Content Remediation: How to Boost Your Ranking By Refreshing Old Content

So, you’ve done the heavy lifting making your case for content, doing your competitor and keyword research, identifying your best opportunities, creating a content strategy, etching in goals, and putting pen to paper.

But now that your content creation engine is chugging along like a sleek machine, you know there’s got to be other activities you can be doing to sneak up in the SERPs and capture more organic traffic. Enter: remediation!

Remediation is only a viable option if you already have a relatively deep well of content to work with (think at least 20 blogs published more than a few months ago). If you’re just starting out, no problem! Bookmark this page and revisit it next quarter or next year.

What is content remediation?

Content remediation is the systematic and strategic process of updating your growth content in order to give your readers new and up-to-date information and, debatably more importantly, send out the signal to search engines that there’s exciting fresh content that deserves a ranking boost.

As part of your bigger-picture content strategy, it can help fortify target keyword pillars and build greater authority in strategic areas.

Why remediate blog content?

I know what you’re thinking, your content is already great. And that’s probably true! But beyond adding some fresh information to make sure your post is as up to date and timely as possible, there are a lot of other reasons to implement a remediation strategy including but not limited to…

  1. You lost rankings because your competitors updated their content and you want to compete with them.
  2. You average time on page is low and you want to add new creative to the content to get readers staying on the page longer.
  3. The publish date is old and may discourage readers so you want to update the content and show the updated date to visitors. 
  4. Your bounce rate is higher than average and it’s because you don’t have enough internal links linking to your pillar pages. 
  5. You’re ranking on page 2 and you think with some minor improvements you’ll be able to rank on page 1.

The biggest takeaway: when we tell Google content is new, we’ll likely see a spike in traffic, making the relatively tiny amount of work required well worth it.

How to remediate content

First of all, it’s best to have a strategy in place before you start remediating old blog posts. If you have hundreds or thousands of blog posts, you’ll certainly need a plan for tackling all of these in bite-sized chunks over time. 

Process

Let’s begin with process and strategy. Before you begin creating content you typically start by building a content strategy, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do when we focus on remediation.

Similar to a content calendar, it’s useful to build out a content remediation process for each piece of content going forward. This is typically done on 30, 60, or 90-day basis, depending on how time-sensitive or evergreen your content is.

Once you’ve got the overall strategy nailed down, you’ll want to develop a strategy for each individual piece of content, which I’ll discuss now.

Improve

When setting out to improve an old post with good structure, it’s good to start with improvements in keyword targeting and general writing and grammar. You want to make sure that your blog post has a clear focus, targets a specific topic and keyword, and is doing so in proper English (or whatever language your blog may be in).

Once the content itself is in good shape, make sure to add any technical improvements that the piece may need, such as relevant internal links, alt text, or schema markup.

Then it’s time to make sure it’s pretty. Instead of big blocks of text, look for ways to make it chunkable and easier to read. This could be adding line breaks, paragraphs or creating bulleted or numbered lists. Visual improvements impact user experience and can keep people on the page longer, improving overall SEO. 

Expand and update

Another way to get more value out of your content is to repurpose or update the information contained to make old content fresh again. Data says that this is well worth the effort, with business bloggers who update older posts being 74% more likely to report strong results.

A few ways to expand or update a post are to explore a different take on the initial thesis, add newer data, or integrate more recent developments or changed opinions. Look to correct any data that is more than a year old with the most current information.  

Increasing word count has also shown to be beneficial, as longer blog posts typically perform better. This goes the same for adding images and other rich media such as infographics, videos, and charts and graphs.

Many of the blogs we recommend for remediation are under 750 words. We want to add more content as long as that content is good quality, answers FAQs, and provides the audience with useful information.

Update and add keywords

While remediating content, we also want to update the target keywords and add as many semantically related keywords as possible without crossing over the keyword stuffing line. The best way to add keywords is to include them within a sentence where it sounds natural. 

For example, in the sentences below, the keyword is in bold. Note how the first option sounds more natural, while the second one forces the keyword to create a jarring experience for the reader and the search engines.  

Do this: 

As a business owner, time is money. Save both by outsourcing bookkeeping services which allows you to focus on your company and not just your books.

Not this: 

Business outsourcing bookkeeping services tend to save time and money.

Add Images

Sometimes adding images to long-form content can completely rejuvenate the content by increasing the average time that readers spend on the page and in turn increasing its organic rankings. 

We recommend adding at least 3 images for every 1,000 words of content if possible. This can be done using a free stock image website such as Unsplash if you don’t have an extensive image library.

Content Remediation is The Low-Hanging Fruit of SEO Strategy

One of the things we find ourselves explaining most often: a great content strategy is one of the best long-term investments you can make when it comes to growth strategy. While, true, it’s a time consuming and can be more costly strategy to fire up and maintain, once you have a solid well of content, strategies like remediation can have you reaping riches for years to come.

Excited but not quite sure where to start? Let’s chat!

content strategy template

How to Build a Quarterly Content Marketing Strategy (Using Tuff’s as an Example)

Typing on google search.

As a content marketer, you have one primary goal: to create content that converts viewers into life-long customers. It sounds simple, but it is far from easy, especially when you need to create consistent, quality content that regularly drops and is within budget. Like any huge task, it’s best to break it up into chunks that are more easily managed and still adhere to your long-term goals. This is why all successful content marketing starts with a solid content marketing strategy and why many content marketers struggle—because they don’t have one. 

If you’re a content growth marketer that falls into the latter category, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute, only 43% of respondents had a documented content marketing strategy, and 21% had none at all. How did so many professional content growth marketers fail to solidify a plan? If their experience is anything like mine, chances are they felt the pressure to meet deadlines, satisfy the client’s request, or thought that tactics that worked before would keep generating similar results.

But let’s all take a deep breath together. The more you put in on the back end, the easier your job will be on the front end, and more importantly, generate the results you and your client need. 

At Tuff, we have a lot of experience creating quarterly content marketing plans that increase organic traffic for our clients. And since we practice what we preach, we do it for ourselves. So, let’s use Tuff’s quarterly content marketing plan as an example. This article will break down step-by-step how we form a strategy, create a quarterly content plan, and execute it.

What is a quarterly content marketing plan?

It’s just as it sounds. It is a 3-month plan to create topics that level up to your overall strategy. Why three months? Because anything more might be a waste of your time and effort. It didn’t take us long to go from “Oh, this COVID-19 thing should be only two weeks long” to us still dealing with it more than a year later. Plus, planning only three months out means you aren’t married to anything mentally. It is a lot easier to stick a fork in four topics than 12. In short, Tuff plans three months out because it lends us enough time to create an editorial calendar without scrambling, and it provides plenty of slack for us to quickly adjust our plan so we don’t miss out on timely events and topics.

