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Content Evaluation Time Savers

Episode Overview: In the fast-paced, ever changing world of SEO quick decision making matters. Time is a valuable currency; spend too much of it on content optimization and you stand to lose gains in other areas of your content strategy. Join our host Ben as he concludes High Value Content Week with a final discussion on how to best prioritize your time when evaluating and optimizing content with Searchmetrics’ Content Lead Marlon Glover.

Summary:

  • Everchanging priorities and the industry you’re publishing content for is always going to impact the structure of the content evaluation process.
  • Monitoring organic visibility is a foundational strategy to track a domain’s performance over time by analyzing search volume, ranking keywords, relative positions and more.
  • Evergreen content’s volatile nature requires more monitoring and adjustment time to seize favorable opportunities.

GUESTS & RESOURCES:

Ben:                 Welcome back to the last episode of High Value Content Week on the Voices of Search Podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro, and this week we’ve been publishing episodes everyday talking about how you can find and optimize your highest value content. Joining us for the last time for High Value Content Week is Marlon Glover, who is the content team lead at Searchmetrics. Today, Marlon and I are going to wrap up the week by talking about content evaluation and how you can avoid the time suck. But before we hear from Marlon, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. We are an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise scale businesses monitor their online presence and make data driven decisions.

Ben:                 To support you, our loyal podcast listeners, we’re offering a free trial of the Searchmetrics Suite. That’s right. You can now start a trial of both the Searchmetrics SEO Suite and our content experience tool without paying a dime. To start your free trial, head over to searchmetrics.com/free trial. Okay. On with the show, here’s my last conversation with Marlon Glover, content team lead at Searchmetrics. Marlon, happy Friday and welcome back to the last episode of High Value Content Week on the Voices of Search Podcast.

Marlon:            Happy Friday, Ben.

Ben:                 I’m happy we’ve made it this far. I’m sad we came to the end of the road, but we’ve got some great stuff to talk about in terms of not only how to make the most out of your content, but to understand what’s really working with your content evaluation efforts. You and I didn’t necessarily see eye to eye when I asked a question earlier this week and it was how much time should you spend on optimizing your content to help reach its maximum efficiency. For the record, let’s go back and talk to me a little bit about what your philosophy is in terms of how much time you should spend on optimizing content.

Marlon:            Yeah, no. I think there may have been just not necessarily a fundamental disagreement, but just a misinterpretation of the question.

Ben:                 I threw a curve ball at you.

Marlon:            You did throw a curve ball at me. We went down the rabbit hole of how much time should we spend optimizing content and the avenue that I took was how much time should we spend within a specific piece of content, not so much looking at the overall content strategy as a whole. I think that your point is absolutely valid. We optimize content until it’s no longer valuable for us. There’s sort of like three that I’m looking at or three groups of metrics that I’m looking at. Obviously, we’re using our search data, so the search demand or market demand would be the first category, engagement would the second, and the thing that I think resonates with most executives and most decision makers is conversions.

Marlon:            Is this content helping us bring in money for the business? Those are the three things that think in terms of looking at it from the top level is market demand. The question that we always need to be asking is, is there demand for the questions that we’re looking to answer on our website?

Ben:                 Yeah. I hear everything you’re saying and there’s an interesting philosophy here, right? There’s sort of the SEO’s “My work is never done.” I can always optimize a piece of content. I can always make it better. I can always try to get a better signal that I could feed to Google to make sure that this content is seen by them as the best piece of content in the world. On the flip side, the point that I was making is when you’re going through your content evaluation exercise, your priorities are always going to be changing. You can optimize a piece of content to as well as it’s going to make an impact for your business. When you hit that point, you need to focus on another piece of content that has more value.

Ben:                 It gets into this concept of content evaluation structure and how it changes over time. As you think about content evaluation and content editing, how do you think about what to prioritize or what to focus on and what’s your cadence for figuring out if you need to double back and refocus on a piece of content you’re already worked on, or are you constantly working on something new?

Marlon:            Yeah. Again, it goes back to sort of the fundamental approach for even developing a constant strategy. It’s how well are we meeting the market demand or questions that are being asked throughout our entire sales process, right? We can start from the bottom up looking at the content that is toward the bottom of the funnel.

Marlon:            Maybe it’s more along the lines of our kind of purchasing decision type of questions that we’re answering, the content that tends to drive the most conversions or should be driving the most conversions, how well are we performing against those, and then ultimately working our way from the bottom up from conversions to engagement data all the way back up to search data, again, addressing the market demand, how well and what percentage of content do we have, filling each of those questions, each of those stages of the buyer’s journey, and then ultimately determining what is the traffic potential of those questions being asked that are relevant within each stage of our buyer’s journey.

Ben:                 Yeah. Yesterday we talked about content syndication and the process that you’re following is actually very similar to how I think about performance marketing in that when I’m starting a performance marketing campaign for a consultant client, I’m always starting at the bottom of the funnel, right? People that are always the farthest down, something that’s going to drive the most near term revenue. I’m going to focus on people that have abandoned their cart before I start trying to drive new leads because that’s just low hanging fruit, and you work your way up over time to be able to get to the point of doing lead acquisition, right? You want to focus on the people that are most likely going to be buying something or that just need one last nudge to get them over the final threshold.

