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How To Do Content Curation For SEO: Your Starter Guide

Alekh Verma | February 23, 2023
content curation

Do you need new content types to publish? Learn how to utilize the best content from around the web as inspiration.

There’s a longtime aphorism used in academia to describe the continuous need to push out new work or else risk falling into obscurity: Publish or perish.

While the exact phrase itself might not be common knowledge, its sentiment is.

Every day, there’s a ton of new content being pushed out into the world at an astonishing speed. More and more, marketers believe they must continuously publish new content or risk losing their online presence.

But with all this new content, it’s harder than ever for businesses to stand out. And readers are left to sift through it all to find pieces of quality content.

That’s where content curation comes in. It creates value by curating content that others have already published.

Content curation is a way to continuously bring relevant and useful content to your audience without the “publish or perish” mindset.

After reading this article, you’ll have learned how to get started with content curation to maximize your SEO benefits. But before we take a deep dive, let’s first explain what content curation entails.

What Is Content Curation?

Content curation is the process of finding and compiling existing content on topics that are relevant to your audience and industry or niche.

Put simply: you turn content that has already been created (by you or others) into your own new piece of content.

To add to that, content curation is only really meaningful when you include your views on the curated content. Give your audience a reason to consume your curated content (and come back), instead of someone else’s.

And how does this help your SEO efforts?

A well-executed content curation strategy adds value for readers, resulting in social shares, links, and ultimately better rankings.

What Is Curated Content?

Curated content is content created by others that you select to share with your own audience. This could be a valuable blog post from a company in your field, expert advice from a relevant thought leader, or anything else that you think your audience will appreciate and enjoy.

Just like a museum curator’s role is to choose the most important artifacts and artworks to display, your role as a content curator is to select only the best content to share with your followers.

This curated content definition isn’t complicated. In fact, every retweet is a very basic kind of content curation. But to get the most value out of content curation, you’ll have to step it up a notch.

Benefits Of Content Curation

1. Fill gaps in your content calendar

As part of your content marketing strategy, you should be posting content to various social networks multiple times per week.

The bulk of that content will likely be produced in-house. But if your social media content calendar has some gaps, curated content is an easy fix. Sharing valuable content from others is a low-budget way to maintain a regular posting schedule.

2. Provide value to your followers

Your followers follow you for a reason. They want to know what you think about your area of expertise. They want to learn from you and improve their own lives or skills in some way.

But not all the wisdom you share has to come straight from your own keyboard. You’re not the sole authority in your industry, and you shouldn’t pretend to be.

When you carefully select content to share with your followers, you provide them with additional value by giving them access to multiple perspectives.

Remember, your relationship with your followers can’t be purely transactional. You have to provide value. Sharing curated content shows you care about providing information and resources rather than just building your list and making sales.

3. Establish yourself as a thought leader

How do you establish yourself as a thought leader by sharing other people’s content? Simple. By sharing only, the best content out there so your followers know that when they come across a resource on your feed, it’s worth reading.

As we’ll explain below, you can (and should) also add your own insights when sharing curated content.

Your take should always be clear. Just an introductory sentence or two adds a ton of extra value. If you can add a unique perspective, it will also help build your reputation as someone who really understands what’s happening in your field.

4. Build your network

Sharing other people’s content is a great way to get on their radar, especially if your post sends some extra traffic their way.

If you find someone’s content really valuable, be sure to tell them so. Let them know when you share their content with your followers. But don’t ask for anything in return. (It is super-annoying when someone you don’t know emails to say, “Hey, I shared your content! Can you pay me back with a link?”)

Instead, tell them what you found most valuable and that you’ll be following their work to see what they have to say in the future. Over time, this will allow relationships with other leaders in your industry to grow organically.

These relationships will be much more valuable than a transactional link trade with someone who feels obligated to return a favour.

Factors For Content Curation Success

Now let’s get our hands dirty and discuss the factors that make content curation a success.

What does it take to be successful in content curation?

So, before you share a piece of content with your audience, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who should I share this with?
  • Why would this help them?
  • Is this a trustworthy source?
  • Is this unique and worthy of sharing?

To help you answer those questions, make sure that you…

Know Your Audience

In order to hit the right chord with your audience, you need to know who they are and what drives them.