Step One: Research what people are searching

Like any good plan, it all begins with research. At Tuff, we use content marketing to generate organic growth for our clients and ourselves, so research starts with keywords. And yes, keywords are still important, even if how they are used has changed. Let’s start with what we did for our website. We used our good friend, SEMrush, and their Keyword Magic Tool to determine what terms surrounded our industry—growth marketing. And, well, we got a lot of results back. 

keyword analysis spreadsheet

This is just a snapshot of the 14,000+ semantically related keywords.

Step 2: Put your keywords into focus

So, we had our 14,000 keywords, and we are good to go, right? Nope. A content strategy that goes after 14,000 keywords isn’t a strategy, and if so, it’s a really bad one. We had some refining to do. 

As part of our SEO analysis, we removed anything that didn’t make sense to go after. “Market growth” with 1,300 searches per month and “stock market growth by the president “with 590 searches had some decent volume, but that isn’t what we are really about. So, we removed those right away. Same for any similar terms like “stock market growth,” “free market economies,” and “TD money market.” 

Next, we sorted our list by keyword difficulty. The higher the percentage, the harder it is to get your content to rank for these terms. We started looking for keywords that were below 70%. Mind you, 70% is still challenging, but not impossible, especially with the right content surrounding those keywords. 

Then, we went through our sorted list and focused on the search terms that we wanted to rank. That doesn’t mean the ones with the most search volume, but the search terms that we knew we could build expert, authoritative content around to build trust and attract the clients that are a great fit for our agency. This is basically what we do for retailers, eCommerce sites, B2B companies, etc., when we create buyer personas which are a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience. This gave us a list of around 1,400, so making progress. But we weren’t done.

Remember, this is how to create a quarterly content marketing plan, so we need to break this list down even more. We wanted to look at what we were already rankings previously and build upon that success. 

If we are already ranking, why do we need to build more content? Because the search engines are constantly reevaluating rankings, and if you have content that is too dated, too brief, and/or not enough of it, the search engine algorithms will drop your rankings. As growth marketers well know, this is a “what have you done for me recently” type of industry, and the search engines have that mentality as well. 

focus keyword list

Okay, so now we have a very focused list to start building our quarterly content plan. The keywords are industry-specific, have low competition, and (bonus!) we have some momentum to build off. Now to start creating topics in our quarterly content marketing plan to help drive organic growth. 

Step 3: Content topic research (yup, more research)

Now that we have our target keywords, our client (or buyer) personas, we can start researching the type of content we need to create to rank and attract the clients we want. We can go back to SEMrush and use their SEO Content template feature to help get an idea of what type of content is ranking for these keywords. Let’s look at “content strategy agency” and see what we can dig up: 

competitor research on keywords

We can see that we aren’t the only ones going after this keyword. There is no surprise there, but what we can also see is the content that is ranking for these keywords. Let’s look at the first result: 

competitor research

This article is primarily an aggregated list of “content marketing agencies,” so this isn’t something we want to duplicate or improve. However, we can learn how they used their primary keyword and semantically related keywords in their meta title and meta descriptions to rank high in the SERPs. What this article is missing is terms around a content marketing agency, such as “What is a content marketing agency and how can it help your brand?”, “what does a content marketing agency do?” and “Do I need a content marketing agency?” If we create content that answers questions that prospective clients are searching for, this is not only going to help us rank but also convert. 

We will go through this process for each of our targeted keywords and create topics and content that will focus on these search terms, user intent, and answer PAAs. The main thing to keep in mind is what content will be helpful for the reader because that is what the search engines are asking. So, what did we come up with? Well, as you can guess, something around a content marketing strategy

 

article on the tuff blog about content

This title focuses on our primary keyword and will answer questions on what clients can expect from a content strategy from Tuff. But we showed you just a part of the end result. How did we get here? Glad you asked. 

Step 4: Creating a Content Calendar

We’ve done our research, more research, and focused on what we are going after. So, before we write a single word, we have to organize it all. This is where your content calendar comes in. 

If you have enough resources, you can tackle multiple topics simultaneously. Still, if your resources are limited, you want to target your most important keywords based on traffic, as these are typically going to yield you the best results. This strategy is sound when you have good domain authority, but if you are new to the game, well, you need to pick your battles. This means looking at your focused keyword list and going after low-hanging fruit. In other words, you want to target keywords where you can make substantial gains without having to deal with a lot of competition.

Why? Because the more keywords you start ranking highly for, the more the search engines will respect your expertise, authority, and trust (E.A.T.). As you build upon your domain authority, it will be a lot easier to rank for more competitive search terms. At Tuff, we decided to take a divide and conquer approach.

Each month we would focus on one keyword and produce 4-6 pieces surrounding these. We also wanted to create a holistic approach because our strategies are never siloed. It’s important to make sure your content calendar is still grounded in your overall strategy. For Tuff, our is to rank number 1 for “growth marketing agency,” so no matter what we create, it should ladder up to this. Luckily, content marketing is a big part of how we help our clients grow, so it’s a natural fit for us to tie in “content strategy agency” topics into “growth marketing agency.” But let’s back to the content calendar.

We knew that we wanted to build upon our expertise in content marketing, and “content strategy agency” had decent search value (170 per month) and low keyword difficulty (49%). Let’s take a look at what Month 1 looks like:

content strategy template

All of these topics tie into what a “content strategy agency” can do. We took our advice and created content that provided expertise, authority, and, hopefully, trust. We also perform keyword research, competitor analysis, and content design for each topic so the content can be easily digested. This means adding enough images with optimized file names and alt text and structuring it, so there are no giant blocks of text. For longer posts, we also make sure to create internal jump links. It’s not enough to get your content to rank. You also want to make certain people actually read it because a high bounce rate will most definitely affect your SEO. Plus, we strive to create content that people want to share.

Step 5: Rinse and repeat

For months two and three, we focused on “eCommerce agency” and “startup marketing agency,” respectively, going through a similar process that we did for month 1. Remember, we are not creating siloed content. Each of these leads up to our primary focus, “growth marketing.” And if we planned this right (which we did), we should crosslink these posts to create a content web easily. Having a good cross linking strategy ensures that your readers can find more great information without searching all over your site (or your competitors), and it increases time on site, which we know is good for our organic growth.

Step 6: Set your cadence

Once you have your calendar organized and content briefs for each topic, you can begin writing. But you need to think about your cadence. Even if you have the resources to jam all of it out in a week, you don’t want to upload it all at the same time. It’s best to create a steady drip so that both Google and your readers don’t get overwhelmed with the amount of content, and it gives them reasons to keep coming back. A steady drip also helps you build true, longer-lasting organic growth. If you upload them all at once, you may get a nice artificial boost, but it will fade as fast. Several studies show you the best time to publish content, but you also want to consider the type of content you are posting, and your competitors probably read these same studies. 

