I am excited to introduce my fantastic guest this week, Andy Crestodina. We talk about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and how content repurposing can improve SEO to help you rank higher on Google.
Andy is a content marketing expert – he’s a top-rated speaker, he’s written literally hundreds of articles for virtually all of the top marketing websites and is the author of the fascinating book, Content Chemistry (which is sat on my desk right now). Andy has 18 years of experience in SEO and analytics and 10 years of experience in content strategy and blogging.
I went to see Andy speak at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego in 2017. I really loved his presentation, so I made sure to see him again in 2108 too. At a busy conference it’s important to reflect on which talks had the most impact and for me, both times I saw Andy speak I found myself making copious notes to bring back to the team at Content 10x.
Andy loves the topic of content repurposing! And I was interested to know more about the strong overlap between content repurposing and search. He had some great tips on how content repurposing can improve SEO to help bring your content to the forefront of the major search engines.
To listen in to our discussion hit play below or read on for a more detailed overview.
The term SEO can strike fear into many of us. It can be a confusing and overwhelming topic, but don’t worry, Andy says this is a common misconception.
In basic terms SEO focuses on your web pages’ “organic” rankings on popular search engines such as Google. You can’t buy these rankings. The placements are earned through using SEO effectively and make a big difference when it comes to people finding your content.
It is important to remember that only a web page will rank on Google, your website -as a whole- will never rank.
Andy explained that there are three main factors that affect SEO and why a web page will rank:
Your web page must have sufficient credibility within the search engine to be considered a useful page on your chosen topic. This credibility is built up as other sites and pages link to your page. As more people link to your web page, Google gains trust in your content.
Content repurposing can improve SEO through increasing your outreach, attracting mentions from other content creators and improving your chances of outside sources linking to your page.
For a search engine to register your content it must recognize that it is relevant to your chosen topic. The use of appropriate key phrases throughout the copy of your webpage - including titles, headings, sub-headings and text - will optimize the page and allow it to rank.
Keyword research is an important part of SEO and you should consider which key words and phrases are must relevant to your page, which ones you want to rank for and how much competition you are facing.
User interaction signals can be positive or negative:
A person is online (let’s call them Gary), searching your key phrase and he clicks on your web page.
Gary is impressed with the page, there are some great graphics and a video to watch, so he stays a while. This increases what Andy explained to be called the average session duration for your page.
Google associates Gary’s longer dwell time (another SEO in-the-know term) with your key phrase and web page and pushes your quality content further up the ranks.
Another person is online (let’s call them Shirley), searching your key phrase and clicks on someone else’s page.
Shirley is not impressed. The article looks like an essay and she bores easily, so Shirley quickly leaves the page to continue her search.
Google registers the short dwell time and marks the page as lower quality content, lessening the chance of it ranking in search.
While it’s impossible to please everyone, content repurposing can improve SEO by adding great visual content to your web page that will attract visitors and keep them on your page.
For your blog posts and articles to rank on Google you want to show that you have the best page on the internet for your chosen topic.
You must satisfy your visitors’ needs and that means producing high quality content.
Articles that do well on search:
Andy’s great tip for repurposing your written content to improve SEO is to create your blog post’s evil twin, the ‘How-not to’ article!
This alternative version of your original piece is great for pitching to bloggers, trade publications and other websites where they accept guest posts – especially because these sites often won’t accept content that has been published elsewhere.
When an outside source prints your article they should include a link to your page, either in the body of text or in your bio, and this will build authority and improve your chances of ranking in search.
A lot of people still believe that you will be penalised by Google if you post the exact same content on multiple platforms.
Andy reassured me that this is not true and while there are rare examples of people being given a duplicate content penalty, 30% of the internet is duplicate content. It is fine to copy and paste your content to websites such as Medium and LinkedIn but be wary of overdoing it.
Andy made a great point that syndication has no SEO benefit and although it isn’t risky, it is lazy.
Content works because of the audience and the angle. If you can adapt your original article with a new headline, a different perspective or by adding visuals you will improve the quality of the piece and increase your chance of gaining authority through outreach.
It is important to customise the content for your intended audience, you can learn more about respecting different social media platforms when repurposing here.
You might think that if you have a podcast that SEO doesn’t apply to you, but it can be invaluable in growing your audience and increasing your downloads.
If you are just publishing your podcast through your host website like Libsyn then you are not generating a URL for your podcast and you will have no chance at all to rank on Google.
Andy suggests creating a website for your podcast and embedding the podcast player on an individual webpage with a keyword focused title header and show notes (like this page right here!).
Repurposing your podcast into a text-based article will allow you to apply the same SEO rules to your copy and improve your chances of people finding you via search.
Andy’s super fun trick for podcasters: draw traffic to webpage by including some interesting visual content that is relevant to your podcast episode. Telling your listeners they can see an illustration, chart, photo or graphic in the post – this provides a call to action that will send new visitors to your webpage. This can also lead to other influencers linking to your content and increasing your authority.
That's exactly why I'm including Andy's Periodic Table of Content below:
For those of us producing video content we will often publish on platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo. These sites tend to have their own search engines, however by putting out regular content that gains traction and engagement, these videos can also be found on Google search.
The more people who see your videos, the more likely they are to want to link to your content, especially if you have a call to action to your web page in your video description.
Andy was adamant that video content is a great way to really get your content to rank, as social streaming sites LOVE video and their algorithms push this type of content right to the top.
Repurposing other forms of content into video – whether that’s by filming your podcast recording or creating an audiogram - is the ultimate upgrade.
For written content Andy’s top tip was to record a short video introducing your topic and place it near the top of your blog post to encourage people to stay longer and increase their dwell time. This in turn increases your positive user interaction signals.
Another great way to increase your authority is to do a collaboration video, interview someone on your topic and you can benefit from their network. Their links to your content will increase your chance of ranking in search.
Someone recently said to me that SEO is dead. That it takes too much time and effort to rank on Google and it’s easier and faster to advertise on social media.
I was interested in Andy’s opinion on this! He explained that paid ads on social media are fast but temporary, they disappear as soon as you stop paying. Organic growth through ranking might be slow, but it is durable.
Andy made the interesting point that with visitors from search you know nothing about who they are, but you know exactly what they are thinking. With visitors from social media you know a lot about who they are, but you have no idea what they’re thinking.
Andy said that the answer lies in repurposing – what works well on search – long, detailed, in-depth articles. What works well on social? – collaborative, striking visual content.
If you’ve got great visual content that’s performing in social, repurpose it into a long form blog post to perform well in search, and vice versa.
The real connection between content repurposing and SEO is that content repurposing can make a web page more visible.
It is extremely difficult for a webpage to rank if it’s sitting alone out there as an island. Content repurposing can help to turn it into a continent, with a family around it. Through links, mentions off site, outreach to influencers and blogger relations we can build hubs of interconnected content, not solo islands.
If you make a piece of content, repurpose it to build more credibility, relevance and authority.