Any business looking to drive more organic traffic to their website to increase their online sales should take their content marketing strategy seriously.
Good content marketing campaigns can reap rewards in terms of more new visitors to your website, an increase in the number of customers, better brand loyalty and greater brand awareness.
A good content marketing strategy doesn’t happen overnight but the following seven tips will help put you on the right track:
Create Killer Headlines
Killer headlines are great for increasing your click-through rate as well as getting your content shared socially.
Headlines which start with a number or have a killer adjective close to the start of the article are usually among the most popular. ‘How to’ and ‘research’ also go down well.
Likewise, if you can create content that resonates with your audience it increases the likelihood that they will share. If you can take any of these suggestions and transform your headline you should expect a greater audience than before.
Optimise Your Landing Pages
Your homepage isn’t the only page that should be drawing traffic to your website. In fact, it’s often ideal to drive traffic to your product pages or your blog when trying to get new users to convert.
After you’ve done your keyword research, you may find you need to create new pages for your target audience. Whether the pages are new or existing, make sure to optimise them fully in order to get the best out of them and to increase their chances of ranking highly in Google’s search results. You don’t want to hold yourself back with poorly optimised pages that hurt your rankings.
You should always be running A/B tests on your website to improve its performance and ultimately, the conversion rate.
Whether you’re a small or large business, a slight increase in your conversion rate could make a massive difference on your bottom line come the end of the year.
A/B tests can also be useful for testing out headlines and content types to determine which works best on your blog. Any kind of information like this is extremely useful input for your long-term content marketing strategy.
Create An Editorial Calendar
Taking the time to create an editorial calendar before you start any content marketing campaign will help you plan towards your ultimate goal: keep your blog organised and ensure you’re not scrabbling around for ideas at the last minute.
It helps if you know your audience and the type of content they would like to read. Tracking the effectiveness of each piece of content (conversions, bounce rate, time on page, social shares, etc.) helps you further develop your content marketing strategy for the future.
Noting down information such as deadlines, publishing dates, the article title, author etc. will help prevent you or your writers from missing deadlines so that blog posts can go live as scheduled. A schedule also allows you to excite your readers by teasing them with content that is going to be published in the coming days or weeks, so they come back to your blog.
Give Your Audience What They Want
It helps in any business to know what your audience wants. Keyword research is one method but you should also check the demographics data in Google Analytics to give you a more precise idea of your audience. Any information you have about your customers is a bonus.
Google Trends is another free tool to help you find which topics in your industry are currently in demand and which are in decline.
Spy on your competitors to see what they’re up to and what’s working for them. There are several tools out there to help you find out what they’re doing online. A couple of them are:
SEMRush – Find out which keywords they are ranking for
Majestic – Find out who is linking to them and what their most popular content is
BuzzSumo – Find out what content is working for your competitors on social media
Competitor analysis is an important part of any online marketing success. Once you have researched what your competitors are doing successfully you can use this to generate ideas for your own content marketing campaigns or even try to do a better job than them.
Making The Most Of Your Content
The more traffic you get to each piece of content, generally the better. We’re always craving more readers, more social shares and more comments.
As with teasing your readers with what content you have coming up in future, you can also let influencers and friends in your industry know about it at the same time so that they can share your content when it does go live.
This can help increase social shares of your content and even get it listed on industry roundups – opening you up to a wider audience. Contacting influencers helps you expand your network also which could lead to beneficial partnerships such as sharing each other’s content, creating interviews and doing business together.
If your content can be placed in more places than just your blog then again you are reaching a wider audience. Perhaps it includes a Powerpoint demo that can be uploaded on Slideshare, or images that are worthy of Pinterest or Flickr, or answers to questions on Reddit or Quora. These different social media channels are vital in getting your content in front of as many people as possible.
Your business or your client is going to want to see results so it’s worth taking into consideration all seven of these tips to improve your content marketing.
If you get it right you should see an increase in your audience to help you increase the number of customers, in turn this should lead to increased sales volume and essentially improve your bottom line and generate awareness of your brand.
Google’s search ranking algorithms sure keep us on our toes, but the complexity is just part of the fun! Why won’t Google just tell us what to do to improve our position? Google Search Console (formally Google Webmaster Tools, as of May 20) might be the closest we’ll get to Google whispering the secret to successful search in our ear.
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console offers insight into how Googlebots view your site, how it appears in search results, and how your audience interacts with those search results.
It’s a looking glass into your search efforts and helps you monitor, optimize, and maintain your website. (You’ll notice some overlap if you currently use Google Analytics. For example, you’ll see a breakdown of your most popular landing pages in both tools, but Google Search Console takes it a step further to show your placement in search results for specific keywords.)
The Search Console dashboard is a quick look into your site’s current status, and the left navigation offers a deep dive into search appearance, search traffic, Google Index, crawl status, and security issues.
Instead of listing all the functionality bundled into Google Search Console, we’ll focus on two main assets: is your website performing at an optimum level? Are your SEO efforts paying off?
Google Search Console measures website performance
Google Search Console monitors your site’s health and performance to ensure you maximize your website investment. It offers granular insight into the complex inner-workings of how Google sees and experiences your website, but also actionable fixes that a non-technical person can understand and correct.
For example, Under Crawl, you can check Googlebot’s crawl activity for the last 90 days. Among many other features, you can check and correct URL errors across desktops, mobile, and featured phones.
Under Search Appearance, the HTML Improvements tab calls out corrections for your site’s user experience and performance. Correcting duplicate meta descriptions, for example, is usually a quick and immediate issue you can resolve.
You can also improve overall search results by controlling some of the information users see. This is just the tip of useful resources to explore in Search Console.
Google Search Console helps measure SEO success
Search Console is the best way to shake Google until you get SEO answers!
Under Search Analytics, Search Console spells out the most popular search queries driving people to your site and the search results generating clicks. (Search Console’s ability to deliver search queries is especially important, in light of Google Analytics’ change to SSL and ‘keyword not provided’ in metrics).
This section provides rich SEO information:
• Queries: the keywords people type into a browser to find your site or that returns your site in search results
• Pages: your landing pages people visit from organic search
• Countries: countries where the search originates
• Search Type: filters search results in Google Images, Video, or Web search
• Devices: breaks down results by desktop, mobile, and tablet
For each set of data you can measure clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and search position.
These factors tell you if you’re reaching enough people and if they’re clicking (aka, is it working?), so you can develop a more successful search strategy around topics resonating with your audience. (If the site pages you deem most important aren’t listed under your Top Pages, you have work to do.)
Understanding popular search queries can also help you develop audience personas and fresh content ideas to target users with specific questions.
Similarly, under Links To Your Site, Search Console quantifies sources linking the most frequently to your site and the specific content that is getting the most traction.
You can even check for mobile usability issues under Search Traffic, a huge factor in light of Mobilegeddon.
Setting up Google Search Console
Sign up for free at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/. First, add your website’s URL in the property field. You’ll then have to verify that you own your website. There are many verification options, but we’ve found the Alternate Method: HTML tag option to be easiest.
1. Click the Html Meta Tag
2. Copy the provided meta tag and paste it into your site’s home page in the <head> section, before the first <body> section.
3. Click Verify.
(Don’t remove the meta tag, even after verification succeeds.)
Unlike duking it out in the search competition, setting up Google Search Console is easy!
Linking your Google Search Console + Google Analytics account
We highly recommend linking your Search Console account with your Google Analytics account for a 360 view of your site performance and activity. To do so:
1. From the Search Console homepage, select Manage Site
2. Select “Google Analytics Property.”
3. Choose your website property. Click save.
You’re halfway there! Now you need to make sure all that rich data is accessible in your analytics account.
1. In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition – Search Engine Optimization – Queries.Select “Set up Webmaster Tools data sharing.”
2. Review and modify settings to meet your needs.
3. Scroll down to Webmaster Tools Settings at the bottom of the page, click the edit link, and select your website.
4. Hit save.
Enjoy the best of both worlds: a wealth of information about your website and site visitors in one place.
Google Search Console is your search ally
Brands should monitor data on Google Analytics, AdWords, and other search tools to make cautious tweaks and changes reflective of consistent trends, instead of rushing to modify at the slightest traffic peak or valley. Used in concert with other search tools, Google Search Console offers a holistic view of actions to take today to improve your site and search results.
I help a lot of companies with website redesigns or CMS migrations (from an SEO standpoint). As part of that process, it’s extremely important to download all of a website’s top landing pages so you can check them in staging and when the redesign or migration goes live. By doing so, you can test the pages to ensure they resolve correctly before you pull the trigger, and then right after you launch. Basically, you can nip serious SEO problems in the bud by crawling those urls.
I also help a lot of large-scale websites with redesigns or migrations. For example, sites with 500K, 1M, or more pages that need to be downloaded, crawled, and analyzed. For situations like that, it’s not simple to export the top landing pages from Google Analytics. Unfortunately, you cannot export urls in bulk from the UI. You are limited to 5K urls per report. Then you would need to click to the next page in the pagination to retrieve the next 5K rows. That’s not efficient, to say the least.
