Ditching "SEO" for "Tailored Content"

I’m not sure whether this would be best in SEO or in Internet Marketing, but as it is primarily about the state of SEO I decided to leave it here.

Over the past couple of months I have noticed a trend in many large Digital Agencies to move away from SEO/SEM as an approach to online marketing. This is something I predicted would come along sooner or later; as nearly everything is already digital there is really no barriers to marketing any more and it seems that good ol’ fashioned marketing is being favoured over SEO. In short, the “digital agencies” are now becoming simply “agencies”.

Something I have noticed, however, is that there is a larger demand for content writers and UX designers. There seems to be a dramatic shift towards the “experience”, rather than simply providing content for search engines. As a result, the marketing side finds out what people want, and the content writers are there to tailor the perfect content for this demand. To say I prefer this approach to the typical SEO approach is the understatement of the century. It’s something I would like to emulate at work if I can justify it working.

Does anyone here tailor their SEO efforts now towards providing content and improving the user experience? When you build a website, how do you find out what new pages to add?

Websites should always have a solid seo framework and keyword database to build from.

****** articles stuffed with keywords solely for seo is a thing of the past.

However you can still build quality content based on what people search for (seo keyword research) and delivering the content they require while still having the proper seo titles and keywords in content.

I’m focusing more and more away from Google traffic - social networks and building your own networks and lists.

I’ve been waiting for this time to come, SEO agencies are always writing content for search engines and can’t understand the concept of writing for targeted users. I worked for a few large SEO agencies and they’re stuck on writing massive content for search engines, spinning articles and long tail approaches.

It’s all about what users want, and how easily we can get them to their goal. It’s just as simple as that. If you can keep that in mind while developing a website you’re going to succeed in SERP, and your marketing efforts.

If you are correct (no reason to assume otherwise) this could be a bonus for forums like us who have to put up with the generic trash garbage ‘SEO agency’ ‘hand written’ ‘targeted link’ SPAM that we spend half the day removing.

If marketing is to become the front runner, I wonder what would it mean for us?

With the new Google algorithm that favors quality and unique articles - most companies are now focusing their marketing strategies to article distribution.

after google panda update every SEO company now need to put original content and only links means SEO days are over.

Yep, its been a long time coming but the hot topic is engaging an audience. Which I think is perfect, the way people should have been thinking all along. Focusing on user centric features and content is a wonderful shift in thought. Design is actually a really important part of that goal, visual and behavioral so I can where people would like UX designers. I mean user centric features especially need to all also be user friendly rather than machine friendly. I mean the users are the ones who are going to be using them not machines. Part of that hopefully becomes a shift towards custom software and creating user experience specific to the business goals at hand rather than using something like WP, Drupal, Joomla which essentially offers a generic experience, rather than one that complements the business goals at hand.

As a real estate practitioner and the lead website design guy for myself and my beach real estate business I can tell you the tailored content that I make and extra effort to write and put out gets more traffic than the easy stuff I just re post like market sales stats and items like that…
<snip/>

It’s interesting that you say there is a dramatic shift towards the “experience”, rather than just providing content for search engines. One would hope that the content would provide much of the experience of a particular website. I think it’s getting to be pretty difficult to do effective SEO work without providing tailored content. I don’t think “fluff” content is working particularly well anymore either. I’m pretty happy about that change too. What Google wants, Google gets in the end. I believe it’s for the best.

The issue I find is that there are currently few mantras towards writing tailored content to users. In many ways, the “long tail” approach seems extremely basic to anyone involved in the sales side of things because it (apparently) targets many of the niche subjects that will be easy to rank for.

Honestly, I am guilty of doing the same thing, and whereas I have had some success, the reason I’ve posted this thread is to see whether people have adopted this, their approach to tailoring content to their users and what success they’ve had.

One key issue that people tend to struggle with, especially when looking to generate leads or to sell online is how to sell to people who have an interest in the subject material. For example, if you operated a IT tutorials blog. how could you run the best possible IT resource whilst generating the maximum profit by selling IT services and tools through your site.

The main reason I’ve noticed this is because in Bristol there seems to be “digital agencies” hidden away in every corner of the city. As SEO and the quality of search has started to reach the public mindset a lot of people seem to be edging away from it in favour of the more traditional forms of marketing. A lot of digital agencies spend more time at trade shows and at user groups, the term “UX Engineer” has appeared out of the blue, and the culture of multivariate testing on sites appears to introduce real marketing to an industry that is, frankly, sick of SEO.

It’s become noticeable to me because my company is looking to branch out into these areas, as we have a very strong team of content writers. I’m hoping that in some way I can influence them towards going towards the tailored content route, rather than through the link-building, directory submitting dark arts of the SEO world.

