How To Come Up With Great Content Ideas For Your Website Or Blog
One of the biggest challenges our clients face when dealing with content marketing, content creation, blogging and the like is figuring out how to come up with topics to write about. Despite most of our clients being true experts of their fields, they still don’t regularly provide content that helps to fill voids within their industry. This is sometimes due to a true “lack of ideas” or often the result of believing their knowledge is “common sense” and therefore not worthy of further discussion or exploration.
But what is elementary to you, is NOT elementary to us, your potential customer. As a plumber, you know the best angle to insure my main sewer line easily transports my homes waste out of my home and into the city sewer line, but I sure as hell don’t. Even better, if I were to stumble upon an article where you explain this aspect of plumbing to me, in a way I understand and in a voice I relate to, that is going to go a long way towards earning my trust, and future business.
This topic is important to me, and would relate to it because my home did in fact have an improperly sloped sewer line that was responsible for transporting waste from my home to the city lines outside, and it’s poor slope resulted in what my wife and I call “The Shit Storm of 2009”.
Content creation is a challenge for everyone, but one simple tweak to the way you consider new ideas is all that is needed to open up the flood gates. You will here many talk about free writing, and researching other industry related blogs, and watch YouTube videos, sure, all very good ways to come up with ideas. I have employed them all at one point or another. Being that this “practice what we preach” series is supposed to teach “easily actionable” strategies, I’m going really, really simple here…
So what’s the best way to develop new ideas for useful content for your website or blog? Put yourself in your customers (or potential customers) shoes and ask yourself the questions you think they should be asking.
To make this easier, some of you already have an FAQ’s page. Start there. Take each topic, write a custom page of content or blog post about it, explaining the “why” or the “how” of the question in as much detail as you can muster. Maybe it only ends up being 3 paragraphs, or maybe you luck out and come up with 30 paragraphs, a few images, charts and graphs.
Even better, keep the FAQ’s in place, and link from each of the quick hit Q&A’s into the individual posts that further elaborate, allowing for quicker indexing by Google, and a nice little internal link scheme.
Examples, if you provide security software for doctor’s offices, some questions that might need answering could be…
- How does your software keep our patient data safe?
- What are the risks involved in not taking action to keep our patient data safe?
- What are some real life examples of patient data being compromised?
If you’re a contractor, let’s say a landscaper…
- Why should we trust you anymore than your competitors?
- What jobs have you done that would give me a good idea of what you could do for our home?
This question could result in 3 or 4 different pages of content, as you can write about and show examples for homes of like size and neighborhood. Showing someone in a $130,000 house pics of only your projects completed for $500,000 houses isn’t necessarily the best way to pitch and attract them.
- What equipment do you use?
If you’re a restaurant…
- What kind of events do you cater?
Another example of a topic that can branch off into multiple pages of content, each geared towards further explaining each type of catering niche you service, showers, team parties, family reunions and so on.
And the list goes on. In my case today, I decided to try and provide a practical answer to the question,
“How the hell do I come up with content ideas for my website/blog?”
The answer: Figure out what questions your customers are (or should be) asking, and answer them, in detail, and make the presentation worth of their time. Add nice pictures, include supporting data, include charts (people especially love pie charts…mmmmm…pie).
I learned from Kevin Costner that “if you build it, he will come”. I think in our case we could say, “if you write it, and write it well, they will come”.
If you consistently add new, quality content to your website, it is almost guaranteed to get you some new traffic, and sometimes you’ll luck into huge swells of traffic that can provide temporary, and sometimes permanent, boosts in leads and revenue generation.
In closing, if you provide clean up services for someone who’s main sewer line dropped off the wall and spilled all of the waste that was backed up into their basement, maybe you should write an article titled, How We Can Rescue Your Basement From A Shit Storm. That is an piece I’d be willing to read.
One of the biggest challenges our clients face when dealing with content marketing, content creation, blogging and the like is figuring out how to come up with topics to write about. Despite most of our clients being true experts of their fields, they still don’t regularly provide content that helps to fill voids within their industry. […]
Beef Up Your Websites Copy, Increase Your Rank
Today’s “Practice What We Preach” search marketing tip is one of the easiest we will cover. I mean really simple stuff here.
We see far too many clients skimping on the “content”. Granted, we are to some degree guilty of this ourselves. Everyone knows the cobbler’s kids have no shoes, and we have certainly fallen victim to that sickness over the years. So busy taking care of our clients, we sometimes forgot to take care of ourselves, as in our own website.
Those days are now far behind us, and one of the first things we started doing was improving both the quality of copy, and the amount of copy on every service page within our website.