Ben:                 With content evaluation, those priorities can change over time, as Google’s algorithm changes, as the competition change. How often do you go back and look at the value that you’re driving from previously optimized piece of content? Do you set up a regular schedule, or do you have a system where you’re getting alerts? Just what’s the cadence when you’re looking back at your old content to try to figure out if you should pay more attention to it?

Marlon:            Great question and it’s one that our clients typically ask is at what frequency and at what rate should we be evaluating in refreshing our content? That answer is often determined by the industry of our clients, and then even going a bit further, what does the competition look like for those questions that we’re answering from a Google search perspective? A good example of this is let’s say a skin care company is looking to create content that is much higher up in the funnel around skincare tips on. I may have used this example earlier in this … I think this is a good example. Skincare tips, specific skin care topics are going to be significantly more competitive than others. Competitiveness can often be determined by a few different variables.

Marlon:            One is how frequently is that content being updated? What is the authority of the content and domains that are ranking for a specific topic? How often is this question being searched? How much money is going towards paid around a specific topic? All of those things factor into competitiveness. Now, the higher the competition is for a specific topic is sort of where we think about how often a piece of content should be refreshed or optimized. Again, that’s ultimately determined by how valuable that content is for you.

Ben:                 Yeah. I think the takeaway for me is that obviously it’s very dependent on your industry and the type of content you’re publishing. If you’re launching breaking news content, if you’re a media publisher, going back and optimizing a story about the 1992 election, probably not necessarily going to drive a lot of value, right? You can create the best piece of content and continue to optimize it, but it’s just not something that’s getting incrementally more search volume. If you’re creating evergreen content, you have a piece of content that’s been ranking number one and you dropped down to number two, then it might make sense to go double back and see if there’s anything that you could do to tweak that piece of content.

Ben:                 It really has to do with understanding your business’ goals and the type of content that you’re creating. Is it evergreen? Is there an opportunity, is there search volume? That’s something that, you know, depending on your business, you need to check in on different cadences.

Marlon:            That’s right. Think about evergreen content, certain topics in evergreen content like AI or any tech-based content is evolving so quickly, is changing so rapidly. Oftentimes you see those as being more volatile, and the domain and pages and types of content is ranking for based on how often and how frequent those things are changing and evolving.

Ben:                 Last question before we let you go, in terms of your system for evaluation, is there a dashboard or are there sort of standard KPIs that you’re always looking at? When we think about ongoing content evaluation, what’s the way that you look at the world and what are some of the metrics you think about?

Marlon:            Yeah, sure. Another small plug here for Searchmetrics, but I will say as a previous customer of Searchmetrics turned employee and user of the tool for some of our current clients, we often start with the metric called organic visibility and this helps us track the performance of a domain over time. Organic visibility is a combination of several metrics. Those being all of your ranking keywords and your relative position, those keywords, their search volume, and a few other metrics, like how crowded a certain page is for your ranking keywords. We start there and we try to see if there’s any trends over time in your performance of your domain. Diving a bit further, we’re often looking at the winners and losers, winner and loser keywords.

Marlon:            Do we see any commonalities amongst the keywords that we won our loss in a weekly or monthly basis? Once we’ve sort of isolated winners and losers of those keywords, particularly if we’re talking about evaluating things at refreshing that content, we’re looking at losers. We’re trying to determine if there are other things that may not be factors around just the content words on the page that can be impacting that loss and performance. Once we’ve sort of isolated those things outside of the technical aspects of performance, we’re really looking at a few things. One is the loss in positions of those groups with keywords. We’re looking at changes that may have happened on the search, so are there new videos being added?

Marlon:            I mean, video carousel. There could be things like images that could be impacting our traffic to those pages as well. Then we’re starting to dive into some of the metrics that we’ve also already discussed. We’re trying to determine ultimately what has impacted this performance starting from organic visibility down to loss and common keywords, down to things that may have changed from a Google algorithm perspective, all the way down to engagement metrics and conversion metrics. We’re really trying to diagnose any problems that we’ve seen from a high level down to a very granular level.

Ben:                 Marlon, I think at the end of the day, high value content syndication, high value content optimization is a really important topic. There’s sort of a juxtaposition here of cultivating high value content, doing your keyword research and your SEO content audit, and understanding where you think there’s an opportunity, as opposed to focusing on the pieces of content that you already have that you know are performing and try to get them to perform even better. The evaluation tools and the cadence and all the syndication that goes into making that content shine whichever direction you go is something that’s going to change over time.

Ben:                 That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to have you on the show to talk about your system for optimizing content and get your thoughts. I really appreciate you coming on the show and sharing your thoughts with us and the community. Thanks for helping all of the Searchmetrics’ clients have their content shine as well.

Marlon:            Yeah. Thank you for having me, Ben. It’s been a pleasure.

Ben:                 Okay. That wraps up High Value Content Week on the Voices of Search Podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Marlon Glover, content team lead at Searchmetrics. We’d love to continue this conversation with you. If you’re interested in contacting Marlon, you can find the link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes or you can send him a tweet. His Twitter handle is Marlon_Glover. If you have general marketing questions, if you want to talk to me about this podcast or if you’re interested in being a guest on the show, you can find my contact information in our show notes, or you could send me a tweet at BenJShap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P.

Ben:                 If you’re interested in learning more about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic, online visibility, or to gain competitive insights, head on over to searchmetrics.com/freetrial for your test run of our SEO Suite and our content experience platform. If you like this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app and we’ll be back with you next week. Okay. That’s it for today and that’s it for High Value Content Week. But until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.