Whichever you decide, keep it consistent. 

What else do I need to know about creating a quarterly content marketing plan?

Organic growth is a long-term play. There are no quick fixes. Your content marketing efforts could take as long as 90 days to show positive results, but these results are sticky. Once you start ranking for specific terms, you should continue to move up in those rankings, that is, until someone else does it better than you. However, if you’ve produced good quality content, you don’t need to rewrite it every few months. You can update and expand on it using a remediation strategy. But that’s a topic for another post.

We’ve gone over quite a bit, but if you still have questions or you think this is something best left to the experts, then get in touch. We have created quarterly content plans for many of our clients, and one thing about going with a content strategy agency like Tuff, is that we have been there done that. You can lean into our expertise and grow your business the right way.  

We’ve gone over quite a bit, but if you still have questions or you think this is something best left to the experts, then get in touch. We have created quarterly content plans for many of our clients, and one thing about going with a content strategy agency like Tuff, is that we have been there done that. You can lean into our expertise and grow your business the right way.  

google search console

Checking Out The Competition: How To Do An SEO Competitor Analysis

google search console

So you took a great, original idea and turned it into an incredible product. Your startup or scaleup is starting to gain traction and attract customers – but you’re noticing there’s more competition out there than you thought. 

Maybe there’s a big conglomerate with a branch that sells a related product. Or you were at the forefront of a trend, but similar businesses are now popping up everywhere. Sounds like it’s time for you to do a competitor analysis. Here’s how.

What is a competitor analysis?

A competitor analysis is a process that involves looking at your competition’s marketing strategies, products, and services. It goes beyond a quick browse of your competitors’ websites and is a critical, thorough process that takes an in-depth look at every facet of their business.

Competitor analysis should be done quarterly, or more frequently if you’re new to the market. But this is just one tool in your toolbox. Always monitor your market and industry in general, and if you see a shift, it’s time to dive into a full competitor analysis. Make sure you’re gathering customer feedback as well – just because a competitor is doing something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right strategy. 

Why is a competitor analysis critical?

You probably already know you should be doing competitor analysis. But you may not realize the massive benefits it can bring your business.

  • Differentiate your product. You know you’re unique – but does your messaging and brand identity capture that? If your product looks the same and your marketing sounds the same, why will customers choose you? Competitor analysis allows you to refine your value proposition.
  • Stay relevant. Competitor analysis allows you to evaluate trends in your industry and determine how you can leverage them to grow your business and stay ahead of opportunities. You’ll also uncover your competitors’ strengths so you can learn how to replicate them.
  • Grow your website’s traffic. SEO analysis is a vital part of the puzzle. See what’s working for both the paid and organic strategies of your competitors, then do it better. 
  • Gain a competitive edge. Understanding your competitors’ tactics – and weaknesses – allows you to improve on them. You’ll also identify gaps in their marketing strategies and target audiences that will allow you to use new and different methods and get better results.

What tools do I need to perform a competitor analysis?

You could just jump on the computer, type in your competitors’ websites, and use your analytical eye to see what they’re doing. But you’ll get a lot more useful information when use some of these competitor analysis tools:

  • SEMrush uses comprehensive data to help you explore market and audience trends, do keyword gap analysis, and uncover competitors’ link-building strategies.
  • Ahrefs has similar tools to SEMrush to help you do SEO competitive analysis.
  • SimilarWeb provides accurate and thorough website analytics around traffic, demographics, engagement and more.
  • SpyOnWeb lets you see if a website is operated by a competitor. 
  • GoogleAlerts gives you updates on certain search terms and preferences you set, helping you track your competitor and industry.
  • Buzzsumo is a great tool for competitive content analysis. See what’s working, who’s sharing, and what’s trending for content. 

You don’t necessarily need paid tools to do a competitor analysis, but it really helps. Of course, you’ll also need the expertise to use them. That’s where a growth marketing agency like Tuff can really help.

How to do a competitor analysis

Before you can do a competitor analysis, you need to know who your competitors are. Check out our article on competitor research to learn how to identify your market competitors. Once you have that list, use the tools we talked about above – and your own critical thinking – to look at the following areas and ask yourself, “How can I do this better than them?”

Website Traffic

Analyzing the traffic going to your competitors’ pages tells you a lot about what’s working and what isn’t. Take a deeper dive into:

  • Traffic by channel: Are their visitors coming from display, paid search, organic search, social, or something else?
  • Traffic by device: Do they get the most traffic from desktop, phone, or tablet?
  • Traffic by geography: Does your competitor appeal to an audience from a specific part of the country or world?

Engagement

If your audience gets to the page and then bounces, were they ever really there? Traffic is important, but audience engagement tells you whether a competitor’s marketing strategy is actually working. Look at:

  • Bounce rate: This is the number of visitors that leave the site after only viewing one page. A low bounce rate indicates content marketing that’s doing its job well.  
  • Conversion rate: How many visitors complete a desired action, like making a purchase, downloading a piece of content, or submitting a form? Conversion is the ultimate goal of growth marketing.
  • Demographics: Who is your competitors’ most engaged audience? What is their age, gender, and income? What are they doing right to engage this audience?

Ad Strategy

The laser-focused targeting abilities and relatively low cost of PPC advertising mean that your competitors are likely using this channel. Ask yourself: 

  • Are they running ads? What are they bidding on? 
  • What CTAs are they using to push people to purchase?
  • What searches do they show up for?

User Experience

Analyzing user experience requires your own critical thinking skills more than the other categories. Browse your competitors’ websites, clicking on crosslinks, menus, CTAs and more. Check out:

  • Website layout: Does it move you easily through the discovery and purchasing phases? Was information easy to find? What are their CTAs? 
  • Aesthetics: What color scheme are they using? Is text easy to read and organized? What images do they use (lifestyle, product, stock images, etc.)?
  • Mobile optimization: Use the “Inspect” feature on Chrome to see if the website is mobile optimized. Right-click anywhere on the page and go to “Inspect.” In the top left of the sidebar, click the icon of the phone and computer screen to toggle on the mobile view. How does it look?

For each of the above categories, ask yourself: How can I make this better on my website? After all, competitor analysis is all about knowing what your competition is doing so you can do it better.

Your competition is giving you a lot of information. You just have to take time to understand it. Performing a competitor analysis will give you a solid foundation for your business growth and a way to plan future strategies. Yes, it’s that important – but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact Tuff to discover all the ways we can help you get ahead.

man looking at magnifier

How to Do a Keyword Gap Analysis

man looking at magnifier

There are no ties in SEO.

