare to write on a blog in your own voice. This is a common problem faced by most entrepreneurs. They don’t dare to write. I initially faced this problem when starting building this site. I had a fear of not sounding original and the irrational fear of just putting things out there. However, by including my personal stories and personal beliefs, the writing came more naturally.

3) Use Pretty Infographics and other Forms of Media

Content marketing is not limited to just words and writing. Content, on the whole, is made up of videos, infographics, slides and etc. Articles with infographics and multimedia are researched to be shared a lot more than articles with none.

Not only that, multimedia helps improves your site user experience, which is an indirect SEO ranking signal.

Now, here’s one to proof my point:

Content Marketing Singapore 02

4) Include Positive Emotions in Your Story

North Korea is going to be start yet another Nuclear war, Trump becomes the president of United States and Elon Musk fails yet again on another rocket launch. The world is filled with bad news.

However, surprisingly, research shows it’s the good news that get share more than the bad. This might come as surprising to you, as it did to me.

So how can you make your writing filled with positive emotions like one of those best selling self help books then? It’s simple. This is accomplished through using story telling, real life case studies of successes or even pointing out research that is positive.

Including case studies of success stories can help give your audience a positive sense of hope in whatever they’re attempting to accomplish. You can use your own success story, or one of your client’s success stories in your post. Now, stop reading, go check out my testimonials page.

5) Create Social Content That People will Share

Google announced that social media links are an increasingly weighing factor in their algorithm. So, how can you create social content that people will share?

Well, research from the Buzzsumo has shown all the techniques above 1) long content 2) researched content 3) positive emotions 4) stories are shown to increase social sharing and likes.

These factors help with both engagement. However, be careful, don’t confuse popularity, with authority. Just because your post goes viral, it does not mean that you’ll rank well in Google.

Closing Thoughts

I think the sweet spot of creating great content is the balance between popularity, and authority. Popularity helps to generate social media links from platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and etc. Popularity also helps with engagement, vitality and other branding factors. However, authority helps you generate powerful backlinks from other bloggers, and industry players in your niche.

This is why I often balance stories and research, in my writings.

BY encompassing your content towards these strategies, it’s safe to say that you’ll be producing kick ass content in no time, that will outshine and outrank your competitors.

How to Get Quality Backlinks

How to Get Quality Backlinks to Increase Traffic in 2018

Over the years, SEOs have used a myriad of ways from guest blogging, forum commenting, blog commenting, content outreach to build links from other web profiles.

Tactics and strategies change, but principles stay the same. The forward thinking marketers in the industry understand one principle: creating great content with infographics, multimedia and high quality researched content will beat short term tactics.

However, research and personal experience shows that a great content marketing strategy isn’t enough. You’ll need links from other sites, also known as backlinks. Ideally, I want other SEO blogs, digital marketing websites and news websites to be linking to me about my tutorials and guides in a natural manner.

There should be no limit to the number links you want to get from others if your content is of quality and people link to you naturally. Matt Cutts, a engineer that worked for Google, stated to ‘get as many links as you can get’ if your links are achieved organically. Sites such as Youtube, Digg, and Stumble Upon get many incoming links due to its nature of producing engaging, funny and helpful content. Google would never penalize those site, would they?

So how can you about building backlinks for your site?

1. Listing Your Company on High-Quality Business Directories

Firstly, listing your company and services on business directories is a way build do follow backlinks. It’s free, but it requires manual effort.

Google takes a look at the quality of the directory to determine it’s page authority. You can determine the quality of directories by asking some important questions:

  1. Does the directory have minimal quality control to prevent spammers? Do they charge a fee yearly or monthly for a listing?
  2. Does the directory go out looking for articles and content? Or they wait for businesses to come approach them?
  3. Does the directory provide an editorial value add to internet users?
  • Free Business Directories For the Singaporean Users:

How to Get Quality Backlinks

Google has largely diminished links from business directories due to the over abuse. I got this research from Marcus, SEOGoodGuys, a SEO consultant in Singapore.

2. Reach Out to Mentions from Other Sites

Your site, or content from your site may be mentioned somewhere else on the internet without you being aware of it. This can be found out by doing a Google search on your brand name. You can then reach out and ask for a link back to your website.

It’s as simple as that.

3. Ethical Guest Blogging for Backlinks

Matt Cutts has expressed in the recent years that guest blogging is dead. Google has increasingly decreased their weightage on links built from guest blogging.

However, many digital marketing experts, think otherwise. Guest blogging isn’t dead if it’s done sparingly and ethnically, and it’s a good strategy to build backlinks. Guest blogging the art finding influencers, bloggers and writers in your niche and start reaching out to them and building a relationship with them.

  • How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities?

Here are some ways that you can find guest blogs that you can contribute to.

You can Google:

Keyword in URL: ”write for us”
Keyword + title: “write for us”
Keyword + title: “contribute to”
Keyword + title: “submit” + URL: blog
keyword “Guest post” / keyword “Write for us”
keyword Intitle: Guest Post
keyword Intitle: Advertise
keyword “Guest*” blog

“your niche” + guest post
“your niche” + guest author
“your niche” + write for us
“your niche” + guest article

– Credits: GotchSEO

I reached out to a couple of SEO services sites in Singapore, the response I got from them is often nonchalant. I know for sure SEOs in Singapore don’t have a backlink driven culture. There’s no excuse though. The entire internet is your playbook, you can reach out to international sites, SEOs from other countries simply by adding a location qualifier in your search.