So this tip is something that is once again, very simple, and easy for any business owner to attack themselves. IMPROVE AND ADD TO YOUR WEBSITES COPY/TEXT. Make sure that your page is informative. Make sure that the copy is readable and the presentation attractive. Don’t write copy trying to fool or spam Google. Write truly engaging copy that informs your visitors what it is you’re all about, while being intelligent about your wording so you can in fact get those needed “keyword hits” mixed in.
Today for instance, I further optimized some copy on our Miva Design services page, and I added new copy that consisted of 460 words, and 2,675 characters. I worked in a couple more keyword mentions in a very natural, not spammy way. Not huge in the general scheme of things, but I’ll follow up in a week or two and will provide some insight into what that did for us from a ranking perspective for terms relating to Miva. I also added a couple of blog posts at the bottom that also touched on Miva with the aim at making my site in general a bit more “relevant” as it pertains to Miva.
Through today’s work, my goal was to slightly improve our rankings for terms relating to Miva that we currently rank on the first page for, but down towards the bottom. I’m thinking that the simpletag edits, mixed with the text optimizations and the added 460 words should be enough to give us a slight boost, maybe jumping us up a position or two.
For posterity, here’s where we were at prior to my edits, and note, I won’t do anything more, other than maybe add another section or two between now and coming back to update this post.
Rankings for some targeted terms as of 8/3/16…
Miva Design – #7
Miva Designer – #6
Miva Web Design – #9
Miva Web Designer – #10
Miva Developer – #18
Moral of the story, beef up your content. Our goal here is to slowly but surely build each of our service pages into near books about their topics. Content is back to being king again. But the key is that the content must be high quality. The days of fooling google with a shit ton of spammy text have passed, but that doesn’t mean that a boat load of high-quality, readable and useful information won’t be highly rewarded. The fact is, it will be.
Today’s “Practice What We Preach” search marketing tip is one of the easiest we will cover. I mean really simple stuff here. We see far too many clients skimping on the “content”. Granted, we are to some degree guilty of this ourselves. Everyone knows the cobbler’s kids have no shoes, and we have certainly fallen […]
Improve Your Adwords Quality Score, Decrease Your CPC
If you run your own Google Adwords campaign, you’ve probably come across the “Quality Score” that gets assigned to each keyword within an ad group. But many aren’t fully aware of how important this number is to their campaign, and more importantly their wallet.
What is the Adwords Quality Score For?
Google’s Adwords Quality Score is a dynamic number assigned to each keyword in your campaign that helps to determine your ad rank and that keyword terms cost per click (CPC).
What does a high or low Adwords Quality Score mean for your campaign?
A higher quality score typically translates into a better performing ad through increased impressions, increased clicks and decreased cost-per-click. That correlation seems pretty universal and the research and stats we’ve poured through prove time and again that optimizing quality score isn’t just worth considering. It’s crazy not to work to improve it.
In almost all cases where we have improved an ads quality score from say 5 to 7, we have seen a decrease in average cost per click. In one case in particular, on a keyword term of our own, improving the quality score from 5 to 8 for a single term resulted in that terms average CPC dropping from $5.73 per click, down to $4.67.
What factors determine your Adwords Quality Score?
- Click Through Rate – A keywords click-through-rate (CTR) is one part of the puzzle that determines quality score. The higher the CTR, the the better your quality score. This is great news because you should already be trying to optimize the CTR for every keyword you bid on anyway. If you aren’t, you best get to it, because no you know that not only does improving your CTR get you more traffic, but it can actually help in making that traffic more affordable.
- Ad Relevancy – The more relevant your ad text/copy is to the keyword term, the better. I’ll provide a real world example below, and some tips.
- Landing Page Content – both the relevance of the content and copy, and the overall reputation and trust Google puts in said page play a big roll in determining a keyword terms quality score.
How To Quickly & Easily Improve Your Adwords Quality Score
Improving your AdWords Quality Score is actually pretty easy. If you consider these three aspects of your campaign, and improve upon your keyword terms, Click-through-rate, ad relevancy and landing page content, you will see an increase in your quality score, and a decrease in your average cost-per-click. It really is that simple. So here’s how to get your hands dirty…
(1) Breaking your campaigns into smaller, more targeted ad groups
When I first set up a campaign, I often go the quick and dirty route. I create a campaign, I create an ad group or two, and I load each up with a ton of keywords. That is all well and good, but if you sort any of your campaigns by quality score, highest to lowest, you will notice the top few ads will likely show you a 7 or an 8 if you’re doing it right, and then you’ll see 6’s, 5’s and 4’s appear as you scroll down the list.
