Louise Hendon is the CEO of Nourishing Brands.
This is the 69th session of Smart Brand Marketing.
I caught up with Louise last month at the Traffic & Conversions Summit.
We spoke about our current business wins and challenges (regular topic for all marketers). This lady kills it when it comes to content creation. She had some legal issues with the last brand name and had to pivot and was able to gain traction super fast.
I needed to know how and convinced her to share it with all of you. This might be one of the only podcasts that she has ever done 🙂
MY BIGGEST TAKEAWAY:
It is possible to receive a half a million uniques per month from 150-200 quality articles written. Think of the search term and the conversation the visitor is having in their heads and write the intro with that in mind. Answer the question fast and use the rest of the article to fill the gaps.
What are you waiting for…. press play
- How to receive free traffic from Google
- Content Marketing the right way
- What is quality content?
- How many articles do you need?
- The purpose of the visitor
- How to add great copy to reduce bounce rate?
- What Google wants?
- Why answer question upfront?
- The perfect content length
- Broken links
- Headline hacks
- The biggest wins
Getting Half a Million Views With Content Marketing
Getting traffic from Google has always been the goal of many marketers, businessmen, and any other person who owns and maintains a website. To do so, however, that site must be able to produce content that Google finds to be engaging and relevant.
As a matter of fact, Google wouldn’t even recognize you as an authority over a certain subject if you can’t produce the required volume of content within a consistent basis. In other words, your page is not going to rank high if you produce content on a sparse basis.
This is where Content Creation and, to an effect, Marketing comes into play and, for those in the know, they are as vital as any process like search engine optimization. How can you use content marketing to get traction by the hundreds of thousands for your page? Read on and find out.
How is Content Marketing Done Right?
Getting recognized by Google is actually quite a tall order. When it comes to content, not only will you have to produce it consistently but also at a quality that they find to be within their standards.
Anybody who does SEO knows that this can be a fine line to tread because quality and consistency sometimes do not agree with each other. It’s either you create good content on a sporadic basis or you create subpar ones regularly. It’s never always the same thing.
As such, there are two schools of thought when it comes to content marketing.
- The SEO Route
The goal here is to make the content as presentable to viewers and Google’s algorithms as possible. This means long, 1000+ words articles filled with multimedia and an engaging introduction and end.
Aside from this, the content should be laid out in a way that is easy for the readers to pore through and filled with enough keywords and backlinks for the search engine to find and detect. The more readable it is and the more people stay on the page, the better the page will rank in Google’s search engine.
- The Engagement Route
This thought focuses less on how the page itself ranks on Google but how the viewers themselves treat it. Basically, the content should not only be clicked through by the viewer but consumed in a manner that makes it effective and relevant to them. It’s less of how it looks and more of how the content itself, the actual though written in the page, that matters the most.
The keywords here is “tangible value”. What viewers are looking for is value for every page they click through. They might find the content neatly arranged or filled with cool animations but if it doesn’t resonate to them on a personal level, then it’s not as effective as the creator might think it is.
Another thing to keep in mind is that people right now are looking for credibility for the content they consume. For example, if they are looking for the best chiropractic trends in this current year, then they would have to make sure that whoever is giving them such information is actually an authority on the matter.
Does this mean that you can’t provide the content that you love to share because people might make an appeal to your authority over the matter? The answer is no.
The truth of the matter is that it’s all in the way you make your introduction. It’s about creating that conversation in the person’s head and then masterfully leading them to the solution you are providing while, of course, giving them the assurance that you actually know what you are talking about.
How you make your introduction will actually tell if you are actually knowledgeable over the matter or someone who’s just faking it to get traffic from the search engines. Google’s bots might not be that sophisticated (yet) to tell the difference but human readers can. And they will.
The Anatomy of Good Content
So what should be considered as quality content? What Google wants and what people are looking for is not exactly the same but experts have laid out the basics for how a content can reach top rankings in two key aspects.
This is quite subjective as not 2 topics should be discussed in the same length. Some topics are so short and simple that they can be covered in a few pages while others are too technical that you cannot hope to discuss every facet of the subject within a few paragraphs.
As of now, the gold standard for long topics is between 1000 to 3000 words. This means that they should be long enough to get all the basics covered but not too long that the reader gets bored.
As for short articles, the range is between 400 to 750 words. This should be long enough to cover the essentials of the subject but to that short that the reader feels unsatisfied.
Like any text, the content should follow a simple scheme of problem-solution-call to action. However, for a more engaging read, you must arrange your thoughts in such a way that the question has already been answered way before the first part of your content ends.
So what to do with the rest of the body? The answer is to convince the reader that your answer is correct or, at the least, the most sensible view on the topic.
This way, your viewer wouldn’t have to go through the entire article just to discover what your proper stance on the issue is.
