SEO Strategy through Scalable Content Creation
SEO friendly web designs and high quality inbound links are all well and good but if you want to improve your website’s search rankings significantly, you’ll need to create unique, interesting and engaging content on a regular basis. There’s no doubt about the fact that Google and other search engines use content as a ranking factor, with the sites offering the best content achieving the highest rankings.
Scalable content creation is the key to a sustainable SEO strategy.
However creating content for your website is not something you can just do every now and then. You need to be consistent in your content creation efforts in order to achieve long-term, profitable results.
One of the common reasons company websites lack content is because generating large volumes of quality content is challenging, time consuming and expensive. However by devising a scalable content creation strategy, you will be able to use fewer resources to create high quality content, allowing you to achieving improved SEO results at a lower cost, not to mention an improved user experience, which will ultimately lead to more conversions.
Looking on Google, there are numerous articles about scalable link building strategies for SEO but hardly any about scalable content creation. As content plays such an important role in SEO and is something that business owners have complete control over, we thought it was about time the topic was addressed.
If you want to create a scalable content strategy that will enable you to continually improve your search rankings at minimal cost, follow our guide below.
How to create a scalable content strategy
In order to create a scalable content creation strategy that will improve your website’s SEO without costing you a fortune, you will need to identify and understand your target audience, evaluate your existing website content and create goals to work towards. Below we have broken it down into three simple steps for you to follow.
You need to know your target audience and the type of content they are interested in before you start creating it.
Get to know your audience and what content they like
Step one involves getting to know your audience so you can create content that they will find interesting and engaging. For this, you will need to identify who you are trying to reach with your content and what is important to them. Finding out what is important to them will help you identify the type of messages they are likely to respond to.
There are a number of ways you can collect information and learn about your target audience including:
Speaking to customer support reps
Interacting with followers on social media
Talking to existing clients
Keyword research – relevant searches, keyword planner or auto keyword complete on google searches
You can also use your web analytics tools to learn about their behaviour. Using a tool like Google Analytics, you will be able to see how people interact with your website and what pages they visit the most. This will give you an idea of what content they find the most interesting and useful. You can also track which pages your conversions are coming from, as well as which pages people are sharing and commenting on to get an idea of your most important pages.
Doing this will also help you to see which pages are ineffective (e.g. the pages with high bounce rates, low time on page results) and the type of content your target audience finds most engaging (text, video, audio, infographics etc.)
Before creating new content, you need to audit your existing content to see what you’ve already got.
Audit your existing content
Whether you have just set up your website or have been running it for a while, it is likely that you will already have some content, so before arranging to create new content, it is a good idea to find out what you have already got.
Auditing your existing website content will help you to avoid duplication (a big SEO no no) and allow you to check that all of your content is up to date and accurate. This is important as if your content is not accurate it will hinder your website’s user experience and could discourage customers from buying your products or service. During your content audit, you will need to determine whether or not your existing content is meeting your customers’ needs. For this you will need to refer back to the profile you have built up for your audience and evaluate whether your content is something that they will find important and if it is delivering a message that they will respond to. You can also refer to your web analytics here to see how customers are behaving on that particular content page. For example if you were auditing a conversion page and it had a high bounce rate, it would suggest that it is not serving its purpose.
Make a note of this so you know that it needs updating and changing in the future. Speaking of updating and expanding on content pages, this is something you should be thinking about doing for all of your most popular pages. These are the pages that people either share a lot on social media or comment on. If people have asked questions in the comments section of an article or blog post you have published, make a note of the page so you know that you need to address those questions in your content when you update it. If when you are reading through your content pages, you feel there are points you could expand on more, make a note of them too. You may find that you are able to create new pages or blog posts on these subjects, which will then be able to link back to the popular content page to strengthen your internal linking strategy and SEO.
Set your content creation goals
Step three involves setting your content creation goals. For this you will need to revise your SEO objectives and align them with your new scalable content creation strategy. These goals will give your content a purpose and be used to measure your progress.
The only way you will stand a chance of creating content that meets your goals is to deliver a cohesive brand message to your target audience. At this point you should be able to answer the following questions:
What are you trying to communicate to your audience?
What is your tone?
What do you expect from your audience?
Why would they care?
What is the benefit of your business to them?
What longtails terms do you want to rank first ? (easier to generate first page listings)
What longer term generic terms do you want to rank on the first page ? (be more ambitious with these terms)
Providing you create each piece of website content with these questions in mind, you will be working towards achieving your overall SEO goals. At the same time be realistic and understand that this has to be a long term strategy and dont be disheartened and stay on the same course even if after 3 months you seem a long way from achieving these objectives. Good long standing SEO requires patience. Give yourself 6 months and you might be pleasantly surprised and this will give you the support you need to continue investing knowing the strategy is working. Look at content creating as an investment for your business ! You will have a solid asset at the end of it no Google update can devalue.
Implementing your scalable content strategy
The key to creating a scalable content creation strategy that will deliver fantastic SEO results is to design good processes. During the implementation stage, you will need to carefully plan what content is being created when, by whom and how often. Creating a process for your writers to follow will help to ensure your content is being produced in a scalable manner. Below we have outlined tips to ensure you implement an effective scalable content creation strategy.
