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Using Data to Optimize Content for Each Stage of the Funnel

Episode Overview

Welcome to the fifth and final episode of Content Optimization Week on the Voices of Search Podcast. In this episode we’ll be reviewing the topics we discussed earlier in the week while diving into the data and tools that you can use to optimize your entire content marketing strategy. Join Ben and our special guest, Marlon Glover, Content Services Team Lead at Searchmetrics as they dive into the gathering and utilization of data to optimize your content funnel.

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Episode Transcript

Ben:                 Welcome back to Content Optimization Week on the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro, and this week we’re going to publish an episode every day talking about what you need to know to optimize every stage of your content marketing funnel. Joining us for content optimization week is Marlon Glover, who is the content services team lead here at Searchmetrics. Marlin is responsible for shepherding Searchmetrics’s largest, and most strategic clients to content marketing success. Today we’re going to wrap up content optimization week by reviewing some of the topics that we’ve discussed, and talking about the data and tools that you can use to optimize your entire content marketing strategy.

Ben:                 But before we get started, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. We’re an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise scale businesses monitor their online presence and make data-driven decisions. To support you, our loyal podcast listeners, we’re offering a complimentary consultation. A member of our digital strategies group will provide you with a consultation that reviews how your website content and SEO strategies can all be optimized. To schedule your free consultation, go to Okay, here is the last installment of content optimization week with Marlon Glover, Searchmetrics’s content services team lead.

Ben:                 Marlon, happy Friday and welcome back to content optimization week on the Voices of Search podcasts.

Marlon:            Happy Friday, Ben.

Ben:                 It’s great to connect, and it’s time for us to recap and land the plane. As we think back on this stages that we’ve discussed in terms of content marketing, what are the overarching themes that you can think of that helped SEOs understand how to optimize content across building awareness, across building consideration, and across driving people through the purchase funnel, and then retaining those customers?

Marlon:            Sure. When we look at the data to understand the performance of our content and our potential clients content, we’re looking at a few things to determine. What are the symptoms, causes, and solutions for helping them steal those content gaps. The first thing that we’re looking for is, you can look at it at a micro level for each individual piece, or you can look at each segment, but we’re looking to understand, one, is that continent visible in search, right? Does it have low to no ranking for non-branded keywords in the earliest stages of the funnel. If it’s experiencing some of those issues, there’s likely some problems that we need to solve before we even talk about content strategy. That’s when I pull my SEO friends over into the conversation and have them really try to diagnose what could be some underlying problems for their content’s lack of performance. It could also be just a general lack of good content targeting or SEO keyword targeting for those pieces.

Marlon:            Those are some of the things that we’re looking for before we move over into the next stage of assessing some potential gaps in content strategy. The other thing that we’re looking for is, let’s say a piece of content or a category of content is visible in search, but is not producing the amount of traffic that it should be based off of the search volume that then the keywords that that content is targeting. Then we’re looking at some commonalities, common causes of that. Things like poor title tags, or from a content strategy standpoint, maybe there’s a little to no understanding of customer goals, pains, tasks, maybe the content doesn’t match the user intent, and that could be impacting the click rate from that content appearing in search.

Marlon:            From there, if everything is going well there, then we’re looking at engagement metrics, right? Low engagement metrics can mean maybe their slow page loading time. Again, I’m pulling my friends over in SEO to kind of help diagnose some of the potential issues there. Maybe the content just isn’t engaging. Maybe it’s poorly written. Sometimes that’s a real fact that we have to address. We could be working with other agencies that may be let the ball drop, maybe if there’s poor UI and overall UX. Those are kind of three potential causes that could be producing low engagement metrics.

Marlon:            Then lastly, for each individual piece of content, if the intent of the content is to drive more conversions, a conversion could mean an email newsletter sign up, or click through to a specific product page on the site, whatever that conversion is, we need to understand kind of what could be driving success, but also failure of that conversion rate. Typically low conversion rates can mean their CTAs aren’t relevant or there’s not enough related content if we’re talking about some of this topic or we’re in this type of content.

Marlon:            Those are some of the things that we’re looking for a when we look at the performance of content and what could drive effective constant your energy.

Ben:                 A couple things stick out to me. One, there’s a deep relationship between the content marketing team and the SEO team, or the vast majority of people that are listening to this show are likely SEOs. I think that hearing you as a content marketer think about your process, hopefully is educational for them, but also it helps our listeners understand how the content marketers think about their relationship with SEO. There are shared metrics between the two. As we about the relationship between the content marketing team, that’s sort of where you live, and our audience, the SEOs, what are some of the shared KPIs that you think about it? And how do SEOs and content marketers hold themselves accountable? Because there’s so much overlap between, is the content good and is the SEO strategy actually working?

