Hey All! My name is Hispdcha (Hi Speed Chase) for short and I wanted to talk to you today about content and the way G sees your content. Over and over I see people say you need tons of quality content to rank an authority site. You need 500+ words this, or 1000+ words that in order to have a successful content strategy for your keywords. This use to be the way to rank authority sites, but no more. G doesn't give a crap how many words you have written on your site, when it comes to on-page ranking factors, G wants to give the user going to your site from theirs the most USEFUL content. Useful content, not unique content, is the way forward when building your site to compete. Everyone can slap on a piece of "Unique" content onto a website and call it good, but that doesn't cut it anymore. So, a little about me. I am a previous black hatter turned white hatter and I couldn't be happier. I run a local SEO company and help local business rank for their keywords. I am also a real estate agent and have been ranking real estate websites for people all over the country for the last 5 years. I never sold a home in my life, but I have helped Realtors sell many homes to buyers of leads that my SEO brings to their websites. I got hit hard in 2012 by G on many of my own and client sites. I was struggling and had to go through multiple reconsideration requests as well as link removal campaigns, the whole nine yards. I am still fighting G on a few sites, but eventually I will get there. When I got hit by the many updates over the last 2 years, I first was pissed off. Why is this happening? What the hell is G doing, noboby is going to like their results with this garbage etc, etc. I was blaming G for my problems. Matt Cutts is a *****! Then, after my hissy fits and crying poor 'ol me, drowning in my sorrows and lost business, I woke up, slapped myself in the face, and went back to studying. Being in the real estate niche, I noticed a trend. All of my SEO buddy's websites were hit as well. It wasn't just mine. We shared and collaborated and pretty much did the exact same types of linking methods. Web 2.0's, social shares and bookmarking, related directories, and a heavy focus on guest blogging. We were all hit. But why? Some of these sites had 12-15 year old domain names. Huge authority. Great, unique and local content. Strong local videos with #productionvalue. Social shares out the wazoo. Incredibly strong link profiles from some of the best real estate related sites in the country. What the hell is going on here? Well, I and my SEO like minded Realtor thinktank friends found a possible solution. Useful content. We found that our sites were falling, and sites with little to no content were rising. Why? Why are sites with little to no words on their pages ranking all of the sudden? The issue was Useful Content. When someone searches for real estate related keywords such as "city real estate" etc. They want something Useful to that keyphrase, which is listings. They want mortgage information. They want rentals, rental pricing, and trends in the rental industry. They want investing information. They want to know if the market is still crap in that area of if the market is recovering. They want professional advice that they can read from a forum with other questoins similar to theirs. They want USEFUL content. They don't want 1000+ words of unique content. They aren't looking to read a book about real estate, they want something Useful to their specific query. A New Strategy Was Born. Everyone thinks their website is useful. Everyone thinks they know what a searcher wants. Well, do you? Are you sure? Is your website actually USEFUL to your visitors, or are you trying to just make money? Do you provide everything a visitor needs when visiting your website? Or do you just have countless articles of mind numbingly boring content that anyone who knows how to re-write Wikipedia articles has? When was the last time you went to a website, looking for something, to find an article of 1000+ words and immediately go TL;DR and left! I do it about 100 times a day on Reddit. I don't want to read your content. I want the TL;DR and be on my way. The TL;DR (Too long: Didn't Read) Content Strategy. Use as little content as possible to provide the most Useful web experience in your niche to rank. Case Study: My Realtor buddies and I (By the way, these Realtor buddies are some of the best SEO's in the business. If you are trying to compete with $100,000 to Million dollar purchases for checks of $5,000 to $50,000 per transaction, you have to be good at SEO to compete.) decided to try something new in the Real Estate niche. We decided to build a website that was useful only, and didn't care about "Unique" content. Here's what I did for my own test: Step 1. Define Useful For Your Niche. What is Useful when building a real estate website? Listings. People want to see current listings. They want large and bright photos. They want videos, they want neighborhood stats. They want the best home for cheap. Mortgage Inoformation. People want to know how much interest rates are and if they qualify to buy a home. Rentals. People interested in real estate want to know how much it is to rent vs buy, and if they can possibly invest in rentals. Professional advice. People are looking for REALTORS, not SEO content, for real estate advice. They want local advice, from a local professional. Local Information. People want local trends in real estate, market reports that are constantly updated, local things to do, shools, sports, food, etc. etc. Step 2. Create Useful Content This was hard. It's not easy creating Useful content, nor is it cheap. You have to go all out and be willing to do more than just write a 1000 word unique article. You have to do more. So my content strategy went something like this: Listings - Build a custom IDX (This is a technology used by real estate websites to show active, sold, and pending real estate listings