Ground-Up SEO Content Development as Pure Business Strategy

Nov 12, 2008 • 3:59 pm | comments (0) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under WebmasterWorld PubCon 2008 Las Vegas

Moderator: Gillian Muessig 
Heather Lloyd-Martin, President, North American Division, SuccessWorks
Matt Tuens, Founder & CEO,

Heather-LLoyd Martin:

• Today we will discuss SEO content through the sales cycle. • Why build content? • Why focus on content? • Thinking about the budget. • In House or Outsource?

Why should we care about content? The best SEO is good content. Not just enough to throw up articles. How text is written can have a tremendous impact on search positions and conversions. If you want links, has to be good content! Good brands don't want to link out to crap content. Good content helps get natural links.

A quote from 2006, that is still relevant, by DMNews: "Last year, marketers spent 8X more money on paid vs. organic search. In essence marketers spent $6 billion on a minority of their traffic while they nearly ignored the majority."

Case Study: Wanted to find a good hotel in Amsterdam. Company was banned from Google, and spent $4,000 a month on PPC. Hired a new SEO team and built out lots of content. Built around topics such as "do's and don'ts". Company ranks really well for many different key phrases, such as "Amsterdam apartments" and other high volume searches. Because they have so much good content, they get lots of long tail search traffic. Did really well, and saved them $48,000 a year in paid!

BusinessWeek is another case study. SuccessWorks helps with the titles, descriptions. Needed to push eyeballs to sell advertising. Goal was to increase page views, which = more ad revenue. Evangelize SEO concepts by optimizing templates, etc. After a few months, noticed huge spike in traffic. All they did was edit the copy - the title and key phrases.

Copywriting is about connecting with customers. Write in a tone that understands their pain. It's not about writing 250 words and shoving keywords in it. A lot of companies err by doing this.

Shows a slide with the sales cycle pyramid. Purchase, research, and awareness phases. The big opportunity - the research phases has huge opportunity. Use keyword research tools to help find topics / keyword phrases to write about. Build trust and confidence.

Use keywords in headlines and sub-headlines. In hyperlinks. Throughout the content. In the title. 2-3 key phrases per page. Longer copy.

Leveraging key phrase intelligence. Use site search to create new pages if search terms not represented. Create and/or edit new pages. Think of the buying cycle. Create pages around seasonal trends. "Ego" keywords. Be represented throughout the entire buying cycle.

A word about budget. Good content costs money. Can be most expensive part of SEO campaign. In house - need training. Can pay $100 - $1500 a page. Need to find the right balance. Get what you pay for. Don't fill in space with cheap content. Do your due diligence.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results" - Albert Einstein.

If your copywriter is writing sales related copy, look for direct response copywriting experience. If your copywriter is writing informational copy, look for journalistic experience.

Companies that outsource, usually have no writing staff, no time, no editorial calendar, no clue. Solution: Outsource.

How to decide to keep it in house? Have existing writers on staff. The writing team has time for SEO content development and training. Or - writers create content, and outsource key-phrase editing.

Note: Some content may be missing or inaccurate due to the quick speed of this presentation.

Matt Tuens:

Focused on content side of online since 1997. Plan and implement full content solutions of all sizes. Develop entire information portals and content sites from the ground up.

Today: • Changing perspective • Building a helpful site that creates traffic • Development in an ideal situation • Development on a budget • Measuring ROI

Goal is to tweak our perspective on how we think of content. Most people never take content far enough. Content is the original SEO. It's why search engines were built.

Wrong perspective #1:

Most people think of the minimum to just get buy. Do the least possible. You need to think the exact opposite to be successful.

The right perspective:

Become the ultimate resource - answer every question you can possibly have. Be that site. Lofty goals, but need to think this way. This is the right perspective.

Wrong perspective #2:

Making it all about you. Self promoting. If you sell Sony HDTV's - if you sound bias - people will smell a rat and you will lose credibility.

The right perspective:

Give the demographic what the want to know, not what YOU want them to know. Key is to think from their perspective at all times. Think of your site like a magazine. Every industry, no matter how obscure, has a magazine. Your site should be like that in your vertical. Editorial calendars, continuously updated.

Building a useful site that gets traffic:

Identify the segments in your demographic: • single? • married? • young? • old? • working? • retired? • etc..

Write towards each demographic. For example - "mortgage refinance". Address the topic for each demographic. For each product type or product you have.

Identify the segments people are looking for: • Why do people buy what you sell? • What need are you filling? • What are the main decision points? • What will help inform them? • What information will help them check off the points in their decision making process? • What will help move them to action?

When people get deeper in research, looking for who to trust. Think about what will help move them to action.

After segment demographic, do your keyword research. No longer just terms and quantities. Different aspects, different demographics. Not term, but meaning. Especially important for content.

Keyword research: Primary terms should be broad and strong. Primary, secondary, tertiary, and long tail terms. Content topics at each level.

Primary level keyword: "refinance". Secondary: "mortgage refinance". Tertiary: "bad credit mortgage refinance". Long tail: "getting mortgage refinancing in a bad market".

Content types: • Articles? • Blog posts? • News? • Video? • Forums?

Structure: • Like pages together - keep in same directories • Structural categorization • Virtual categorization

What happens when you have articles covering multiple topics? Pick one directory to classify. Keep a consistent structure.

Intelligent Structure: • General theming • Theme sculpting • Internal linking • PageRank sculpting - prevents diluting of categories

Types of content: • Articles, blogs, news, video, UCG, forums, images, etc. • What fits your situation?

Allocating content: • Major keyword • Secondary keyword • Tertiary keyword • Long tail keyword • Topic based

Building on a budget: • Better budget - close the ideal as possible • Mid budget - try to follow Brett's rules - 100 articles before launch, and then one a day. 350 - 500 articles in first year - pretty healthy site. • Less budget - At very least write one a day - easy to manage, but harder than appears. Tough to do it yourself. Easy to skip one day. Hard to keep up the momentum.

In-house: Cheap, control. But resources allocated elsewhere. Much more time and cost consuming. Outsourcing: Conservative outsourcing more cost effective.

Writing must me managed. Editing is a must, but that is costly.

Measuring ROI: • Set your goals - sales? downloads? page views? depends on business model. • Set or note indirect metrics - page views, time on site, time on page, repeat visits. • Points to watch for - increased numbers in your direct goals and indirect goals, entry pages, path, what pages are being viewed most, what is their exit page, analyze direct goal actions, analyze visitors

Conclusion: • Planning • Perspective • Execution

Coverage provided by Avi A. Wilensky of Promediacorp, a Manhattan based online marketing agency. 

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