This is important as not all your viewers are there to hear you prattle on and on about a topic. They might just be curious as to your answer and might just return at a later date if they feel that they need more engagement.
The point here is to make sure that the problem has actually been solved right from the start and the rest of the body just details how you came to that conclusion.
What does Google Want?
Aside from the readers, what does Google actually want to see in your content? For simplicity’s sake, the search engine needs to see several qualities like:
- 1. Content-Based Branding
Ever since Google implemented that oh-so-infamous Panda algorithm, there has been a shift from mere content production to something similar to brand recognition and quality assurance. Basically, Google now will most likely not send you to a page if they think that the entire place is sketchy, filled with clickbait, or filled to the brim with duplicated content.
Basically, Google wants content creators to claim ownership over their work and, as such, shoulder the responsibility of making sure that whatever they just produced is factual and informative.
- 2. Solution-centric Content
From one animal, we go to another. Google also introduced the Hummingbird algorithm update which basically rewrote search engine queries (source: https://searchengineland.com/library/google/hummingbird-google)
From what was a keyword-based approach, Google now employs an intent-based approach.
For example, when a person types in “cheeseburger”, more often than not, they are looking for “the best cheeseburgers in (insert local area here)” as opposed to “what is cheeseburger?”
This more nuanced approached to search engine queries demand from content creators to change the way they write their content. From merely an informative one, Google now demands that content be written in a way that it solves problems.
- 3. Mobile-Friendly
In essence, Google wants content to be as inclusive as possible. What this means is that it should be readable, viewable, and highly engaging regardless of what platform it is accessed through. Back in 2010s, Google never really cared that much for mobile-enhanced content but this soon changed when Internet usage for mobile users spiked in the mid-2010s.
With many online experiences today no longer relegated to the desktop, Google wants content creators to make sure that their content is actually engaging in any screen size, device, and platform. Fortunately, there are a number of neat tricks and tools that can help you do so. (Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/how-to-create-mobile-friendly-content/)
- 4. Back Linking
This actually goes hand in hand with user’s looking for credibility in content creators. In Google’s mind, a credible content creator is one that draws from a number of sources.
This is where Back Linking becomes important as it requires you to cite your sources in your content. For example, if you draw in statistics to convince your reader why there are more mobile users today than desktop users, you need to provide the link for that study in your text or in the references at the end. The more you link to credible and authoritative sources, the less Google is going to think of you as a hack.
These are but a few of several qualities that Google wants from content creators but, for beginners, these four should not be overlooked. They are subject to changes with the next big algorithm update but until Google says otherwise, these are the standard that content creators must follow.
Improving your Content
Most content creators think that once that final part of the actual content is finished, their work on it is done. That’s not exactly true. As anyone who published content during the Panda update would know, there is still the need to reformat your past work to see if it resonates with readers a lot while also meeting Google’s standards.
If your content has been published, search for your article in Google. Type in the query relevant to it and see if your content actually ranks in the first page of the results section. If it does, check on where it ranks. A good indication that your content actually meets Google’s standards is that it ranks at the topmost 5 search results.
If not, then you should start looking for how you can spruce before everything goes live.
What to Look For?
If you are not aware, this is basically the process of on-page SEO where you make sure that everything in your published content is actually presentable and engaging., To make this process easier, you have to look for certain items first.
- Image Tags
Does every image you embed on the content reflect the information on that part? Is it’s coding right? Keep in mind that a single miscode can throw the format of the entire content off so try to edit the image placement as much as possible during this phase.
- Dead Links
These are basically links that go nowhere either a.) The cited source has been taken down or b.) There is something wrong in the coding behind the hyperlink. When checking for dead links, click on every link and see if they take you somewhere. And if they do take your somewhere, check if that place is exactly the source you have cited on your content.
- Grammatical Errors
This is perhaps one of the more overlooked aspects to check on but you’d be surprised at how the slightest change in spelling can affect the entire thought of the content. Check if every paragraph, sentence, word, and marking in your text reflect the intent in your message.
There are a number of tools available that can help you improve the look of your content such as WordPress or even a Google Spreadsheet. Whatever you use, the point is to make sure that your finished product is presentable by both human and Google standards.
All in all, the core of an effective content-based marketing lies in how your make your content and then present it. Producing one that meets both the needs of the readers as well as the standards of Google can be demanding (especially if your knowledge about Google algorithms is a few updates behind) but it’s the only means now to keep your brand as relevant in the search engines as possible.
So would any of these techniques ensure that your content can help rake in a lot of views within a short period of time. How everything transpires, as they say, is truly up to you.
Are there any other content-based strategies that you have used to make your content rank high in Google? What other obstacles have you faced in SEO and content creation? Let me know in the comments below.
LOUISE IN ACTION
THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!
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