Ian Hollander on Why Creative Content Wins Over SEO

Do you agree with Ian’s view on creative content and contrived content?

It’s rare to find an article discussing SEO that’s still relevant 5+ years after its publication. When Expert Author Ian Hollander’s article “Writing Articles For SEO – The Silly Simple Reason It DOESN’T Work (And Increase Your CTR by 200%)” appeared in my search, I have to admit I was skeptical, but I was also intrigued.

Let’s take a walk through the main points of Ian’s article.

  • “Creative content is obviously ANYTHING that gets your message out in a way that engages, entertains, inspires, enlightens or encourages people to want to know more about you, and what you love to do (your services, your coaching, your recommended resources, etc.) … Creative content … is written with PASSION and purpose and a sense of personal power about your niche, your industry, your market and what you LOVE to discuss. It has no focus on keywords or algorithms or any silly strategy at all.”

We couldn’t agree more. Creative, custom content attracts followers and LEADS because it’s driven with a passionate force: you.

  • “Contrived content is the kind of work that most of the “gurus” will tell you to focus on. The stuff that is about secret strategies, loopholes, shortcuts and other silliness that is supposed to take advantage of some sort of perceived imbalance in the online entrepreneurial ecology (i.e., all of those “sneaky secrets” the search engines don’t know about … but THEY do!).”

Contrived is a good word here. It brings to mind all of those spammy articles that plague our submission queues as well as “writing for SEO” practices. In our book, contrived content would be defined as often thin, unoriginal, derivative content that is built around keywords, not insights. It fails because it often doesn’t fill the needs of readers and it lacks the staying power of “creative content.” If it’s searched, contrived content will only meet a referential need (e.g., reader finds answer and closes the window), but it’s important to bear in mind that this form of content is up against EVERYONE else in your niche.

  • “[In] my own business, stopping a focus on keyword anchor text, and instead … ONLY worrying about crafting the right message to get the click, directly bumped my traffic by well north of 200% … Why? Because instead of worrying about using the right ‘words’ in my resource box for SEO, I instead could focus on coming up with a compelling message that got folks to be curious and take the next step to visit my site.”

Yes and no. We agree; it’s easy to get wrapped up in “quick SEO fixes” because it’s easier to believe it’s the SEO’s fault instead of the quality of the articles in question. Also, you should always followup with a compelling call-to-action in your Resource Box. However, there are “minor tweaks” like using the long-tail method in your article title and implementing the co-occurence technique in your Resource Box to increase your brand association and click rate.

Should you focus your entire efforts around these “tweaks”? NO WAY. Always let quality be your guide.

  • “… the idea that then writing hundreds of articles and syndicating them around the web to small directories with unique anchor text would BENEFIT your website, has probably done more to kill otherwise creative content marketers than anything else (because when it didn’t work … or worse, they were punished for it with even LOWER rankings … they gave up!).”

Let’s expand on “small directories.” Publishing content with a reputable article directory will help you increase your bottom line, whether it’s to build exposure, drive traffic, or increase your credibility. However, where many Expert Authors go wrong is placing their content with an ill-reputable directory. Posting to more article directories or websites is not better. It’s just more. Publishing original content to reputable article directories with quality guidelines and a community of quality authors will help you succeed in your efforts.

We found Ian’s article simply sensational. Do you agree with Ian’s take on creative content and contrived content? What about his take on SEO? Do you think article writing has changed greatly from 2006 to today? Let us know in the comments section below!



Yes I agree with you Content is very important part of the any Site or Article. If your content is real and unique then it is good for your site Ranking.

Comment provided December 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM


Randall Magwood writes:

Ian great insight. I was make my article quality higher than writing an article for SEO purposes. I think readers would buy more (or take whatever action) if they felt like the article was clear, good, and coherent.

Comment provided December 19, 2012 at 8:10 PM


SeanW writes:

No offense but my greatest suggestion to you would be to hire someone who knows the English language to be your writer or at least use a native English speaking person as your editor.



I like you article thanks for sharing with us.

Comment provided December 19, 2012 at 8:15 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

I’d like to say that from the beginning, I’ve dismissed all of the SEO theory – I found it to be manipulative gaming of the search engines, this is why I’ve never engaged in it. In fact, I write what I believe is important, not much worrying about what everyone might be searching for or trying to use specific terms to attract views. The way I see it the “long-tail” approach makes sense to me, but other than that, I am into anti-SEO strategy, choosing to travel the road-less-traveled, and in the end I find I was right.

Comment provided December 19, 2012 at 10:42 PM


Riz Tips Free writes:

nice article. give some idea to write a good article. now i have learn more about the head, middle and tail of the article. what the important things that must we do is to find a right keyword to include to our article. thanks for the author.

Comment provided December 20, 2012 at 2:11 AM


Elmarie writes:

I spent a lot of time learning SEO, only to discover by trial and error that the best SEO is not SEO at all but just good, intriguing content. Whenever I try and follow the SEO rules taught by the so-called gurus, my articles seem to be thin and lifeless. Hooray for good content!

Comment provided December 20, 2012 at 2:48 AM


Howard Dion writes:

At my age, late sixties, I just wrote what I knew about and tried to make the content have value to my readers. The whole SEO thing was a puzzle to me so I ignored it. Today, I am aware of SEO but have made a choice to do just what you said…add value.

Thanks for the great article.

Comment provided December 20, 2012 at 6:08 AM


Howard, it’s great that we started unaware of this “shortcuts” which made us even more passionate in what we do. Cheers!


*these “shortcuts”


Matt Holcomb writes:

SEO will always be important “tool”
Content will alwas be king.

Solid article.

Comment provided December 20, 2012 at 2:25 PM


John Kyneur writes:

Ian, thanks for your article.I am one of those newbie authors who is tring to write to communicate. The ‘write for your audience’ approach means you produce something you can be proud of. The SEO-style may earn you a few extra points but doesnt communicate very well. All the best,John from Sydney

Comment provided December 20, 2012 at 3:53 PM


John Kyneur writes:

Good idea. Always write from the heart! We always tend to write what we think will assist people, rather than what will get google points. After all, google’s rules change!

Comment provided December 20, 2012 at 8:09 PM


Salihu S Dikko writes:

That reminds me of the need of the article’s heading or topic to be at least 100 characters, which must incorporates all the contents of the article from the very heading. Thus, the reader gets the whole facts from the start. And, they if are appealing, he will not put down the reading, till, he finishes.

Comment provided December 21, 2012 at 2:38 AM


Matt Holcomb writes:

SEO is a “tool” for internet marketing
Creative, passion felt “content” is king.

Comment provided December 21, 2012 at 11:50 AM


SEO Freelancer writes:

I agree with you that rich and unique content is great for site rank.

Comment provided December 22, 2012 at 12:27 AM



Thanks so much for the Article.It goes to prove the point that even after 5 years, a solid,original and content driven article will still have such awesome effects.I just learnt about SEO stuff and am about to Re-design my site.But I will definitely make contents the best option.Thanks so much.-Arewa Lanre “The Grand Master”

Comment provided December 26, 2012 at 2:33 AM


SeanW writes:

Because I have a strong background in the art of persuasion it made more sense to use my persuasive abilities in print than to sacrifice them for unnatural purposes.

However when I tried setting up a blog of posts without seo it seems the engines did not know what to do with them. Therefore I think at least a skeleton attempt at on page SEO makes sense.

Comment provided December 26, 2013 at 10:19 PM


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