Create a schedule for your content
If you have read up on the Google Hummingbird algorithm, you will know that it favours websites that post high quality content on a regular basis. To ensure that you are delivering quality content consistently, you will need to create a posting schedule. However before you can schedule when your content is to be published, you first need to create a workflow for content creation. This should cover all steps of the process including content planning, writing, proofing, optimising and distribution. Each step should have its very own time frame, so you can work out how long it takes you to complete the whole process and when you can schedule new content for.
Training your content creators
The next step of the implementation process requires you to train your writers and content creators to ensure they know exactly what they are doing. Your content creators must understand your workflow for creating content and the part they play in the process. Training them on SEO best practices (such as keyword optimisation) will also be very beneficial in terms of scalability, as it will mean that you can spend less time optimising the content yourself.
If you are what we like to call a ‘one man band’ and therefore do not have your own team of writers or content creators, you could always consider outsourcing content creation we offer this service to many companies. As long as you have followed all of the steps outlined above and have clear goals and processes, outsourcing content creation will prove to be very beneficial to your company.
One of the ways you can make content creation scalable is by repurposing old content and creating multiple pieces from a single idea.
Building a content pipeline
Another process you may want to consider implementing in order to create a scalable content strategy is what we like to call a content pipeline. Rather than this being a workflow for creating content (as we outlined in the section on scheduling) this is all about getting the most value out of your content ideas.
The best way for us to explain how this work is with an example. So let’s say you came up with the idea of creating content on the benefits of using a social media. The first thing you can do with this idea is to think about how you can cover the subject from different angles. For example, you could create content on how bloggers can use social media, how businesses can use social media and how your average consumer can use social media. That would give you three different pieces of content out of just one idea. The next step would be to think about how you can create different types of content with your idea. For example, rather than just creating a blog post on the subject and leaving it there, think about whether you could then go on to make an infographic, video clip, webinar or some other form of content from it.
Finally, you could think about the different ways you could distribute this piece of content. The idea will remain the same, but the way you deliver it will change. For example, as well as distributing it on your blog, you could re-write it as a social media blast, newsletter article or a press release to widen its reach. Building a content pipeline is all about coming up with ways to repurpose your content so that you get the most value from it. For one idea at one cost, you could potentially create numerous pieces of content with multiple SEO benefits, therefore making it an extremely scalable solution.
Matching content to your goals
This stage of the implementation process requires you to match the content you create to your goals. In order for your strategy to be scalable (and therefore sustainable) you should only ever create content that has a purpose e.g. answers a common customer query and therefore helps to improve conversions and meet one of your SEO goals. Always keep your goals in mind when creating a new piece of content.
Add to existing content pages to make them better for site visitors.
Update existing content
As well as creating processes for new content creation, you need to remember the pages that you wanted to update during the content auditing process. It is important to check that the content you add to the existing pages meets the needs of your site visitors and serves a purpose (see the section above for a reminder). You could also think about adding in links to new content pages you have created (providing they are relevant) in order to boost your internal linking strategy.
Measuring SEO results from your content strategy
Of course, there would be little point in creating an SEO strategy if you weren’t going to bother measuring your progress. But what’s the best way to go about it? Well first we suggest that you decide what success means to you. For this you will need to refer back to your SEO goals and objectives. From there you will be able to create key performance indicators and targets that you will be able to measure your progress against. You will also need to think about how you are going to keep track of your KPIs. For example, counting the number of shares on social media, tracking conversions and monitoring bounce rates on Google Analytics.
Decide how you are going to measure your progress e.g. conversions, social media shares, Facebook likes.
Finally, you need to understand what the results mean. When evaluating your progress, you should be comparing the results you have achieved to the goals you are aiming for. This will help you to identify whether or not your content and its messages are serving the intended purpose. For example, if the goal was to gain conversions from a specific content page, but from looking at Google Analytics, you see it has a high bounce rate, then it would suggest that it is not serving its purpose. Measuring your progress, auditing your content and improving existing content are processes you need to carry out on a regular basis in order achieve scalable and sustainable SEO results.
A scalable content creation will lead to
1) Improved engagement,
2) Higher search engine rankings (at a lower cost) and
3) Winning customers’ trust (leading to increased sales).
A clients recent ranking success above from September 2014 to Feb 2015
The only way to create sustainable SEO results is to come up with a scalable content creation strategy and the way to achieve that is by having fewer resources generating higher volumes of quality content. Using the content generation tips outlined in this article will help you to increase your content output using fewer resources, as well as streamline the entire process to achieve scalability. From doing this, you will end up with large quantities of unique and interesting content on relevant topics that will engage your target audience. Providing you understand your audience and their values and have created content with this in mind, increased engagement is almost guaranteed.
The second result will be improved search engine rankings. Creating content that is high quality, unique and useful to your audience is sure to help increase your rankings as at the end of the day it is Google’s job to point web users in the direction of the best content to address their queries. Ultimately your scalable content creation strategy will help to drive sales. As well as generating the results outlined above, your content will also be improving your website’s user experience and building visitors’ trust in your company, making them more likely to leave your website as a paying customers. Build up authority in Niches for the fastest possible results and ROI but don’t be scared of being over ambitious and targeting a “Golden egg” generic keyword in a 6 to 12 months timescale.