Zazzle's Head of Search and Data took centre stage at this November's Content Marketing Show to deliver a talk that centred on one of the key processes we use to ensure that content strategies match search intent and meet the demands of the audience.
Scroll down now to see the slides for yourself and read the basic supporting transcript below to help you understand the context. The talk is also being filmed and will be uploaded to the Content Marketing Show website soon!
A great piece of content will naturally attract links; that’s what all the blogs tell you and all the speakers also tell you – this is true, but it’s hard to do, and replicate.
The Trainline produced a good piece of content via Distilled called the festival finder (http://www.thetrainline.com/tools/festival-finder/) and this helps you find the right festival for you based on the bands you like. There are so many festivals available, finding the right one is difficult, and this was made easy.
This tool naturally attracted a lot of good, high authority and relevant links.
However, I’m tired of reading and listening about how creating great content can lead to great links. We all know that’s the truth, but for a lot of businesses and brands, it’s unrealistic.
Content creation has become more cost-effective than ever. Freelance help and tools which help you create this type of content has become a lot cheaper, making it more accessible to create this type of interactive content.
Viewing great pieces of interactive content is good, but what if you don’t have the budget or resource? A lot of people go straight to sources of cheap alternatives, such as Fiverr and SEOclerk.
Use data. Data can be scary. But if the data is broken down into digestible chunks, it is made easier to interpret and produce something meaningful as direct results.
I listened to Wil Reynolds two weeks ago at Searchlove and his talk really inspired the angle of which I took this presentation to you guys. He showed me a guy who runs simple.com who created content purely through data lead research; he knew what people were looking for. However, he didn’t use a really interactive way of displaying this data, he used simple line and bar charts.
If the content is of use to the reader, simple is often better.
You can do this – using data isn’t scary and I’m going to help you. But first…
How do you measure content? By the number of links it attracts? The number of keywords it ranks for? These are nice, but can they can be deceiving and take your eye off the real prize.
Attracting new customers and making money is the ultimate win and great data-lead content brings both! So, when your boss next asks you “why aren’t we ranking #1?” your response can be “but look at all the money!!” At Zazzle we’re seeing this as an ever-increasing trend. The focus is on head terms, which it rightly should be, but long tail keyword positions and performance from those are simply ignored – ensure Google Analytics is setup correctly to capture the results that you need to be shouting about!
How do we do this? Tools! There are many available in the content marketing world, but for the purpose of this; Adwords’ Keyword Planner, KeywordTool.io and semrush.
Two of these are free and semrush is $69 p/month for the entry level package, but here’s a trial code for those of you that want to try it – bit.ly/love_semrush
I’m going to run you through an example very relevant to me. This was an experience I had earlier this year and it shows how a brand is winning through data lead content. They are targeting where the search volume and long-tail opportunity lies and it really won me over.
The other things that are exciting about this example are that it’s both outside of my client base (I don’t help these guys…) and it’s outside of my day-to-day comfort zone. Sorry Kelvin, but producing this example only took me 30 minutes to do and that’s exactly why you lot should be doing this.
Lets dive into it.
Sports are my pastime, albeit it was a completely different genre of sports, eSports. I’ve quit that former hobby and decided to take up road cycling but I’m afraid of investing too much money into a sport I’m not sure that I’ll like.
Where’s my first port of call? Google, of course. I start researching the best road bikes to buy for under £500, as that’s my entry-level budget.
For you to appear here it’s easy pickings, as I have no brand loyalty, so I have no opinions and that means that I’m the perfect customer to target. I’m a blank canvas.
Alright, I’m not a complete blank canvas, I remember popping into my local Halfords when I was younger with my Dad for my first trick bike, which I soon ditched. I then remember going with my Dad to Evans Cycles, as he was much more into it than I. Yet, these brands were nowhere to be seen for my entry-level searches…
One brand was though, that was Wiggle.
The first thing I looked at when beginning to produce this story was their search visibility and see how they’re performing. It’s evident they’re thriving from Panda, and that sharp increase is Panda 4.0 – they’re thriving from this data lead approach to content creation.
First, use semrush; enter the websites domain, go to organic research, click on positions and export that data, which is quite daunting on the front of it.
Find the websites content hub, where they’re producing their content. Wiggle have three different content plays; blog, guides and social. For this example, it was their guides.
Then filter the spreadsheet that was produced from the semrush export and highlight URLs that are ranking from this content hub. As we can see from this initial export and sort, Wiggle is ranking for a lot of keywords through their content.
I see initially from the export the piece of content that pulled me in; best road bike under £500. The thing is, it’s not just me, and it’s 720 other people across the period of a year.
So, I was convinced by the content and I bought a bike from Wiggle.
The problem is with me, like any man, we like to think we know what we’re doing, when some of the time (only some of the time), we don’t. Road cycling obsesses me, it’s great. It’s the summer, it’s sunny and light till late and I was recently single, it was just my bike and me.
The problem now though is, I want to know more!
The best road bike tyres to get… I want to pimp my ride – as do 590 other people! Me and 480 other people are looking for what the optimal tyre pressure for those tyres is as well.
Now, I’ve been non-stop cycling for 2 months and I love it. I want to spend more money as I want to look good to all the other cyclists and I’ve read I can get a few extra miles out of a lighter bike… The great thing is there are MORE people looking for content about a higher purchase product than the entry level. There are an accumulated 2,500 searches a year for people looking for the ‘best road bike under £1000’.
Then, the clocks go back… shit! I need some great lights because I just do not want to get knocked off. Me and 1600 other people are looking for the best bike lights to get.
You get the idea.
This is just a taster data set, from one source.
Run a sample set of keywords exported from semrush through Keyword Planner and it’ll produce something like this. A whole other list is created for you to sift through and prioritize.
This is an oceans worth of content on one subject area through a few simple steps. This data shouldn’t scare you, it should excite you!
Hummingbird was released this year, as Google understands conversational search is increasing and search results should be more tailored to that. This talk is covering exactly that.
KeywordTool.io is like uber suggest, but with Google suggest. It returns a set of results that are directly from Google’s automated suggestions. These aren’t possible topics, they’re definite topics.
Run a singular keyword through this tool and it will produce a whole range of topics that you could create tailored content for. Focus on the bigger wins, but this cannot be ignored – please include this in your content strategy tool set and ensure you’re targeting customers like me!!
I mentioned Wil Reynolds earlier and I am again now. At Searchlove two weeks ago he claimed the content calendar was dead. I disagree.
This content type is evergreen, especially the content from KeywordTool.io. The other content from this particular example will update each year as new bikes are released, ensure it’s updated. This content can be created at any time, much of it isn’t too time sensitive, bar the bike lights.
This content doesn’t just attract search volume; it attracts obsessed wannabe sports pros like me, brand evangelists. They’ll shout about you on social media, at the pub on a Friday, they’ll always buy from you and they become loyal – just look after them, you’ve done the hard bit.
Ensure you add all the content topics that you’ve researched into a content calendar. If it arises that newsworthy content needs to be prioritized over a piece in the content calendar, do it. Newsrooms and print today have calendars, but are flexible – make sure you are too!
So, make sure you research your topics and wait for the right time to publish these content types. They don’t have to be fancy, times new roman will do, but just make sure the content is useful for the user. You don’t always need parallax or interactive charts.
We do this day in, day out at Zazzle Media so please download our content strategy toolkit at http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/content-strategy-toolkit/ if you are new to the process or simply want a bit of guidance.
Thanks for listening, I hope this helped and I’ll answer any questions that I have time for.
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