What To Do? Simply break your campaign up into smaller ad groups, with each ad group’s ads doing a better job of using the keyword terms you’re targeting within the ad copy. It’s that simple. Instead of 2 or 3 ad groups, you break it up into 7, 8, even 10 ad groups, each one targeting a smaller group of terms that better relate.
The Goal? To make sure that the ad title and copy in each group very closely match/mirror the keywords in that group.
(2) Improve your Click-Through-Rate by playing with bids and your average position
In its organic search listings, CTR is actually used as a ranking factor. The thought behind it is that they want to reward search listings that are most often clicked, assuming that if they are being clicked, they must be doing something right. The same holds true in Adwords. The higher your CTR, the more money Google makes, so they obviously have vested interest in serving up the ads that get clicked most often.
That’s where improving your CTR comes into play. Yes, a higher quality score means a higher CTR, but the reverse is also true. As you improve your CTR without consideration of your quality score, the quality score will also get a boost.
What To Do? Simply spend time playing with your bids, and ad copy with the goal being to improve your CTR. You should be doing this anyway to optimize the number of clicks you get through a campaign, but the added benefit is that doing so will also slowly but surely decrease your average CPC.
The Goal? Spend time making sure that you’re always trying to find ways to improve your CTR. NOTE, that being #1 for a keyword term isn’t always best. We’ve found that sometimes being #1 is a necessity, and other times have found that holding the #2 or #3 position for a keyword term is superior to being #1. It depends on the keyword term and you won’t know until you’ve tried all of the various placements.
(3) Improve your each ad groups landing page relevancy making sure the targeted keywords are intelligently and legibly worked into the landing page’s copy.
This one is also pretty simple, and the strategy should be similar to what you do with the ad copy. I like to actually work first with getting the highest quality score I can on the Adwords side first, by improving ad copy, breaking up and better targeting my ad group to keyword relationships and so on. Then once that’s done, and I have a quality score of say 6 or 7, I’ll then go through and will determine if I need to (a) improve the landing page’s copy to better target keyword terms in my ad group or (b) do I need to create a totally new landing page for each individual ad group. Sometimes I can get amazing results from just updating page copy, but other times a whole new landing page is needed. It depends on the competition and how many variations you’re targeting.
So that is it. I have been optimizing the crap out of both our own, and our clients AdWords campaigns for the past two or three months and the results have been nothing short of amazing. It’s something that is easy enough to knock out on your own, but as always, should you find yourself needing help, or just not having the time, you can always hire us on to do it for you.
If you run your own Google Adwords campaign, you’ve probably come across the “Quality Score” that gets assigned to each keyword within an ad group. But many aren’t fully aware of how important this number is to their campaign, and more importantly their wallet. What is the Adwords Quality Score For? Google’s Adwords Quality Score is […]
Practice What We Preach Series
I am famous for NOT practicing what I preach. This holds true with my kids, with lacrosse coaching and in business.
Example, as a lacrosse coach I would constantly badger my players about shooting form, constantly reinforcing shooting overhand. The “why” of it is simple, “You’ll hit the cage more often, and see that shot you took there just now, you missed.” However, as a player, I was proficient enough as a scorer to not do that at all. I scored goals side-arm, behind-the-back, underhand, a couple between the legs, even one-handed. I once scored four goals in a club game, all four a different variety of behind-the-back. I also scored ten goals in a single college game off just fifteen shots and I’d wager that five or six were scored using a non-traditional shooting form. While it feels great to brag, there is actually a larger point to all of this. Relax I’m getting there.
Bringing it home with this example, as the owner of AarcMediaGroup.com, I found an amazing niche in the early days developing ecommerce websites using the Miva Merchant platform (now known as Miva, I like what they did there). Even better, I found a single keyword term, that while expensive, converted like a gang buster, and I rode that wave for a good 5 or 6 years. In that time we pretty much lived off of that single keyword term and client referrals for lead generation and revenue. It was marvelous.
HOWEVER, by around 2010, that keyword terms use started to decline drastically so I scrambled to improve our adwords ads for the variations we were also bidding on. In the end it seemed the keyword combos we were living off of simply stopped being searched. We’re lucky to see 100 impressions per month nowadays for that campaign in total and maybe we’ll end up with 10 to 25 clicks depending on the month.
The problem here was I wasn’t “practicing what I preached” to my clients all the time. I wasn’t making sure to optimize all of our advertising resources for the simple fact I didn’t have to, and the result come 2012 was we hadn’t grown our revenue since 2010, something that continued up to 2014. Then I finally decided to break myself out of the marketing myopia I had fallen into and put into action the strategies that we successfully use for our clients every day.
