Produce content with high search engine results
If you create great content, distribute it across appropriate channels consistently, but you still are not getting the traffic you expect, it is probably time you faced facts: If the content you produce does not appear on the first relevant search query results page, the audience you are targeting may not be aware it exists.
However, just because your audience has not been finding your content, it does not mean you need to start over. Chances are content you have already created still has value — and by utilizing a few simple methods, you can save it from disappearing without a trace.
Here are some hints and tips to ramp-up your optimization efforts.
Identify what exactly is causing your SEO to sink
When you consider all of the contextual and semantic factors that affect rankings in search engines, SEO can become intimidating and complex. It is understandable some brands go after search success by consistently churning out content and stuffing it with keywords. However, this method is going to place strain on your resources and time, and it may not increase traffic online to your business.
Before taking any steps, it is worthwhile to check for easy fixes. Any of the following simple mistakes may be keeping content you create from placement on a first-page SERP:
Unintentionally duplicated content: Poor tagging, syndication, or an incorrectly set up CMS can result in the generation of multiple URLs for the same content leading to Google flagging it.
Slow page-loading times: According to customer analytics platform Kissmetrics, even one-second’s delay in the speed of a page loading can lead to a reduction in conversion by up to 7%. By making a reduction in the number of resources needed for the processing of non-essential scripts, files and images on a page may give your content the hit of caffeine it needs for boosting its rankings.
Poor HTML: If the content you produce is not categorized appropriately, lacks meta-descriptions that are informative, features broken links, or is suffering from other coding problems, Google cannot accurately measure the page’s relevance to search queries.
Mobile unfriendliness: According to cloud-based platform Moovweb, sites that are mobile-friendly dominate the highest rankings on Google SERPs — something that makes sense considering studies have found almost 60% of searches online are now being conducted on mobile devices.
Five steps to boost your traffic
Once you have overcame the most obvious of the traffic traps, you can expect to see improvement in the performance for new content you publish. However if you want to make larger gains in your organic search rankings, you need to do what you can to help your existing assets work harder for you.
That is where a semantic keyword strategy and content gap analysis can work. To gain a better understanding of the content you have, how it corresponds with your business objectives, and how to place your keywords to increase the relevance of the content, you can improve the ranking of your content and drive more traffic to your business.
Here is the process we recommend to accomplish this:
Step one – audit all of your content
It is not easy to keep track of every single piece of content created by your business, especially if you have been producing it for some time or distribute content on multiple platforms. A systematic content audit will provide you with a clear idea of:
- Which content you should focus on promoting
- Which content need to be replaced or updated
- What gaps in terms of topics you may need to plug with fresh content
- Where are the best opportunities for you to increase competitive rankings and grow your keyword footprint
How it is done: Undertaking a comprehensive content audit can be immensely valuable to your business on various levels but the process can be very involved. To make it more manageable we suggest you use onsite SEO tools (for example Screaming Frog) to obtain a snapshot view. After crawling your site with the tool, sort out the information it provides you and review your highest-level pages, looking at the following variables:
- Pages that performed well and would be likely to retain their impact and relevance if you republished them
- Pages that can be easily updated or freshened
- Content you should remove or replace because it does not match your target audience or your strategy
- Pages that have missing code, broken links, or other errors that need repairing
- Pages that need to be redirected in order to drive traffic to more relevant content
Step two – undertake a rankings audit
A rankings audit is similar to a content audit and helps you stock-take your assets. Specifically, you need to look at which pages rank reasonably well in general, where your pages with the highest-conversion rates rank on relevant SERPs, and which search terms contribute to those rankings. Tools like Google Search Cosnsole, SEMRush, AuthorityLabs and Moz can assist you in this process.
Step three – research keywords and ideation
The difference between the success and the failure of content marketers often comes at the ideation stage. This is the stage where you analyze information you collect regarding popular search topics and terms, and then tailor your findings with your optimization goals.
Step four – explore the potential in proof terms and semantic terms
When your ideation research has revealed keyword opportunities and content gaps for your business, you will likely discover some pages of content to focus on in your optimization efforts.
According to Moz, more than 70% of traffic you get to a page comes from keywords you did not optimize. If the most important content pages on your site are not ranking as they should be, it is worth looking at the lesser terms that may help strengthen the contextual relevance of the pages.
Step five – optimize and enhance your priority pages
You can also optimize your performance in searches by the addition of new content or refreshing existing page content to make it more accurate, timely, detailed, or in tune with user intent.
There are three things to consider when making page enhancements:
- Refresh: keep the URL intact, but update the page’s contents — add fresh text, backlinks, or images
- Reposition: keep the URL and copy, but rewrite the title to focus on your target keyword
- Consolidate: if your top page needs more than just minor additions or updates, create a new page of content for your target keyword. To ensure your new page (and its new URL) will not compete for traffic with your original page, use a 301 redirect on the original page.
After you have applied these processes to your pages, you will want to measure and benchmark the impact of these processes on your organic search traffic. Track these key performance indicators (KPIs):
- Organic traffic to improved pages
- Organic traffic to all pages
- Engagement metrics, including bounce rate, average session duration, and conversions
- Number of additional semantic keywords
While organic rankings may not show improvement for every page, you should see improvement overall.
Search success not always about the creation of new content. By identifying and plugging the SEO holes in your existing content and expanding your keyword footprint, you stand a good chance of taking rankings share and gaining more ROI from everything you publish.