Are You Serving Targeted Content or Slop – SEO Monday

By Vladimir Shvorin

Do you want to serve up targeted content on your website? Look no further.

Are You Serving Targeted Content or Slop?

Does your content strategy rely on customized content for your buyer personas or do you serve up heaps of slop in hopes that someone – anyone – will be able to stomach it?

They say the road to ineffective content is paved with good intentions. But it’s not the content goals themselves that are misguided; it’s the people putting keystrokes to keyboards and trawling the content ocean for whatever they can scavenge. While this approach may have worked millennia ago, refined customer palettes now ensure that ill-fitted content will be as repelling as a dance class taught by Mark Madsen. (Note the parallels between a Mark Madsen reference and targeted content: not topical or timeless, but it does invite a specific audience with its messaging.) Heretofore, such content will be referred to as “slop”:

Dear Content Slop: You’ve been pre-approved to go to hell!

Slop credit:

Content slop is a giant, reared-back slap across your customers’ collective faces. It’s a form business letter. It’s an auto-response email. It’s a mass text to your friends thanking them for being your friends. If you just admitted that you didn’t care about them enough to make an individualized effort, you could at least be transparent.

How can you identify content slop? Look for the following:

  1. A lack of direction when it comes to messaging; slop content doesn’t want to disengage any potential customers, so it tries to reach them all
  2. Vague calls to action (big-time savings!)
  3. No discernible target audience
  4. Descriptions replete with generalities

And in the other corner, you have targeted content. Its characteristics include:

  1. Product-specific information that intrigues and educates the reader
  2. A pertinent call to action based on relevant details and selling points
  3. An easily identifiable target audience that can actually be won over
  4. Never having to question whether the author is talking to you or a 15- to 55-year-old professional with an annual income between $20 and $200,000

Targeted content is likelier to be consumed because, to your customers, it looks like this:

Would you eat me? I would eat me.

Cupcake credit:

Imagine if Amazon’s product descriptions were about how wonderful the company is. Brilliant as Amazon may be, they wouldn’t be able to sustain this practice – even on a short-term basis – without considerable fallout. Would it topple the giant? Probably not, but their rankings, sales and visitor count would all plunge.

Why does targeted content work? Because it’s based on a reliable business practice. Market segmentation plays a large role in winning market share for companies looking to entrench themselves within a certain space. Instead of trying to take over the world, so to speak, they opt to approach their expansion in manageable steps. And piece by piece, they see their efforts rewarded in more market ownership. Much in the same way, targeted content is a vehicle to improving your search rankings (think of this as market ownership), and in turn, revenue potential.

Why should you use targeted content? Simply put, it appeals to search engines and the humans that use them. While you may be able to artificially manipulate a search engine to improve your pages’ standings, sales will frequently hinge on the content’s ability to close the deal. A product page filled with content slop will make your potential customers more likely to leave your page to gather more information on a product – thus reducing the likelihood that they’ll come back to you for their purchase.

Get at me Mad Dog.

Madsen credit: