6 Content Strategies to Boost Your Website Ranking
You did the keyword research, built a library of blog posts, and optimized existing web pages. And yet, your web traffic won’t budge.
“Why is my website not ranking well?” is the number one question we hear from Growth Machine clients. It’s also what Marc Thomas, CEO of Doopoll, asked himself to scale his company and level up his content.
Doopoll is an anonymous online survey tool that plays in a competitive marketplace. When Doopoll chose to invest in a content marketing strategy, they knew the hurdles of ranking in a saturated market. Big names in the industry — including SurveyMonkey and JotForm — took up prime real estate on the first page of Google. However, through an innovative content strategy, they soon published web pages that held a 20% conversion rate (over 10 times the industry average).
On a recent episode of the Growth Machine Marketing podcast, Marc shared how his team got strategic (and a little creative) with its SEO strategy. He explained how to write content in a competitive industry and how Doopoll built a marketing strategy that converts.
1. Write About Basic Topics — No Matter How Obvious It Seems
When first developing your content strategy, keep the following sentence in mind: You are an expert on this topic — and you need to embrace that.
Topics that seem self-explanatory to you may not be as easy to your readers. Your readers have a problem, and they are actively searching through Google for the answers to that problem.
And it’s your decision as to whether you want to capitalize on those searchers.
Marc admits that when devising his initial content strategy, he didn't see the value in writing certain posts. Topics like “how to create an online poll” seemed too basic or obvious — yet these basic queries were the exact questions his audience typed into Google. In fact, creating a single landing page describing how to create an online survey resulted in a 20% conversion rate for the company. (Note: The industry average is just 1-2%.)
At Growth Machine, we always begin a new client relationship by conducting an audit of existing content, ensuring these basic questions are covered. If the content exists, we optimize it — making sure our clients’ sites answer the questions typed into Google. If the content doesn’t exist, we write it. Even on our own blog at Growth Machine, we cover back-to-basics topics like "The Step-By-Step Guide To Setting Up Your Blog for SEO," aimed at bloggers and business owners alike.
2. Create Long-Form, Ultimate-Guide Pieces of Content
Google's algorithm awards higher rankings to long-form, high-quality content and penalizes low-quality, spammy articles. So it's important to build several pieces of long-form, ultimate-guide content.
These tower pieces serve a triple purpose. First, it creates an authoritative article that will (hopefully) earn backlinks from similar articles across the internet. Secondly, it serves as a credible source for you to embed internal links in future content. Lastly, it builds credibility in order to boost conversions — whether that means subscribing to an email list, downloading a worksheet or e-book, or signing up for an event.
At Growth Machine, we work with clients to establish these ultimate guides at the beginning of every relationship. If you're a wellness website, you might write "The Ultimate Guide To Meditation and Mindfulness." If you own an agency that runs Google Ads and search engine marketing, you might write, "The Beginner’s Guide To Google Webmaster Tools."
3. Make Evergreen Content Current
When assigning blog topics, content marketers often feel as though they have to make a choice: Do we make the post current, or do we make it evergreen?
Marc argues that it doesn't have to be an either-or decision. Instead, devise a content marketing strategy that incorporates evergreen content, but tie it back to current events. Marc implemented this strategy multiple times throughout the coronavirus epidemic, giving startups and small businesses innovative ideas on how to engage with their employees.
When devising a content strategy for clients, the evergreen vs. current debate is one we always consider. But we agree with Marc — you have the opportunity to capitalize on both. We did a lot of this with our Growth Machine clients in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic shifted consumer perspectives.
One of our clients is an online alcoholic beverage company. So we created content through the lens of staying at home: advice on removing wine stains from furniture, cooking with alcohol, and more.
4. Optimize for Long-Tail Keywords
When looking to boost his organic search efforts, Marc knew he would be competing against plenty of big companies with large amounts of search traffic. Therefore, rather than trying to search for short, competitive keywords (e.g., "online survey" or "anonymous survey"), he sought to acquire organic traffic through longer queries with less competition.
Marc developed a content strategy targeting keyword phrases with 5-7 words. While these long-tail keywords attracted fewer searches per month, they had less competition overall — which allowed Doopoll to creep toward the first and second page of Google.
To boost search engine results, our content strategy at Growth Machine encompasses both short and long-form keywords. We believe in creating a combination of blog posts, including ultimate-guide pieces targeting highly competitive phrases and more niche posts attracting fewer searches per month.
5. Make Link Building a Top Priority
Linking to your own content is always a good best practice. However, earning backlinks from authoritative external sources is the best way to improve your ranking and click-through rate on Google.
Early on in the pandemic, Doopoll created an online survey that received over 400,000 responses. This survey was used in a number of reports and external articles, which generated over 160 backlinks for the company. Suddenly, Doopoll's traffic skyrocketed. Now, it took a matter of weeks for them to rank on Google for a target keyword, where previously it took months.
Creating a healthy backlink profile is not easy — but it starts with creating high-quality content. From there, you can publish downloadable content, create a collaboration with other businesses, or (as Doopoll did) conduct original research. This creates something tangible to encourage other sites to start linking to your content.
6. Hire a Search Engine Optimization Agency That Knows What They're Doing
Whether you're creating a new website or celebrating your fifth year in business, creating a well-devised digital marketing strategy takes time and effort. After all, an effective SEO strategy is more than installing the Yoast WordPress plugin or adding meta descriptions to your blog posts.
Growth Machine works directly with companies to build inbound traffic by as much as 487% in one year. Through effective research, engaging content, building quality links, and leveraging a host of other ranking factors, we help clients organically grow their traffic.
Ranking on Google Requires an Effective Content Strategy
If you're starting a new site or just beginning to invest in content marketing, your website won't find the first page of Google overnight. Developing an effective SEO strategy takes time, effort, and considerable knowledge of the Google Search Console.
If your website is not ranking well, we recommend going after long-tail keywords with less competition. In addition, we believe in striking a balance between writing evergreen content and connecting with your readers over current events. Lastly, we encourage our clients to make building a backlink profile a top priority, developing high-quality content that other sites will link to.
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