Great content attracts more visitors to your site. And more visitors on your site means more conversions and sales. Simple, right?
Creating content that attracts a lot of web traffic is anything but simple, and it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) end once you’ve hit publish. There’s still much work to do in terms of promoting and building authority into the page, if you want it to receive the attention that your hard work deserves.
Who are you writing for?
It is well understood that Google has the ability to determine what quality content looks like using its index, but it can be forgotten that the audience you are writing for is even more intuitive, and understand quality when they see it.
If you are to attract more traffic via the content you publish, you’re going to have to work hard to impress the search engines AND your target audience. The advice has always been, and will likely always be ‘write for humans and the search engines will catch up’.
Let’s get some of the obvious stuff out of the way:
- Research your topic to within an inch of its life – you need to know your stuff – it is blatantly obvious when you don’t. Great content needs great research; that’s nothing new. Before choosing your topic, make sure to research it. Read the first page on Google’s SERP and learn what other websites, bloggers, and industry publications have already covered on the topic and make your content 10x better.
How? Reference more recent studies, news articles, quote industry leaders and be sure you’re offering something new to the discussion (a unique insight, study or opinion).
Optimise your content – all the standard work still applies: keep the URL short, create a meta description that will entice users to click through, break down the text into paragraphs, create a solid page title, use compelling headlines, and avoid long, wordy sentences. Yoast SEO includes The Flesch reading ease score in its readability analysis for content. The Flesch reading score looks at two aspects of your text; how the amount of words relates to the amount of sentences, and how the amount of syllables relates to the amount of words. Yoast SEO recommends that content should be easily understood by a 13-15 year old.
Use impressive visuals – not all content is written. Spice it up by demonstrating an idea from your article visually with a data-driven infographic. Film a supporting video or podcast that pulls your written information together into a more digestible, visual medium.
Spellcheck and proofread – silly little errors can just make things look amateurish. It’s always worth utilising free tools like Grammarly, Hemingway, or Ginger before publishing your work.That said, there are plenty of issues that aren’t quite so obvious, but have a huge effect on the amount of traffic your content will generate.
Understand your goals
Never go into a piece of content without understanding its goal.
You need to be aware of what you want to achieve with the piece: who is going to read it? What are they going to do after they have read it?
Are you trying to provide information that helps out the reader and positions your brand as an expert? Or is this purely a piece designed to sell a product?
Yes, we’ve got the goal of getting more traffic, but drill deeper: what kind of traffic do you want landing on this page?
Google’s algorithms are so complex, the amount of content being created means that you’ll never get any traction without finding a niche and providing something of value to that niche.
Tell a story
You need to engage your reader. The best way to do that is by telling a story with your content. Businesses so often make the mistake of talking too much about themselves. For most readers and potential customers, this really isn’t interesting.
|“It’s about finding the right balance of providing quality content through the various mediums and touch points with prospects and customers in the right amount. Since the content should always be of high quality and relevance to the user, it’s more about finding the right moment to become successful.”|
Great web content doesn’t put the business at the centre of the story: that position is saved for the reader. Try to understand where on the ‘customer journey’ your specific reader is, and cater that piece of content around them.
And make sure their story is easy to digest: screenshots, quotes, images, videos, memes. These all help to break up the story, and provide reference points.
How to get quality backlinks
Google’s mantra has always been to provide content that is so good it attracts natural backlinks, and that is always the best policy. However, it can be frustrating if you’ve published a masterpiece – but no one sees it, as the page doesn’t rank. A criminal waste of time, effort and a good read for your audience.
There’s no escaping it, your website needs authority in order for your content to reach its audience. One blog in isolation is unlikely to get noticed, however, as part of a high quality series, each with natural, topically relevant backlinks – the traffic and authority will increase over time.
Getting top quality backlinks in 2021 is much easier said than done. We’d recommend working with link building professionals (and we’re very good at it too, if you’re asking) but if you’re going it alone, be aware that building relationships is everything.
At Hive19, the reason we’re able to get exceptionally high quality links for our clients is because we’ve spent many years perfecting the methodology, whilst also creating contacts across many industries. Building authority for your website in 2021 is no mean feat.
