If there is a word that can compete against the popularity of “penguin” in the SEO industry, it would be “content”.
After the Google Panda and Penguin update, many SEO practitioners believed that the only way to build rankings is through content marketing. We’ve heard for far too many times how important content is to the point that the redundancy becomes somewhat annoying. But contrary to the all-too-popular “Content is King” mantra, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz said creating content isn’t the only way to up Google rankings.
Can this be true? Are there really other ways to increase ranking without investing on content?
Let’s take a look on how he explained his stand and the four alternative ways to content marketing that he gave.
4 Alternative Ways to Build Ranking according to Rand Fishkin
Don’t get this wrong. It isn’t the case that content is no longer effective – it’s just that there are other ways to up ranking aside from creating content. Here are a few of them.
“Relationships, reputation, and word of mouth”
Instead of creating content and hoping to get backlinks from them, you could also just focus on being genuinely good at what you’re doing and earn links from the fans of your work.
Rand pointed out about a company that doesn’t have good web presence but still manages to be on top of SERP’s:
They don’t create a lot of content. In fact, they create almost no content. They don’t have blogs. They don’t really have Twitter accounts. They’re not investing in social media marketing. They’re not doing any of the things that you might classically associate with being great at SEO.
But they are ranking well, and they get almost everyone’s business because they have great word of mouth…Because of that they develop a fantastic reputation, fantastic word of mouth and tons of links.
If you look at their backlink profile, it is all people recommending them authentically. It’s not because of content. It’s because they do great work and they have great word of mouth.
When you genuinely satisfy your clients, they’ll show you genuine love and promote your website willingly.
Instead of writing articles and distributing them to article sites or blogs, companies could invest on creating videos and ads that will create lasting impact on their clients.
The ones who are creative and inventive with those ads, the ones who get awareness and attention, the ones who have a million people who watch their advertising video on YouTube, those are the ones who are winning quite well, and they earn things like links and attention, awareness and traffic. Because they can monetize it at a good rate, they’re able to have success on the web without necessarily needing to invest in content and SEO kinds of things.
“Inherently viral products and services”
If you have a product or service that people would really want to share with others, to the point that they become viral on their own, then you won’t have problems with your Google Ranking.
Instead of creating content, what you need to make sure is that your products and services are really useful for a lot of people.
“Community building and engagement”
I see multiple brands doing this quite well. They essentially don’t produce a ton of content on their own site, but they do one of two things. They either invest in their community on and off their own site. So meaning through social, through Facebook and Twitter, through LinkedIn, through Quora, through forums, through blogs, they participate heavily in those other places, Hacker News all these kinds of places, and/or they actually have an engagement platform on their own site, a community of their own, where they are not really creating the content. They’re just a user generated content platform.
In a nutshell, I think what Rand Fishkin wants to say is that companies should engage in dialogue with their clients enough to stir evangelism. Instead of treating your clients as audiences to be stuffed with content, brands and businesses should learn how to listen to their clients. Allow them to create content, and talk to them about it sincerely.Through this, a company can develop strong relationship with their clients without investing too much on content-creation.
Come to think of it, content creation is really just a tool to build rankings, which in turn is just another tool to increase ROI. If you are able to build quality relationship with your clients, then it doesn’t matter if you are in Google’s first page. The increase in rankings would just follow afterwards.