By now, every business knows that they should be “doing a blog to get some of that free SEO traffic” one way or another. Getting your message out there is as essential now as it ever has been when the online space is becoming increasingly more crowded – do you know how many names I tried to give my digital marketing consultancy that was all taken before I settled with just my name!
The problem with half-arsing your content
So you’ve decided “we’ll do a blog” but then the effort put into “doing a blog” is either paying £50 per article on Fiverr to write generic content around your niche or just giving it to the office junior who was once caught reading a book at lunch so they must know what they’re doing.
Then after four blog posts with 90 different people’s input, including the director’s mum, his mum’s cleaner, and the man who stands outside Sainsbury’s screaming the word “jam” over and over again. The posts go live on the site and after two weeks, nothing happens, no extra orders come from it and it doesn’t appear on Google. The whole affair is written off as a terrible waste of time because “SEO doesn’t work”. If you have an agency, you just fire them at this point, or if it’s internal, you smudge the numbers around and hide it, never to be spoken about again.
What is Expertise, Authority and Trust in online content?
As decreed by Google – blessed be the [search] engine (one of Tilda Swinton’s finest roles) – Expertise, Authority, and Trust are what Google use to evaluate content. It’s part of their human and AI search engine evaluator, the elders of the internet, guidelines.
This is used to determine garbage, spammy, generic nonsense content, with stuff that’s been written by someone who knows what they’re talking about. Acronymed as E-A-T, let’s break it down.
When you write a blog post, it’s important to show that you know what you’re talking about. Write about topics that you’re passionate about and that you have a lot of knowledge about. If you can share your expertise with your audience, they’ll be more likely to trust you and do business with you.
It’s not enough to just be an expert on a topic – you also need to show that you’re a credible source of information. When you write blog posts, be sure to cite your sources and include links to back up your claims. This will show your audience that you’re not just making things up as you go along, and it will give them confidence in your abilities.
Perhaps the most important quality of all when it comes to writing blog content is trustworthiness. If your audience doesn’t trust you, they’re not going to read your blog or do business with you. Be sure to be honest in your blog posts, and don’t make any claims that you can’t back up. If you can show your audience that they can trust you, they’ll be more likely to stick around for the long haul.
Write smarter, not harder
Generic, top-level bollocks content that doesn’t offer anything of value will not only fail to engage your audience, but it can also hurt your SEO efforts, or at least prevent it from getting off the ground. It doesn’t matter how much of this content you write, it won’t perform.
Also Google the thing you’re wanting to rank for and see what the top 10 results are writing about. Use that as a jumping-off point and I’ve had times where that’s totally changed my angle.
Write what you actually know, not what you think you should know
Let’s say you’re a knife retailer, for example. Are you the best company to talk about how knives are made? Honestly, probably not! A knife manufacturer is most likely the best positioned to do that as that’s their craft. But instead, as a retailer, you know what makes a perfect knife that people want to buy and have feedback from your customers about what they look for in a knife.
Speak to your actual experts, not just corporate theorists
It may also be time to step outside your corporate bubble. So many brands I’ve worked with have a wealth of knowledge from the people who make, build or sell what they do, but they often sit outside of head office and they’re almost terrified to talk to them like they’re aliens. Instead, relying on a marketing executive with a degree in fine art from the university of Sheffield to talk about something someone in the warehouse has done for 30 years.
Call it snobbery, or even a sneaky bit of classism, whatever you want but just get a meeting in with your experts; they are often so appreciative that someone wants to speak to them about something they’re often highly passionate about and have been the driving force behind some of my best content.
Examples of the type of content you could excel in
So, what would you want to read if you were buying a knife? How about knife price brackets and what I can expect for the price I pay? What knives work better for someone who predominantly cooks with vegetables as a vegetarian or vegan? What knives look the coolest or most fashionable in the kitchen? What knives are the most dishwasher friendly? I pulled these out my backside, just put yourself in your clients’ shoes.
AI isn’t just a LinkedIn buzzword anymore. It’s even in Yorkshire.
In 2022, you need to write for Google as you write for people. I’ve been using AI as part of my workflow for a long time at my home in The North, whether it’s natural language processing, number forecasting or even content idea generation; this isn’t some Silicone Valley pipe dream.
AI has become so bright that its understanding of content and human language is pretty much that of a human. Bet you didn’t spot that those explanations of E-A-T above were written by 100% by GPT-3 AI to prove this very point. Here’s another example, I asked it to write about why squirrels love Pokémon cards:
There are a few reasons for this. For one, squirrels are naturally curious creatures. They’re always looking for new things to explore and poke around in. And what’s more intriguing than a brightly coloured card with strange symbols on it?
But there’s more to it than just curiosity. Squirrels also have a strong sense of community. They love working together and helping each other out. So when they see another squirrel playing with a pokemon card, they naturally want to join in and help out.
We laugh now, but it’s coming for us, and I for one want to prove useful to our AI overlords so I am spared in the inevitable AI/Human wars of 2066.
Google is now just a massive AI brain that can’t easily be tricked by “one simple SEO tip to get you to the top of Google” so put those emails in the spam where they belong. And if your content isn’t as good as that nonsense about squirrels and bananas, then you need to step your game up.
Get the technicals right
Blogs are also big technical machines that can make or break even the best content on there. Getting that reviewed by someone who knows what they’re on about is a must. Things like pagination, metadata, schema markup, internal and external linking; there’s a lot to consider and if you’re reading this thinking your content ticks every box I’ve covered, it could be a technical issue. That’s too much to cover in this one post but by all means get in touch, this is something I’ve been doing for years and can sometimes be a much easier fix than you think!
1,000 words or more
Keep articles at a minimum of around 1,000 words – in my opinion and experience. In the early 2010s, articles needed to be no more than around 500 words and it felt like you were actively punished for going over that. But now on manface.co.uk, so many of my old articles have been de-ranking over the years as they don’t provide enough E-A-T, so I’ve spent days and nights rewriting old articles and culling over 1,100 posts down to a capsule of 250 and I’m slowly making my way through those.
Rewrite what you’ve got
That’s also another great thing to look at, have you got old content you can refresh? Often if it’s been ‘sort of doing ok’ over the years, totally rewriting it and updating with new content can be an easier path to ranking on Google than starting from scratch.
- Write what you know and if you don’t know, cite/reference someone who does
- Write about things people want to know, not necessarily what you want to say
- Look at AI content tooling
- Make sure your blog is technically sound
- Write at least 1,000 words
- Evaluate the content you’ve got
- Give it at least 3 months before you expect results
Subscribe to my free monthly digital marketing newsletter for useful and practical updates and insights.