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Minimum Viable Content Model for SEO and Content Marketing

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GoodluckChuck

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This post is about publishing content that ranks high on Google Search and brings organic visitors to your website. I'm writing it for those that feel like content marketing can work for them but they don't know where to start. It's also for those that are already struggling to get the results they want from SEO and content marketing.

I’m sharing this strategy because it works and I want to give back to this awesome community. I’m also embarking on a content creation campaign for my own business which is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate this method in the real world. Since I’m going to be doing it anyway, I thought I would make it more interesting by sharing the results.



Where This Idea Was Born

I started writing blog articles for my business website in May of 2018. God, I was so nervous when I published my first post. I was literally sweating. I was putting myself out there and was scared of what might happen. Would people laugh at me? Would they tell me it sucked? All sorts of bad thoughts were going through my head.

“Click”. Published… Still alive?... Sweet...

Looking back at that article, it was definitely not the greatest, but it was my first one so what do you expect? I wrote a handful of articles that month and let them be. It wasn’t long and the traffic started rolling in. By June I was getting some good numbers. That’s when I went back and upgraded the content that was getting the eyeballs. A few of the articles didn’t get any traffic so I let them stay shitty or unpublished them. Here’s a chart from 2018 during the beginning.
29617

About a year later, that crappy first article I wrote made an impact on someone just starting a business in a new city and they called me. That person became one of my highest paying clients to date. So far that article has brought in over $12,000 worth of business.


A Random Article That Taught Me a Lesson

The seed was planted from my initial blogging experience but the point was really proven in October of 2018 when I discovered a low hanging fruit topic while researching for another project. I was mentoring this kid at the time so I used it as an opportunity to teach him how this works.

I told him to sit down and write a short article about “How to send Instagram Dm’s from a computer”. The next day he brought me a subpar article and we published it. Within 4 hours the article was rank #4 on Google Search… Even I was blown away by that!

In the weeks that followed the article bounced around pages 1-4 and eventually settled in the top 3 positions on page 1. No SEO besides on-page. That means no backlinks at all. Here’s the chart.
29618

Sometime in December I went through and re-wrote the article to be more readable and added some affiliate links for Instagram automation software. Shortly after, the traffic doubled, then doubled again. I eventually removed the article from my website because the subject matter wasn’t really consistent with what I’m trying to do. This experience illustrates the point that you don’t need amazing content to get traffic. I know, this is proven by 90% of the stuff you find on the internet but I digress...


Testing This Idea With an Affiliate Website Example

In July 2018 I started a niche website out of spite to prove someone wrong about the demand for a certain type of information. In 4 hours this project went from idea to live website with a comprehensive article on the subject. That was it... Then, I waited…

It took about a month to start getting eyeballs. Only a few at first but it slowly gained momentum. By September there were a handful of people finding the site daily. That’s when I doubled down. I wrote about 8 more articles and reorganized the website structure based on the queries (keywords) that people were using to find it. These new articles brought another wave of incoming website traffic.

By mid-December, I had enough information to do two things:
  1. I improved the quality of the content that was getting seen.
  2. I tweaked the on-page SEO to target the low-hanging-fruit keywords that were exposed by Google Search Console.

Shortly after, shit exploded.
29619

Hopefully, you’re seeing the trend. I start with mediocre content and improve it as feedback warrants. The articles that never get eyeballs never get my attention. That way my time is spent working on the ones that get the most results.



The Minimum Viable Content Model

When I’m setting out on a content marketing campaign I’ll do a ton of research and usually come up with 10-50 articles I want to write. That’s a pretty daunting task: writing 10 high-quality articles, let alone 50… But, writing 10 mediocre articles is easy… So that’s what I do. It works well for me because I can type fast and pump out bad content in no time.

I’ll break it down into steps for those that like the “recipes for success”.
  1. Choose topics based on easy-to-rank, low-competition keywords.
  2. Write content very quickly and don’t worry so much about quality. Think rough draft from high school.
  3. Wait and watch what happens using Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
  4. When you get feedback in the form of data, upgrade or change the content to take advantage of the situation.

Does that make sense?

It’s similar to a lot of threads in TFF that I read about producing a Minimum Viable Product. It’s the same thing, but with digital content. You focus on putting something out there and let the feedback you get dictate how to proceed from there. This saves you from investing a lot of time in content that is not going to work out.

To further illustrate this point, I’m going to demonstrate it over the next couple of months. Each week I'll write a few quick articles and publish them. I've already made a list of topics to cover that should yield results. As the data rolls in and I see what’s going on, I’ll make the necessary adjustments.