In order for one company to be number one, there also have to be losers. How can you make sure you’re on the right side of this equation? It’s all about strategy.

If you’ve identified your competition, you may be wondering:

  • What’s the next step?
  • Why are my competitors continually outranking me?

It’s likely time for you to do a keyword gap analysis.

What is a keyword gap analysis?

A keyword gap analysis is a method for choosing the best keywords for your organic SEO strategy. In a keyword gap analysis, you’ll compare yourself to your competitors to determine where they are outperforming you, and how you can catch up. Your keyword “gaps” are areas in which you have a realistic ability to overtake your competitors and outrank them. In short, it’s a way to reveal keyword opportunities you’re missing out on. 

A keyword gap analysis is an essential part of an SEO competitive analysis. You’ll identify keywords that your competitors rank for, but you don’t. You’ll also identify keywords that you have a low ranking for, for example positions 5 to 15. From there, you can create a strategy to “boost” low rankings and steal keywords from your competitors.

Why is keyword gap analysis important?

The ultimate goal of any holistic SEO content strategy is to drive traffic to your site. But you don’t want just any traffic. You want high-value, high-intent website visitors whose problems you can solve. That’s just what you get when you use a keyword gap analysis to reveal areas of opportunity where you either don’t have content or where you can improve existing content. 

Keyword gap analysis is vital to creating quality content that will capture the right audience at the right time. At Tuff, we use PPC and organic search together, building a strategy in which they complement each other, help drive growth on more competitive keywords, improve rankings and traffic, and increase share of voice. That translates into more traffic – and more revenue.

How to do a keyword gap analysis

You don’t need to be an SEO master to do a keyword gap analysis, but having a professional on your side is always helpful when it comes to interpreting results and creating a list of keywords. Here’s how we do it at Tuff.

Pick your tools

You’re going to need at least one SEO tool in order to perform a keyword gap analysis. The options here are similar to the tools you can use for on-page SEO analysis. We use Semrush, which does have a free version available with a limited amount of queries allowed. (That’s another benefit of hiring an agency – we have the tools and the expertise to use them!)

keyword gap analysis using SEMRush

Get your keyword list

Open up your tool and enter your website domain. Then enter your main competitors and click “Compare.” The tool will show you a list of keywords that your competitors rank for, as well as where you appear in the SERPs for those same words. You can sort by organic, paid, or PLA, and Semrush will also show you keyword volume, difficulty, competitive density, and CPC among other metrics. For in-depth analysis, download the file as a CSV report so you can sort and search more easily.

Interpret your results

Now you need to determine where you can get the most value from your keywords. Your keyword tool will do some of the work for you. Semrush, for example, has a section showing “Top Opportunities” for keywords that your site is missing as well as weak keywords—where you have a ranking but it is lower than all of your competitors’ rankings. To discover opportunities yourself, look for keywords that are:

  • Highly relevant to your business and your website
  • Regularly searched for by your target audience
  • Not overly competitive, but still high-value
  • Easily filled using existing content or easy to create new content for

We export each keyword gap analysis into a spreadsheet to better sort, analyze, and filter the data. It looks something like this with four core tabs: Shared, Missing, Weak, and Strong.

keyword gap analysis spreadsheet

Try a page-level analysis

You already know a few different areas where you and a competitor have similar articles. You want to determine what they’re doing right and replicate it. Doing a keyword gap analysis at the page level instead of the domain level is helpful here. You can enter the exact URL of your competitor and compare it to your own page to see what you may be missing. Then add those keywords to your page – or create an entirely new page – and start stealing competitors’ traffic.

Put it into action

How do you know whether to refresh an existing page or create a new one? What types of content will most effectively attract customers from your competitors? This is where SEO becomes not on a science, but an art. To determine your plan of action, analyze the top content that is already ranking for that keyword and look for things like:

  • Content type (video, blog, gallery, etc.)
  • Content length and organization
  • Headers and keywords used

Do you have content that already fulfills these criteria? You can update it to use the new keywords. If you don’t, you’ll want to create something new. 

Organic growth is crucial to the overall growth of your business, but it isn’t always straightforward. Tuff can help you with every step of the process, from performing a keyword gap analysis and determining the best course of action to creating content that outranks the competition. Contact us today to get started.

A clean desk with a fresh document up for writing a new blog

Powering eCommerce Growth With Content Marketing

A clean desk with a fresh document up for writing a new blog

When we hear from eCommerce companies how they are powering their growth traction with digital marketing, they usually reference their ads performance, how specific products are selling, or how their revenue growth looks from a year over year perspective. 

Rarely do they talk about their eCommerce growth in relation to their organic revenue and content marketing strategy. 

From our perspective, as an eCommerce growth agency, that should be the number one focus for every eCommerce marketing strategy: generating targeted performance content that search engines will slap on page one. This, most importantly, drives potential customers to your site. And as a bonus, it becomes fodder for sharing in your email newsletter, on social media, and more. 

What is Content Marketing?

“We have a blog!” is the answer we get when we ask brands about their eCommerce content marketing efforts. 

That’s all well and good, but what exactly is on your blog?

If it’s content written for a specific target audience that helps them solve a problem using focus keywords that will enable the search engines to rank you as an authority figure in your industry, then you’re on track. 

If it’s brand content about what your founder had breakfast then keep reading.  

Content marketing is an inbound marketing strategy that eCommerce companies (but really all companies no matter who you’re selling to) should leverage as their go-to lead generation strategy. That’s a bold statement for an agency that also has a robust and powerful team of paid acquisition experts. 

Used in tandem with search engine optimization (SEO), a strong content marketing strategy produces content (think product copy, written articles, infographics, how-to videos) based on keyword analysis and topics related to an eCommerce site’s industry. 

A content strategy agency like Tuff can help you do it, too. 

Why Content Marketing for eCommerce? 

The answer is simple: would you rather pay top dollar for every single keyword you want to rank for in the form of paid search placements or would you prefer to get top rankings for free? 

We’ll assume you went with the less costly approach. 

You may be familiar with content marketing from other industries outside of eCommerce like B2B and SaaS. They produce content like ebooks, white papers, and case studies that contain information that their audience finds useful based on their own unique industry perspective or product. 

eCommerce content strategies are no different, but instead of ebook and white papers, we’re all about helpful guides, how-to articles, and most importantly product pages stacked with content that’s highly optimized for search engines. 

A content marketing strategy for eCommerce enables you to show search engines and most importantly potential customers that you’re an expert on your industry. Just selling products within your industry space isn’t enough, you need to prove that your product or service is solving a problem by being the authority leader in your space. 

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy for eCommerce

The good news: getting started growing your business with a content marketing strategy for your eCommerce business isn’t rocket science. But it does take some deliberate planning and focused research. 

