Content writing is an essential marketing strategy, but results aren’t easy to measure. How do you know when an increase in traffic came from your newly published articles, and not your email marketing campaign? Unless you meticulously track all of your marketing efforts and crunch numbers to see which stats align with your traffic stats, you won’t know what’s producing your results.
Optimizing your content for SEO adds a measurable component to your content. For example, say you’re a tech startup selling network security solutions. Publishing general content about network security isn’t going to generate much traffic; any traffic you get will be difficult to trace back to a cause. You might get traffic, but you won’t know why.
On the other hand, crafting content detailing specific network security issues will generate traffic you can trace back to your intentions. For example, if you’re trying to rank for keywords and phrases related to SD-WAN security, Google Analytics will tell you what keywords people typed in to find your site.
Some keywords aren’t provided by Google Analytics, but there’s a way to discover them. If people are finding your site with keywords related to your intended keywords, you’ll know your content marketing efforts are working.
Content Marketing Strategy That Gets Results
Measuring results is the only way to track progress
Getting measurable results with your content marketing efforts is the only way to know when you’re making progress, and when you’re spinning your wheels. Launching a measurable content marketing strategy isn’t complicated, but it does require organization and planning.
In a nutshell, you need to create a system that connects your results to your content marketing efforts through traffic. Here’s how to do that:
Incorporate SEO into your content writing (because SEO is measurable)
Publishing content on your blog is the foundation of your SEO strategy. However, content alone won’t get you traffic – it needs to be consciously optimized for search in order to be found.
According to AudienceBloom, having a substantial amount of SEO-optimized content being published regularly will help your website get crawled more frequently, which improves organic search visibility. More content also increases your chances of being found in the search engines, and helps you generate inbound links – a primary factor in Google’s ranking algorithm.
Consciously optimizing your content for search requires understanding three basic things:
- Proper on-page SEO. Headings should be wrapped in the appropriate H1 and H2 tags, images need alt tags, and URLs should be friendly. To learn more about on-page SEO, check out this guide from Moz.
- Keywords and phrases. It’s tempting to select keywords that sound good, but keywords and phrases should be chosen to match what people actually type into the search engines. This information is no longer provided to the public, so you’ll need to do some keyword research to figure it out.
Additionally, using keywords in your article titles is important. Getting on the first page of a user’s list of search results doesn’t guarantee they’ll click. Your page title will either entice a user to click, or skip your link. The decision happens within seconds. This is where specificity matters. For instance, a page titled “Why Network Security is Important” won’t get many clicks; it’s too basic. A page titled, “How to Lock Down Your SD-WAN in 3 Easy Steps” is specific, and will generate clicks from people looking for SD-WAN security tips. Consequently, if you’re targeting SD-WAN security keywords, specificity will generate relevant traffic while filtering out irrelevant traffic.
- Latent Semantic Indexing. Some say LSI won’t help your SEO, but performing a few searches in Google will tell you it does. However, it’s hard to say exactly how much it helps. To test it out for yourself, search Google for phrases that include the word ‘physician’ and see how many results turn up with the word ‘doctor’ bolded instead. On many of the results pages, the word you searched for – ‘physician’ – won’t be found anywhere on the page. Google knows the words ‘doctor’ and ‘physician’ are interchangeable.
Another important note to consider regarding LSI is that it helps search engines extract meaning from webpages. If you search for the phrase ‘apple computer,’ you’ll get different results than if you search for ‘apple pie.’ Google knows ‘apple’ is the main word in both phrases but will serve different results for each.
By writing about computers on a page where you’ve used the word ‘apple’ multiple times, Google knows the apple you’re talking about is a computer brand and not a fruit. This proves the importance of LSI.
Traffic is a metric of success
The success of SEO optimized content writing is measurable through traffic. However, success isn’t just measured in the amount of traffic you get, but in the details of where it comes from and how long people stay.
For instance, if you get 10,000 visitors each week, but the average visit is just a few seconds, your content is being found but you either targeted the wrong people or your page wasn’t what people expected or needed. On the other hand, if you’re generating 100 visitors per week, and those visitors are spending an hour on your website, your content is on target, but there’s room to improve your search visibility.
Marketing expert Neil Patel reports that businesses regularly pursuing and perfecting their content marketing strategies see 7.8 times higher increases in traffic than those who don’t. It’s the digital marketing influencers who are always churning out high-quality content, measuring their results, and optimizing accordingly – that’s who you want to model.
Tips for developing SEO optimized content
To produce SEO optimized content, first, be intentional with the content you create. Write only what your visitors will find relevant, helpful, and interesting. Form the intention to write each piece of content from an expert’s point of view.
Don’t use keyword stuffing or any other tactical practices designed to game the system. They don’t work. Search engines know better. Instead, be strategic with placing your keywords and phrases sparingly throughout your content. Challenge yourself to create engaging, helpful, long-form content that covers ideas and points nobody else is talking about. Make it your goal to be seen as the authority in your niche. Most of all, never stop measuring your traffic stats and continue to perfect your content.
See also: 2019 Social Media Marketing Tips From 16 Marketing Experts