You must first identify where the client sits in the landscape against its competitors, and then understand the correlation between authority and relevance for each publication opportunity. That’s the science, the art is then in understanding what makes each individual website within a niche tick, and how to cater for them. Horses for courses, they say… and just like racehorses, it requires a lot of time and effort to enjoy the fruits of our labour.
Think about what Google considers important
Google announced its Core Web Vitals update, which will hit the search results in May 2021. These are three key metrics that are going to influence the algorithm and ranking significantly, which could impact many site owner’s ability to rank content in the SERPs.
The three metrics of Core Web Vitals have fancy names, but they actually represent simple concepts:
- (LCP) Largest Contentful Paint, effectively how long a page takes to load.
- (CLS) Cumulative Layout Shift, the visual stability of the page.
- (FID) First Input Delay, how long before the page is interactive.
When it comes to attracting traffic, you need to consider LCP and CLS as vital metrics for the content you create (it’s not that FID isn’t important, it just isn’t important here).
LCP is affected by the aspects of the page that take a long time to load – typically images, although it can also relate to more technical issues such as lazy coding or excessive HTTP requests. A page with fast LCP will load in under 2.5 seconds, and anything over 4 seconds is bad.
CLS measures the visual stability, or how much the page jumps around as the content loads. This can be affected again by image loading, or issues with adverts and scripts. You’re looking for a CLS under 0.1 to be considered good under Google’s guidelines.
But how does this affect whether you’re attracting more people to your content? Again, it comes down to what kind of content Google likes to rank highly. Strong figures in Core Web Vitals imply a page that visitors are going to prefer. You will be able to improve the ranking of pieces of content simply by improving your scores in these metrics.
Consider search intent before you target keywords
When you think about creating content, you need to think of your target audience first. But it’s still the case that your audience is only going to find you if you play by the rules of the search engines.
That means you need to think about the queries that readers are going to search in order to find your content, and how to optimise for them.
The traditional method of creating content that attracts traffic is to find out what readers are searching for and to then publish content that serves that need; providing information or answering questions.
But this is forgetting the importance of the search intent behind a query. For example, the term ‘birthday cake’ has an estimated 71,000 monthly searches.
You might assume, then, that creating a fantastic resource about the types of birthday cake you can find might be an effective piece of content.
The truth is that if you Google ‘birthday cake’, you’ll find that the top results are a mixture of three things:
- Cakes to purchase
- Recipes for cakes to make for yourself
- Images of stunning cakes by professionals
Google is choosing to present those pages to their audience, in the order that best suits the likelihood of the search intent. The recipe hunter is not interested in purchasing from a supermarket, and likewise the searcher looking to be wowed by sugar sculpted character cakes would just like images to marvel at.
It can get much subtler, so it’s really important to check the kind of terms that you’re optimising for and make sure that you are creating the same type of content that Google likes to display for those terms.
It is always the case that Google can change its mind about the intent behind a particular search term and this will make the results look very different. As such, you might need to update your content with regard to these changes.
Eleven Content Curation Tools for Marketers
Digital marketers, content writers, and SEOs will all have their favourite methods and tools for content ideation and curation. But if you’re using them all the time, after a while they will start throwing out the same ideas, and you can get stuck in a content rut. If you’ve gleaned all you can from the People Also Ask boxes and need a tool offering something a little different from BuzzSumo, there are actually a huge range of tools and techniques you can use to get great ideas for content.
Landing Page Report on Google Analytics
Perhaps one of the best – and most often overlooked – sources for content curation can be found in your own Google Analytics.
It should be stated, of course, that this tool is only really useful if you already have traffic coming into your site. But with that said, the information here is as relevant and useful as it can get.
The Landing Page Report feature in GA allows you to see which of your pages and blogs are the most popular. This is direct insight into the kind of content that your audience enjoys and wants more of.
The report is very simply accessed through GA – open up the menu and choose the ‘Landing Pages’ option under the Site Content section.
Comments on your blog
Once again, this one only really applies if you already have a significant amount of content on your site and are regularly getting good numbers visiting and commenting.
