Your SEO content strategy is the backbone of your continued profitability over time. But SEO is a long and arduous process, and if you don’t have high-quality examples to follow, you might fumble around blindly, spending thousands of dollars without ever moving up in the SERP.
Whenever you’re taking on a new project, it’s important to both identify where you want to go, as well as where you are currently.
Wordable helps you export Google Docs into WordPress (and many more CMS soon) without any of the nasty formatting issues that often accompany a simple copy and paste job.
We were tasked with the opportunity to take this brand and elevate it through the scaling of its existing content marketing strategy.
In just five months, we’ve grown organic visits to over 11,000 per month, cut customer churn in half by creating customer-centric content, and have built nearly 400 new backlinks to improve rankings and traffic.
How did we do this? Using five simple steps that anyone can implement in their business’s content marketing process.
5 steps to scaling your SEO content strategy:
- Analyze the existing SERP and ranking competitors
- Audit your existing content
- Conduct extensive keyword research
- Assign content types and roll them out to a phenomenal writing team
- Build meaningful links
Read on to learn how you can scale your content marketing to get maximum impact for your effort, skyrocket your organic traffic and bring in more qualified leads.
1. Analyze the Existing SERP and Ranking Competitors
Before we could get started on optimizing Wordable’s content, we first had to identify what was already ranking well. If you’re trying to be competitive you first have to gauge your competition.
That’s why we started off with a SERP analysis to get a good view of the level of competitor penetration we were facing.
MarketMuse is a useful (albeit expensive) tool that helps you perform an in-depth SERP analysis. You’re able to easily optimize your own content with the Optimize tab and compare it to other ranking pages through the Competition tab:
Using MarketMuse, we set out to examine pages that are ranking well. We were looking for some very specific information. Outside of the score that a page receives on MarketMuse, we wanted additional information from the SERP, including the search intent of people who are finding those pages.
This gave us an opportunity to see what was ranking for a featured snippet, how people were finding it, the reason why they were looking, and how we could go about counteracting their optimization efforts.
You don’t need to use an expensive tool for that. You can determine search intent just by running a simple Google search.
Below, you’ll find an example of a search we performed to help us get the lay of the land, so to speak, regarding the SERP for our niche topic.
Analyzing the SERP is a free and effective competitor analysis strategy.
When we looked at the results for “Convert Google Doc to WordPress” we were able to see that the site listed above had the ideal featured snippet.
So we took screenshots of our largest competitors, analyzed the pages that their SERP results linked to and took note of what they were doing–both right and wrong.
In the case of the featured snippet, ThemeIsle was doing it right: summarizing the answer to the question fast, with semantic terms and related keywords.
This is a step that cannot be overlooked. Competitor analysis is how you take your first steps toward content marketing greatness.
Think of it as though you are at war. You don’t just rush in and start attacking without first understanding your opponent and gauging how well they are fortified.
Marketing is much the same. The first page of Google is the battlefield you’re fighting to claim. There is a giant at the top of the mountain that you’re trying to unseat, and you have to understand them and their dominance if you want to have a chance of claiming that throne for yourself.
Then, of course, once you’ve achieved the top spot, you are going to have to defend it. You do this through consistent SERP analysis, noting changes to the SERP as well as up-and-coming competition.
Take note of which pages are increasing in rankings, and continually analyze their content to see what they are doing that you might be ignoring.
You then have to continue developing high-quality optimized content and building links consistently in order to hold onto what you’ve achieved.
2. Audit the Existing Content
Now that you know what you’re up against, it’s time to take stock of how you measure up.
When trying to reach a certain goal, you have to first understand where you already are. Then you’ll know how far you have to go in order to achieve your goals and how aggressive you’re going to have to be in your marketing efforts.
You should have a growth strategy first and chosen your OKRs. This marketing report template can help build your strategy.
For our Wordable strategy, MarketMuse came into play once again. We used this tool to identify the content on Wordable’s website that was already ranking for our intended search terms.
That doesn’t mean the content we identified needed no attention. We were able to take those ranking pages and perform minor updates on the content using MarketMuse to optimize it against information we had already gathered on our competitors.
Basically, we saw that our content was good. We saw that the content of our opponents was also good. So we sought to make our content better.
MarketMuse attaches a content score to every page that it evaluates by building a model around your topic or keyword.
It then looks at subtopics, language, and distribution to determine how well you align with search intent and topical relevance. Our goal was to use the tool to achieve a higher Content Score than our largest competitors:
But MarketMuse was not only used to identify high-performing content.