Marlon:            Yeah. For us, content marketers were oftentimes trying to identify evergreen content opportunities. Content that is going to address questions that will stand the test of time or we’ll ask the significant amount of time, right? Those things that we’re answering at the consideration stage and the purchase stage, typically the awareness content is again, is less evergreen. In terms of shared KPIs, I know that evergreen content, for me as a content marketer is near and dear to my heart. One, because typically is addressing those teaching moments that we’ve identified that our customers truly care about when they’re looking to make a purchase and particularly looking to make a purchase with me as a supplier. The shared KPIs there are pretty obvious, right? We’re looking at some of our organic metrics, but we are also looking at some of the engagement metrics.

Marlon:            I don’t know if the SEOs particularly care too much about the engagement metrics, but for me as a content marketer is incredibly important, and from my understanding, from an SEO standpoint, is that when content is engaging, when folks are staying on that page, and they’re not bouncing off the site in a relatively short amount of time, that sends signals to Google that this content is of quality. I would say those quality metrics are something that we share. But also from a content side, when I’m attached to an organic strategy, it typically aligns with the content that is going to be evergreen in nature.

Ben:                 What else do you think SEOs need to understand about life as a content marketer? What are some of the things that you’ve seen where the content creation process doesn’t necessarily translate into how SEOs think?

Marlon:            Yeah, sure. Oftentimes, I’m playing translator for SEOs to content teams. As a content marketer, I care about the human element. I’m really thinking about what’s going to be engagement for my core audience. I tend to cringe at times when I hear keywords, the term, literally the term keyword, or when I hear search volume, and some of the kind of other terms that SEOs use when we were talking about optimizing your site for search. I tend to translate a term keyword to … It’s a mouthful, but the questions that our buyers are asking, right? What does the demand/search volume for the questions our buyers are asking/keywords. There’s some subtle changes and differences in messaging that I think could go a long way for SEOs when they’re looking to communicate with content marketers.

Marlon:            The other thing is, and this kind of goes back to that is, how do you effectively provide insights to a content marketer when you were doing, whether the keyword research to identify what content should be created. It needs to be pretty tangible for a writer and editor to understand. What I mean by that is, instead of just giving me a list of keywords, help me understand, one, at an aggregate level, what is the core topic that those keywords are looking to address? Can you, and the great thing about constant experience Searchmetrics tool is that content experience allows us to kind of take a keyword and too derive a core topic that is going to be content friendly for us.

Marlon:            But I would say that first and foremost it needs to be digestible. Don’t give me a list of keywords that we need to include in the content. Give me the top three to five search terms that we should be looking to rank for, and then I want to go out and do my due diligence to understand what other types of content is ranking for those keywords. One of the top 20 or so pieces of content that’s ranking for those keywords that I can use to start my writing process. Then on the backend of that writing process, then I want to leverage technology, or my SEO team to make sure that content is optimized the last 10 to 15% of my content creation process is the optimization of that content for search.

Ben:                 At the end of the day, we’re all marketers and there’s an obvious handshake between the content team, and the technical side of Search Engine Optimization. But to me going through the different stages of content, thinking about awareness, about consideration, about purchase, about post-purchase follow up, really goes back to understanding who you’re trying to reach. It goes back to understanding what is the right type of content for the specific experience you’re trying to create. That goes into how do you optimize that piece of content to have the maximum impact, and it has to be the right words on the page, and it has to be the right technical solution.

Ben:                 Marlon, let me just stop and say, thank you for giving the insights into the way that content marketers think about building the content marketing funnel and sharing that with our SEO communities. I appreciate you taking so much time and walking us through not only your process, but answering our questions about how to optimize each stage of the marketing funnel.

Marlon:            Yeah. Thank you Ben, and I appreciate you inviting me to this podcast. Yes, SEO teams tap in to your inner consumer is the best way … is the best piece of advice is I can leave you with.

Ben:                 I think you could still use the word keyword. It’s cool, everybody. Okay. That wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast, and that wraps up content optimization. Thanks for listening to my conversations with Marlon Glover, Searchmetrics’s content services team lead. We’d love to continue this conversation with you, so if you’re interested in contacting Marlon, you can find the link to his bio in our show notes. Well, you can contact him on Twitter where his handle is @Marlon_Glover.

Ben:                 If you have general marketing questions, or if you want to talk about this podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes, or you can tweet me @BenJShap. If you’re interested in learning more about how to use certain data to boost your organic traffic online visibility, or to gain competitive insights, head over to for your complimentary advisory session with our digital strategies team. If you like this podcast and 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 next week.

Ben:                 Lastly, if you’ve enjoyed this podcast, and if you’ve enjoyed content optimization week, and you’re feeling generous, we’d love for you to leave us a review in the iTunes store or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Okay, that’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.