Content First SEO is another form of content marketing. While content marketing is about content creation and identifying an audience, Content First SEO takes content marketing and couples it with the role of SEO.
This may seem like a "normal combo" and natural. It should be.
So many content marketers are not "worried about SEO" and think that "SEO is dead" that it lead us to reference our content marketing approach with a differentiator. Something that made it unique and understandable. Content First.
This started as a brainchild of Content HOW.
Content HOW was the original design of Content First SEO. It was my attempt to help brands understand why 70% of the businesses that were "content marketing" were not seeing the results from it.
The results were not there because they never enjoyed the "lift" that naturally occuring traffic creates. They were not reaching enough audience with their message. They were simply "writing content."
SEO is search engine optimization. Making your website and content something that the search engines would want to rank highly for key terms. Without giving a lesson on SEO to everyone who already knows what it is, we will leave it at that.
The Content First part is where most people scratch their head. What do I mean by content first?
Content First is our approach to making remarkable content that helps people. We are not just "spamming" or "spinning" content. This is well researched PHD level content that goes through an editorial process. It then reaches a copywriter before the final images and social are added. We don't just "write content" about a subject. You can not "one off" this process. We have tried. It is just not cost effective.
Instead of one offing content, meaning ordering one article about one subject and then another article about another topic, we prefer to "dig in." I shouldn't say prefer. In order for this to be successful it is a must.
This is a very transparent thing. I am not holding the "secret back."
The downfall to Content First SEO is that it is expensive. The reason it works is because of the commitment. If you are not devoted to writing and researching in depth content for your audience then your blog or website is not going to be successful. That is the reason it works. It has a huge "entry fee."
So what is that entry fee? Good question. That is the question...
The entry fee is research. We research, run surveys, run interactive infographics, run interactive quizzes, and overall we just dive into your market at a level that no one else is.
Somewhere in the middle of the dive we start to understand the buying decisions and curiosity threshold of the market. We start to understand the reasons that people are actually searching for the terms they are searching for. This is not just ordinary "commercial intent" or "top of funnel" understanding. We find unique positioning points that can transform the content from just "ok" or "good" typical content into abnormally successful content. This makes link procurement easy.
Brian Dean calls it skyscraper link building. He takes the best content on the internet and creates a better version of it. While this is essentially the same idea as Content First SEO there is a small difference. Brian understood the market he was skyscraping. He knew the keywords that mattered.
He knew that ranking for terms like "backlinks" would make him an SEO "god."
Cost being the time or dollars it takes for someone to immerse themselves in your market. They have to hit total immersion into every facet of the consumer journey. They have to research competitors as well as questions that the typical customer asks. They have to understand everything about your offer as well as the technical requirements of your markets customers.
Why is that so important?
You tell me... Do you want to buy a product from a company that doesn't seem to understand you? Do you buy products (unbranded) that are half of a fit to what you are looking for?
We offer a handful of services that differentiate ourselves from every other option in the market. We focus on content creation through rapid learning immersion. This is the deep dive into your market that we just explained.
We offer link procurement by way of pitches. Outreach is performed that gains links, guest posts, and link insertions.
We offer PR. This is real PR that is based on content we produce.
This works well for a number of reasons but the main thing is that it is natural. Link authority and niche relevancy are two of the biggest ranking factors in Google's Algorithm. When you create superb quality content that is better than anything else on the internet then it is natural that you become the authority on that topic.
It also works because so few people are doing it.
The barrier to entry into this form of SEO keeps it from becoming the "norm." You have to be committed to becoming the best in your business. You prove that by producing the level of content we are talking about. You also earn that from the hard work or cost that it takes to produce that level of content. Then you do it consistently with outreach on top of it.
The links are just the symptoms from your Content First SEO strategy. The real work and reason your SEO is working is the content.
That is why we call it Content First SEO.
A question I get a lot is why wouldn't I just do this myself?
I hope you do. There is a lot of power in this style of SEO. There is a lot of power in the depth of diving into a market to the level we do. If you have the time and skills needed then I would suggest someone on your team being the head of your Content First SEO approach.
I have thought of just doing a "mastermind" training class where I teach this exact formula. If that is something you would purchase for $1-$2k annually then I would love to know. I just have not had the time to put it together yet and don't know the market need for it.
Why would you not do this for yourself?
Time, Skills, and Cost
That trio keeps so many people from doing it or at least starting it.
Determination and Consistency
This duo is the other reason people don't complete it. It takes grueling and often "boring" hours of research and deep dive to come to a point of understanding that is deep enough. Deep enough to speak intelligently to an entire market while positioning a brand.
We work with brands, companies, and startups that are looking for Organic Marketing.
We only work a handful at a time as we can not "scale" our offerings. We are pitched the product and concepts of the marketplace much like the company pitches for funding. We are brought on in various agreements. % of company, % of profit, and monthly expenses are our normal acquisition cost in order to take on the Content First SEO service.
We also offer all of our services in smaller packages as white label seo options to large SEO agencies.
We do not do everything that we would do for a brand client. These services are typically bought and sold as one offs in this format.