Why Content Curtation Rocks SEO

The slide deck from Scoop.it about how content curation impacts SEO is an excellent SEO & content curation primer, but let’s do a deeper dive. Let’s work backwards from our Uber Online Marketing Goal – creation of sustainable online community.

Why is creation of sustainable online community the Uber-Goal. “Sustainable online community” is a community growing faster than either costs or the natural decay every website fights. Decay is the web’s gravity.

Decay means your website / marketing can gain or lose share. There is no neutral, no treading water on the web. “Share” is the battle for attention, hearts, minds and loyalty. The number of websites we can create may be infinite, but attention, hearts, minds and loyalty is finite. There is only so much attention to go around.

Understanding why sustainable online community is the goal is easy if you think about Oprah. Oprah doesn’t need Search Engine Optimized (SEO) pages, but she does need community. Things we mortals fight for Oprah already has such as:

  • Tons of high quality inbound links from high authority sites.”
  • People who love, are loyal and willing to sacrifice to advocate.
  • Resources needed to create great content to prime a virtual cycle.

SEO is a popularity contest. Just like in your high school’s lunchroom not all sites / students are equal. When the popular kids, the kids with authority, ask you to join them your authority / status goes up. Oprah’s sites are going to receive attention and love from other popular kids (websites) because association (with Oprah) benefits both.

The 3 Things

We can know a lot about any website from three metrics:

  • Pagespread – The number of pages in Google.
  • Inbound Links – number of inbound links.
  • PageRank – Google’s 0 – 10 value of a webpage.

Oprah.com’s values:

  • Pagespread = 113,000.
  • Inbound Links = 23,361.
  • PageRank = 7

We urge you NOT to get caught up in 2 + 2 = 4 math / meaning here. Drives one of our co-founders crazy when we use free tools to learn these values. He argues that paid tools are more accurate. He is right. He argues some of these metrics don’t mean as much as they used to. He is right. And we don’t care (lol).

We don’t care because at the strategic level any model is right as long as it is consistent. Strategy begins with a macro search for “blue oceans” or ideas not so wrung out with competition they can’t increase links, likes and love. Tactics require greater accuracy and fast feedback loops.

Interesting to note our strategic macro view is typically more right than wrong once we use more refined tools (and lots more money and time). Yes, we tune tactics with advanced tools, but tools don’t make great websites. We can know if a site is great by knowing a site’s context and those three numbers combined with more than 15 years of web marketing experience.

Seeing Oprah.com’s first two numbers I mentally predicted a PR6 or PR7. Oprah.com can achieve solid numbers by doing less than your site or mine. That said, Oprah.com’s numbers aren’t as strong as they could or should be, as they could be if the site understood how to create sustainable online community.

Amazon knows how to create sustainable online community. Here are Amazon’s numbers:

  • Pagespread – 257,000,000
  • Inbound Links = 1,042,283
  • PageRank = PR8

Don’t look at those numbers like wow Oprah.com is close with a PR7. The distance between PR7 and PR8 is HUGE, and Oprah.com never gets there (PR8) from here (how they are managing their community now).

Oprah Drawing from aboutfacesentertainment.com

Talking To Yourself About Yourself

Oprah.com’s “mistake” is a common mistake. The site talks to itself about itself. Adoring fans love Oprah and that’s why Oprah.com ranks with little effort or understanding about how to create sustainable online community in a social / mobile time.

Look at Oprah’s Black Women in Hollywood post. The post shills a show on Oprah’s network.BORING.

Doesn’t have to be boring. Oprah.com could have asked women featured to write guest posts, be interviewed or all answer the same three questions. Oprah.com could be driving authority and link value to sites of directors featured.

Every piece of content CAN become a growing node on your link / authority network. When you curate content you increase the number of nodes on your network (pagespread), and you increase pagespread (number of pages in Google) in a GOOD way.