We also needed to identify blog content on Wordable’s site that was ranking between 10 and 30 on the SERP. This is content that with a little optimization could potentially break into the first page.
Using Market Muse, we performed some more substantial rewrites on this content in order to make it more competitive.
Tools like MarketMuse and Clearscope compare your content score to an average score and target score, which is where you have to get in order to remain competitive. It also lists out all of your competitors in order, assigning scores to their pages as well.
The average score is relative to your competitors. The target content score is what MarketMuse believes will be the score you need in order to make your content rank for the keyword or phrase in question.
As a rule of thumb, we shot to optimize our content a minimum of 10 points over the target score. This ensured that we would be one of the top-rated pages on the SERP, going above and beyond the scores of our chief rivals.
We were also able to identify which keywords and topics were relevant to our other brands. We operate many other sites outside of Wordable, so anywhere where we identified the potential for crossover was noted. By ranking for one of our other pages on relevant SERPs, we as a company could try to monopolize the SERP for crossover topics with two or more spots in the top 10.
This also makes cross-promotion and linking between our sites a lot easier.
This entire process is called a content audit.
A content audit is a round-up of all your content in an effort to determine what is performing well and what still needs work.
A thorough content audit is the backbone of a successful content marketing strategy. It is considered to be absolutely essential for scaling efforts for companies of all sizes.
When performing a content audit there are a few steps you’ll have to take.
You will have to define your specific goals as opposed to where you currently are. That lays the groundwork for your larger campaign and paints a clear picture of what success looks like for each organization.
Record Your Content Inventory
Take a total inventory of your content. That means you have to track and record every piece of written content on your site. This includes informational pages, blog pages, FAQs, your knowledge base, and more. Catalog this content into categories using a spreadsheet so that you’re able to accurately track it all going forward.
Collect and analyze data on all of your pages using a tool like MarketMuse to determine the effectiveness of what has already been done. This will help you figure out which pages are being kept as is, which will be updated, and what you’ll have to delete.
Once that’s done, you’re able to write up an action plan on how you’re going to rework everything to achieve the goals that you’ve outlined in the first step.
When the content audit is complete, you’ll have to adjust your content marketing strategy (or at least the rough draft of it) accordingly. For a helping hand in crafting your marketing plan, check out some of Venngage’s guide to creating a marketing plan.
3. Conduct Extensive Keyword Research
As we moved forward from the information gathering phase into real action, we performed keyword research into Wordable’s industry to determine what the most popular terms were. That would then help us figure out how we could go on to rank for them.
In this stage, it’s also important to identify new high-volume low-competition topics that are associated with keywords near the top of the funnel.
This would prove to be particularly important in areas where we already had seen some success.
An example of this concept, as it pertains to Wordable, would be the keyword “Google Docs features.” In other words, content like alphabetizing in Google Docs, deleting pages in Google Docs and countless more:
For Wordable, we started by focusing on the product and our market.
Think of it this way: traffic for the sake of traffic is pointless in our case. If you run ads on your website as a monetization tool, traffic at all costs is great. But, our product space is SaaS and we only want traffic that can and should utilize the tool.
To start, we focused on two distinct niches: WordPress users and Google Docs users.
Both of which have rich, detailed long-form keywords:
Using Ahrefs, we built large lists for each separate content niche:
We then sorted three key metrics:
- Keyword difficulty
We then had a clear plan of what content to create.
From here, it’s only a matter of executing.
There are many SEO metrics you’ll have to track, but keywords are one of the most important. Keyword research is vital to any content marketing strategy.
First, you’re going to identify specific ideas for keywords based on related searches, long-tail keywords and various key terms associated with your product or service.
For each of these keywords, you’ll have to figure out what the competition and search volume are:
This determines whether going after a keyword is even worth it.
For example, if you find that a keyword that you think would be relevant has a first page dominated by Wikipedia entries and massive enterprise-level corporations, it’s going to be extremely hard to be competitive and gain any kind of SERP penetration.
Something that everyone is trying to rank for is going to be a major uphill battle that will take a long amount of time to see any progress on. This has to be factored into your expectations for ROI in your content marketing plan.
On the other side of the coin, trying to rank for something that no one is searching for will be easy. However, if no one is searching for that term, it’s not going to lead to any level of success.
The final step in keyword research is determining user intent.
Much like we discussed earlier in our initial SERP analysis, search intent is incredibly important when you’re deciding which words and phrases you want to focus on.