First, you’ll want to put together a core list of target keywords you want to rank for. 

You might use words you’re bidding for on Google Search campaigns or do research using a search engine marketing tool to find non-branded organic keywords related to your eCommerce industry. 

These will be your focus keywords. As the name implies, you’ll build content around these keywords. For example, check out the focus keywords for this article: 

  • eCommerce content marketing
  • eCommerce growth
  • eCommerce growth marketing
  • content marketing

We’ve chosen them specifically because we know that there’s an opportunity for Tuff to improve our ranking on keywords related to eCommerce content marketing. And the higher we rank, the more people click through to our site. Although we’re not an eCommerce business, the principles hold true: more clicks = more revenue. (How meta is that?)

Once you’ve done your homework, you’ll want to figure out how to incorporate these keywords into a strategy. While there are a number of different ways to go about creating a content strategy, our favorite is the pillar strategy. This is where each keyword focus represents the foundation and you want to build articles off of your foundation to create a pillar. 

Putting These Focus Keywords to Work

Each focus keyword needs to have different types of content built on it. As mentioned, this could be a variety of content types. Consider everything from articles to infographics—this is where things can get tricky, it’s important to create content that is not just designed to attract the attention of search engines, but real humans looking for real answers to their questions. 

The good news: oftentimes many eCommerce brands already have a huge bank of content that they’ve built up over the years. So instead of starting from scratch, it’s possible to take stock of what you’ve already created and design a roadmap for combing through and strategically infusing targeted keywords. This can kickstart a performance content strategy without bucking up and going from 0-60 out the gate.

How to Optimize Your Product Copy with Focus Keywords

A great way to start using your focus keywords is to assign them to top selling products or your entire product catalog (depending on the number of products within your catalog). You will want each of your products to have keyword focus. 

Then using that keyword, it’s best practice to include it within the product title, product description, SEO title, meta description, and product URL. 

This will provide the foundation for your eCommerce content strategy. From here, you’ll want to produce content that features your focus keywords and links back to the foundation product pages that you assigned each specific keyword to. Simple!

Great eCommerce Content Marketing Examples 

Having trouble grasping what a eCommerce content strategy looks like in practice? Here are three examples to show you how it can be done: 

#1) REI.com 

A screenshot of the REI blog with the headline "Expert Advice"

Meet the little-known retailer called REI (kidding). They have a supercharged content strategy that enables them to pull in potential customers on just about any question someone might have about outdoor recreation products. 

Their blog strategy has morphed into what is more clearly defined as a knowledge base on all things recreation equipment—an incredible, powerful, and most notably profitable achievement.  

Strategically creating a knowledge base is becoming a more and more frequent play for eCommerce brands who want to organize their content in a way that enables them to help potential and existing customers on a range of topics. 

Instead of scrolling through endless pages of blog content, website visitors can easily search their knowledge base using a query-based search feature or by selecting topic categories. 

#2) Quietkat.com

A screen shot of the QuietKat blog

For a second selection, here’s a shameless plug for our client, QuietKat, an electric bike brand based out of Colorado. 

We’ve been working with them for the last year to define their SEO content strategy and product content that helps educate existing and potential customers. 

We won’t get too into the nitty gritty of how we do what we do with QuietKat, but take a drive through the QuietKat blog and check out how we’ve designed a content strategy to inform our existing and potential customers on all things electric bikes. 

#3) CulturesForHealth.com

A screenshot of the Cultures for Health blog

The final example of a content strategy from an eCommerce brand we really love is Cultures For Health. Similar to REI, their content is organized within a knowledge base learning center format which enables their website traffic to quickly access the information they need. They can also host multiple types of content together in an aesthetically pleasing fashion that doesn’t look cluttered. 

Their content marketing strategy has allowed them to lay off the paid search play and focus 100% on producing content that their audience loves. 

Here’s a break down of top keywords they rank for and how much organic traffic those keywords generate: 

  • Kombucha – ranking #13 (368,000 searches per month) 
  • Sourdough starter – ranking #16 (201,000 searches per month) 
  • Sauerkraut – ranking #4 (165,000 searches per month) 

Final Thoughts 

While an eCommerce content marketing strategy is not a quick fix, the benefits of a well thought out and executed SEO performance content strategy are huge.

Don’t be in a rush to start ranking on page one for your focus keywords. Rather, build out a strategy and look at from a quarterly growth timeline: where do you want to be ranking in three, six, nine, 12, and 15 months from now? How much content do you need to produce each month to hit your goals? 

Finally, don’t try to do it all yourself. You’ll need some help along the way.

Let a Content Strategy Agency like Tuff help you with the heavy lifting!  

A person reviewing data on google search console

How Long Before you See Results from an SEO Content Strategy?

A person reviewing data on google search console

Your website is up and running. You’ve added some basic keywords to your landing pages and posted some thoughtful, organized blog articles. Maybe you even updated your HTML and other technical SEO factors. And yet…nothing. You’re left wondering, “How long does SEO take to start working?” 

The answer is: It’s complicated. There are numerous factors that affect your SEO results, and content while essential is only one of them. 

Organic SEO is a long-term play with a lot of moving pieces. But once the foundation is laid, you’ll be set up for success long into the future.

How long does an SEO content strategy take to show results?

A holistic SEO content strategy will typically take 4 to 6 months to start showing results. The amount of time depends on many different factors, including the current status of your website, your competition, and the resources you have to put into SEO. The quality of your content is also a big factor.

Remember: SEO results are cumulative. While you’ll start to see results in 4 to 6 months, after a year your results will compound even more. A solid, ongoing SEO strategy is the gift that keeps on giving. Have you noticed that certain types of searches always seem to return the same websites, over and over? Once you become a trusted, knowledgeable source in the “eyes” of the search engines, they’ll start amplifying your content automatically.

Why does organic SEO take so long?

There are dozens of ranking factors and signals that determine the overall organic health of your website and therefore your SEO results. Let’s go over the major ranking factors you need to know about.

Two coworkers brainstorming content strategy on a white board

Keyword competition

Do you have a unique product, or are there a lot of competitors in your space? The more competition you face, the longer it will take you to rank for those keywords. Selling neon-colored unicycles? Not a lot of competition. Selling kids’ bicycles? Probably really competitive. 

Domain age

You can’t get around this fact: If you have a new website that is not as established as your SEO competitors, it will be tougher to rank. New websites automatically have a lower domain authority because the search engines aren’t yet familiar with your content. They also have fewer backlinks pointing to them one of the signals search engines use to determine the ranking of your site.

