Home | Search Engine Optimization | SEO: It’s all about the Content. And everything else.

SEO: It’s all about the Content. And everything else.

John Doherty —  November 13, 2011
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We hear frequently that “content is king”, which I am coming to believe more and more, but the more that I come to believe that Content is King, I realize that content is nothing without other stuff done right. If you have a site with incredible content that deserves to rank, yet your site is terrible, you don’t deserve to rank. This is a waste of awesome.

I’m not a hardened person, but I’ve lived and done a lot in my life, traveling all around Europe and seeing some of the most spectacular views in Switzerland from my doorstep. I’m rarely moved by images or videos. In the last day, though, I came across this video, entitled I Believe I Can Fly (flight of the Frenchies) (here is the trailer):

This video moves me. It inspires me. And it moves and inspires others.

But no one can find it! The site is terrible for SEO!

I hate I hate I hate I hate finding content that deserves to rank well, that moves you, that inspires you, and yet no one can find it.

The King is nothing without his people

If “Content is King” in SEO, that doesn’t mean anything unless the “people” (aka everything else around the site) is in order and supportive as well.

What are the “people” of SEO that I’m referring to? I’ll cite things like solid site architecture, beautiful site design, incredible content, rich search snippets if applicable (like videos for Seb Montaz’s site), ease of sharing of content, a clear purpose for the site to exist.

I’m not going to describe these in depth here. I’ve linked to some of them above and there are endless amounts of material on the Internet to teach you these things.

Let me show you with examples what hurts me when I see incredible content like Seb’s, that I cannot find anywhere.

Search for “flight of the frenchies”

“Flight of the frenchies” is the subtitle to this video. When I search for the video, I see this:

It ranks 6th!

The listing is 6th! It’s the original content and it’s amazing!! This SERP should look like this:

Much better!

Quick Wins for Seb’s Site

Seb, here are some quick things you can do that will help out your rankings.

1) Quit whoring out your link juice to duplicate content. I want you to redirect the non-www version of your site to the www version. Read this post I wrote for a place to start. If you’re using WordPress (which I don’t think you are, but who knows), use the Redirection plugin.

2) Use someone like Wistia for video embedding on your site. Vimeo is cool, but you want people to come to your site to find your content as well. You want people to link back to your site when they embed your videos. Along these lines, submit a video sitemap to get your videos showing in the search results.

3) Navigation. Where can I learn about you and your work? What’s your top content? I need more information about you. Even all of these links in the footer would be better than no links at all. Your site is beautiful, but what purpose is it serving? Learn about site architecture from SEOgadget.

4) Fix your site errors. 5 of your 6 sitelinks lead to your 404 page. This is unacceptable.


I want to see more of this when I search for awesome highline videos online:

Feel free to contact me at dohertyjf at gmail dot com for some more ideas.

John Doherty

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I'm the new (as of October 2013) Online Marketing Manager of Hotpads.com, soon to be based in San Francisco. Previous to Hotpads I worked at Distilled for 2 years as an online marketing consultant. In my spare time I shoot lifestyle photography, explore new and interesting food in New York, ski, rock climb, and update my Twitter and Google+ accounts.

5 responses to SEO: It’s all about the Content. And everything else.

  1. John

    Nice find, and great job at unearthing the easy fixes / big wins for them. Guys, definitely listen to John and take his advise.

    -Dan

  2. Man, that video is amazing. Here’s one that inspired me a couple of years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4U6T_BB1N8

    Have you emailed Seb with your tips? They’re on point. You’re the man.

    • Wow good stuff Darren! And thanks for the comment.

      I have not yet emailed Seb to draw his attention to the post. I did tweet at him, but he is not very active. I will email him tomorrow!

  3. Awesome. They obviously put a lot of effort into what they do and that video is incredible thanks for sharing. Looks like they opted to go fancy with their navigation and it’s hurting their search visibility for sure.

    To your point on Wistia, a couple of thoughts. Its definitely a cool system and I see where you’re coming from but the ease of sharing means more eyeballs which is a big objective here I’m sure, plus many of the posts also link back to Seb’s site anyway. I’d add that by excluding Youtube they are missing out on a few things: not only is it a search engine in its own right and should be treated as such, but there’s a conversation going on there that people would love the creators to be part of if they choose. Looks like someone else posted it for them. Also don’t forget universal results where that youtube video came up on page 1 for me.