Humpty-dory Articles Don’t Build Websites
4 years ago, I worked as a copywriter for a successful SEO company which worked in a lot of scandalous yet profitable niches (they had numerous top-ranking penis enlargement websites). One day, they had me write a bunch of articles about online people-search services. Now, I am a damn creative writer and can always find something interesting to write, even about a topic as banal as people search. So, I produced a few articles about all the creepy ways that these services get a hold of your information.
The next day, my boss contacted me and told me not to write anymore articles like that. Even though they were really interesting, unique and full of useful information, he said that all the articles should cast the services in a very positive light. I told him that the content would end up being really generic crap. No one wants to read 10 articles about how great it is to track down your long-lost relative, boyfriend, classmates, etc. This was his response: It doesn’t matter if the content is crap. It only matters that we get to the top of the SERPs. Thankfully, this approach to SEO went out the window with the Google Penguin updates.
Even Amazing Content isn’t Good Enough
Before the Penguin era of SEO, search engines used to heavily weight at the quantity of content, the keywords in the content, and the backlinks to the content. It was remarkably easy to exploit these weaknesses in the search algorithms by producing mass amounts of crap content and spamming it with cheap backlinks. Now, search engines have basically thrown keyword optimization out the window (at least in the keyword-ratio sense) and will even punish you for your spams backlinks. In this world, only the websites producing amazing content will rise to the top. But here is the problem: There are thousands of other people producing amazing content in your niche. Unless you happen to be better than all of them, then it isn’t going to be enough to make amazing content.
Build Brands, Not Websites
You can’t build a website with humpty-dory articles anymore. But you also can’t build a website with amazing articles either. So, how do you build a website?
You don’t. You build a brand instead.
Take Mashable as an example. They aren’t an authority on anything in particular. Their content, while good quality, isn’t necessarily better than what you’d find at smaller, niche-focused websites. But Mashable became one of the leading websites in the world because they built a brand around consistently delivering interesting content to a particular audience. Brands know their audiences and know how to deliver what they want. Sure, you could be the no-name generic brand found on the bottom rack of supermarket shelves. But, unlike the supermarket, the internet is free so there is no cost-saving incentive to make users choose generic over the leading brand.