On-page factors

On-page SEO includes anything your website visitors see: landing pages, product pages, blogs and so on. This is the most visible part of SEO and likely what you’ve been working on. But it goes beyond cranking out content and hoping for the best. You need to think about quality, duplicate content, hyperlinking, images and more. An on-page SEO analysis is a good place to start.

Technical factors

Technical SEO is the backend of your website. Don’t ignore these factors they’re an important piece of the SEO puzzle. In fact, page speed optimization is the top tactic marketers use to improve search performance. You should also make sure the search engines can easily crawl your website, understand your site architecture, read your hreflang, and canonicalize your URLs. Sounds like a lot of big words, right? That’s what we’re here for.

Off-page factors

Off-page SEO is often the last factor you think about, but they can make the difference between making page one or being bumped to page two. Your domain authority, bounce rate, geographic location, and target market all affect your off-page SEO. The best ways to improve this category is to work on your backlink strategy, improve your social media presence and create off-page content like guest blogs to increase your authority. 

Ever-changing algorithms 

Search engines are fickle beasts. Changes in the Google algorithm (that is, the way that Google ranks pages) send SEO specialists everywhere scrambling to update their technical and on-page SEO. Penguin, Panda, EMD (Exact Match Domain), Page Layout Algorithm … the algorithms never stop. Luckily, Tuff is here to help you keep up.

Is an SEO content strategy worth the wait?

In short yes! There’s a reason that 61% of inbound marketers say that growing SEO/organic presence is their top priority. In second place at 55% is blog content creation, a closely related topic. High-value organic traffic can result in better leads and faster acquisition times, and ultimately helps drive revenue. 

While PPC can give you instant results, you have to keep the money pumping. Organic SEO results are sticky: if done right, a good content strategy will keep delivering long after the 4 to 6 months have passed. In fact, we’re living proof. Tuff increased our own organic traffic by 630% over 12 months, which drove a 60% increase in monthly revenue. 

The key is that you have to take the time and effort to ensure that your content is fresh, good quality, and a valuable resource for your customers. A growth marketing agency like Tuff can help get your organic SEO on the right track, while also serving other channels and helping you to create a holistic strategy for growth.

A "Google" sign on top of a building in front of a blue sky

A Two-Step Guide to Identifying Your Competitors

A "Google" sign on top of a building in front of a blue sky

So you’ve determined that a growth-focused content strategy has definitively moved up your priority list. We wholeheartedly approve. A holistic SEO content strategy really pulls its weight in the acquisition department. It’s a great compliment to a paid strategy, and although it doesn’t drive immediate wins like a Facebook or Google Ads campaign can, the power it has to be an integral pillar of real, sustainable growth makes it an important strategy for almost any company serious about growing over time.

Before you jump in both feet, though, it’s important to lay the groundwork. And a super important part of that is identifying the right competitors.

Here at Tuff when we’re creating a content strategy for one of our clients, we’ll think of competitors in two different ways. 

  1. An organization that directly competes with you; your customer or clients might consistently pitch you against them. 
  2. The competitor that ranks high on the search terms we’d like to rank for. 

Step One: Define Your Market Competitors

A market competitor is an organization that directly competes with you in your market or industry; your customer or clients might consistently pitch you against them.

If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you should be familiar with your market competitors. You likely performed competitive research about your market and industry before you even started your business and incorporated it into your business plan. 

Why is it so essential to research your market competitors? There are tons of reasons, including:

  • Differentiating yourself from the competition
  • Replicating their strengths
  • Leveraging their weaknesses to your advantage
  • Honing in the market your product or service
  • Staying ahead of trends in your industry

It’s also important for us at Tuff to know. It’s a foundational part of our onboarding process and helps guide our strategic recommendations. We’ll lean on you to bring us juicy information here – so if you haven’t identified these organizations yet, here’s how to get started.

Interview customers and clients

Competitive research can seem overwhelming – where do you even start? Reaching out to your clients and customers is a great first step. Interview both new and long-time customers to determine not only what brought them to your company, but what keeps them coming back

Phone calls and email are reliable ways to gather this type of information. You can also incorporate social media by asking your followers to fill out a survey. Both qualitative (descriptive) and quantitative (numerical) information will be useful to inform your business and marketing strategies

Talk to your sales and customer service teams 

You need more than external data to create a well-rounded competitive analysis. Don’t ignore your internal teams – they have a wealth of information about your competitors that you won’t be able to get anywhere else. You especially need to talk to your sales and customer service teams. 

Your sales team will have great insights from pitches and discovery calls, where they’re sure to hear a lot about what’s great and not-so-great about your competitors. And your customer service team has probably gotten an earful about what your competitors do better than you. Make sure you create an environment of trust and confidentiality so they feel comfortable being honest.

Find the right tools

There’s never a shortage of tools in the marketing industry, and that’s true of competitive research, too. Which one (or more) is right for you?

  • Klue: Research and track your competitors through a combination of news tracking and internal data, then track them so you know when they change their website, update their products or get new customer reviews. 
  • Crayon: Capture data from hundreds of millions of sources and use AI to filter it down into key insights. Identify and follow market trends to stay ahead of the competition. 
  • FirstRain: Get high-quality and relevant information that’s categorized, prioritized and ready to be put into action. Stay up-to-date on current information like management changes, M&A and industry trends.
  • Kompyte: Differentiate your product or service with information about your competition’s features, pricing and messaging, learn what works for them and discover how it all fits into a high-level view of your market.

A screenshot from Klue, a market research company, showcasing how their software works

Enlist help from the pros 

Don’t have the time to perform competitive research yourself? We’re not afraid to tell you that this isn’t necessarily our expertise. But there are companies out there that focus specifically on digging into this type of information – and hiring one can be a smart move for enterprise-level businesses.

If you have the resources to spend, getting help from the pros can actually be more efficient than doing it yourself. Just make sure the company you choose is fluent in your industry and check their references.

Step Two: Hone in On Your SEO Competitors

An SEO competitor is an organization that ranks highly on the search terms we’d like to rank for. 

Your SEO competitors are the businesses you’ll be directly competing with in order to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). While SEO competitors sometimes overlap with market competitors this list will likely shorter than the first. It could also be composed of businesses that aren’t direct competitors, for example one that is within your industry but has a different product or service than you. 

Once you identify your competitors, you can create a plan of attack to understand what content is generating their strong results, and how you can do better. 

This all starts with focused competitive research. And the benefits of doing so go far beyond the satisfaction of unseating your competitor from the number one spot.

What are the benefits of SEO competitive research? There are tons of reasons, including:

  • Increasing organic website traffic
  • Driving high-quality traffic to your site
  • Improving conversions by providing value to potential customers
  • Earning more revenue and grow your business

This is Tuff’s wheelhouse; our bread and butter. We’ll perform and leverage SEO competitive research to create content strategies that outrank your competitors and win on critical keywords. Here’s how we identify your SEO competitors. 