For instance, high search intent keywords for us were “google docs to wordpress” and “WordPress editor.” These phrases signal bottom of the funnel traffic just touches away from converting on a solution: Wordable.
If people are searching for a high-volume term, but they are not looking for products or services such as yours, it won’t be a great idea to go after that keyword. Even if you were to obtain a page one spot, it’s not going to lead to any traffic or conversions.
4. Assign Content Types and Roll Out to a Phenomenal Writing Team
Now it’s time to actually create new content and update some of your existing pages.
The first thing you’re going to have to do as it pertains to content creation is select a great writing team that listens to its clients. That means hiring professional writers if you want to scale fast. Specifically, you’re going to want a marketing team with experience in strategy and optimizing content.
If you want to scale fast, you can’t spend your days writing each and every post. It takes too long and writing is only part of the process when you look at editing, optimizing, uploading, publishing and promotion.
That’s why for Wordable, we used our content arm: Codeless.
With dozens of writers in different verticals we sat down with Codeless to determine the volume/scale and keyword strategy.
We were able to efficiently develop a content strategy centered around long-tail WordPress and Google Docs variations such as:
These terms are top of the funnel, allowing us to draw in relevant traffic without being sales-y– traffic that is conducting business in Google Docs currently and is primed to use Wordable in the future.
Depending on the level of content you have to create and optimize, it might be more beneficial to consider contracting an outside firm for content production.
Outsourcing writing services has become popular in the modern business world. That’s because you’re able to obtain an entire content team of dedicated writers who are experts in their field, as opposed to one or two internal writers.
Many businesses see this as an easier (and cheaper) path than putting all of the work and stress on employees who work for your company.
Some of you might be considering taking on this task personally as a content creator. But, if you’re not a professional content writer, don’t attempt to run the content marketing program by yourself.
If you want to have any hope of success in your content marketing efforts, you’re going to need expertise, training, and experience above all else.
Before creating your content, you’re going to have to assign a content type or content group to all planned projects.
These content types include:
- Blog posts
- Informational pages
- Product pages
- Infographics and visual content
- Case studies
- Social media content
You’re also going to have to learn how to prioritize your content projects.
The art of fixing existing content is going to be more immediately beneficial than creating new content altogether.
Focus your efforts on the more pressing matters that will give you a faster return while supplementing those efforts with farming initiatives. In marketing, the act of farming speaks to the concept of doing work that will grow over time and be profitable in the future.
You’re also going to have to ensure that the content you are producing is of high quality. Google takes quality into account when determining SEO scores, which is why you have to make sure that everything you write and post is polished and pristine.
We use a variety of grammar checkers and editorial tools for our content, which we’ve compiled into a list of the best grammar checkers on the market today.
5. Build Meaningful Links
Last but certainly not least, it’s time to start link building and earning links on popular, trusted websites.
You’re going to need to build links both on and off your site. How important is this? It is included as one of Google’s top 10 ranking factors for 2020. Links are listed as one of the most important elements of a successful SEO campaign.
Link building is time-consuming and often both frustrating and difficult even if you’re an experienced marketer. But it is essential to a successful content strategy.
First, you’re going to have to create some cross-linking between your various articles and pages. This is something that we had to do a lot of with Wordable.
Then comes the hard part. You need to develop a series of backlinks coming from highly successful industry-leading pages that are relevant to your business.
This is not easy to do and it is typically helpful to outsource this service to a team of professionals.
Enter: uSERP. uSERP is the link-building arm of Wordable and Codeless, helping us to build organic rankings and domain authority across a multitude of larger sites.
With uSERP, we’ve already earned 375+ new backlinks since the acquisition, 200+ coming from unique root domains in marketing, SaaS and WordPress:
Link building is a continual effort that will be used to improve content rankings, organic traffic, and direct referral conversions.
These mentions are invaluable to both direct branding and ranking signals:
Each month we review our current target keywords and landing pages to determine what the low-hanging fruit are, and what our biggest impact pages should be.
From there, we let uSERP handle what they do best: building awesome links that mention Wordable’s content and brand in our audience space.
The Takeaway: Scaling Your SEO Content Strategy Is Essential to Serious Market Penetration
Content marketing is an essential service in the modern business world. By understanding the current layout of the SERP, auditing your content, conducting thorough keyword research, producing high-quality content and creating a web of links both on and off your site, you can scale your content marketing strategy and see some serious market penetration.
We were successful in our attempts to scale Wordable’s content marketing strategy. By following these five steps and utilizing the proper tools, you too can scale content marketing efforts and take your business to the next level.
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