Episode Overview: A plethora of tools and techniques exist in SEO to help elevate, extend and maximize the reach of your content, but it can be difficult to decide which methods best suit you and your business. Join Ben as he continues High Value Content Week with Searchmetrics’ very own Content Lead Marlon Glover as they discuss tips and strategies to boost and maximize the reach of your best and non-performing content.
- Optimizing and maximizing the reach of evolving evergreen content requires noting new nuances of a particular question or search query your content addresses over time.
- Optimization priority needs to be placed on having the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time with minimal effort.
GUESTS & RESOURCES:
Ben: Welcome to High Value Content 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 how you can find and optimize your highest value content. Joining us again for High Value Content Week is Mr. Marlon Glover, who is the content team lead here at Searchmetrics. Today Marlon and I are going to talk about optimizing content to reach its maximum efficiency, 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. 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.
Ben: Okay. On with the show, here’s my conversation with Marlon Glover, content team lead at Searchmetrics. Marlon, midway through the week. Welcome back to High Value Content Week on the Voices of Search podcast.
Marlon: Thanks Ben for having me, man. I feel like we spent a lot of time together this week.
Ben: Well, the week is flying by. I’m enjoying every second of it. We’re talking a lot about content. The beginning of the week we talked about identifying the opportunity to make content that isn’t performing rank. Yesterday we talked about the opportunity to make content that’s performing well rank better. Today we’re going to get into some of the tips and tricks that you have for actually evaluating what you can do to boost your content, well-performing, non-performing content. Talk to me about some of the tactics that you use to take an existing piece of content and boost it up in the rankings.
Marlon: Well, Ben, I apologize in advance because this is going to sound like an infomercial, but I use Searchmetrics content experience. I’ve used a few other tools out there in the marketplace and this is one tool I’ve found that is pretty great in giving me recommendations and my writers recommendations on how we can fully optimize content based on the words on a page to perform better in Google. Looking at word count, looking at keyword coverage, looking at the amount of repetitions and how well it’s written from a grammatical standpoint, that’s a great starting point for helping our writers and our content creators optimize content for SEO. It’s not the end point but it’s definitely a great starting point. It helps us get us some good guidance there.
Ben: Hey, look, we try not to hammer you over the head with “Use Searchmetrics tools for everything.” Searchmetrics is an enterprise suite. It’s meant for companies with lots of content. Those aren’t the only people that are listening to this podcast. There are some smaller businesses, some SEOs that don’t have the page volume or even the traffic where they can rationalize a Searchmetrics relationship. By the way, there’s a free trial. Use the free trial.
Ben: Let’s talk about why the Searchmetrics content experience platform provides value and a little bit more about what it does, because there’s other ways that SEOs can do similar things. Obviously it’s easier when it’s done for you, but Searchmetrics is basically telling you things like keyword density. What are the keywords that you need to have on the page and how many do you have too many of? What’s the content length, right? What are some of the other things that you need to look at to evaluate a piece of content?
Marlon: I think the topic of keywords has been addressed for a long time and I don’t even like the term keyword density today. It’s not something I typically use with my clients.
Ben: How about the important word repetition?
Marlon: Important … That’s why they pay you the big bucks, Ben. No, I mean, I think that semantic association, again, using some of my SEO vernacular here, is something that the technology helps us replicate. Folks that aren’t familiar with using SEO tools for creating content, what it allows us to do is define other related topics and association to one that we are targeting a piece of content around. In essence, the first step of the content experience tool replicates this idea of I want to go out there and I want to write a piece of content, but what other phrases, what other terms should I be incorporating, or what other sub topics, better yet, should I be incorporating in this piece of content to make this content as comprehensive as possible? The goal here is that I want to be able to adequately answer a question based on the other pieces of content that is answering that particular question in search results.