In a few months I expect most of the articles to be pretty obscure, but a few of them will get some traction and those are the ones that will get my full attention when it comes to reinvigorating them with high-quality content meant to engage readers and incite action.

Check back in a few months to see what happens!
 

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Last edited:

Sandholdt

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A really interesting concept.

What you're saying is that Google is actually rewarding you for taking action when they feed your site with visitors?

I think it is a great way to provide the most value within your niche, that you get to prioritize your time on going in-depth with the topics that actually matters to your audience.
 
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GoodluckChuck

GoodluckChuck

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A really interesting concept.

What you're saying is that Google is actually rewarding you for taking action when they feed your site with visitors?

I think it is a great way to provide the most value within your niche, that you get to prioritize your time on going in-depth with the topics that actually matters to your audience.
It's not just that Google is rewarding me, but that I'm making the right moves because my actions are based on the real feedback I get from the search engines.

I'm busy optimizing my content while others haven't even published it yet.

With that said, I do believe Google rewards websites that are consistently updated.
 

Darius

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This strategy has been working well for me since 2014. The only difference is that the quality of my initial content pieces are higher than high school draft (thanks to practice and Grammarly).

To expand on that strategy, track the content piece in a keyword tracker like Accuranker for whatever your ideal keyword is. Let the page sit for 2-7 days and see if there are any changes.

Then, load the page up in software like Cora (expensive) or SurferSEO (cheaper and good enough for this specific strategy) and identify the differences between your page and the pages that are ranking.

Could be word count, could be keyword density, number of backlinks, amount of headings, internal links, blah blah blah....

Then spend 1 hour optimizing as much as you can, wait a few days and see if there are any changes in Accuranker.

Then keep repeating until you reach the desired rank/traffic. I usually stop using this method once I've built an audience in order to focus on engagement instead of just growth.

I've built 3-4 affiliate websites using only this strategy and started a couple authority websites with this method.
 
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GoodluckChuck

GoodluckChuck

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This strategy has been working well for me since 2014. The only difference is that the quality of my initial content pieces are higher than high school draft (thanks to practice and Grammarly).

To expand on that strategy, track the content piece in a keyword tracker like Accuranker for whatever your ideal keyword is. Let the page sit for 2-7 days and see if there are any changes.

Then, load the page up in software like Cora (expensive) or SurferSEO (cheaper and good enough for this specific strategy) and identify the differences between your page and the pages that are ranking.

Could be word count, could be keyword density, number of backlinks, amount of headings, internal links, blah blah blah....

Then spend 1 hour optimizing as much as you can, wait a few days and see if there are any changes in Accuranker.

Then keep repeating until you reach the desired rank/traffic. I usually stop using this method once I've built an audience in order to focus on engagement instead of just growth.

I've built 3-4 affiliate websites using only this strategy and started a couple authority websites with this method.
Hey Darius. Thanks for sharing those valuable tidbits.

Your description pretty much exactly what I do. I say high-school rough draft because that's sufficient enough to see what Google thinks, but the quality of my rough draft articles are usually better than what else is out there already and probably good by most peoples' standards.

I have been using Surfer SEO for two months and it's okay. The coverage in the US seems to be lacking and there are aspects of the tool that aren't very fluid. I prefer Page Optimizer Pro, but honestly, I've had great results without the tools by making really fundamental changes like title tags and headings (h1's, h2's, and h3's). I only use the tools mentioned above when it gets really competitive and/or I've already exhausted my other ideas.

One key is that the keyword targeting is on point. This method won't do anything if you are going after super high-competition keywords.
 
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GoodluckChuck

GoodluckChuck

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Hi,

Great thread.
Just wondering what word count do you aim for with Minimum Viable Content?

Thanks
J
Usually I'm writing on topics I know we'll, so I'll bust out a standard outline that is something like:
  1. Intro
  2. What
  3. Why
  4. How
  5. Example in real world
  6. Next steps
It usually ends up between 750 - 1250 in about 30-60 min depending on the subject.

The article in my example above that ranked in a few hours was only like 500 words.

When I'm writing a new article and I see that the other ones on the same topic are really long and comprehensive, I'll either change topics or choose a subtopic (long tail keyword) to Target.

I also do my best to optimize the on-page when I first publish it based on my instincts, but I don't spend too much time on that yet because I want to wait for real data to work with.

This concept reminds me of crab fishing or something. It's like each new topic is a new bay to catch crabs in and each article is a crab basket you throw into the water to test that area. The quicker you get them in the water, the sooner you'll know where the crabs are, if there are any.
 

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