Talking Content Marketing meets up with Andy Crestodina to discuss the topic of search (and being found).
Andy is the co-founder of Orbit Media, an award winning, 35-person web design company in Chicago. He is a big believer in being helpful and teaching others how to create helpful, useful content that attracts awareness and customers to their businesses. Andy has produced hundreds of articles on content marketing. He is also the author of Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing.
Six questions, six answers lets look a bit deeper at being the best answer to someone else.
You are credited as saying ‘When creating content, be the best answer on the internet.’ Is this the truest essence of search?
I’m not sure I was the first to say that, but it is absolutely the key to search engine marketing. Imagine you were an engineer on the search team at Google. Your job is to deliver relevance. So everything you do is intended to help people find the best answer to their questions. It’s your total focus.
Keep that in mind as you create search-optimized content. Suddenly, you realize: if it’s not the best answer to that question, why would it rank? If it’s not, it doesn’t deserve to rank. It shouldn’t rank.
But if it is the best answer to the question, the best solution to the problem, now Google is your partner. You’re working together to help people. That’s the attitude you should bring to search optimization. Don’t try to trick a robot. Try to help people by partnering with Google and being the best answer.
Is a vital ingredient of content that is seen, is initially investing time into finding key phrases that are relevant to the content we create?
Yes. Before you invest time in making a great piece of content, you should check the demand for the topic through a bit of keyword research. You should also check the competition and see if you have a chance of ranking at all.
This extra effort is one of the best investments of time you can make as a content marketer. I usually spend 10-15 minutes doing this before I begin writing. It’s difference in results is huge. But it’s a skill and it takes practices. Here are my best keyword research tips for growing targeted traffic. Just follow those steps and you’ll be in good shape.
Where do you go to find key phrases? What tools do you use?
I use one set of tools to find ideas and another set to research phrases once I’ve picked out a topic. For the first set, we recently blogged about this with a post called What to Blog About, which lists 13 different tools for finding your inspiration. Some of those sources of topics have a natural advantage in search.
Once you’ve found your topic, there are two main tools for picking the phrase. The first is the Google Keyword Planner. That will give you search volume (demand). The second tool is MOZbar, which will show you the domain authority of the high ranking pages (competition). Every target keyphrase should be a balance of those two criteria. It should answer yes to both questions:
- Are people looking for this topic?
- Do I have a chance of ranking for it?
If either of the answers is no, the SEO effort will be wasted. You may still want to write the post, but don’t expect to get traction in search.
Do businesses need to consider more about continuing the visitor journey, once they’ve arrived to our site, to places beyond the initial visit ie. sign up, other articles?
Absolutely. All the traffic in the world doesn’t help you if your conversion rate is zero. The content should pull people in, but the web design needs to inspire them to act, becoming a newsletter subscriber or lead.
Here’s a diagram from a post about lead generation best practices that shows the ideal visitor journey through the site.
A huge percentage of visitors comes just to answer their questions, learn more and find out how they can help themselves. But some small percentage will go deeper, discovering how the business can solve the problem for them. Some small percentage will take action. That’s the conversion rate. That’s where the money is.
It may seem strange to work so hard to attract so many visitors who may never become a lead. But where there’s traffic, theirs hope! If you never publish that useful content and never attract that large group of visitors, there is no hope that you’ll generate subscribers and leads.
Should our websites be structured in a much more descriptive way, rather than thinking the ‘about us’ and ‘news’ pages will ensure credibility and being found?
Yes, the job of the web designer is to make sure the site communicates quickly and clearly. The website navigation is an important place to do this. Visitors look to the navigation not only to see where to go, but to see where they are. So it’s a place to be descriptive about the products or services.
That means that navigation labels such as “products” and “services” are missed opportunities. It would be better to use labels such as “cat food” or “dog washing” …assuming those are your products or services!
There are hundreds of millions of websites with navigation that looks just like this “Home, About, Services, Blog, Contact” Why be one of those?
What excites you about the world of marketing in 2015?
I’m excited about a trend I’m seeing lately: fewer, better blog posts. A lot of marketers are starting to recommend a reduced frequency of longer, higher-quality articles. This is excellent for search, for visitors and for the internet in general. There are already millions of posts published per day. Does the web really need another medium-quality post on a general topic? I don’t think so.
Huge thanks to Andy for his insights and to take away a big heap of useful content. Here are some other spaces to find out more from Andy.
The Orbit Blog: click here
The Content Chemistry Handbook: click here
Andy on Twitter: click here