Ben: Let’s talk about a concrete example here. When you’re talking about semantic association, and I’m going to stay away from saying, “Hey, here’s how the Searchmetrics suite does it,” let’s say I’m banned from Searchmetrics for life, probably something like that’ll happen eventually. I can’t use the suite and I am creating a piece of content that I want to optimize. I need to figure out what semantic associations Google thinks are relevant. The piece of content, name a topic, I don’t know, let’s say my favorite football team, right? I’m talking about the Cal Bears and their probability for going to the Rose Bowl, which is low unfortunately. If I want that piece of content to rank, how do I figure out the other terms, the semantic associations that Google thinks I should put on the page?
Marlon: I think in this case, what I would typically do, Ben, is I’m still a user of Google Trends, so starting with a topic in Google Trends and even finding some of the trending topics or related topics down at the bottom of that trend data is something that I can understand a little bit around what are some of the related topics that Google is telling us is related to your Cal Bears. The other thing is I think as simple as typing in, doing the search for your favorite sports team and looking at the URLs that are ranking for that, and ultimately understanding kind of what are the commonalities amongst the top ranking URLs for this given topic that Google was rewarding in a search result.
Ben: Basically what Searchmetrics’s suite is doing is looking at the URLs that are ranking for a specific page, coming up with the commonalities of what is on those page and it gives you an understanding of what terms you need to put on it. The example for the Cal Bears football and Rose Bowl, I can just tell you from experience the words “Not going to,” and, “Again,” have to be associated with those pieces of content. It’s heartbreaking. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. When you’re optimizing a piece of content and you’re trying to figure out what is its maximum efficiency, I have a piece of content, I’m going to change the words around, make sure I have the right semantic associations, how do you figure out when you’re done optimizing?
Marlon: How to figure out when you’re done optimizing? I think the best answer to that is you’re never done optimizing a piece of content. I think that if it’s truly evergreen in nature, then that content or that topic is going to be constantly evolving. The best thing that we can hope to do is to make sure that we’re addressing the new nuances of that question over time.
Marlon: Now, that said, going back to the technology that we use to optimize content, there is a score that’s sort of embedded within our content experience tool. Now, one thing that we do is, and this is a pro tip that I give to some of our clients that have advanced to this level, is let’s say we’ve decided to optimize for a given topic. Our content editor has pulled in all of the recommended phrases, the recommended word count for this topic. Oftentimes what I’ll do, Ben, is I’ll copy and paste a top performing article and paste it into our editor to understand what that score is. This top URL, what score have they achieved? Looking at those elements, keyword density or keyword coverage, word count, repetitions, all of those things that we know that makes a piece of content successful, take that content out. We have our benchmark score. Now I’ll paste our existing content or take our draft of our new content in there and try to at least reach that benchmark of that top performing content.
Ben: Yeah, I think I’m going to disagree with you a little bit on when are you done optimizing a piece of content. I think that when it’s no longer a priority, right? If you hit a perfect content score and you’re ranking in the top spot and you’re ranking one, it does not make sense to invest more time into optimizing that piece of content. You should be optimizing the pieces of content that have the highest opportunity in front of you, whether it’s the Searchmetrics suite or whatever else you’re using to do the content optimization. Your priority needs to be on where you’re going to have the biggest impact in the shortest period of time with the least amount of effort.
Ben: That’s where doing your research and understanding where there is opportunity to grow, what the competition is, maybe you’re going from spot two to spot one for your biggest piece of content because there is so much opportunity for that head term, or maybe it’s I have 500 pieces of content that I can bring from spot 11 to spot 10 and those pieces of content need to be optimized. This is really less of a question about how can I get a piece of content to perform, and more where is the biggest opportunity for my business?
Marlon: No, I think you’re absolutely right. I see your point and I think that the point that I was making is that content is always evolving and we want to stay in front of those trends.
Ben: Yeah, you’re totally right. You can reach a peak with content. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to stay there. You’re totally right where like, yes, you can always improve a piece of content. It might not always be the priority. These things change over time. You constantly need to be evaluating. You might not be always working on the same piece of content, but you should be looking and understanding what is your priority.
Ben: 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 a 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. If 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 @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 over to Searchmetrics.com/freetrial for a test run of the Searchmetrics SEO suite and 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 in your feed tomorrow morning to discuss syndicating your highest value content. Okay, that’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.