Fat Stacks quote from Breaking Bad by Jesse Pinkman

“Crank n’ Bank” content (why and how I do it)

The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts at the press conference for SHINE A LIGHT Press Conference, The New York Palace Hotel, New York, March 30, 2008

The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts at the press conference for SHINE A LIGHT Press Conference, The New York Palace Hotel, New York, March 30, 2008.

Recently I referenced the “crank n’ bank” content strategy.

The “Crank n’ Bank content strategy involves publishing as much content as humanly possible, as fast as possible.

None of it is perfect. Most falls on the content spectro-meter from mediocre to good. Not terrible, mind you, but decent enough to get some results.

Here is why I do it.

If you read nothing else in this email, read the next 3 paragraphs.

The reason I deploy the crank n’ bank content model is I want to stake my URL claim for content as fast as possible. Another way to put it was put to me by a great friend and website publisher colleague who does it to “establish the URL path” to start ranking for as many keywords as possible.

New content doesn’t rank. It needs time to climb the Google cash ladder (aka SERPs). The more URL paths I establish, the more keywords I get into the Google system for future traffic.

The beauty of this is I can always go back and improve content. While that might seem like making extra work for myself, I don’t see it that way. If I sought perfection with every published piece, I’d stake far fewer URL paths limiting future growth.

Is this the only strategy?

No, of course not. It’s one of several content strategies.

If it doesn’t sit well with you, don’t do it.

I also publish highly polished, near-perfect content.

Who am I kidding? It’s darn-right perfect content (like this gem of a post).

You can’t fault publishing polished content except it fails to satiate my greed for ranking for EVERY keyword possible.

Yeah, I know I’m not going to rank for every keyword I target. I’m not completely naive.

Crank n’ bank is an enticing model except when your bloated credit card payment is due. How quickly I forget how much I spent during the last month.

In the meantime, it sure is fun hammering that “Publish” button over and over every day watching the home page content change hourly.

Where it also gets interesting is how you measure this model for success.

Success is measured by visitors per article per month. At least this is one measure.

Suppose you have 50K articles published and get on average 3 visitors per day per article. That’s 150K visitors per day.

Based on that metric, if you add 50 articles per day (which is a lot – more than I do, but many sites achieve this), that’s adding 150 visitors per day which is 54,750 new visitors per day in a year.

You take a loss on the new content counting on it to pay off down the road. Stake your claim today to bank in the future.

Existing content finances new content.

Why I like the “crank n’ bank” strategy

I like it because:

1. it’s so dang simple to understand and execute.

2. it’s easy to outsource.

Because it’s simpler content (usually), it’s easy to outsource which means you can publish in reams on autopilot.  I use this content service for my crank n’ bank content.

3. Accidental success (like the Rolling Stones)

This is a huge reason for “crank n’ bank”. The more content you publish, the more different types and topics you can test. You never know what will work. I also discussed this recently in my “frolic tropic” email.

Accidental successes happen more than you think. Take the Rolling Stones for example. Waaay back in the day, music was sold on vinyl records. Both sides of a large vinyl disc had music. There was an “A” and “B” side. The “A” side contained the intended hits that were promoted to radio stations. These were the supposed “good” songs that would sell the record.

The “B” sides were filler. Musicians and bands had to put something there so they cranked out additional songs and put it there. It wasn’t promoted.

However, many “B” side tunes went on to become massive hits. In some cases the songs defined the band or musician. In these cases, you could call the “B” side music “Killer Filler”.

One favorite example of mine is “Ruby Tuesday” by the Rolling Stones. Yup, that was a “B” side song that became one of their biggest hits. It’s one of my favorite Stones songs.

Likewise, “B” side content on your site can become a hit. But you’ll never discover it if you don’t go on a frolic trying different content.

“Crank Out Content Clusters” in a few days or weeks

Silos, clusters, article series… they’re all the same and IMO a worthy content strategy.

The concept involves publishing a series of articles that comprehensively covers a topic within your niche. It’s a topical deep-dive.

Thesis type stuff (well, okay, not necessarily that technical because nobody likes reading an academic thesis, but you get the point).

Remember, you want people to like reading your stuff too. If you get more technical and complex than your audience wants, that’s not good.

On the flip side if your audience is made up of mathematicians, you better get technical.

Why publish content clusters?

It’s not a rhetorical question. This is serious stuff.

The reason is that the deeper you go into a topic, the more clearly your site communicates to Google that your site covers that topic well.

The hope is Google will then bestow traffic upon your site. That’s always the hope, isn’t it?

Can I prove content clusters are good for SEO?

Nope.

I lost Sergey Brin’s phone number and email address last year when I switched from Android phone to iPhone.

I have something better than proof which is “it makes sense in my head.”

It makes sense to me that Google would rank a site for topics that are covered extensively on the site assuming the content is decent.

How’s that for convincing?

If you don’t see it my way, then I fear I have nothing else to convince you other than the 1 million+ unique visitors my sites attract monthly (another terrible argument but it’s all I got).

So, I think we can all agree content clusters make sense.

In fact, I like SEO because a lot of it is based on good sense.

Not “common sense” BTW.

Common sense doesn’t make sense.

Common is average so that means average sense and I’m not striving for average. I’m striving for good or better.

Why not dump an entire cluster into one MEGA article?

Now we’re wading into complicated stuff.

My brain goes into the spinning circle of doom trying to figure out when I should add a sub-topic to an article OR create a new article out of it.

I’ll never know for sure.

Which is why I now flip a coin.

Heads is new article.

Tails is add it to an existing article or into an article I’m going to publish.

Wouldn’t putting all 35,000 words of cluster content into one article solve this ongoing enigma?

No, it wouldn’t.

Suppose you want to know how old Jeff Bezos is.

How would you like ending up on a 35,000 word article where 2/3 of the way down Mr. Bezos’ age is revealed?

You wouldn’t like that because it’s a pain.  Do you really want to know where Jeff went to elementary school or what he majored in in college?  

No you don’t. You just want to know his age.

You’d get the answer faster if you emailed Jeff… including the time it takes to actually get his email.

I lost that email address as well last year.

He’s 55 years old, in case you were wondering. Took me 2.13 seconds to get that info.

We’re programmed to handle limited amounts of information at a time.

That’s why our computers have file folders. Info needs organizing.

2,500 documents on the desktop is no fun.

Where to from here?

How you break up and organize content into clusters is what you’re paid the big bucks to do. Your site, your decision.

I can just sense the frustration right now. Such unhelpful advice.

Okay, I’ll attempt to provide guidance, but you might prefer the coin toss.

One way to help decide on how to break up content is to assess all the sub-topics by keyword search volume.

Higher search volume phrases get their own article.

From there, plug in the lower search phrase topics into the higher search volume articles.

As for what’s a high or low search volume, that all depends on the niche.

If your niche is “Brutalist skyscrapers China”, you’re dealing with lower search volumes than the “Smartphones” niche.

Give it your best shot or pull out a quarter like me.

Affiliate disclaimer:

This blog post is a rare ad-free zone (I don’t restrict ads often on websites, but I wanted to class up the joint).

Sadly though, I’m not a trust funder. I work for a living so this newsletter is financed with affiliate links. If you click one of the links and place an order, I receive a commission.

Thank you for your understanding and unwavering support.

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