Identify your keywords 

Your SEO competitors are only your competitors because they have keywords you want. To identify competitors through keywords, you must know what keywords you want! What are the keywords that your best customer is most likely to use to find your service? What are related keywords and longtail keywords?

Now narrow down your list using the following criteria:

  • Relevance. Will this keyword bring you the type of traffic you want? Is it highly relevant to your business goals?
  • Business strength. Is your business strong in this area or topic? Will a search engine believe that you’re an expert?
  • Current rankings. Are you currently ranking on page two or three for a keyword? That will make it easier for you to reach page one. 
  • Volume. Monthly volume isn’t the end-all, be-all (in fact, sometimes you may want to choose lower volume keywords). But it does give you an idea of what people are searching for. 

A graphic showcasing what keyword research looks like in Semrush.

Find your competitors

Now you can identify your competitors for your chosen keywords. You can choose the free way: manually searching Google by typing in each keyword and taking note of the businesses that show up on page one – but that can be time-consuming. It’s much more efficient to use a tool like Semrush to see who is ranking for each keyword.

The best way is to have someone do it for you. Tuff will conduct a full on-page SEO analysis, including choosing the keywords that are right for you, identifying your competitors and building you a strategy that can beat them!

Think you’re ready to fire up your content engine with Tuff? Let’s talk!

How To Do an on-Page SEO Analysis

a man sitting at a clean white desk researching on-page seo

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Content is king.” Bill Gates said it in a 1996 essay, and it’s been true ever since. So it’s likely that you’ve got content. Lots of content! But is anyone seeing it? Is it helping to drive growth for your business?

An effective growth marketing strategy means more than throwing together a blog where you write about topics that you’re familiar with or that you find interesting. To create content that truly connects with your audience – and that drives conversions – you need to think about on-page SEO analysis.

What is on-page SEO?

SEO is commonly split up into three types: on-page, technical, and off-page. On-page SEO is anything that your visitors see when they come to your website: product pages, location pages, resources, blog articles, and so on. Technical SEO is what happens behind the scenes of your website: HTML markup, site architecture, site speed, and so on. Off-page SEO includes things like link building, guest blogs, and social media

Here we’ll only be talking about on-page SEO: your website’s content. Thorough and knowledgeable on-page content is an essential piece of the SEO puzzle because it signals to search engines that your content answers searchers’ questions – a key to ranking highly. 

Ranking factors for on-page content include:

  • Keyword optimization
  • Content quality, length, and organization
  • Internal and external hyperlinking
  • Meta information (URL, title tag, and meta description)
  • Images and image alt text

These are all the elements you’ll need to analyze and optimize in order to improve your position in the SERPs (search engine results pages). Seem like a lot? There are tools that can help. 

On-page SEO analysis tools

On-page SEO analysis is much more than sitting around guessing what Google wants. Done right, it will show you the gaps in your on-page strategy so you can optimize your content – and help drive organic traffic and revenue. But you’ll need the right tools. Here are three of our favorites. 

Google Analytics

You’d probably expect that Google has some of the best data on the web, and you’d be right. Get real-time reporting on visitors, traffic sources, conversion rate, and more across devices so you can analyze what’s working and what isn’t. You can also use Google Search Console to drill down into organic search traffic to see what keywords your pages are ranking for.

a chart from google analytics showing site traffic

Semrush

Semrush is an excellent SEO tool for building a keyword strategy. Use Keyword Overview to get a quick summary of metrics, dive deeper with Keyword Magic to build your list, and use the Keyword Difficulty metric to find low-competition keywords that will give you an edge. You can also use it to perform competitive analysis and do topic research. 

metrics from semrush showcasing keyword overview

Yoast

Yoast is an SEO analysis plug-in for WordPress, making it a convenient option for the many businesses whose websites or blogs are built on that platform. Yoast will rate your pages’ SEO optimization and the Page Analysis feature will give specific feedback on where you can improve. It indicates areas for improvement with red dots – once optimized the dots turn green. Yoast’s user-friendliness makes it incredibly popular.

Remember that you don’t just need the tools, but also the expertise to use them. You’ll want to know what your competitors are doing so you can differentiate yourself – or go after them directly. These are all areas that an expert agency like Tuff can help.

How to do an on-page SEO analysis

You’ve got the tools and you’re ready to perform your on-page analysis! Here’s how we do it at Tuff.

Perform keyword research

On-page content that will crush it in the SERPs always starts with finding the right keywords. Use your SEO tool of choice to perform keyword research around the topic you want to write about. Ask yourself:

  • Are the keywords relevant to your topic? 
  • Are these terms regularly searched by your target audience?
  • Can you realistically rank for these keywords?

Decide on your primary keyword

Keyword research will likely give you a list of hundreds, if not thousands, of keywords. Your SEO tool may prioritize them for you, but it will still be up to you to choose your primary keyword. So which keyword will be able to rule them all? Your primary keyword should:

  • Be highly relevant and laser-focused on your topic
  • Have low competition or relate to an area where your business is very strong
  • Not already be used as a keyword in another piece of content (this is called cannibalization, and it confuses the search engines)

Choose related keywords

To create a piece of content that will catch the attention of the search engines, you need to round out your primary keyword with related keywords and topics. Related keywords will help you capture more search intent and can be used to target your PPC campaigns, too. Choose three to five related keywords that are:

  • Based on your target keyword and semantically related searches
  • Related to the intent of your searchers and their stage in the buyer journey
  • Long-tail (three or more words) or other variations on standard keywords

Look for audience questions

The ultimate goal of content marketing is always to answer the questions that your audience is asking. Audience questions, or PAAs (for “people also ask”), help you do that. PAAs are related questions that appear on Google SERPs. Being featured in the answer box is a big deal in SEO, but using these questions can also help you:

  • Rank for the question or long-tail keyword
  • Create FAQ sections within your content
  • Guide your content to ensure it’s useful to your audience

Create a content plan

Now that you have your primary keyword, related keywords, and FAQs or PAAs, you’re ready to create a content plan that will help you conquer the SERPs and drive conversions. But the content you’ll create depends on several factors:

  • What stage of the buyer journey is your searcher in when they search for that keyword?
  • Will they be looking for an informational blog, a conversion-focused landing page, a branded product page, or something else?
  • Can you use it to create content that fills in gaps in your content strategy?
  • Can you create content around this keyword that outranks your competitors?

Best practices for on-page content

You’re almost there. But before you hit “publish,” make sure your content follows best practices. (Yes, Google will know if it does!)

  • Always create high-quality, original content to avoid plagiarism and duplicate content penalties.
  • Structure your content in a way that is informative but easy to read (bulleted list, no large blocks of text). Put the most useful information front and center, then expand upon it.
  • Use your primary keyword in the title, title tag, meta description, at least one of the subheadings, first and last paragraph, and about two to three times per 500 words – but not more. “Keyword stuffing” will be penalized.
  • Use related keywords at least one within the copy and be sure they sound natural.
  • Answer audience questions either directly with an FAQ section or H2, or naturally within your content.
  • Use at least one image and ensure it is SEO optimized with an image alt tag, title, and file name that uses the primary keyword. 
  • Include your primary keyword in the URL structure. 
  • Track your keyword performance and re-analyze and optimize as needed.

 

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to on-page SEO analysis. At Tuff, we have the tools and expertise you need to create and execute a holistic content strategy that drives traffic and grows your business. 

What Does a Holistic SEO Content Strategy Look Like?

ceramic letters spelling out SEO

SEO is a fast-paced world. It seems like every day there’s an update, a new best practice or a new tool to learn. As soon as you get down the basics of technical SEO, you learn there’s a whole different side to it: content strategy. 

A holistic SEO strategy that includes technical SEO as well as on-page growth content is essential to increasing organic traffic – and helping to improve lead generation, acquisition, and revenue. It’s also highly personalized to your business and involves a lot of moving pieces. Here’s how to ensure your SEO content strategy is effective and efficient.

What is growth content?

Growth content includes landing pages, blogs, product pages, and so on that are designed to rank in Google. When you appear at the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages), people who are searching for the particular topics you are targeting will discover your brand, click through to your website, and – if your growth content strategy does its job – stay there and make a purchase.

So how do you make a successful growth content strategy? At Tuff, we use site traffic analysis, competitive review, and keyword gap analysis to create a strategy for building content that’s always helpful, engaging, informative, and that gives you a timeline and projections that put the future in focus. 

Do I need a growth content strategy?

Got your eye on long-term growth? Chances are you need a content strategy. True, paid ads drive quick wins, but real staying power and long-term revenue growth comes from a content strategy designed to drive (and keep!) stronger, more engaged traffic over time. 

Some content strategies work more quickly than others – for example, refreshing existing content and filling gaps in your buyer funnel are both “low-hanging fruit.” But overall, a holistic SEO content strategy isn’t meant to be a quick fix. It’s a series of actions and content pieces that build up your credibility over time until you’re outranking your competition and bringing more customers to your site.

Step 1: Do your research

Before you dive in, take a step back and do your research. A truly holistic strategy includes elements of content analysis, audience research, and SEO analysis. 

  • Who are my competitors? You can’t outrank your competitors without identifying them first. We think of competitors in two different ways. One type of competitor is an organization that directly competes with you; agents or sellers might consistently pitch you against them. The other is the competitor that ranks high on the search terms we’d like to rank for. 
  • What are my competitors doing? In addition to performing an SEO competitive analysis, we also take a deep dive into our competitors’ existing content. What does their content look like? How regularly are they publishing? You’ll want to stand out just enough in terms of tone of voice and imagery, while also following established best practices.
  • Who is my target audience? Defining your target audience helps you choose your content topics and build a strategy that answers their questions. That’s why we work so hard to define and understand a target audience for your growth content strategy.
  • What tools do I use? There are many SEO tools out there. We use SEMRush to perform a keyword gap analysis to glean important takeaways.

screen cap of visibility and keyword ranking in semrush

Step 2: Define your strategy

All that research you did in step 1 will reveal the content strategy that will benefit you the most – but you must know where to look. Research will reveal different gaps and goals for everyone, so there’s no real blueprint here. This is where it’s super helpful to have the guidance of an expert that can spot opportunities and overlay a strategy designed to be efficient, effective, and keep goals in sight. 

We have tons of examples of growth marketing strategies we can share with you. Here’s one we compiled for a client with a relatively new business and a site that didn’t have much content:

  • Create content to capture searches that are at the top of the funnel. This means focusing on long-term keywords to grab impressions and clicks at the beginning of the customer journey.
  • Ensure all pieces of content are rich with keywords and, more importantly, that those keywords are followed by useful information for SMEs.
  • Target high-traffic keywords and create content that will capture traffic. We want to go after industry-specific terms that the customers you want are searching for.
  • Ensure your landing pages are working for you. We’ll test your landing pages to ensure they’re answering audience questions and helping to initiate action.
  • Creating guides, how-tos, and informational content for your blog. This will help us construct pillars that we can back link to creating a content web.

Step 3: Determine your focus keywords

No SEO strategy is complete without keywords. As part of on-page SEO, they’re vital to ensuring that whatever is produced is targeted and strategic. Google is clear on how to get your content to rank: Answer your audience’s questions in a concise, authoritative way. But what should your keywords be?

After you perform a keyword gap analysis among your competitors look for opportunities in the 10,000+ keywords where the competition is lower (<75) – lower competition means you’ll have a better chance to rank. Then whittle those down to a more manageable number.

Next hone in on projections. If you start with a pillar piece, you can estimate that if you get on page 1 you can get a piece of the total keyword traffic volume. Do this by taking the total volume of keywords for that piece of content and estimating around 15% of that total.

Sound complicated? It’s just another day on the job for our SEO experts.  

Step 4: Set traffic targets

Growth marketing always comes back to one thing: your goals. And when it comes to SEO content strategy, one of the most important growth marketing metrics is traffic: 60% of marketers say that inbound – which includes SEO and blog content – is their highest quality source of leads. When your traffic goes up, your leads and revenue should follow.

In most cases, you’ll want to see key indicators of growth such as higher search rankings and new traffic within 60–90 days of publishing. Then, within four to five months you’ll want to see significant traction toward your client acquisition goals

Based on your existing organic growth and your growth content plan, benchmark what your organic traffic is like now and set a goal for how much you want it to increase. Then, take the CVR of your current organic traffic and use it to make a projection about how many new customers/clients your new strategy will drive. 

a graph showing different kinds of site traffic in semrush

Step 5: Execute and report

It’s go time. Content is most effective when it’s published consistently over time, so put together your content calendar and get writing. If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content, enlist help. You can find freelance writers on Upwork, LinkedIn, Fiverr, and more. 

Provide them with an outline of the topic and keywords, plus guidelines on your brand identity and style. Even though this is performance content designed to generate traffic, it will also serve as an introduction to your brand for many people, so make sure your tone of voice is consistent and on point. 

Creating and managing a holistic SEO content strategy is pretty involved. Use a project management software to stay organized (we use Trello). You’ll also want to keep a simple spreadsheet that showcases performance and helps you understand what’s generating the most traction over time. SEO content strategy is an ongoing process that is always being updated, refined, and improved to get the best results.