For three years now, my method of generating content has been very straightforward:
- Find 5-6 Products.
- Review Those Products.
- Write the next page.
It is an extremely robust system that continues to rank in the search engines and makes me money.
It helps users decide what to buy, saves them time on their research, and delivers dollars into my pockets.
However, as we come into the second quarter of 2016, I’m re-evaluating the entire business.
Am I on the best footing?
Here’s the shift I’m deploying in my on-site content creation — and the reasons behind it.
Approval For Affiliate Programs
Affiliate managers keep getting pickier. I’ve seen several people not approved for Amazon recently and their reason for denial basically says “if all of the advertising content was removed from your site, there would be no content left”.
So — especially for the new people getting into the game — it is going to be critical that your sites are appealing to the product owners you will be applying to.
We have to ask WHAT DOES GOOGLE WANT?
And, let’s face it. Google wants to be Facebook.
In fact, they recently partnered with Twitter.
They want to have fun, fluffy pieces that people like, follow, share, tweet and blather over. They want people to spend hours on their properties.
But more importantly, they want pieces that people ENGAGE WITH and SPEND TIME ON.
Now is this the best thing for our customers?
I think so. Because, unlike that really cool piece on gun control that you shared and forgot about, when people actually spend 2-3 minutes on one page — or even visit multiple pages — they are consuming and learning and subconsciously becoming a fan of your brand. (super sneaky, I know)
Now, Social is NOT a major factor in ranking. Sure it helps, but I regularly boost the rankings of a site without doing any social work. The same thing goes for traffic. Having traffic come to your site can help. But neither of these things will rank you.
Even worse, most viral pieces do not create BACKLINKS, which is the basis of how the Google Algorithm works.
But what viral content can do is bring more people to your site. More people who want to opt-in to your email list. More people who become fans of your brand.
Viral is good.
Engagement is better.
Viral + Engagement can be a deadly combination. You give Google the engagement metrics they want to see and gain a loyal following.
Boring review articles won’t cut that. They need to be supplemented by engaging pieces that people want to share.
Ferrari Content Brings Backlinks (FCBB)
Here is where I think you can really shine. My friends over at NichePursuits.com are doing a lot more of this “white-hat” link building stuff (Excellent Episode, by the way. Worth the listen) . Perrin has had especially good luck with using infographics to earn backlinks. And Doug over NicheSiteProject.com recently laid out his strategy of building killer content and then using that to attract backlinks. (BTW he’ll get you high-quality niche-relevant guest posts for your site, if you don’t want to do the work yourself. )
The bottom line is, having killer content or a killer angle can provide a huge advantage to gaining backlinks.
And it is something I have not seized on.
You guys know me. I hate talking to other bloggers. I just want to do my thing. Build my fake supporting sites. Game Google. And make money.
A site with really good content is something that you are proud of.
It’s like owning a Ferrari.
You want to drive it. You want your peers to take photos with it.
You might even let them touch it.
The same is true with your site.
Maybe you do an expert round-up. Maybe you interview someone (AND get both a podcast and video content out of it. INC is doing that really well and it drives multiple streams of traffic to your site)
So you have a boring website about fishing. I know half-a-dozen amateurs at next week’s fishing tournament who would love to show off their catch or get on a podcast with you.
Now you have EXCLUSIVE content.
You go over to a fishing blog and say “Hey, I interviewed Billy Bob on the 3 things Amateur fishermen need to know to actually win prize money at these tournaments. Can I do a guest post for you on that and share these tips with your readers?”
Sure, it isn’t easy. And it is something that I am JUST NOW starting to do.
But I’m really enjoying it. It’s cheaper than building endless PBNS. It creates value.
And it’s something I’m proud of.
But, ultimately, it’s delivering the backlinks. At the end of the day, backlinks are what Google runs on.
But what do I blog about?
I, personally, am enjoying BuzzSumo for this.
They give you 4-5 of the top articles in your niche based on social performance (for free!)
These articles are surprisingly simple to rewrite and improve on. Call up a local groomer and get more cat grooming tips. Call up Billy Bob again and find out what HE thinks about frying catfish.
Fourty-Five minutes later you’ve re-written the content and added a fresh angle.
Google loves fresh content. It’s part of their Algorithm. And it is at least as helpful as buying 100 facebook shares from Fiverr.
Plus, when you link to your existing review articles, you are adding RELEVANCY and AUTHORITY to those other articles.
On top of that, the article has VIRALITY and ENGAGEMENT and you are pushing it out to attract BACKLINKS>
Do you see what I am getting at?
Instead of spending 8 hours and $400 to find and build 4 PBNs (supporting sites) that might end up getting slapped, you can create content that your fan base will help you share. (OF COURSE, it is never this easy when starting out. But I’m seeing some cool stuff happen already and I’m in the beginning stages. )
Long Tail Traffic
Do I need to discuss anything here?
I have a lot of beginners reading this blog, so I will.
You know how when you search Google for something, it auto-suggests other things related to your search?
Use those suggestions and created content around that.
So maybe you have a review up on the “Top 5 Best Tricycles For 2016”.
And you already have devoted 2 paragraphs in thar review to “Helping Your Kid Learn To Ride A Tricyle”
Now, you DON’T Want to just go do a blog post on “How To Teach Your Kid To Ride A Trike”. That would be duplicate content on your site. It confuses the search engines and makes your site look disorganized.
BUT you COULD do an article on “The Developmental Advantages To Buying Your Kid A Tricycle”
It’s related, but different.
Affiliate Marketing And The Art of War
Yesterday, the pastor was quoting Sun Tzu.
“Now, the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple [place of planning] ere the battle is fought.”
It’s simple. Winners Plan
But then Pastor went for the kill shot with this quote:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
This hit home for me. So often I’ve taken one step forward and two steps back.
We know Google.
We know our affiliate programs.
We know our customers.
We know where this whole internet thing is trending.
Video is becoming more popular. Social is the new search engine.
But for most of my career, I’ve been insistent on ignoring the signs.
Right now I am working on the case study site for Cubicle Houdini Members to follow along with. And I’ve already made some pretty significant changes to the game plan. There is going to be more “filler” content. There is going to be more “guest posting” and what folks like to call “white hat backlinks”.
And it isn’t that these are “better”. I think I need to clarify that.
But by building sites that are Viral + Engaging + FCBB + Longtail I will be giving myself the ultimate advantage.
And, yes, I will still be using some supporting sites in this build.
What Do You Think? Am I full of it? Are you changing how you build sites for 2016?
Sound off in the comments below!