Otherwise, it can prove hard to choose the best content for curation.

Add Value

The whole point of content curation is that you’re adding value by collecting content and organizing it.

The way that you do this needs to be truly valuable for your audience.

For example, if you’ve compiled a list of the most futuristic electric cars in 2022, explain what you like about them, and what you don’t. Link to manufacturers’ promotion videos, reviews, crash tests and how to stay up to date on their launch.

Take Inspiration From What’s Worked In The Past

Once you know your audience’s sweet spot, you can focus on crafting the right curated content for them.

Research what’s worked well in the past for others, using platforms such as:

• Reddit.
• Facebook.
• GrowthHackers.
• BuzzSumo.
• Twitter.
• Slack communities.
• Discord communities.
• HackerNews.
• Slashdot.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Look both within your own niche and beyond it. Even cross-language – sometimes you can create a similar curated content piece in a different language.

Don’t blatantly copy, but it’s fine to get inspired by successfully curated content in other markets.

Test Your Curated Content

Test different curated content formats (like articles, visuals, podcasts, and videos) and apply different content curation tactics.

Measure what works well with your audience.

Fail fast, and then try something different!

Aggregate

Of course, no one can actually keep track of all the content posted on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and other platforms because of the sheer volume of it being posted every minute. Which is why content aggregation can be extremely helpful and is applicable to any niche and medium, like blogs, articles, newsletters, infographics, podcasts and videos. Combining them together in various forms can also give value to your posts.

Perform Survey

Another effective method of content curation is to conduct surveys and analyzing their results. Surveys can help in putting together a definite idea of what your target audience likes and dislikes and can give you an accurate framework for planning future strategies.

Use Visual Images

Visual content will always triumph over written content in terms of attractiveness and quality. Long, tedious texts are likely to cause a drop in the interest levels of the audience whereas images are often used to present ideas in a meaningful, attractive and comprehensive manner which is more preferable for the audience. Furthermore, visual images can be instantly shared on other websites therefore making your content highly shareable.

Why So Serious?

Mind you, “valuable content” doesn’t have to mean serious content.

Take “Try Not to Laugh Challenge” by the FailArmy, for example. It has over 92 million views, 478,000 thumbs up, 15,000 comments, and 421 links from 191 referring domains.

You know what’s really funny? Behind all the laughs, there’s some next-level content curation here!

Content Curation Tactics

Now on to the part that’s the most fun of all: zooming in on the most successful angles to content curation, which you can implement yourself after you’ve finished reading this article.

1. Aggregating: Events Or Articles

Not everyone has time to keep a watchful eye on their Twitter stream, Facebook news feed, RSS feeds and newsletters coming in.

Aggregating content in an easy-to-digest format is a great example of curation.

This form of content curation applies for any niche, and I encourage you to keep an open mind for all mediums: blog articles, newsletters, infographics, podcasts, and video. It also often makes sense to combine these.

Some examples:

  • Search News You Can Use: Every week, Marie Haynes diligently covers what happened in the SEO space.
  • Kevin Indig’s Growth Memo newsletter: Kevin Indig’s weekly newsletter mentions noteworthy events and case studies from the SEO and Growth scene, which Kevin comments on.
  • There’s not just one format out there for curating content; take for example the Search Engine Journal podcast, which summarizes what’s recently happened in the search industry. 

2. Synthesizing: Reducing Long, Complex Information To A Digestible Format

Not everyone has the time or energy to dig through long, complex articles.

Some people just want the takeaways without the hassle of reading them themselves.

Give them these, and you’ll create value.

Examples:

  • When NerdWallet filed their S-1, something many folks will find boring, Tom Critchlowanalyzed its contents and describes interesting takeaways from a digital marketing point of view.
  • Bill Slawski has been known to read through Google patents, giving him insights into possible directions that Google will go in. Do you want to read through this complex and hard-to-read patent, or just read this easily digestible version, where Slawski includes his theories on these patents? 

3. Curating Survey Results

Another great example of content curation is running surveys and aggregating their results.

You’re taking the survey responses and framing them into valuable content for your audience.

Examples:

  • SEO pricing surveys such as those by Credo and Growth Ramp, and Search Engine Journal’s own salary report.
  • A survey I did on Reddit where I asked the BigSEOReddit community about their biggest SEO fails. 