You could also tap into the GA API, but you need programming skills. That’s unless you leverage a tool or plugin that has the functionality built for you. More on that soon. 🙂
The GA rowCount Hack is Gone
There used to be a hack in Google Analytics that let you manually set the row count in your reports via the url in your browser. I loved that feature, since it enabled me to get around the issue I mentioned above. For example, I could add rowCount%3D15000 in the url, and boom, I had a report with 15K rows of data.
Well, Google Analytics removed the ability to do that and now the most you can get in one batch is five 5K rows. Sure, you can click to the second page of results and keep exporting, but that gets old quickly. Exporting up to 5K pages is fine for some smaller sites, but not if you have hundreds of thousands of pages, or more.
So, wouldn’t it be great if there was some plugin or add-in that could help with this? Well, there is. Read on!
Analytics Edge for Excel
While researching options last year, I came across an Excel add-in called Analytics Edge. The add-in is packed with functionality, including the ability to export pages from Google Analytics with ease. And not just export pages, but export them in bulk! That’s exactly what I was looking for.
Again, the plugin can do many things for you, but I’ll just focus on exporting top landing pages from Google Analytics. If you are going through a redesign or migration, and want to export all of the top landing pages from organic search, then this could be a great solution for you. It has worked extremely well for me.
Note, there is a free version of the add-in that contains the Google Analytics connector. You can also pay more for the “Core” add-in, which gives you even more functionality. The screenshots below are from the core add-in, so you might see slightly different options with the free version. Now let’s get started.
How To Export Top Landing Pages From Google Analytics (Beyond 5K)
1. Download and install the Analytics Edge add-in for Excel. Then register the add-in to get started.
2. Click the Analytics Edge menu at the top of the worksheet to access the various options available to you.
3. Click “Free Google Analytics” in the menu and then “Accounts”. You will need to connect the add-in to your Google account so you can access various properties and views in GA. You should enter the account that’s tied to your Google Analytics properties and views. Note, you can add several Google accounts for future access, if needed.
4. Next, click “Free Google Analytics” and then “Analytics Reporting”. A small macro box will show up, which will capture the commands you are using via the add-in. Simply name your macro to move on.
5. Here’s where the magic takes place. This is where you will choose the settings for your new report. First, select a login and then a view. The options will match the Google account(s) you entered previously.
6. Next, choose the dimensions and metrics you want to see in your report. For this example, I’ll keep it simple. We’ll choose landing pages, sessions, and bounce rate.
7. Instead of clicking finish, let’s select the Dates tab. There are some presets here like “Last 30 Days”, but you can enter a custom date as well. I’ll choose “Last 30 Days” to keep this simple.
8. If you click the “Sort” tab, you can sort by sessions (which is typically what we would want for top landing pages).
9. Last, but not least, we want organic search data for this example. So head over to the “Segments” tab and select “Organic Traffic” in the list. This will limit the data to landing pages from organic search.
10. Then click Finish. Analytics Edge will begin pulling the data from Google Analytics. Note, for larger sites, this could take a while. Be patient. You’ll notice the plugin says, “Running…” and you might see the Query Status window showing the number of rows downloaded.
11. Once completed, you’ll see a “Step Results” worksheet filled with data. You’ll also notice there are only 50 records in the sheet. This is where most people freak out and think the plugin screwed up. It didn’t. It’s simply showing you a sample of the data that was pulled. If all looks ok, then you need to write the data to a new worksheet.
12. To write the data to a new worksheet, you need to click “File” in the Analytics Edge menu, and then “Write Worksheet”. You can name your new worksheet whatever you like and then click OK. Once you do, you’ll notice a new worksheet with all of your data. For the view I used, I retrieved 98K top landing pages from organic search over the past 30 days. Awesome.
Bonus: The only thing left to do here is to use the concatenate function to build the full url. Once you do, you can export that list and crawl it via Screaming Frog, Deep Crawl, etc. You can read more about checking top landing pages in a recent post of mine. There are some helpful tips in that post once you have a final set of urls.
Summary – Breaking Through The 5K Limit
For those of you that are working on large-scale sites, the process I documented above can help you export many more urls than you could via the UI in Google Analytics. By using an Excel add-in like Analytics Edge, you can export hundreds of thousands of urls, if needed (and all in one shot.) That will save you time, and your sanity.