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Identifying High Value Content

Episode Overview: In a vast sea of content, it’s easy for high-value content to get lost and sink below the waves. Join Ben as he kicks off High Value Content Week with Searchmetrics’ very own Content Lead Marlon Glover to discuss how to identify and elevate your high-potential content with essential strategies and how to seize key opportunities to separate your content from the competition.

Summary:

  • Identifying existing content with potential begins with understanding your customer’s current needs; their goals, general interests, pain points and demands.
  • As you evaluate high-value content, it’s important to analyze your competition, the additional content out there related to your piece of content and to evaluate the authority of ranked competitors to identify, discover and enhance specific elements of your content that sets it apart from the competition. 

GUESTS & RESOURCES:

Ben:                  Welcome to high value content week on the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro. This week we’re going to publish an episode every day talking about how you can find and optimize your highest value content. Joining us for high value content week is Marlon Glover, who is the content team lead here at Searchmetrics. Today Marlon is going to walk us through how to identify new potential high value content.

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 and 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/freetrial.

All right, onto the show. Here is my conversation with Mr. Marlon Glover, content team lead at Searchmetrics. Mr. Marlon Glover, welcome to high value content week on the Voices of Search podcast.

Marlon:            Hey Ben. Thanks for having me. It’s been awhile.

Ben:                   I’ve got to say, I’ve probably said this before on a podcast, but every time I hear your name I think of the shaggy song, Mr. Lover, Lover, and I want to just say Mr. Marlon Glover.

Marlon:            Mr. Glover, Glover.

Ben:                    Good to have you today.

Marlon:            Nah, thanks man.

Ben:                   We’re off to a raging start already. Hey look, we’re talking about how to make the most out of your content and figuring out which stuff actually matters and where you should invest your time. Let’s start off with how do you identify content that has potential when you’re either launching new content or you have some content that’s been sitting there that hasn’t really performed, but you feel like there’s an opportunity, how to figure out what content hasn’t really made a Mark that can.

Marlon:            That’s’ a great question, Ben. We actually get that a lot, particularly this time of year as folks are planning their 2020 budget and how they should be allocating time and dollars towards content. The one thing that I typically like to do when we are addressing this question is I typically toss it back to the client and ask how well do you understand your customers today? How well do we understand their demand for questions that are being asked in search. Typically looking at their unique, you know, whether they have various personas, but those individuals, personas, pains, tasks, goals, and just general interests.

For me it begins with looking at the customer demand. Now I know we tend to gravitate towards how is our existing concept performing in as great and that’s absolutely a part of the process. But oftentimes I like to do a quick pulse, a quick check to see based on a topic, what are our customers are demanding and looking at the different variations and semantic associations around different topics. Then I may look at other sources that those customers are using to learn around those same interests, pains, tasks, and goals.

Ben:                    What I’m hearing is, look, you’re going to understand your customers. Hey, marketing 101, who are you actually going after and what are they looking for? Talk to me about how you’re actually figuring that out other than going and talking to your customers and asking them directly. There has to be some search tools to understand demand for a specific segment of people you’re looking at. Walk me through that process.

Marlon:            Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Many of the customers that come to us, the ones that are more progressive, they typically have done some sort of persona research. They understand the different types of customers that are either buying from them directly or are influencing those buying decisions. They understand some of the unique nuances and their day to day. That’s a great starting point. Based off of those habits, based off of their affinity, what types of things are they looking for? We take that information, and we start plugging into our database here at Searchmetrics. I am a bit biased in using this tool of course, given that I work at Searchmetrics, but I will …

Ben:                    They pay your bills. They pay my bills too.

Marlon:             Yeah, they pay the bills. I was privy to using the technology prior to joining the company, as I mentioned in the prior podcast. All that said is that I’m looking at it two stems. One is based on existing data that clients have on their customers, whether it be through persona based research or interviews with the sales team to understand what topics are coming up in conversations throughout the sales process, what are some stem words that we can use to pull data from our database that can be, a good example of that is let’s say we have a client selling makeup products. We know that skincare tips as a topic that typically comes up with this particular client. What we’re looking to do is pull all of the information related to skincare tips and then all of the semantic associations around those particular keywords.

That’s one stem. The second stem is, so again, pertaining to those four areas that we’re looking at around those customers are the other sources. I think of these as our unknown competitors, may not be the folks that you directly compete with on a day-to-day, but other folks that may be creating content around those same pains, tasks, goals and interests and just essentially pulling all of the data, data being those keywords that they’re ranking for and then we begin grouping those and categorize those in a way that makes sense for us from a business perspective.

Ben:                    Yeah, so it makes sense to me that you’re doing this process of understanding your customers, getting the questions people are asking, trying to create content around that and then looking for the the words that are related to those topics. When you’re looking at your existing content and you’re trying to see where there is an opportunity, “Hey look, I’ve already written a thousand blog posts. Some of them perform great. Some of them don’t feel like there’s this concept of like I wrote a piece of content around skincare. I know that there’s high demand for skincare with my customer base. With it, there’s a plenty of demand in search, but my content isn’t performing.” That’s a high opportunity piece of content. How do you think about figuring out where you have opportunity to optimize the existing content you’ve already written, so you’re not constantly producing new content?