PageSpread is a knife. Cut one way to gain authority. Cut another and to lose authority. More pages without links, likes and shares LOWERS the value of your existing pages. You spread your authority ranking over MORE pages so authority GOES DOWN.

More pages with links,likes and shares HELPS because your increase numerator (# pages) and denominator (links, likes and shares). Content curation ROCKS SEO because curating content you KNOW is winning links, likes and shares is like starting the race AHEAD. Your race toward the end zone starts on the 50 yard line when you curate winning content.

Not all content is equal. Not all content earns links, likes and shares with the same velocity curve. One way team Curagami uses content curation and Scoop.it is to TEST ideas BEFORE we create content. This means we curate 90% and create 10%.

Using content curation as testing also means our creation starts on the 40 yard line. Have we eliminated 100% of intuition? No, we still swing for the fences sometime without testing first, but we are usually swinging in areas we are at least FAMILIAR with from our testing.

Oprah.com isn’t a PR8 or PR9 because her site isn’t a two-way community. We know every PR4 website is reading this thinking, “Gosh if we could just get to Oprah.com’s PR7 we would be happy”. Remember Oprah.com gets a lot of what you have to create via hard work for free.

Your site needs to win hearts, minds and loyalty. Your site must become a sustainable and trusted online community to increase authority and rank. YOU can’t increase your site’s authority and rank, but WE can.

Content Curation: 7 Reasons Why You Must – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Getting To We

Curating content is the fastest path to WE (sustainable online community) we know. When you value, share and comment on content from others you play the web’s quid pro quo game. Most appreciate your curation and ideas.

We find the more you go up the authority scale the less likely you are to receive Quid Pro Quo. Our mention of Oprah.com is unlikely to get Tweeted or mentioned on Oprah.com because they 1. talk to themselves about themselves and 2. don’t believe such interactions are worth their time and energy.

They may be right. We stand to gain more than Oprah.com in such an exchange. This doesn’t mean we never curate content from those so high on the authority scale quid pro quo is unlikely. We don’t EXPECT mentions, but are occasionally surprised.

When we mention David Edelman’s Branding In The Digital Age he almost always Tweets or says thanks. David understands the web’s quid pro quo better than Oprah. He knows taking a second or two to say thanks makes me (and others) MORE likely to advocate and send link love and readership his way and all for the cost of some humility and a firm understanding about how the web really works.

If Oprah.com hired Curagami to move the exponential distance from PR7 to PR8 or PR9 we would suggest what we suggest to customers such as Moon-Audio.com and Vestique.com – build sustainable online community by curating content, listening and valuing the WE.

The path to sustainable online community is different for every business, brand and website, but there are common tactics and ideas including:

  • Content Curation = inexpensive listening with lots of reach.
  • ASK for Help – Moon-Audio.com’s Ambassador Program is 1st ASK,it won’t be their last.
  • LISTEN more than you TALK – curate 90%, create 10% and based on what you HEAR.
  • Digitally LISTEN – share what you hear on social nets (with attribution).
  • FEATURE great UGC (User Generated Content) with permission and attribution.
  • Don’t Talk to Yourself about Yourself – every piece of content should become a growing node in your virtual network.
  • Create KPIs To Measure Your Nodes – Key Performance Indicators help you track and know if you are “digitally listening”.
  • Create A Positive Virtual Cycle – the web never stands still, so make sure you are gaining more & faster every day.

Oprah.com’s PR7 is an AVERAGE score for a brand with so many assets, with such a large and existing community ready to advocate, share and sacrifice. Oprah.com is not achieving its potential because they make common web marketing mistakes including:

  • Talking to themselves about themselves.
  • Creating Community is NOT a focus or a priority.
  • When community is not a focus = site is not digitally listening.
  • Listening = pillar of sustainable online community.

Since your website won’t start on the 90 yard line like Oprah.com you MUST curate content, listen and create sustainable online community.

** Oprah caricature on cover and this page from http://www.aboutfacesentertainment.com/pages/oprah-caricatures.html.