I recently posted a Quora and an Inbound.org thread asking a simple question, "what do you believe is the best piece of SEO content you've ever seen?" I got back many great answers, many that I expected but was happy to see and some very unexpected responses! Whenever I do a post like this I always love the side-effect that I get a full list of content to read, things to study, and information to absorb.
I have my opinions on the best content but I'll save that for later. So without further ado, let's hear it from the pros.
What's your favorite piece of SEO content you have ever seen?
have a number.
this by eubanks due to the conversation nature
these kinds of posts by Shure, because it more showing what you could do rather than telling
these mind fuck pieces by AJ, that makes you reconsider your approach
things super witty from Revel like this
anything that guy content_muse writes. he's super fly.
The one piece of content that I've probably searched for, referenced, read, and used the most in the past 7 years is CopyBlogger's headline tips and formulas: How to Write Magnetic Headlines
It immediately helped me increase click throughs from organic search to blog articles and improve performance of ads with headline copy. I even use these tactics in email campaigns and direct emails to prospects who haven't responded in a while to amazing success.
Any well to-do writer with a unique style and voice of their own can take these tips and in 10 minutes improve their content usability and clicks. Love it.
It's really hard for me (and I imagine for most people answering this question) to point to just one post. There have been so many posts by so many brilliant people working in the search industry that have sparked new ideas or helped me to clear up some confusion.
My favorite post of recent past, and the first one that came to mind (so I'm going to use it) is AJ Kohn's post on Keyword Match Ratio.
In this post AJ explores a relatively new idea on how to evaluate keyword opportunities, bringing it back to relative competitive and difficulty to rank, and provides a clear explanation with many simple examples that help paint the picture on the potential power of this metric.
My favorite part about this metric is that it, like everything else in SEO, is not an end all be all or an absolute, it is simply a barometer that should be used to gauge opportunity. It provides a great jumping off point and litmus test to help validate or negate hypothesis on specific opportunities.
I'm amazed no one has mentioned this one already (admittedly, I haven't checked out the Inbound Marketing Community - Hacker News for Marketers thread).
My #1 favorite piece of SEO content is the Google Algorithm Change History
on SEOmoz by Peter Meyers. Unlike a lot of "big content" resources that simply link out to other articles, this one does a phenomenal job of distilling all the salient information for you. One of the other things that makes it so great is that it's a living and breathing piece of content: it's constantly being updated, always fresh. Knowing that it's kept up-to-date makes it so valuable and makes it so people keep coming back to it over time.
It's the sixth most authoritative page on the SEOmoz (according to Page Authority) and with 2.3K Google+ recommendations, I'd say I'm not the only one who thinks it's awesome.
This is a tricky question but I think if I had to make a decision based on the usefulness of the content, creativity and just general awesomeness then it would have to be Jon Cooper's 'Link Building Strategies' post (Link Building Strategies - The Complete List).
I read link building articles every day and the majority of them tell the same old story but in Jon's post he really goes above and beyond. The added search feature within the post makes for an even more interactive experience. Jon also regularly updates the post with new content and it has already (at the time of writing) received nearly 1,500 back-links.
The concept itself is pretty simply but the quality of information and ease of reading isn't in any other link building article that I've read. Great work, Jon!
Probably not what you're looking for since it's not content written by an SEO or for SEOs, but rather it's a paper written for the information retrieval (IR) community.
I had always been interested in IR, and it's definitely given me a different perspective with regards to search that I believe has helped me stay ahead in the SEO game. When the paper Determining the informational, navigational, and transactional intent of Web queries (Page on Goo) came out in 2008 it became a reference that I referred back to several times over the next couple of years. It summarizes dozens of papers and pulls together the concepts of Informational, Navigational, and Transactional queries and then categorizes them further. While the concept wasn't exactly novel at the time, it frames query intent in a way that for SEO at the time, not many people were discussing and it breaks intent down further that I'm not sure many SEOs today even consider. For example, Informational queries can be further categorized into Directed, Undirected, Find, List, Advice, which has an impact on repeat visitors, site behavior, and conversions.
While there are great tactical articles and guides written by SEOs over the years, I've always found that IR and AIR patents & papers much more interesting in expanding what I know about search and how it applies to SEO.
I think the single greatest piece of content is the Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors.
It's just a straight-up reference on the items that matter. Sure it lacks narrative, but that's the point. I love the fact that it isn't a piece of literature, but a scientific instrument. I have this on the wall in my home office and at work, as it is a masterpiece of both form and function.
I like content that makes me go build something or allows me to learn something new hands on. This type of content literally made me better at my job.
I'll narrow it down to these two from back in the day:
One that was really recent that had a similar effect:
This is just a single post about the larger topic of #RCS by Wil Reynolds:
I first heard him talk about it during a session at Affiliate Summit.
A great overview of modern day SEO > http://www.seoverflow.com/dealing-with-the-increasing-complexity-and-volume-of-seo-tasks/
For it's pure simplicity, something that is easily forgotten in the SEO industry > http://justinbriggs.org/sometimes-seo-is-just-seo
Aaron Wall's SEO Book (free when you signup for his training program)
Advanced Guide to SEO (Neil Patel)
The Noob Guide to Link Building (Michael King)
Easy. I've got a few:
33 links and how to get them (by Justin Briggs)
We can do better than this (by Jonathon Coleman):
60 SEO, social, conversion tips (by Richard Baxter):
Several articles that impressed and inspired me:
"Why Link Building Strategies Fail" by Adria Saracino
"SEO Guide to Creating Viral Linkbait" by Ed Fry
"Perfecting Pitches" by Michael King
And the "The Beginners Guide to SEO" of course!
One of my favorites not yet mentioned: http://www.rosshudgens.com/please-exit-the-link-building/
I couldn't drill it down to a single piece, I could only break it up into sections and say my favorites for each section, so here is that list:
for local seo
for link building
- Paddy Moogan's "Link Building Book"
- Jon Cooper's "Creative Link Building" post
- AJ Kohn's "Guide to Google+"
- AJ Kohn's "How to Implement Rel=Author"
for viral marketing
- "Secret Recipe for Viral Marketing Success" from the Moz blog
for tools (tool usage, not for actual tools)
- Seer's "Screaming Frog Guide"
- Annie Cushing's SEO tools list
I'm going to pull in the top 10 actual content posts from inbound.org, the central location for a proper accumulation of inbound content on the web, "hacker news for inbound marketers"
1. Creative Link Building Post by Jon Cooper
3. Link Building Strategies List by Jon Cooper
4. We Can Do Better Than This by Jonathon Colman
5. How to Grow a New Website to 100,000 Organic Visits Per Month by Nick Eubanks
6. The Short Cutts, the short answer to every Matt Cutts SEO video
7. How to Rank #1 On Google, video by Matt Cutts
10. Annie Cushing's List of SEO Tools
Generally I don't believe there is a single "best piece of SEO content" out there, every piece has it's niche and use. Some in-depth guides may earn more links than beginner's guides but are completely irrelevant to a beginner and vice versa. I love seeing what people's "favorite" is though, because I think that is a far better filter.
My reading list is now packed to the brim after writing this post, as I hope the rest of yours are as well.
So let's hear your favorite piece of SEO or inbound marketing content that you've ever seen, used or consumed. Post it in the comments or on the ongoing inbound.org discussion :]