Marlon:              Yeah, that’s great. So actually go through the same process with our existing content. So once I’ve done that first primary step of looking at the market, then I’m pulling all of our data around the existing ranking keywords for our existing content. I’m doing a couple of things. One is I will aggregate all of the keywords by page, so you take a URL and you total the amount of keywords, the quantity of keywords that that page is ranked you for, total search volume, the total amount of traffic. For those that aren’t familiar out there with sort of dynamic CTR models around the different positions that your page could be ranking for and can Google, there’s some pretty good models out there. For me, I tried to take a conservative approach. I may say that, “Hey, for this given page, let’s say is ranking for one keyword, right?” Which typically never happen. That page is ranking on the bottom of page 10 and the SERP results. We know that at the bottom of page one, that page will garner 1% of that traffic. At 5,000 searches per month we can anticipate 50 clicks to that site.

Now typically we like to look at your conversion rates from your organic traffic to understand how you perform within the market for your content. Typically we can say that 2% of the traffic that you receive from an organic search result will convert into a potential lead or whatever conversion tools that you have on your site. We can get down into the weeds of predictive analytics and predictive measurement of performance content.

One approach when we’re looking at existing content on your site is we’re taking all of the existing pages, we’re looking at the total sum of traffic for those pages there. We’re even looking at things like average position of those pages, looking at a weighted average. Then we can get pretty detailed in terms of predicting how much estimated traffic you will be getting from those pages if they were optimized for any position on a page.

Ben:                     Here’s what I get is that I could look at any given page on my site, say I’m currently in position 100. If I get to position 10, I’m going to have a net positive gain of 5,000 searches. I think that’s going to have a 1% click through rate. That’s going to be 50 clicks to my site. Now I can figure out revenue. I think the missing part that I don’t understand is okay, if I get from page 100 to page one how much effort do I have to put into that page and is it worth optimizing this piece of content? There’s a large opportunity but there also could be a large cost and understanding how much effort goes into optimizing so you could figure out where to focus. How do you balance. There is a good potential opportunity cause there’s lots of search. I can actually get this page to a point where it is relevant in search.

Marlon:             Yes, so there’s other attributes that we’re also looking at is things like competition. Once we’ve identified that that page has potential at a glance looking at the estimated traffic based on all of this ranking keywords, we also want to take a little bit of a closer look to see which keywords are relevant and then out of those terms that are relevant, how competitive are those terms. We use a score from one to 100 taking into account the other pages that are ranking for this particular search query, how often is this content updated for the search query based on the top performing URLs for it, how authoritative are the sites that are ranking for this search query, how much other spoke or ancillary content around this particular topic may exist around, is this one of the top performing pages.

Then I’m also looking at bestowing a human test. I want to take a look at the content on that page to see what other elements exist on this page that we may not be including in ours that over time we can build to make this piece more comprehensive.

Ben:                    At the end of the day when you’re looking at identifying an existing piece of content, there’s a couple of different things that you mentioned. First off, I’m talking to my customers and trying to figure out what their needs are. I should be building content around that period. Full stop. Talk to your customers about what they’re interested in. When you’re identifying what content that you’ve already created has an opportunity, you’re not only looking at what the potential gains are from if you’re able to get up into a higher position, you’re also looking at the amount of competition, you’re looking at the ancillary content related to that specific piece of content, you’re looking at the authority of the people that are ranking and you’re doing a sniff test on that page to see if there’s something else you can be doing.

You’re using the Searchmetrics Suite to do all of this. You’re a content expert. Last question for you today. For the people who aren’t using the Searchmetrics Suite, you should be, we now offer a free trial or are not content experts, you should talk to Marlon, what do you advise they do to complete this process if you’re don’t have access to a tool like the Searchmetrics Suite?

Marlon:           Well first, let me say, it will be really difficult.

Ben:                   It took you 10 to 15 years of experience to figure out how to do this.

Marlon:           No, I mean, I think it’s all possible through, just a little bit of elbow grease and getting your hands dirty out there. What I typically like to do is, you know all those points that you succinctly summarize can be accomplished by typing a search into Google, typing in the topic that you want to rank for and Google looking at the top performing pages. I would even group those pages into the first three, then the following five and so on and so forth. I want to look at the top three performing pages. Then I want to look at the following pages and understand what are some of the commonalities that exist amongst these top pages and how can we improve the content that we’ve identified, so content may be using our Google analytics, using our search console, things that’s performed for us well in the past. I often look at Google trends. Of course, I’m supplementing all of that with Searchmetrics technology. I would love to have a free trial if I wasn’t a current customer.

I will say overall there are tools, there are free tools out there that, that anyone could use to do this. What we want to take a look at is what Google is rewarding and the search results for questions that we like to rank for and ultimately try to make sure that we’re closing the gap between where we are and where the top pages are in their content creation.

Ben:                 The quick and dirty is if you don’t have access to the Searchmetrics Suite and a content expert like Marlon, you got to look at what pages are already ranking and see what’s on those pages and see if you can add the content components you’re missing on your page like the people are ranking. Make sure it fits your brand. Make sure it’s in line with your content. If Google is rewarding images or videos or longer format text or bulleted text or whatever it is and you don’t have that on your pages, that’s the potential way to identify and boost your high value content.

Okay, that’s a good stopping point for today. That wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Marlon Glover, content team lead here at Searchmetrics. We’d love to continue the conversation with you. If you’re interested in contacting Marlon, you can find the link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can contact him on Twitter where his handle is, Marlon_Glover, or you can of course reach out to him through the Searchmetrics website. Have you have general marketing questions, or if you’d like 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 can shoot me a Tweet at BenJShap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P.

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 over to searchmetrics.com/freetrial for a test run of the Searchmetrics SEO Suite and content experience platform. If you liked 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 in your feed tomorrow morning to discuss how to evaluate the opportunity to optimize your existing high value content. Okay, that’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.