4. Visual: Images

Visual curated content deserves its own section, as it appeals to your audience in a different way.

It’s easily digestible and very linkable and shareable.

Examples:

  • The Boston Globe’s The Big Picture — a selection of photos taken by The Globe’s staff, ordered by month.
  • 35 incredible tiny homes from around the world by Insider.
  • 58 recipe boxes, DIY meal kits and finish-at-home dishes by Evening Standard.
  • 24 Photos of the World’s Most Beautifully Designed Homes by the Business Insider.
  • The most beautiful travel destinations — a selection of the most beautiful travel destinations, neatly organized on Pinterest. 

5. Statistics: Curating Large Datasets

Curating large datasets into usable statistics provides a tremendous amount of value.

It often takes a big investment, but that also makes it hard to copy.

Examples:

  • Glassdoor: Read about what it’s like to work for different companies and the salaries that people make there.
  • Numbeo: Learn the cost of living in other countries, and how they compare to each other. 

6. Expert Roundups

You’ve probably expert roundups before. Some people have grown tired of them, but I’m still finding well-executed expert roundups out there.

The trick is to really focus them around a certain topic and to not include too many experts.

After all, once you’ve read 12 opinions on an issue, you’ve probably read enough.

Here’s an examples of a well-executed expert roundup: 

15 SEO Experts Share Their Tips for Newbies. --Why I Like It:

  • It’s not a massive list of expert opinions that nobody is going to read. Quality over quantity!
  • The roundup does exactly what you’d expect: share useful tips for beginners.
  • Each expert’s opinion is accompanied by a photo, name, and company name. The experts’ Twitter profiles are linked as well. This puts the experts in the spotlight, giving them a reason to co-promote the post.

--What Would Make Me Like It Even More: Include an index of the experts at the top of the article. 

7. Tools

Tools are a great play when it comes to content curation. Here’s one you may not know about yet: 

Barry Schwartz’s Was There A Google Update.--Why I like It:

  • It’s easy to use.
  • It links to helpful resources. 

8. Distilling: Turning Large Amounts Of Information Into A Digestible List

You may be familiar with this one, too. One typical format here is “$randomAmount Digital Marketing tools you can’t live without in $year”.

These listicles are practically as old as the internet itself, so it’s hard to be successful with a list-type curated content piece. It requires more creativity and effort. But it’s definitely still possible.

Examples: 

The best places to visit in 2021. --Why I Like It:

  • It’s very visual and easy to read.
  • It clearly explains why each place made it onto the list and why you should put it on your traveling wishlist, and it even includes very specific recommendations that show that the author knows really what he’s talking about. 

The best electric cars 2021 UK: our pick of the best EVs. --Why I Like It:

  • This one too is very visual and easy to read. And that really matters here. In car articles, you obviously want to see high-quality pictures.
  • It’s easy to navigate and also guides you to a review for each car.
  • It includes information about specific subsidies when you buy cars, showing the authors’ expertise. 

Content Curation Tools

The biggest resource for content curation is you. But still, there are tools that can make this job easier.

RSS Feed Managers

  • Feedly

Tools to Keep Track of Textual Content

  • Pocket
  • Refind
  • Flipboard

Tools to Keep Track of Visual Content

  • Pinterest

Tools to Easily & Quickly Put Together a Newsletter

  • Substack

Tools to find popular content

  • BuzzSumo (freemium).
  • Anders Pink (freemium).

Now Go & Promote Your Curated Content

Curated content pieces also need promotion for them to reach their audience.

You can assemble the best content around, but if no one hears about it, it won’t be seen. Time is money, so if you don’t promote your curated content, you’ll be flushing money down the toilet.

Make sure you have a promotion plan in place to launch your content pieces into the world so that they can reach their full potential.

Bottom Line

Content curation is a great way to advance your SEO. Make sure to:

Create value.

Know your audience.

Get inspired by what’s worked for others when you’re stuck.

Test your curated content.

Experiment with different content curation tactics.

Keep in mind that while these tactics can help guide your content curation, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Much like creating content, curation is best when you make it meaningful and add value to your audience, even if that looks different from what’s already out there.

Execute, fail fast, and always try something different.

Alekh Verma

CEO and Founder at eSearch Logix Technologies!

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