So my goal with this series is to share this experience with any and all that care to read along and maybe even try out the strategies I’m about to lay out. All of them will be easy to act upon, and most can be employed by you, yourself and you.
And as always, feel free to farm these tasks out to us should you decide you want to “leave it to the experts” as I outlined in a blog post last week.
So without further burning your valuable time, here is the first tip in this marketing series, “A Quick And Dirty Way To Decrease Your Average Cost-Per-Click”.
I am famous for NOT practicing what I preach. This holds true with my kids, with lacrosse coaching and in business. Example, as a lacrosse coach I would constantly badger my players about shooting form, constantly reinforcing shooting overhand. The “why” of it is simple, “You’ll hit the cage more often, and see that shot […]
SEO Is LIke A Cool Old Building
SEO. It’s something that isn’t often understood, or at least not understood well, yet it has become a necessary evil for every business that wants to succeed online.
I like to say, “search marketing is like a cool old building”. Actually, I’ve never said that and just thought it up right now. To be totally honest, I first found the picture, and then I came up with the title after.
But I digress…
How is search marketing like a cool old building?
When built with a solid foundation, using tried and true search marketing and content strategies, your efforts will continue to stand for a long while. A buildings frame is the most important part of the structure. A building with a well built frame will continue to stand long after it’s interior and exterior are re-worked.
Search marketing is often a poetically ugly mess. There is certainly order with all search marketing campaigns, but when dealing with small businesses, and often tight budgets, you sometimes have to get dirty, and sometimes have to thrive among disorder to get the most out of your clients budget. The same goes for an old building. They are often ugly, but photographers aplenty love taking pictures of them because there is beauty in the chaos of decay.
It’s never too late to improve upon your past search marketing efforts (or lack thereof). No matter what you have done in the past, it’s never too late to start doing things right. Or if you’re already doing things right, there are always new strategies popping up and new ways to reach customers that you are always busy “upgrading”. Same goes for an old building. As long as the foundation is solid, there is always room for improvement. Many abandoned buildings are now being put to good use either for business or living.
It can all collapse on you if you don’t take care of it over time. If you don’t continue to evolve your search marketing strategies and make sure that you’re taking care of #3 above, then your past efforts (or again, lack of efforts), eventually it will all be lost. We have seen many a client that did very well from 2000 to 2010 online due to lack of competition, ease with which you could rank well off old strategies, and in the past six years, their inaction and myopic views have devastated their online businesses and overall revenue.
People have shit all over it. Yes, the sad truth about old abandoned buildings, is while they often make for great art & photography, they are also often filled with human (and animal) excrement. The same is true for search marketing. Our industry is often not trusted by those that need us most. Small business owners are already dealing with tight budgets where the slightest misstep can often take more than a year to recover from. One bad search marketing hire can sour a potential client for years.
SEO. It’s something that isn’t often understood, or at least not understood well, yet it has become a necessary evil for every business that wants to succeed online. I like to say, “search marketing is like a cool old building”. Actually, I’ve never said that and just thought it up right now. To be totally […]
Local Search Marketing Tips – The Basics
1. Give Yourself a Chance, Optimize For Your Area
The most common mistake we see are sites simply not mentioning where they are from, other than maybe having their address on their contact us page. This is a huge mistake. The easiest quick fixes, (a) include your address and local phone number in your websites global footer, aka, at the bottom of every page, (b) include your address on your contact page, include directions from surrounding areas, with a small text blurb on the site for each region you serve and (c) optimize pages for terms relating to your business name, the products and services you offer and your location, where relevant.
The bottom line, some of the easiest traffic you can get, can come from your local area if you try for it. And even better, it converts better than almost all other traffic. At least covering the basics will get your foot in the door.
2. Business Search & Review Tools Work, Get Listed & Linked
Business search and review sites, apps and tools actually have a huge following and your goal should be to find every site out there that someone could possibly stumble upon while trying to find a business like yours and get listed. Services like Yelp, YP, SuperPages and the linke are obvious choices.
The best thing you can do is search for the terms you want to rank for, and you will find many of them will be local business directories, often from some very legit sources, so seek these types of sites out, and get free listings wherever possible.
3. Engage In Social Media, Interact Locally
Make sure you are at least rocking Facebook and Twitter. And make sure you are interacting with your local community. Both platforms allow you to use paid ads to target very specific people in very specific places, so at worst, you can pay to gain followers. Or you can simply interact with the thousands of locals in your area that use social media, and naturally gain a following. That is always your best bet.
1. Give Yourself a Chance, Optimize For Your Area The most common mistake we see are sites simply not mentioning where they are from, other than maybe having their address on their contact us page. This is a huge mistake. The easiest quick fixes, (a) include your address and local phone number in your websites […]