The importannce of Data-driven content
Hopefully, if you're reading the greatcontent blog, you'll have internalised the key point that high-quality content is essential to achieving strong SEO performance. That's becoming the mainstream approach, as keyword stuffed, spam-like texts are relegated to the bottom of the Google rankings.
But fewer readers will appreciate how they can turbo-charge their SEO rankings by combining a data-driven approach with quality writing. As in almost any area of the economy, data has started to revolutionise the way content is created, and we're seeing some dramatic results from innovative practitioners. In fact, data analysis has been one of the major content marketing trends of 2019.
Because of that, we thought we'd offer a step by step guide to creating data driven content - a concept that could completely change the way you promote your business online.
Why does content need to be data driven?
Before we launch into the how-to element of this blog, it's essential to put data-driven contentinto context. What makes data such a key contributor to SEO success, and why should it be foregrounded in your content creation strategy?
Broadly speaking, there are two areas where data can contribute. Firstly, it can be used to inform the type of content you produce (that is, pre-production analysis). A data-driven approach can help to determine the target demographic for each piece of content, what kinds of content resonate most effectively with customers, and the best places to publish content for maximum exposure.
At the other end of the content creation process, post-production analysis can help marketers understand which pieces of content have performed well, what type of customer has converted following exposure to that content, the various forms of engagement that content sparks, and ways to fine tune or re-use content to maximise ROI.
If you can mobilise analytics at both ends of the content funnel, you'll be in a great position to conceptualise how well you are doing, and to find ways to improve. Without that kind of awareness, marketers are essentially acting on gut instinct, and "flying blind". We can do better than that, so here are some simple steps to help you capitalise on modern data analysis techniques.
Key steps for a data driven content marketing strategy
1. Understand your audience intent and what content seeks to achieve
The starting point for any data-driven SEO creation process is to analyse who the audience is for specific pieces of content, what types of content they will respond to, and what content created for their benefit will seek to achieve.
Content needs to be goal-oriented - it has to encourage the reader to "do" something. But exactly what action is suggested by each piece of content will differ, and that's where data can come in really handy.
Audience research can take many forms. For instance, it helps to analyse which channels are popular with different age groups, geographical locations, or genders. It may be that a piece of promotional content would play well on Twitter, rather than Facebook. The key thing is to use data to work out which customers use your blog, social media, or organic search to reach your products.
Data can also help to uncover aspects of customer behaviour. It can help you to understand when customers access social media (so that you can time posts with pinpoint accuracy).
Just as importantly, research can uncover who are the most effective influencers for your target demographic. If you know which experts or social media personalities your customers trust, you can tailor your content and engagement strategies to leverage the popularity of third parties - and promte your brand in the process.
When you put these metrics together, you can build profiles of the potential audience for each piece of content. That information will guide content creators and ensure that content has the maximum potential to reach people who will be engaged and likely to convert. But that's not the whole story where data and content are concerned. Not even close.
2. Leverage data to optimise the visibility of your online assets
The second stage in using data to fine tune your content creation strategy involves auditing your website and social media channels to ensure that they are properly calibrated to achieve maximum visibility. Even if you research your audience diligently, it won't matter much if your digital assets are poorly structured, or you are failing to combat the strategies of your main competitors.
Start by analysing general traffic to your various sites and channels. And pay close attention to branded keywords that are specific to the products you sell. If these are not performing well, that's a major problem, and one that needs to be addressed urgently. Branded keywords are the core of your online identity. They are the terms that engaged customers use to find your site. If they send people elsewhere, that will be a huge drain on your potential traffic.
Additionally, carry out thorough analysis of what your competitors are doing. Remember that every keyword you use is a contested space. You don't own keywords, and you have no right to high page rankings. Other companies with similar sales pitches will be seeking to dominate the same search space, so it's vital to know what methods they are using, and which ones are most successful.
Finally, data analysis can point to structural flaws in your online assets, which dent their SEO effectiveness. By auditing domains and linking strategies, you can make rapid gains, and provide your content with the best possible platform to shine.
3. Use data to properly analyse keywords for every piece of content
The last step in using data to turbo-charge your content is all about keywords. We all know that keywords matter in SEO. But they can be a blunt instrument when wielded in an incorrect way.
By using data effectively, companies can find exactly the right keyword to propel their content up the Google rankings, and tap areas of their audience that might have passed them by. That's the most basic level of data driven keyword analysis, but we need to go further.
Remember your audience analysis. We can use the data we collected about our site visitors and customers, and tailor keywords specifically for sections of our audience. The more we know about the audience, the more we can make our content relevant (and hence Google-friendly). In the process, we can arrive at a seamless mix of high-value keywords and useful, engaging content. At least in theory.
Keyword analysis isn't an area to cut costs. The more work you can do on ranking distributions via tools like Searchmetrics, the better. If you pinpoint the best words for each text, you'll provide writers with everything they need to deliver SEO-optimised content. And you'll also be in a position to close the loop of content creation, but analysing which content worked well, and which keywords played a starring role.
Bring in expert assistance to master data driven content creation
If all of this sounds daunting, don't worry. Marrying data and content isn't a simple process - when it is done well. That's why savvy companies are exploring the option of third party content creation via agencies with the skills to implement the latest data-centred content creation techniques.
At greatcontent, we offer exactly this kind of holistic content creation service. Our team can assist clients from analysis and conceptualisation, through to creation and post-production auditing. This can be applied to any SEO challenges, from populating technical tool catalogues, to world-beating travel content.
So, if you want to make the best use of data (and who doesn't?) get in touch and discuss ways to enhance your SEO performance today.
Text: Sam Urquhart
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