Stop Creating Content and Links for SEO Purposes

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With Matt Cutts declaring that guest blogging for SEO purposes is dead last week (more on that soon), the timing seemed perfect for another reminder to stop creating content and links for SEO purposes. It’s extremely common for website owners to get tunnel vision and only think in terms of SEO instead of the ultimate goal of conversions (I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of this too), so sometimes we just need to remember to not get so caught up on tactics that we can’t see the forest for the trees.

A friend of mine is the online marketing manager of an e-commerce site and sent me the question below, so I thought I would share my response since the answer applies to most content created only for SEO or link building purposes, including guest blog posts.
 

Question:

I’ve never really done videos for SEO purposes, so can you tell me if we’re doing it right? We linked to the specific product page, but I feel like maybe we should link to the category page as well.

Any other tips? Do we need a longer description?

Also, to repurpose it on the blog, is there some secret to that? Like can I just embed it or do I need to have 300 words with it? 500 words?

Response:

Great question. Let me ask you this before I respond to put you in the right frame of mind…what would you do if search engines didn’t exist? Think of it this way: your goal is better rankings in search engines in order to obtain targeted traffic, which then leads to conversions, right?

So cut out the middleman, in this case SEO, and go straight for the targeted traffic!

Ditch the idea of creating videos for SEO purposes, and instead I would brainstorm to come up with a great how-to series (maybe 5-10 videos to start) that you can publish to help/inform people and provide the exact content they actually need. Use keyword research tools to identify content opportunities and come up with a long list of common questions, issues, and/or topics from customers, then search YouTube to find gaps where that content doesn’t exist and/or is poorly done and focus on those. Make sure your video titles match the search queries you decided on through keyword research but keep it concise.

If you make potential customers your primary focus and upload videos that get legitimate views/comments/likes, Google will see this and realize your videos were not created for SEO purposes. Also, high-quality content like this results in referral traffic from YouTube and eventually sales since your site is well-optimized for conversions. By educating potential customers and creating popular videos, when those same visitors are ready to buy the chances are very good that they will remember you. Don’t forget to use AdWords Remarketing as well to increase the number of these same visitors coming back to your site.

Make sure to use products that you sell in your how-to videos, and link directly to each product page as well as the category page if it makes sense in the YouTube description in order to facilitate conversions, not for link building purposes (these are nofollow links anyway). Users first, search engines second as the old saying goes.

To specifically answer your question regarding the video link you sent, yes to a much longer (but not keyword stuffed) description that accurately describes the video in detail and provides the product/category links. The first sentence is important since it’s what appears above the “Show More” link that users have to click to expand the content. As far as repurposing the videos on your blog, I would obviously include original content instead of copying your YouTube description but not worry too much about a specific word count. Write whatever is natural for each video and don’t force it with fluff content just to hit a certain word count. For example, include a short introduction paragraph followed by the text transcript underneath each video on your blog.

The same thing applies to guest blogging, press releases, infographics, social media sites, etc. If you’re in it for the exposure, branding, increased reach, traffic, etc. (not the links), and it’s only a single tactic out of many in your overall marketing strategy, keep it up. If not, it’s time to rethink your approach and focus on what truly matters; ways to produce quality content that results in traffic and conversions, not search engine rankings.

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Comments

  1. Nathan B
    January 27th

    I assume if a youtube video links to your site, and you embed said video on your site, it does not qualify as a circular link issue? Is that because youtube is social media? Also, would you link the product page back to the embedded video on the blog, or would you embed the video on the actual product page?

    • Jason Hendricks
      January 28th

      Correct, this is not a circular link issue at all because the videos are intended to be both embedded on your site and hosted elsewhere.

      For your second question I would say do whatever provides the best user experience, it might slow your product pages down a bit when you include video, so test first. If not, and it makes sense to include the video itself rather than a link, embedding would make it easier for the visitor to watch the video without having to click around your site. Keeping visitors on the product page should also improve conversions.

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