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SEO Beginner's Mind 🙏 Content Heaven

Alan Wanders
Alan Wanders
Hi everyone,
Sydney time difference gave me a day longer than usual to write this newsletter, but for some reason I still left it til the last moment…
This week I’ll be talking about how to approach complex content problems you don’t have much experience solving.
When I started freelancing sometimes I felt comfortable pitching work I didn’t have a track record doing. Appreciate that makes me sound like I have whatever the opposite of imposter syndrome is, but hear me out.

I wasn’t just hopelessly optimistic, I set my rates low, did a shedload of research, and built a clear process for getting where I needed to be.
Before I dive into how this went as part of a project to boost search traffic, let’s talk about probably the only advantage of being a beginner: Beginner’s Mind.
Beginner's Mind for Beginners
It’s not a tricky concept. Beginner’s Mind just means dropping any preconceptions you have when you’re approaching a challenge, just like a beginner would.
Sometimes you’ll be an actual beginner, and that openness is more important than ever. How can you solve problems beyond the capability of experts?
Because marketing changes so quickly, this is often possible. Pros sometimes get stuck doing things the way they know how. Meanwhile the behaviours of the people they market to change, so they become less effective.
Here’s what that looks like in practice.
Beginner's Mind 🤝 Search Content
I worked on a search content project for social media platform ContentCal back in 2019.
The problem was, other than reading heaps of blogs, I didn’t really know much about writing for search engines.
But I thought that by listing all the things that influence whether content ranks, and focusing on what I could change in the short-term… that would be enough?
There are those variables. I decided not to focus on the ones I crossed out, because they would take too long to change with two days / week.
I knew what to focus on, I just had to do it. With the help of writers I produced a 2-4,000 word blog every week for 13 weeks, targeting highest intent search terms.
As a first-timer I was way too optimistic about when the traffic would kick in, so the monthly progress calls were painful until about month three, when search traffic started to take off.
ContentCal’s blog was already more than 100 articles strong, but over the next three months, blog traffic from search increased 20X.
One piece of content targeted at ‘content calendar’ generated more than a hundred monthly sign ups to ContentCal’s platform.
Search Content isn't *That Hard*
Content on the first page of Google seems slick and well-tuned. But in reality most search content is less F1 and more banger racing.
Unless you’re angling for really competitive terms, content your competitors are ranking with is far from perfect, so there’s usually a way to turn up at the top spot. Here’s how.
Plus, if you don’t get the top spot, there are runner’s up prizes from position 2 down to 10. That’s very forgiving.
Just stay focused on your sweet spot: where you’ll have the biggest impact and what you can change quickly.
That’s good life advice in general, come to think of it.
See you in a couple of weeks 👋
Alan
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Alan Wanders
Alan Wanders

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