on a website). When you go to a local Realtor website, you can usually search listings using an IDX. But, as I serached through 100's of different IDX's, they all seemed to fall short. They didn't have exactly what I wanted, so we created our own. We ensured that each listing had large photos, large but tight descriptions on the property, unique and descriptive SEO titles for each indivdual listing using the IDX meta data, as well as unique descriptions to keep the pages unique from other similar listings pages. We made sure the search tool was very simple yet advanced for people to use. We made sure it was fast, as I hate waiting for slow pages, and we made sure there were ways to contact the agent for more information that was easy see and use. 4 Month project! Useful but not easy. Mortgage Information - Build a custom mortgage calculator and app with up to date mortgage rates from local and national lenders all one one page. I had to hire some outside help with this one. I talked to a few people in the business and found a guy who could create a page that would tie into Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com to bring all this information into one spot. We talked to local lenders in the city we were covering and had them add their local information to our page as well as easy ways to interview the local guys. We built a custom mortgage calculator, closing costs estimator, and an affordability calculator to help people see exactly what buying or selling a home would cost them with our local lenders and national lenders rates calculated in. 6 Month project! Useful but not easy. Rentals - This was a huge pain. We have multiple rental agencies in our city and to to get them all on the same page was impossible. So what could we do? Well, if we really wanted to be Useful, we had to link out of our site to other pages. We gathered up all the local agencies information and created a page to help those looking for Rentals get it all in 1 place. We added useful real estate graphs and investing information with profit calculators, risk assessment, and local resources for investing such as experienced agents who work with investors as well as banks and lenders who work well with securing short term loans for flipping. This was 2 month project! Useful but not easy. Professional Advice - This was as easy as setting up a forum and getting people to use it. So, not easy. Have you ever started a forum? How did it go? I bet it didn't go well at first. So, we had to fake it to make it. We had a couple of our agents and clients create accounts and start their dialogue. We paid the clients to ask questions and the Realtors to answer them. We did this over a 6 month period in order to get the forum activity up and then it started to take off on it's own. We continue to monitor the forum and have REAL agents provide professional local advice on the forum. This was and is an ongoing project (1.5 years!). Useful, but not easy. Local Information - How could we provide local information in a TL;DR format? I didn't want to write a bunch of local articles, and I sure as hell didn't want to pay some Indian SEO writer to do it either, that doesn't work anymore. So we came up with a social strategy to get the locals to write the content for us. We talked to local business owners to have them provide photos, videos, and content on our website (we linked back to their websites) of what they do and why they chose our local city to do it in. We asked a few local organisations to provide us with some information about the city and why they do what they do such as a few local charities, a high school faculty and some of their students (for a small scholarship), and went to the local hangout at a restaurant where all the old people drink coffee and interviewed them. We asked them why they live there, how long they've lived there, and why they would recommended the place to others. When talking to people we recorded the conversations via video and speaker and then posted those interviews on our blog. We then had them share their interviews with their friends and business pages on their social accounts. This was amazing. I didn't think people would help us at first, but when we told them we wanted to help the city's new residents understand what was so great about the city, people showed pride and wanted to help others get to know the city like they know it. It was a great experience, and we got some superb local content from people who knew the city best. This was a 1.5 year project and it ongoing. Useful as all hell, fun as I've ever had in SEO, and definitely not easy. Useful content. What we did with this website was over the top. But it's working. We have more traffic than any other site I've built before, and we don't have to build any links to the site as it does it all on it's own. Its been 1 year and 6 months (7 months in Feb.) that this site was built and it ranks #1 for keywords I would never have imagined people serach for. It gets shares daily on FB, G+, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube everyday w/o us having to lift a finger. And we did it w/o writing one keyword stuffed article. We didn't have to think of long tail keywords or how to get links. It did it all on it's own. Now, this is obviously a "Unique" website that has nothing to do with your niche. But I hope you can take something away from our project. Blackhatting is a great way to make some quick cash or possibly mix with white hat to get a site going, but if you don't create something Useful for your visitors, G will notice and you won't rank for long, if ever in today's world. Take a look at your competition. Why are those sites with very little content ranking? No links, why are they ranking? What is G looking for? Do those sites provide something Useful? How can your website be more Useful? Content doesn't rank. Useful websites rank. Content is not king. Useful websites are king. Good luck fellow BH'ers!