Over the years (largely at the original incarnation of Naked PR) I’ve talked a lot about what’s wrong in the social media and SEO world — from the circle jerk phenomenon of “tribes” to the way bad SEO and social media marketing can make you look like a spammer, scammer, or incompetent dolt.

But instead of covering what you shouldn’t do to grow traffic using social media, let’s talk about what you should do this time. I was contacted a while ago by a reader named Damon. And he was tired of the sleazier side of SEO advice in particular.

We talked about the importance of quality content and how that’s the key to combining social media and long-term SEO benefits for increased traffic. Today let’s explore some simple ideas in content marketing. We’ll look at things you can do to improve your site’s content to build more organic links both inside and outside of social media, leading to better rankings and more traffic.

What is Content?

Sometimes the issue of quality content is a simple one — people don’t have a full grasp of what that content includes. Some, for example, limit their view of content to mean the text on their sites.

But it’s much more than that.

Your content might include:

  • Web copy
  • Blog posts / Articles
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Apps / Software downloads
  • Games
  • Comics
  • White Papers
  • E-books / Reports
  • Forms / Worksheets / Templates

I’m sure you can think of more. Your content is everything that appears on your site (plus what you release in print or via third party platforms such as social media updates).

For example, on my freelance writing blog over the years I’ve featured a blog with several contributors (though it’s back to being a solo blog now), a limited audio play series, a podcast, a job board, a professional directory, a writers’ market directory, forums (which I recently closed), free downloadable worksheets and templates, online calculators and tools, and e-books. In the future I may add courses and videos as well. And maybe even a comic series (something I’ve long wanted to do) if I ever find the time.

In essence, I turned what could have been just another basic blog into a “resource site.” And that’s one of the best tips I can give Damon or anyone else when it comes to improving social media sharing and SEO at the same time.

Why Resource Sites Work

The old digital brochure type of website just doesn’t cut it anymore. The web gets more competitive every day. In both SEO and social media, it’s therefore important to stand out. Converting your website into a resource site can help you do that.

People love to bookmark, share, and link to resources they find useful or entertaining. The more of this content you provide, the better your chances of ranking well in search engines and getting visitors to interact with you via social media outlets. A typical website or blog can be just fine for some niches. But in others a more comprehensive resource site allows you to reach a broader audience. For my freelance writing site for example, the job board and directory let me branch out from only appealing to writers to also attracting the kinds of people who hire those writers.

Remember, people don’t only learn in different ways. They’re also entertained in different ways, and they make buying decisions based on different factors. The more people in your target audience your content can appeal to, the better you’re likely to rank in search engines and the more likely visitors are to spread the word via social media.

It’s a simple concept really. But it’s something site owners (including my own clients) often overlook.

It’s easy to get caught up in your promotional copy or routine blog updates and not think beyond them. But even one or two solid resources in addition to what’s standard in your niche or industry can help you stand out and build organic links, trust, and repeat visitors.

Is your website a true resource site, or is it pretty run-of-the-mill? What types of resources or specialized content would help you separate yourself from your competition in addition to the examples I gave here? I’d love to hear in the comments how you turned your site into something beyond the standard.

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