Is keyword optimization still the future?

On why blogs are straying away from posts written just for the sake of ranking 
Ever thought of ditching the skyscraper? 

Well, some B2B brands are already way ahead because:
  • The SERP for most high-volume keywords is starting to look the same, leaving virtually no room for innovative brands to rank with unique content in the absence of a strong network or link-building efforts.
  • Outreach takes way too long.
  • If the brand does happen to have a strong social media following, followers won’t want top-of-the-funnel content.
  • Staying away from the keyword trap allows content to be more flexible. Brands can fully showcase their thought leadership and position on the market without being constrained to a specific blog post outline.
  • Google’s E-A-T algorithm update [or rather set of best practices you should always stick with] is making it more difficult for new websites and writers to gain a spot in the SERP.
So how does a blog look like when it’s not riddled by posts that scream “Please, let this rank”?
  • Case studies
  • Interviews with subject matter experts
  • Opinionated and editorial-worthy posts
  • Reports, research, and findings
  • Ebooks and other gated content
  • Employee Q&As and other posts to support employer branding goals
  • Articles that provide an inside look at a company’s work process
  • Summaries of an event: conference, podcast, webinar, and more
  • Product updates, new launches, awards, CEO messaging, etc.
Here’s some examples:
  • Dropbox - I think Dropbox has never even targeted a keyword. This has left them with enough time to stay creative. Their blog post collections tackle current challenges such as virtual-first communication and distributed work through a series of thought leadership posts and expert interviews. These have turned their blog into more of a publication rather than an SEO scheme.
  • Trello - The Trello team does occasionally tackle some keywords but super long-tail ones. The purpose behind every one of their posts is to make the topic interesting and helpful enough so that it gets traction from their social channels. In fact, that’s where most of their traffic comes from.
  • Intercom - Want a perfect mix of SEO efforts and “we’ve got the best experts for this post”? Intercom diversified its content efforts by occasionally posting articles that will help them land a good SERP position. These are nothing special though or at least not as impressive as the rest of their blogs.
  • Figma - Figma takes the product-first approach by making every post about their product. Even the interviews they have are centered around how Figma helped. They keep non-product posts as methods of showcasing the expertise of their team and how things are done within the company’s teams.
  • Headway - Headway’s let go of the temptation to have marketers take over the blog. Instead, they have their own devs and designers in charge of the posts. This provides a huge trust boost and ensures you’re not tackling topics just for the sake of having them tied to your brand.
  • Buffer - When you’re taking a completely different direction from your competitors and are crazy good at branding through content.
  • Commit - Most blogs from development companies/organizations share the common trait of making use of subject matter expertise to make sure people come back to the blog. In the end, it’s trusting the authors and their knowledge that will turn your blog into a go-to resource.
For comparison, check this blog that’s heavily focused on SEO keyword optimization.
If you enjoyed this edition, don't forget to send it to a friend! I'll see you in two weeks for a deep dive into why simple blog formats work.

Until next time,
Alexandra Cote

P.S.: The newsletter is now live on Product Hunt so you can upvote to show your support. Only if you love it, of course 😉🚀
Here's some further resources to have a look at in the meantime:

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