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Seven ways to make content work harder

Seven ways to make content work harder


It is a symptom of the human condition that we value volume over content. Many webmasters prefer to add mediocre content to their website rather than turning their already ranking content into marketing rocket fuel. Here are 7 tips to ensure you get the most out of the content you already have

1. Use your images to get you links

Creative Commons licence

If you have galleries of unique, high quality imagery, upload them to Flickr under a CC licence that requires anyone who uses them link back to you.

  • Chase people down with Tineye or Google Image Search to make sure they attribute you correctly.
  • Try the Creative Commons License
  • A great tool for finding where your images have got to is Tineye Read about how to do an image clean up on SEOgadget

2. Test your content before you build it

Why wait until after you publish content to find out if it’s going to work? Some simple guerrilla user testing can help you create effective content straight away. Use a simple click test on imagery to find out what imagery people react to emotionally.

Click test

Ask questions about your rich content before you spend time and money having them developed.


By asking qualitative questions at scale you can get quantitative, actionable feedback that you can build into your content production pipeline.

3. Use Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are the SEO topic du jour and for good reason – marking up content so that search engines understand and rank that content is at the heart of SEO.

The Google Webmaster Central FAQ says: “Our experiments show that many sites have seen increased click through by showing an enhanced snippet because users better notice all the good content from the site.” Rankings aside, having your URL on a search result page with images, videos or ratings attached is shown to greatly improve Click Through Rate (CTR) from that result page; you can improve traffic without having to improve rankings.

There are verticals where snippets have not been implemented yet and there are massive gains to be had. Opportunity holds no boundaries.

Rich Snippets

Anyone who could get a video or authorship snippet in this “Cheap Home Insurance” search result could increase traffic from their SERPs without having to increase their ranking position

  • Get started with Google’s own documentation about rich snippets
  • Read about more advanced techniques on SEOgadget
  • Google’s tool for testing rich snippets

4. Improve your content

Improve your content

It would be foolishly egotistical to think you made the best, most highly optimised version of your content on the first attempt.

Use tools to get feedback on your content and plan your content development time so that you can go back and improve older content by listening to user feedback.

  • Try the quick feedback tool from KISSinsights
  • Alternatively, UserVoice’s version drills down further

5. Power up your sharing buttons

Most websites’ sharing buttons suck. A row of sharing buttons slapped onto a webpage will underperform, yet webmasters insist on trying to hide them away while simultaneously praying they will work.

Here is a good example from The Next Web of how sharing actions should be designed:

  • Strong calls to action
  • Subscriber numbers for social proof
  • Letting people choose what they get and how often they get it


Hell, why not A/B test and test which page designs give you the most shares?

6. Follow your content

If you produce good content, it will spread onto other platforms. In the website launch below, I was able to get onto the F1 website that picked up an article and keep the conversation going, resulting in more interest and overall traffic. The next week I missed a conversation on Dribbble, losing the opportunity to drive more traffic!

Online traffie

  • Tip: set up alerts in Google Analytics that email you when traffic spikes from a referrer

Google Analytics alert

7. Keep pushing great content

Don’t give up on great content, you never know when the right person will pick up on it and give it the push that turns your content viral.

Check out Kevin Allocca, Trends Manager for YouTube talking about “Tastemakers”, people that bring content to a wider audience.

This is why it is important to think about who will distribute your content, before you make it.

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Stephen Croome

Stephen Croome

Stephen Croome is interested in getting companies to re-engineer their products to market themsel

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