As a software developer I really hope so too, although in my opinion the development world is just as big a part of this as content writing.

Over the past few years the Internet appears to have gone framework crazy. ASP.NET and C# are skyrocketing in popularity (C# is the second most sought after programming language in the workplace now, under Java), Python is becoming quite large and Ruby is still gaining ground. All three of these languages can utilise frameworks for the web; ASP.NET is obviously .NET, Python has the immensely powerful Django and Pylons frameworks, and Ruby on Rails is definitely a leading framework that kicked this trend off. The likes of PHP are catching up with frameworks like CakePHP, Symfony and CodeIgniter becoming key tools in the PHP developers toolbox.

The point of this is that it now becomes much easier to build the kind of polished solutions that often only came with a WordPress website. More often than not, many new medium-to-large-scale, commercial websites are being built from frameworks, such as Stack Overflow (ASP.NET MVC) and Reddit (Pylons).

All in all, as the digital world becomes more refined and embedded into the public conscience our marketing efforts are also becoming more refined.

I believe that this is the idea people are looking for. It’s easy for the SEO goblins to keep touting the line “original content”, but JUST having original content isn’t going to cut it.

There is little point in writing content just because it is on topic with the rest of your site. If I run a soft drink review site it would be pointless for me to write “original content” on subjects like “Limited edition Fanta from 1986” if there was no demand for it. In order to tailor content one would likely do some form of market research, find out exactly what people want, and provide the best “tailored” experience for that. When going back to my soft drinks example, if people regularly searched for “Mexican Coca Cola” then one would build a great template, write some fantastic content, and then utilise multivariate testing to see how people find the page, and what chances they can do to increase users, click-through rates, sales, etc.

I can’t say for sure as I don’t work at a fancy digital agency, but I think that expert knowledge of a domain will then tie into writing tailored content and working on the user experience to make a site the best resource, and naturally over time, the highest ranked web page.

We’ve now entered an age where the only way to truly influence the search engine correctly is to provide something useful and resourceful.

When you say Tailored content, what does this mean?

It is shifting back to where it should have been in the very first place.

I have stopped messing around and am just playing the game by the rules.

I may be the atypical. My site is not monetized and I’ve always done it for enjoyment and self-satisfaction. More of a hobby, like gardening and bass.

Since I began, there’s been almost endless tweaking and a few major revisions as I try to get more in line with what I consider “best practice”. What some would call “onsite optimization”.

And I’ve never worried much about doing any “offsite” stuff, letting it happen as it does naturally.

Of course I don’t really care about numbers as much as I do providing something helpful for those few interested. What some would call “targeted traffic”

As for tailored content, I don’t write to get viewers, I write for the viewers.

IMHO the SEO has pretty much taken care of itself once I did the basic site stuff like cleaner mark-up, good nav linkage, a robots.txt and a little bit of htaccess work as needed.

I’ve been working with unique content and user experience based websites since I started online because that is what gets talked about. No one is telling all their friends about the website with horrible grammar and how much they learned from the spun articles they couldn’t read.

Real websites based on the user and their needs will market themselves.

I’m kind of laughing, because this is basically what “white hat” SEO writers have been saying for a decade… It’s what the search engines like google have been telling you to do – Write for the user, NOT the search engine.

Which means clean accessible semantic layout of meaningful well organized content. If you have unique content of value people want to see, marked up to say what things ARE (and not what they look like) SEO should be automatic… zero extra effort or thought.

ANYTHING more than that is snake oil salesmanship, always has been.

It’s NOT “engaging user experience”, it’s NOT “building a relationship”, it’s about putting up unique content people might want to view in a manner that people can actually GET TO IT without hassles.

If you aren’t doing that, what business do you have putting up a website in the first place?

Does this mean that all the half-literate “SEO expertz” can now get meaningful and productive jobs such as scrubbing out the toilets at the Tastee Freez? :slight_smile:

I agree, even if you still stuck to traditional SEO and focused on just plugging in keywords to your site, you may get found in a search, but then once a user lands on the site, if the content is not interesting and there is no value / experience to be gained from the website then the user will just bounce off.

Having interesting content and a hook to attract users in my view has and always will be a number one focus in developing a good web presence.

Definately! What google likes is non duplicated content, there are some tools to check that your content is unique.

Did you not read the first post? The entire idea is that ranking Google shouldn’t matter. SEO is at a point now where there are NO guarantees, and for the average company it makes far more sense to simply build the website the users and the market wants, rather than to waste time with SEO nonsense. This is why I feel there appears to be so many more Content Writers and UX designers working in digital agencies that handle external online marketing for clients. It’s these people that will have a direct impact on what makes a site great.

Guess I’ll have to stop writing blog articles having my “main keyword” in each paragraph :stuck_out_tongue: