Content marketing: Why sometimes its better to improve what you already have, before you write anymore
When you visit a competitor’s website, you might be thinking, they have been busy bees, they have been writing hundreds of articles, so you may think, well we have some catching up to do.
And may gather your staff, create an excel spreadsheet, and start a rota of writing articles and publishing them on your website every couple of days. So you think, well by doing so, this will surely improve my rankings, and our seo will be very strong- however, this is a misconception that a lot of businesses get themselves into, thinking that they need to publish x amount of content marketing, and try and beat their competitors by publishing more often, and by writing more, they think they can stay one step ahead.
Let us tell you one of the most major things we have learnt from working for our clients over the years, that is, when it comes to writing content marketing, don’t focus on quantity over quality.
If you can manage quantity and quality, then that is fine, yet don’t let producing x amount of articles come and the cost of the written work being below par.
Valuable, relevant, and optimised content
Our best recommendation is therefore to write valuable content marketing, that’s relevant to your business and optimised.
So what does this all mean?
Well, the valuable part, that is, you have to put yourself in your customers shoes, will they find the work useful?
Will they after reading think, that helped me, whether it helped them put up a book case, buy a boat, or buy the right mortgage, its all about making the work useful.
Why improve content marketing you’ve already written and published?
Writing content marketing is bit like being on a cycle bike, in that you may have a target you want to hit, lets say 1hr intense cycling, and you don’t want to stop, you want to hit your target.
Well writing content marketing a bit like this, you may have a target, lets say to write 3,000 words per blog post, and to publish once a week. Its just sometimes, a business can writing for the sake of it, just to hit that goal, when in reality what’s needed sometimes is not quantity but quality.
That’s why sometimes a digital marketing agency will go back and need to look over what’s been already written, to improve it.
That’s why this whole article is not about writing new articles, its about improving the ones that are already on your website. As what we think can sometimes happen is articles which have been poorly written, well they can be acting like an anchor on your website, dragging your ranking down.
So that anchor needs to be cut loose, and to do that, we need to improve the existing content marketing on your website.
Weve all heard of optimising, its what seo is all about optimising a website so it ranks higher on Google.
But a term used less often, is re-optimising so lets see what this means:
Google algorithm updates
These days Google’s algorithm updates are all about quality, that is if a business is using white hat methods, and publishing top quality content marketing, then the business will be rewarded.
However, many businesses used duplicated content marketing, scraped, and keyword stuffed content marketing in the past, which is, yes you guessed it the anchor dragging your rankings down.
Even if your search engine optimisation has drastically improved, and lets say your fired your last seo agency for a new one, which now is doing a better job, this work you added say 7 years back, well it could still be damaging your seo, so its time its improved.
Lets face it, if your running a business, and at the start couldn’t afford an seo agency, well you may have been writing all of the blog posts yourself. And you may have been burning the midnight oil, writing say 1,000 words a week, which on your part felt like you making a big effort.
But in reality, if the 1,000 words were complete waffle, that you writing say when you was tired at the end of a busy week, well, it might be these blog posts that need revisiting, and strengthening.
Because they may well be what we call “content thin”.
What does content thin mean?
Well, it simply means lacks substance, is a bit wishy washy, doesn’t have any backbone.
So what we mean by this is, lets say you sell, dog treats, well, someone might want to research what is in say ice cream for dogs.
Now one article may just concentrate on mentioning ice cream for dogs, which is boring to read, bad for seo, and the shopper, well they may come away none the wiser what goes into the ice cream.
Yet another company, well they may explain the ingredients, and then start to go into answering a series of frequently asked questions, regarding dogs ice cream.
Such as, will it hurt the dogs digestion?
And because these are the questions that are frequently asked, regarding dog ice cream, well this written work is likely to be deemed as quality.
And the work that keeps mentioning dog ice cream, but doesn’t really offer any useful advice, well that’s likely to be deem low quality written work, that’s content thin.
what is content cannibalization?
Lets say you run a business, where you build loft conversions for example, its so easy to keep writing content marketing, such as blog posts about the same thing.
That’s to say, you may write a post about “the benefits of having your loft converted” yet then write an article with the same title in 6 months time, then you have content cannibalization, which simply means, you have two pieces of content marketing, which are competing with each other on the same website.
Which can damage your seo, as you will want one page to appear in the serps, not to have two pages about the same thing.
Plus, this can cause confusion to the search engines as well, that’s to say, if the business has two similar pages, well which one should rank higher?
How do you know which pieces of content marketing need improving?
Well, this is a great question, that’s because whether you’re doing the work inhouse, within your company or your outsourcing this work to a marketing agency, there’s only so many hours in the day to do all of this work.
That’s to say if you’ve published over 300 blog posts, well, there’s unlikely to be enough time to improve all of these, and some of the written work might not need improving, it might be perfect the way it is.
This is why you should use Google Analytics to look at which work may need improving
Bounce rates, and engagement time
Using metrics like bounce rate, you can identify which pages shoppers are leaving almost immediately if the bounce rate is high, and the time spent onsite is low.
So what does this mean?
Well in a nutshell, the bounce rate is expressed as a percentage, so if the percentage is say 78%, what this means is that is the percentage that are landing on that page and leaving straight away, there not visiting another page.
If you combine this with time on site, and that page also is only managing to retain a shopper for seconds, then this is a clear indicator that page is not offering what shoppers want for some reason, so then its time to improve the page. It could be something as simple as improving the product description for that page.
This is where the work starts, that is improving the content marketing, you may therefore choose to:
Bring up to date
It could be that a piece of content marketing is simply way out of date, so may wish to spend time updating the statistics with more relevant facts and figures.
You may want to add to the text, as there may well be parts where you can now offer more advice.
You may want to improve by embedding a YouTube video for example.
So its important to remove any duplicated content marketing, you might find that when your on this mission to improve your content marketing, that an seo tool flags some written work that’s duplicated.
Duplicated content marketing could be damaging your companies organic seo, it could be like we described earlier, acting like an anchor to you improving your companies organic search engine optimisation.
So the duplicated content marketing should be removed, and replaced with text that’s unique, that’s well written, and of course white hat.
Sometimes, when you’re just starting a business, you might think well 300 words is enough for a blog post, and to be fair, sometimes for some purposes it is. However, you might find that you could be writing a lot more, and you’re not answering frequently asked questions that some shoppers have, so why not add more detail to old blog posts, and strengthen them, by writing more information which shoppers may useful.
Measure, repeat, improve even more
The thing is this improvement process never really comes to an end, that’s because there’s always going to be another group of direct competitors looking to climb above who ever occupies the top spot on Google.
So, let’s say your number 1 right now on Google, well if you don’t work on holding that position by improving existing work, and adding new work, well, its more than likely going to be taken over by a direct competitor.
So, the point we are trying to make is this, use Google Analytics, and other really good seo tools to improve your content marketing, so here’s some of the statistics you should be monitoring:
A really good piece of content marketing, that’s useful, well written, and helps customers, that will attract something called backlinks. Now in seo, agencies up and down the land still think that backlinks are important, just because Google now has done away with using PageRank, this doesn’t mean that backlinks are still not a very important ranking factor.
So, the point we are trying to make is this, if a piece of content marketing is earning quality links, then this work is helping to improve your websites seo.
If the content marketing is not attracting any backlinks, well, this could be because it needs improving. In a nutshell, you haven’t given other websites enough of a reason to want to link to you. Yet if the information your offering is so good, then they will want to.
Let’s give you an example, just for a second, let’s say you sell mortgages.
And you’ve written a super useful article, explaining how much first-time buyers normally need to obtain a mortgage, now if this article is well written, and let’s say you add a video including a mortgage advisor offering advice, well this blog post may well be so well produced, that you obtain a lot of backlinks.
Organic visitor numbers
You should use Google analytics to look at how many organic visitors each blog post in obtaining.
If the number of organic visitors is low to a blog post, you may want to improve that blog post, and then use Google analytics to see if you are obtaining more visitors, after you have improved it.
Do note that making improvements to your blog posts, this doesn’t mean that overnight that the number of organic visitors is going to sky-rocket, as often it doesn’t, it does take a lot of time and patience before you may start to see improvements.