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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Go Green Or Go Home: Recycling Content For SEO

Content. Content. Content. SEO’s hammer clients with pleas/prayers/entreaties to produce content. Writing, videos, images, audio, sanskrit, I don’t care; just please, for love of all that’s right and good, produce something.

Clients respond: I don’t have time. I can’t write. I hate writing. Our partners won’t let us publish anything. The branding team will veto us. The CEO has to approve every word we publish. And the SEO campaign sputters and fails. The SEO can build links and optimize existing pages, but if the site’s stagnant, someone, somewhere will grow their site and beat you to number 1.

So you’re stuck. Produce content or die. And it is hard work, no doubt about it. You can make life a little easier, though, by learning to recycle and reuse content.

Chances are you’ve got lots of great content, begging to be published online, in your office. You’ve just been looking at it so long you no longer regard it as a potential resource. Ideas include:

The employee manual/instructions

Unless you’re a one-person show, you have a collection of procedures or instructions for your staff:

  • How to assemble the Widget 9000
  • Quality control for manufacturing
  • Do’s and don’ts when working with clients

Take any one of those procedures. Think about why readers would care about it.

Other industry members will care because it helps them learn. Forget about the competitive issues – unless you have a secret recipe, you’re not going to tell them anything they can use. They’ll read it, and if they’re bloggers, they’ll link to it because it’s informative.

Customers and clients will read it and see your thought leadership. That strengthens your reputation. Customers will remember it because it shows you care.

And journalists may take an interest in you if they’re researching a story and happen upon your article about De-Linting The Widget-9000. Journalists will remember this procedure because it shows you’re a resource.

Now, rewrite the procedure, adjusted for the external audience. Here’s an example:

Original Version:

Make sure the front wheel is tightened completely before you put the bicycle out on the floor.

Rewritten / Recycled Version:

20% of bicycle accidents happen because some part of the bike wasn’t properly installed. The front wheel is a common culprit, so make sure the front wheel is part of your pre-ride safety check.

Yes, you had to rewrite. But it’s a lot easier than coming up with content from scratch. So don’t ignore procedures, manuals and instructional materials you’ve got lying around the office. They’re a great source of inspiration.

Old presentations

Past presentations are fantastic, recyclable content. If you have a Powerpoint presentation from your last conference, why not record the presentation over again and make it a movie on your site? With a cheap USB headset, you can use Powerpoint’s built-in audio recording to get set up. Or, you can use screen-capture software like Camtasia or Screenflow.

Or, annotate your slides and put them up on your site as a standalone presentation. Here’s an example of a slide I used at a recent presentation:

A slide, without annotation

And the same slide, annotated so that someone could download and read the presentation:

The same slide, annotated for redistribution

If you record your presentation, then you can also get it transcribed and post that to your site as well. You just turned one presentation into 2-3 pieces of fantastic, link-worthy content.

This is all pure gold for your readers, by the way. Don’t feel like you’re cheating. You’re not. You’re providing them with lots of options.

Company reviews/annual reports

If you do an internal company review, you can take that same information, remove anything you don’t want public, and publish it online. It’s a great way to let customers in to see how your company works. It promotes authenticity. And it can spawn lots of other writing later on, as you can write about how various initiatives are going, what worked and what didn’t, and what you learned.

If you write an annual report for the public, take the entire report and publish it on your site, in HTML. Why not? You’ve already done the hard work of writing it. Take the text and the truly relevant images and turn it into a blog post, or an article, or an addition to the ‘about us’ section.

Product instruction manuals

These are a lot like internal manuals, except they’re usually written for your customers/clients. And, in the case of many consumer products, they’re apparently written by a troupe of stoned monkeys typing with their tails.

Take the manual, edit it for readability, and post it on your site in HTML format. You get happy customers. And you get more search engine fodder.

Customer support discussions

I know this material can be sensitive, but many customer support cases can become fantastic material for your site. If your team resolves a support ticket and there are some good lessons in the narrative, make it totally anonymous and then publish it.

Support discussions and tickets can offer great tips to your clients and customers and attract links from other members of your industry.

The list is endless

There are lots of other kinds of content you can recycle and repurpose for your web site: instructional videos, reviews by 3rd parties, press releases… it truly is endless. Before you start writing something 100% new, look for all the valuable content you’ve already got. You’ll have a more compelling web site, and save yourself time to boot.

Do you have any favorite sources of recyclable content? Let me know in a comment.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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