A Little SEO Lesson From Calvin and Hobbes

I recently came across this comic strip that I think effectively sums up one of the primary problems for SEOs trying to produce an endless stream of content.

Wordiness Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin makes a great point – in our effort to produce lots of content, we often latch onto weak ideas and then do everything in our power to make those ideas sounds impressive and intelligent. The more we work at our blogs, tweets, and articles, the more we obscure good reasoning and clarity. Soon, we produce very little content with good substance, and our SEO campaigns suffer.

So the question remains: how can SEOs maintain a consistent standard of rational, relevant content?

Choose Clarity

If even you don’t quite understand the point you are trying to make in a post, your writing is going to suffer. Readers always notice if you are blustering on about something out of your field of expertise. Especially since many SEO tactics include flooding search engines with different pages, SEOs are often trying to produce copious amounts of content that don’t necessarily contain clear writing.

In order to present clear content that relates to your readers, choose topics that either allow you to draw on your prior knowledge base or offer you a reasonable research challenge. An informed, useful page will draw more attention than a page that obscures weak information.

Remember, quality doesn’t automatically mean large word counts – a succinct page that communicates rational content is preferable to a long-winded post that doesn’t present strong ideas. Bing’s Duane Forrester recently gave an interview in which he strongly contradicted the notion that quality requires a large number of words.

Find a New Angle

Your content doesn’t have to contain new information in order to be fresh and relevant. All of the major search engines continually remind SEOs that original, interesting content is going to do well in the rankings. So even if you’re writing a humdrum how-to article, find a way to put a unique spin on the content.

One example of a great angle in an article on content strategy comes from an article written by Katie L. Fetting. Entitled “Why Tom Cruise Should Be Your Content Strategist,” her article makes clever parallels between the various films of Tom Cruise and the types of content that should be in every good content marketing strategy. A unique angle on content strategy makes her article clearer as well as more memorable.

Answer Questions

While you do have to take some risks in developing rational content, a good way to keep yourself in line is to consistently write content that offers helpful answers to your readers’ questions. As Lee Odden points out, strong content requires strategy and inspiration, but over time it becomes almost mechanical. As you develop your content strategy, you will begin to understand the needs of your clients, allowing you to produce content that not only poses questions but offers solutions and answers to problems.

The Bottom Line

As someone producing content, you want your readers to love you so that they keep coming back for more. The best way to maintain popularity is to avoid the tendency of creating weak content. Instead, focus your energy on producing clear, relevant content that isn’t obscured by poor reasoning and weak ideas.

How do you keep your content fresh?

The following two tabs change content below.

Sarah Beth

Sarah Beth Wiltse earned her BA in English at Boston University. Though she currently lives in Dallas, TX, she spent a year in Paris, France after college, cultivating her love of the French language and a passion for travelling. She has spent much of her life developing her skills in the arts, primarily as a ballerina, violinist, and pianist - and now, a writer! Follow her on Twitter!

Related Posts: