There isn’t a single online business in the world that can’t use some free web traffic, and the way to get that traffic is by having pages from your site appear in Google’s organic search results. In some industries, though, free organic traffic isn’t just the best type of traffic from Google – it’s also the only type of traffic. If you happen to operate a business in an industry such as the vaping industry – or you own a CBD business like VSAVI – content marketing is your only source of traffic because the most popular advertising channels will not accept money from you.
Content marketing is the technique of giving information away for free with the hope of attracting organic traffic from Google and other search engines. Content marketing is the reason why virtually every major or minor e-commerce website has a blog. Starting a blog that brings consistent traffic to your website, though, isn’t simply a matter of sitting down and writing about whatever crosses your mind. If it were that easy, 63 percent of business owners wouldn’t say that generating traffic is their top marketing challenge.
If you want your content marketing campaign to work, you need a strategy. Here’s how to make one.
Start With Keyword Research
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to publish content that ends up on the first page of Google’s organic search results. No one will see your site on Google’s first page, though, unless you write about something that people are actually searching for – so every good content marketing campaign starts with keyword research. One easy way to research keywords is by visiting Google and typing a keyword relating to your industry into the search box. The box expands and shows related keywords. You can also use a tool like Ubersuggest to find keywords. Some tools can even show you the search volume for keywords and help you find the most efficient keywords to target – but most of those tools aren’t free to use. Through research, you’ll collect a long list of keywords relating to your industry.
Choose Keywords Without Direct Commercial Intent
The best way to ensure the success of a content marketing campaign is by focusing on search terms without direct commercial intent. Let’s suppose, for example, that your company sells dog food. While researching keywords, you might come across a search term like “best dog food.” That’s a search term with commercial intent. Anyone searching for a term like “best dog food” probably wants to buy dog food. Every dog food company already has a page targeting that keyword, so your chance of landing on Google’s first page with a post targeting that same keyword will probably be poor.
A search term like “is vegan dog food healthy” is an example of a keyword without direct commercial intent. Your competitors are less likely to have content targeting non-commercial searches, making your posts targeting those searches more likely to end up on Google’s first page. When you’re just beginning your content marketing endeavors, look for search terms that answer questions and solve problems; don’t target commercial keywords.
Write Content for Readers – Not for Google
At this point, you’ll have whittled your original keyword list down to a few non-commercial search terms that have reasonably high search volume and low competition on Google. When you look at those search terms, think about the likely intent behind those keywords. What would people who search for those keywords hope to find when they view Google’s search results?
When constructing an article for your site, your goal is to write with a core search term in mind. Don’t target the search term by using it over and over in your text, though; target it by doing your best to satisfy the intent behind the search term.
- Look at the articles that currently appear on Google’s first page for your target keyword. Those articles are your competition. How can you do a better job of addressing that keyword?
- Always write with the reader in mind. Writing an article that really pleases the reader isn’t just a matter of proving information. Make sure that your spelling and grammar are on point. Break up long paragraphs with subheadings. Use bullet points to make dense lists easier to scan and digest. Maintain the reader’s attention with high-quality images or embedded videos.
- Bring something different to the table. You’re writing about your industry as an expert and a professional. What do you have to say about the topic that hasn’t already been said elsewhere? If the topic is something with an obvious answer – and it’s not something that you can really approach from a fresh angle – think about other ways in which you can add something unique to your article. For instance, you could conduct independent research at a library, run a survey or interview other experts in your field.
- When you write an informational article, insert a call to action somewhere. You could, for example, invite readers to view a related product on your site. You could also ask readers to subscribe to your mailing list. Offer a reward such as a single-use coupon code to encourage subscriptions.
Always Conduct Outreach After Publishing
The primary goal of content marketing is to write content that ranks well on Google, thus driving traffic to your site – but that’s not the only goal. The other goal is to generate inbound links. Every time another website links to your website, it increases the chance that your website will earn a high rank on Google. Google’s ranking algorithm sees a link as a way of conferring trust from one website to another, and a website with many inbound links has a good chance to rank well for competitive search terms. If you earn enough inbound links, your website’s commercial content will eventually begin to appear on Google’s first page – but those links will rarely appear without some effort on your part.
When you publish something great, take the time to tell people about it. Link building is a topic that merits an entire article of its own, but here are a few tips that can help you get started.
- Look for websites with “Resources” or “Helpful Links” pages pointing to sites like yours. After you’ve filled your blog with useful content, ask those websites to link to you.
- Look for existing blog posts about subjects relating to what you’ve just written. Ask the authors of those posts to link to your article as an additional resource.
- Scan for recent news articles about what you’ve written. Tell the authors that you’ve just published a post with new information that could enhance those articles. Ask the authors to link to your post.