Rand Fishkin is famous in SEO. His company, Moz, has done some really cool things, but their general message is missing a huge piece of the puzzle.
Here’s a really good, technically correct article he wrote about how SEO doesn’t change as much as people think — something that I agree with very strongly. I just shot a video about undying SEO principles last post. I made that before reading Rand’s article, so its not a response to his. The meat of the content is very different.
While his main path…
…Does actually work, it is only 1 of many, not necessarily mutually exclusive options available to a business when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Here’s the real kicker: to most businesses content marketing either makes no sense at all or it is the most expensive with the possible least return over the next 12 months.
Content marketing is a method that works well with SEO, but each company has its own set of unique SEO opportunities. There’s not just 1 SEO technique that works best for EVERYONE. There are hundreds of unique paths a business can take with SEO and content marketing is just one of those paths.
Some companies, for example, I can get big traffic within just a few weeks after we make changes. This opportunity is not available for anywhere near 100% of companies, but when it is available, it is awesome for everyone. Its not Black Hat as many would assume. It doesn’t break any of Google’s rules. This is 1 path/technique and it is not mutually exclusive to many of the other techniques out there.
The statement I would make is that Content Marketing for the purposes of SEO is a terrible business decision for most companies. There are simply too many better, more reliable marketing methods. Now, this can be true of SEO as a whole. SEO is not for every business.
Let’s compare content marketing vs a few other forms of marketing available to businesses:
This is just 1 common example for 1 company. Different companies have different numbers, but a few things remain pretty fixed — cost and reliability. Content marketing is very expensive and it doesn’t work for a lot of companies no matter how long they do it. One of the exceptions is that there are some companies that are creating content already or who have the skills already in place to create good content. Then, the effective costs added could be very low. It still doesn’t mean its the best path, but its a step in the right direction.
Furthermore, I’m not limiting my business estimations to just SEO Marketing or even Internet Marketing. I love Direct Mail. You can get a very fast return on your money with this method. I think its powerful for many businesses — hence the loads of junk mail you get…some of which you actually look at, right? I know I do. Direct Mail is inexpensive and requires little investment to get started. And it is very scalable.
SEO and all its different techniques and paths have to be able to compete with other forms of marketing from a business ROI standpoint. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.
The best thing SEO has over most other forms of marketing is that you’re building a lead generation machine. Its not a 1-1 trade of pay X dollars, get Y back like you can sometimes build with more direct marketing. It’s an army of constantly growing robots trying to take over the world for you:
Why limit yourself to only 1 robot when you can have 20? I like robots…but I digress.
Would a plumber be successful at content marketing? Probably not unless he had other unique qualities to his content…like being funny. How many articles can you write on “finding a plumber in [city]?”