The key here is to recognise that the comments on your blogs can offer a goldmine of ideas for content.
Whether your audience are asking questions, adding information or simply discussing the topics further, the blog comments can reveal useful ideas that can easily be turned into powerful content.
Ahrefs Content Explorer
The first paid tool on this list: Ahrefs Content Explorer. On the surface it does seem quite similar to Buzzsumo – but at Hive19, we make use of it all the time. Here’s why:
Content Explorer has a number of handy features that make it really useful for gathering new content ideas that could form the basis of your content strategy.
These features allow you to do things from searching for content that has success in the rankings for the most competitive keywords and the highest cost per click (CPC).
Another interesting option allows you to search only for broken links. This will mean that you can search for the content that was once converting at a very high rate, but now is inaccessible.
Facebook Ad Library
Another rich source of good ideas is the Facebook Ad Library. This tool allows you to search for a term and see the adverts that are currently promoted on Facebook.
How does this help? Well, companies will only tend to put advertising into content that performs at a high level.
Look for ads that specifically direct viewers to a piece of content. It can be a real goldmine of proven ideas that can add a lot of value to your site.
Google image search tags
This one is a simple idea, but it can work wonders when you are looking for popular topics that are going to be genuinely relevant to your audience. The only tool here is Google image search, but it’s an effective one.
Search for a broad topic that you are interested in creating content for. Now look for the tags that Google suggests regarding the most popular images.
These tags are the terms that are most commonly related to the topic. This means that you can simply combine the broad topic with each tag to give rise to a more specific subject area that your audience is interested in.
Reddit Keyword Research Tool
Another good tool is the Reddit Keyword Research Tool which makes use of the content on Reddit to provide ideas for content.
Simply search for a popular sub-Reddit in the topic that you are interested in, and the tool will create a list of popular subjects and key phrases most often found in that sub-Reddit.
It even pulls in Google Keyword Planner monthly search volume data, which makes it very easy to see which of these topics are going to be good to go ahead with.
This one is a little different. Product Hunt is a curation of the best new products on the market. Users can find the latest mobile apps, websites, and technology products that everyone’s talking about.
It is not necessarily a good idea to create content about these products, but rather look a little further. What problems are these popular products solving – and which niches are growing in popularity?
Rework existing content
Not all ideas have to be completely new ideas. Reworking some of your existing content and then relaunching it can be very effective.
It may be that you have existing content that has slipped out-of-date, or perhaps there was a piece of content that you thought was good, but never got traction.
If you have a large bank of content, it is likely that some of it can be reworked.
We know we gently yanked your chain in the earlier paragraph, but we love you really, BuzzSumo. This tool is something of a cliché in content ideation for a good reason; it’s simple to use and it provides great results.
Simply type in a topic you want article ideas for and BuzzSumo will find all of the top content around that idea – based on metrics like how much social media engagement these posts get, and how many backlinks they are attracting.
The YouTube channels of your competitors
Another simple way to get more ideas for content that has been proven to be successful in your industry niche is analysing your competitors’ YouTube channels.
Get a list of your competitors – those who are most likely to have an audience that is similar to yours – and take a look at their YouTube channels. You can sort by their most popular videos and take inspiration for your next ideas.
Explore popular podcasts
If you are looking for a source of popular content ideas in your industry, another great place to look is in popular podcasts. Sometimes overlooked, podcasts are a rich source of information from people who have put a lot of work into getting them to market. Scan through the episodes of popular podcasts in your niche (you don’t need to listen to all of them) and check the titles for ideas that have made it to an actual discussion.
Generating more traffic won’t happen by accident, or overnight (in most cases). It takes strategy and dedication to become an authority within your niche. Targeting a specific audience, creating stunning content and having a website that Google deems relevant for the search terms your audience are using.
This can be a daunting task for business owners or marketing managers with a million and one other things on the to-do list – and is why it is often much more cost efficient to work with an expert to deliver this. At Hive19, we specialise in creating powerful content campaigns that drive authority, topical relevance and traffic for our clients.
To find out how we could help your business reach its audience through targeted content marketing, contact us today.