Rinse and repeat for different niches.

I personally am a huge fan of the guest blogging. Firstly, you don’t have to worry too much about creating 10X content, and then promoting it. You’re simply writing high quality content, offering it to another blog or site. You’re relieving them of the need to create content. There’s a much higher acceptance rate of guest blogging as opposed to creating 10X content, and then emailing your whole niche about it.

  • Guest Submissions to High Authoritative Sites: Thought Catalogue/ Life Hacker

The submission strategies ties hand in hand with the strategy of creating awesome content, and then submitting them to highly authoritative sites such as Thought Catalogue, Life Hacker and etc.

4. The 10X Content Roadshow

The content roadshow is similar to a PR pitch. Firstly, you write high quality, researched content filled with amazing infographics that you know is the heavy weight champion of the internet.

Secondly, you then go out and put your content amongst bloggers, influencers and authorities in your niche/ or related niche of your (awesome) content. If it’s truly the heavy weight champion of the world, they’ll directly link to your content as a resource or a guide. You can also ask them to share your post on their social media profiles.

This is only doable with high quality, 10X content. Here’s an example of how I did it:

How to Get Quality Backlinks 02

This is a strategy taken by Backlinko, an SEO authority. If you take a look at Backlinko’s strategies, his content marketing strategy can take up to weeks to create one single post. His post is also often filled with infographics, Youtube videos and copywriting tactics

If you’re targeting medium tail keywords, this strategy can work really well for you. Normally, you’ll write 10X content around ‘How Tos’ and guides. That takes a hell lot of time. However, if you want to rank internationally for highly competitive keywords, I’ll definitely recommend doing that.

5. Contact The Press and do a Press Release 

You got a good story and a good angle? Why not hit the press straight up? Here’s a list of emails from the Singapore presses. I personally emailed one of the editors from Men’s Health, and I got a speedy response.

How to Get Quality Backlinks 03

I’m not advocating doing press releases as an SEO strategy in your early stages of your business. Firstly, getting into the press is difficult. You need to be newsworthy before pitching to the press. Secondly, the press may or may not link back to you. I mean, it’s completely their choice right?

6. The Skyscraper Technique

The skyscraper technique is useful in generate backlinks and social shares that is almost guaranteed. This technique was named by Brian Dean, one of the most respected internet marketers in the world. Basically, he researches content has already lots of social shares, backlinks and search volume. The idea is to research tested and proven content. He then tracks the linking profile of the initial content using open site explorer, Majestic SEO or other link research tools.

He then goes about creating even higher quality content than the initial content that is already ranking on Google page 1. He then notifies the web profiles that are already linking to the original content that he has created a better guide, and hopefully, they’ll add a link to their post as well.

It’s basically reverse engineering your way to success.

7. Inform Your Subscribers

This is as simply as creating a newsletter campaign and then sending out newsletters notifying them with your latest blog post. Keeping your users updated on your latest content is a great way to build a relationships with your audience and they’ll may share your content on social media that’ll generate social shares and potentially backlinks.

This can only be done if you’ve built up a list of email subscribers.

8. Interview Experts

This is commonly known as the expert round up technique. When you reach out to ‘experts’ in your niche and gather expert opinion, you may request for get a link back to your site by requesting them to publish your article on their site, or writing an article that links back to your site.

 9. Reach Out to Resource Pages

Resource pages are lists of resources that other sites curate to point people to other resources on the web. Think of it like a complication of one’s greatest hits.

You can get a backlink from resource pages by creating a high quality, how to guide. Resource pages normally link to how to guides as they are popular amongst their niche and are searched by potential customers. Nonetheless, this can only be done if your content is researched, and of high quality.

Outreach Mindset: Building Real Relationships

  • The Free Tools to Find Emails : Hunter IO

SEO shouldn’t be an expensive art. I rely on this free tool to get email addresses of website owners.

Pop in the website and you’ll be able to find the emails listed on the site. Trick: Pick out emails that has their name attached to it. Eg. Marcus@PinkElephantconsultancy VS Info@Pinkelephantconsultancy.Com

  • Relationship Building

MOZ, an SEO authority stated that building links is akin to relationship building with an actual human being instead of forcing content someone else’s throat.

When you’re sending outreach emails, don’t send be a complete robot.  You don’t have to personalise all email outreaches at the beginning, however, if they do reply, you got to personalise it somehow, and not come off as a robot.

Ever received one of those annoying emails where they offer you SEO services and guaranteed Google ranks and it sounds like a robot? There you go. That’s an example of how not to do it.

Lastly, you also got to tell the people you outreach what you want them to do with your piece of content. They will not automatically 1) write an opinion piece to it 2) link to you 3) tweet, share it on social media. All of these can be done through a simple email.

I’d like to end off by saying that building backlinks aren’t an end all for SEO. Yes, backlinks probably make up 33% of your SEO success. However, there are many other factor involved such as relevant, high quality content, your unique selling proposition and other aspects of business and marketing that drives success.