Content creation and strategy is always a hot topic in the Digital Marketing space. Foundationally, content marketing is incredibly important for driving awareness to your business. Honing in on your content creation to enhance content performance should be evaluated to ensure you are making the most of your efforts.
Many talented and well-intentioned content writers struggle to get search engine visibility and traffic to their newly curated content. For that reason, the question we need to unravel is why your website content is not getting the search engine visibility you had hoped for and how we can put our best foot forward for future content creation gains.
Content Creation is Key
It’s no secret that Google loves to see highly optimized and relevant content. In short, Google’s search engine exists to deliver the most relevant source, content, and experience for the user at the time of that user’s need.
As a result, Google assesses your website content for key signals that help Google interpret what the content is so it can serve it to those in need through search engine results pages (SERPs). For detailed information on search engine optimization and what factors Google’s search algorithm is looking for can be found in our blog post, “What is SEO?”.
The Steps to Content Creation & Strategy
Writing high value content begins with your approach. Oftentimes, a missing step or task in your content writing process can help fill the gap and drive better results.
Do Some Internet Browsing
To begin, spend some time googling topics of interest to see who’s content is rising to the top 3 positions of page 1 in Google SERPs. Review the content. Be sure to take note of the length, format, titles, keywords, graphics used in the article. This can deliver insights to what makes their content tick for their users.
However, avoid clicking on paid ads as the advertiser has paid for their content to impress on the keyword or phrase you searched. Therefore, the paid content may have no real organic ranking to consider.
Review your Analytics on Content Performance
Do you have one article that seems to blow the rest out of the water? It would behoove you to review that content and determine why it is ranking so well and climbing the search results pages.
Take a look at:
- Content layout & format
- Meta Data
- Location of the content on your site
- Time spent on the page
- Scroll depth
- Any conversion actions or calls-to-action you may have on that page
- Ranking organic keywords
These key performance indicators (KPIs) may help shed light on why a specific piece of content is performing well. Furthermore, it will give you a head start on thinking about your approach to your next piece of content.
Get in the Shoes of Your Users
Next, when considering what content to write you need to consider who your audience is and what their needs are. I have found that the best performing content is very specific to the user and to their needs. Writing high-level, general content covering a multitude of topics will be difficult to rank and will deter engagement once a user begins reading about something they do not need additional information on. Neil Patel, a well-known SEO strategist has a great article to supplement these content writing tips.
Topic Research + Keyword Research + Phrase Research & Don’t Forget the Synonyms
Spend as much time as you can digging into potential keywords and phrases that would resonate with your audience.
After you have figured out your topic, spend more time researching all the related keywords and phrases that go along with that topic. This can be a daunting task because of the sheer volume of keyword and phrase combinations that exist and are searched for on the internet. You can get lost in time down a rabbit hole of keyword research. For that reason, try setting a set amount of time you are willing to spend researching.
First, start with your high-level topic research and then begin honing in on more refined subsets of the related topics. You may stumble upon many high value topics to add to your content queue.
Puppy Training -> Walking Your Puppy -> Leash Training -> Harness Training -> Walking Collars -> Correcting Your Dog on a Leash or Harness.
Make a Content Calendar
In addition, it is always good form to keep an up-to-date annual or semi-annual content calendar to help you plan out your content topics and publish dates. Think about the best time of year, month, day to publish your content. If it relates to a special holiday or awareness month then you should plan to release the related content at that time.
Make an Article Outline
Making an outline will help you stay on target with your topic and the key areas you want to write to. Personally, I have found that my outlines tend to morph as I put pen to paper. After all, everyone’s writing styles and processes are different. Don’t get hung up on an incomplete or work in progress outline. Sometimes you just need to get a high-level overview of where you are heading and ride that wave.
Write Your Content
At this point you should have a pretty good idea of your high-level content topic and the related keywords and phrases that would compliment your content. Get started, get it down on paper (or a digital document).
Typically, I find that I begin following my outline and then mid-process I have new thoughts and ideas that seem to be flowing easily from my brain. When I get in this zone I follow the “better out than in” approach. I get it all out on paper and restructure or remove content as needed. I’d rather have too much than not enough in my draft.
Review, Revise, & Ask for a New Set of Eyes
In addition, continually re-read your draft from start to finish. Make sure it has flow and consistency in voice. When you spend so much time looking at a piece of content you become well acquainted with what you have been writing. For this reason, a new set of eyes can help identify grammar mistakes, content additions, layout and structure revisions, and edits to help readability.
Get Your Content Out There (Content Marketing)
Lastly, once you feel confident about your new content it is time to publish your content to your website. In addition to publishing your new content on your site you should consider other content marketing avenues to help get more readers to your content.
- Include it in a newsletter or email campaign
- Post it to your social media accounts
- Display the content around your website with blog and article sliders that tease the content
- Have your teams or friends share the content on their profiles
- Start a backlink strategy for your content
Tools to Help Your Content Strategy
There are great tools available; some free and others paid that will help enhance your content strategy and planning.
- Google Ads “Discover New Keywords” tool (Free with a Google Ads account)
- SEO tools such as SEMRush or AHREFS
- Trello Boards
- Google Trends
Content Writing Considerations
Unfortunately, just because you have the most well-crafted, highly relevant piece of content in the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will get the search presence it deserves. As mentioned previously, Google crawls website content looking for tons of different signals that add up to how well your content will rank.
Keyword & Phrase Difficulty Scores
Pay special attention to the keyword difficulty rating for the keywords and phrases that you are considering writing about. Some topics take more effort and time to rank for the included keywords than others. One important data point you need to identify is your domain authority.
By the same token, domain authority is an important ranking factor for Google. Websites with higher domain authority have an easier time ranking well for keywords. Domain authority is the ranking authority your overall domain has. It is ranked on a 100-point scale; the higher the authority, the more authoritative Google has determined your website to be in your industry or niche.
For that reason, if your website suffers from low domain authority it may be time to invest in a backlink outreach strategy. Primarily, having highly authoritative websites linking to your website sends signals to Google that your website is a trusted source. Additionally, be sure not to backlink with low authority websites that are considered toxic. Otherwise, this can have the opposite effect that you are trying to resolve.