Using Creativity to Spice Up Tedious SEO Tasks
Let’s face it, despite SEO being ever-changing so that you “never cross the same river twice” some SEO tasks are just plainly boring and repetitive. Some people try to automate them but that often goes wrong. Instead you can use creativity to spice up tedious SEO tasks. Today I want to show you how you can do it.
So called article spinning has been a huge trend for a few years after Google made it clear that you aren’t allowed to publish a text twice on the Web without risking “duplicate content issues”. In plain English it’s just content rewriting.
Google just created the additional problem that you have to change the words without changing the meaning. Even software has been used to automate that but it often just mangled the articles so that they became unintelligible or ridiculous or both.
Back in the days when article directories have been common I sometimes did content rewriting for Google
myself because such directories in Germany required you to submit unique content. In many cases I just had an idea and have written the same articles a few times starting each time anew. I still was creative while it took less time than meticulously changing words one by one.
Even earlier, long before I was into SEO or even before Google was that important that you had to consider it when publishing I was into experimental writing. We had a discussion mailing list with a few other writers and on it instead of debating we remixed or covered texts. Someone would send in a poem of prose piece and the other people would just take and remix it as if it was a music track.
There were numerous techniques to remix text. Some were really funny, for example one guy once replaced all instances of the vowel “e” with a “u”. The dead serious poem sounded hilariously funny afterwards. Usually we
- replaced or added words
- moved or removed passages in a “cut up” manner
- used synonyms
- used homonyms (same sounding words with different and unrelated meanings)
- used oxymorons (opposite pairs like “hot ice”).
Or we simply changed perspectives. The same poem written by the adored woman not the man in love might sound completely different.
Writing Meta Descriptions
Having to come with a few hundred meta descriptions for an already existing site is a difficult task. Meta descriptions have to be really enticing, concise and to the point while they need to contain keywords too. Google users will see your meta description in the Google SERPs when searching and the keyword they look for will get highlighted. Also your description needs to differ from your page title, the probably still most important onsite ranking signal.
Instead of just using a pattern and only inserting the keywords I’d suggest to come up with a new meta description each time.
It might sound like more work but there are a lot of ways to do it. For example try to scan the existing content like a reader would do, reading only roughly 1/3 of the text. Then try to take the most important sentence and copy it to the meta description. Anthony Pensabene is the king of quoting on Twitter so you can learn finding the most important and intriguing aspect of an article from him.
Regular Content Creation
Crowdsourcing is one of my favorite idea generators when it comes to blogging. I often will just ask my followers a question and get already a few answers I can use. I have an existing audience already on social sites like Twitter or Google+ and crowdsourcing ideas by getting random words suggested by readers has been my latest “hook”. Usually I’d asked a question that was specific enough to get unique answers and general enough to get a large number of replies.
Recently I used a different and more inclusive crowdsourcing approach.
I asked my followers to suggest me one just one word so that I can come up with a content idea and headline based on it. This technique is very similar to what I did when I practiced improvisational there over a decade ago. There the audience had to suggest the actors one word, for example a tool and they had to create a scene based on that. Hilarity ensued.
In case someone said “hammer” we just played a scene that at least started with a hammer or even dealt with it all the time. Everybody can suggest a word so more people take part. As you think about your topic anyway it’s not that difficult to use that word as part of a headline or at least get an idea based on that suggestion.
Manual link building as in
- submitting links to directories
- link exchange
- buying paid links
is tedious and not scalable. Also these old school techniques are considered “unnatural” by now. Most directories have no value anymore, link exchange offers that I or my clients get are mostly worthless and paid links or reviews do not need a comment here anymore, I guess we all know by now how precarious they are.
The modern way of link building is still link baiting despite the term not being used very often anymore. It simply sounds awful and “fishy”.
You don’t have to create viral content instead of link building. You can replace it one to one by trying to get 10 links instead of building ten links. Please note that I use the passive form here. I could write “earn links” too. To get them you need to motivate ten people to link to you without having to do repetitive tasks.
Let’s imagine you build links by finding broken links and contacting webmasters to fix them. Just recently I have been perusing my bookmarks for a list post on my cycling blog with lots of links included and roughly 50% of these pages or even whole sites have been gone altogether. Assuming that I’m not the only blogger wanting to link out to those you just need to find the other ones and then write a post with alternative resources or the new URLs and then simply ping the blogs that link to the old ones.
Deducting a value proposition from any post is a way to overcome the repetitive “search and connect” pattern of blogger outreach. Usually you will make a list of at least 10 bloggers to contact. In case you are doing it for a new client you can’t just contact old friends, you have to start from zero. Thus the most important thing is the value proposition as long as there is no relationship and the blogger doesn’t owe you anything.
You could make a game of value propositions.
Instead of trying hard to find the few bloggers who are exactly into the kind of product or service you offer – that’s just a bunch usually – you can look up what the bloggers themselves write about and think of a value proposition for each one of their posts. Let me give you an example: a blogger who writes about a book on Google+ would probably want one, don’t you think? Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
I have had to do outreach for clients who didn’t have neither a product or service nor another value proposition you could give away easily. I didn’t have enough time to write guest posts either because the budget was even too small for that. I got very creative. I gave away books or coupons related to both the blogs and the client sites for example. I didn’t focus solely on what we had (not much) but rather on what the bloggers wanted.
Other Boring Tasks
I know there are other boring tasks. Some people have suggested SEO audits for example or disavowing links. I couldn’t cover everything in this post here but in case you like this one I might follow up with a second one covering additional tedious SEO tasks. So add your suggestions in the comment section or on social media! Of course you can also add creative solutions!