This post is about Content.
Focused content is essential to have a successful website. In this article I will show you how having targeted pages can optimize your time, resources, outcomes and traffic.
Let’s start with a familiar story.
To make your site profitable you need leads, sales or any sort of conversions.
To get these conversions you need users, and they come with traffic.
To get traffic to convert, you need it to be targeted.
To get targeted traffic, you need focused content, for each stage of the sales funnel.
So, what kind of effort does a website manager need to put in to attract the right users?
As I mentioned earlier content is imperative.
Therefore you would assume that to attract users you need to create lots of pages which will then be converted into leads or sales.
True? Well, I’m afraid to say it’s not so linear.
We know that content is great but is 1000 pages enough? For sure, it’s better than 100 but again, it’s not so linear.
How much time should you spend – invest – in your site? 4, 8 or 12 hours per week?
This is what I’m going to walk you through. We all know SEO is a bit boring but it can be fun (honestly!). But it’s not math! – even though it’s ruled by very clever algorithms.
Just like many other industries, the niche I’m working in has some big and small players. Most started between 2001 and 2012 and were highly ranked of the SERPs.
Now I will illustrate my point on the importance of targeted content with a case study of a website that I started working on in May 2017, for which the domain name was registered a month prior.
This is a site that doesn’t have a lot of content (26 pages), and the last meaningful update was in October 2017. I spent a month researching keywords, writing content and optimising the technical aspects.
Starting from the end.
This is a Google Analytics overview for organic sessions:
This is the Google Search Console overview:
Here the Ahrefs overview (10th of August):
The Ahrefs traffic overview:
This is the SEMrush overview (10th of August):
As you can see Ahrefs and SEMrush underestimate the actual traffic, this is also true also for the next screenshots I’ll share with you.
This site only has 26 pages, which include the About, Contacts and Privacy pages. You’ll understand why I’m highlighting this later. As of August 2018 – the site is averaging 300 users per day. It is still fairly new with a growing audience and doesn’t have a social media profile or any paid promotion.
The focus of this case study is the organic reach and not other acquisition channels, such as Social Media, which can be important business channels.
Started in 2008, it’s the closest in terms of organization, type of content, and audience.
The site has a Facebook page (2000+), a YouTube channel, Twitter and Instagram.
Even though the amount of referring domains linking is good enough, its authority, according to Ahrefs and Moz, isn’t that great (I’m not a big fan of this metric).
The site has 650+ pages.
Created in 2001, is the biggest competitor. The site is organized in several categories. The site has a Facebook page (28.000+), Twitter, Instagram and Google+.
The amount of referring domains is the largest, compared to the all analyzed competitors.
The site has 1900+ pages.
This website has been launched in 2012, it can be considered the middleman.
The site has a Facebook page (11.500+).
The amount of backlinking referring domains is the smallest of the three competitors.
The site has 1500+ pages.
Quality traffic per page
As I’ve already stated SEO is not a math process and we need to consider that the tools I utilised, Ahrefs and SEMrush, analyze traffic from an external point of view. They don’t have the real numbers and usually underestimate the real traffic.
I am however confident of the quality of traffic the site I’ve been working on attracts.
Now I will compare the websites with regards to numbers and quality vs quantity:
|Target site||Competitor 1||Competitor 2||Competitor 3|
|Sessions/page||88||6 (20)**||9 (27)**||5 (16)**|
* Ahrefs traffic estimation
** If we consider 1/3 as real pages and 2/3 category, tag and media pages.
This isn’t the best way to compare websites as it does not take into consideration the scope of the website, type of keywords, search intent, traffic quality, on and off-site optimisation, etc. But as already stated my aim is to focus on the optimisation of your time and resources in the content creation process.
It’s important to consider the people, effort and time required in order to write 26, 650, 1,500 or 1,900 pages to attain enough traffic to fulfil leads, sales, subscriptions or other types of conversions.
How did I come up with the content ideas – and creation – for the website, contents capable to increase its audience day by day?
Keyword research. Whilst I used tools such as Answerthepublic.com, SEMrush and Ahrefs, the most useful content ideas come from the above competitors!
During the planning phase of this project in April 2017, I searched for all potential – direct and indirect – competitors with some space in the SERPs.
I deeply analysed the alternatives my potential audience had at that time, in this case, the smaller players. I searched their ranking keywords, successful topics and most popular pages. I then compiled a list of successful topics and ranking keywords for which I could easily compete.
Keyword research whilst time-consuming is an essential strategy that can make your website and business a success. Through my analysis of existing competitors, I created the evergreen pages with good year-round search volume.
I created my content to aggregate areas of interest, instead of smaller articles. In comparison, most of the competitors had several low-quality pages. My approach to content creation was entirely different in that, I created pages that could rank for sets of keywords related to the area of interest and the different sub-topics.
A few months after going live, I analyzed every page with the support of Google Search Console, SEMrush and Ahrefs, and found some did not rank well rather than some were ranking not very well for subtopics I barely mentioned. So I refreshed them and discovered a specific type of audience, that I hadn’t even considered were looking for a specific type of information I barely mentioned.
To confirm this, I implemented Hotjar, to generate Heatmaps and anonymously record the behaviour of a site’s users. This analysis allowed me to find out what my visitors were looking for, and where most of the clicks were directed and enabled me to better
understand my new audience. I then added a new paragraph to one of the pages which provided me with the benefit of gaining a featured snippet in the Google results a few days later, for a set of terms. I repeated this process for some of the other pages, until October 2017.
With regards to content creation: invest in quality.
Writing and reviewing a new blog post per week, without a content strategy behind each page, is just a waste of time which can be diverted to other important activities.
Instead, you should work surgically to:
– define your goals
– identify who your users are (and at which stage of your funnel they are)
– define the content they’re interested in
– create the contents
– (promote it!)
There are many other factors that impact upon a business’s success.
Industry, product types, audience, keywords research, quality of the contents, user experience, technical aspects, and backlinks acquisition are just the starting points of an online successful project.