The Business Case for SEO Content Development


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Turn Words into ACTION: Presentation from SES NY 2009 by Heather Lloyd-Martin, SuccessWorks CEO and Ulli Muenker from BusinessWeek.

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The Business Case for SEO Content Development

  1. 1. The Business Case for SEO Content Development: Turn Words Into ACTION! Heather Lloyd-Martin, SuccessWorks Ulli Muenker, BusinessWeek
  2. 2. <ul><li>- Pioneers in SEO content since 1999 </li></ul><ul><li>- Train clients in SEO copywriting best practices </li></ul><ul><li>Develop strategy, new content and edited content </li></ul><ul><li>Founders of </li></ul>SuccessWorks overview
  3. 3. - SEO content through the sales cycle - Why build content – AmsterdamEscape case study - Why focus on content – BusinessWeek case study - In-house or outsource - Justifying the budget What we’ll discuss today
  4. 4. Why care about content?
  5. 5. SEO content across the sales cycle Purchase Research Awareness General overarching keyphrases Digital camera reviews, blog posts, brand/features comparison Make/model search
  6. 6. Plethora of “consideration” keyphrases
  7. 7. Everyone’s doing it! Articles on
  8. 8. Everyone’s doing it: blog
  9. 9. Case study – Amsterdam Escape
  10. 10. - #1 Specialty Lodging – Trip Advisor - “Bad” SEO created duplicate content, which… - Caused AmsterdamEscape to be banned from Google - Was paying $4,000 per much in PPC to fill the gap Past issues
  11. 11. Travel to Amsterdam Hotels in Amsterdam Amsterdam vacation rental dam square things to do in Amsterdam Amsterdamrestaurants what’s the currency in Amsterdam Amsterdam nightlife Amsterdam shopping Amsterdam apartments vacation rental rembrandtplein Travel packages Amsterdam Creating content across the sales cycle
  12. 12. Content page example
  13. 13. Ranking examples - “Amsterdam nightlife” - #7 in Google - “Amsterdam shopping” - #16 in Google - “Amsterdam red light district” - #13 in Google - “Amsterdam apartments” - #2 in Google - “Amsterdam Nieuwmarkt” - #11 in Google - “Vacation rentals Amsterdam” - #7 in Google Plus, scads of rankings for long-tail keyphrases!
  14. 14. Cost savings through content development $48,000
  15. 15. - Overview <ul><li>Overview: </li></ul><ul><li>Online since 1995 </li></ul><ul><li>Majority of content is available for free </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising based model: more page views => more revenue </li></ul><ul><li>Site receives high traffic referral from search, above industry average </li></ul>
  16. 16. SEO Role for Publisher Site <ul><li>Since 2006, BusinessWeek focuses on more traffic from search </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: </li></ul><ul><li>Traffic increase from search engines: More page views = more advertising revenue </li></ul><ul><li>Initiatives: </li></ul><ul><li>Evangelize SEO concepts by: </li></ul><ul><li>Optimizing templates & customized pages </li></ul><ul><li>Publishing more free content pages – accessible to SE </li></ul><ul><li>Conducting regular SEO training for Editorial team </li></ul><ul><li>Results: </li></ul><ul><li>More than doubled traffic from SE over the last two years </li></ul>
  17. 17. Importance of SEO Copywriting for Publishers <ul><li>Template pages </li></ul><ul><li>Articles </li></ul><ul><li>Blog/Forum posts </li></ul><ul><li>Job listings </li></ul><ul><li>Profile pages </li></ul><ul><li>How to optimize: </li></ul><ul><li>Set up template to include keywords in metadata </li></ul><ul><li>Summary </li></ul><ul><li>Short-lived content </li></ul><ul><li>Very newsy </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity due to high page volume </li></ul><ul><li>Customized pages </li></ul><ul><li>“ Best of …” / “Top …” pages </li></ul><ul><li>Overview pages about specific topics </li></ul><ul><li>Special collection pages </li></ul><ul><li>How to optimize: </li></ul><ul><li>Research strong keywords and spread these words on the page & in metadata </li></ul><ul><li>Summary </li></ul><ul><li>Evergreen content </li></ul><ul><li>Regular feature </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity due to targeted SEO copywriting </li></ul>Majority of pages can be separated into template and customized pages Majority of pages can be separated into template and customized pages
  18. 18. SEO Copywriting: In-house or Outsource Template pages In-house: Create SEO awareness on how to write keyword rich headlines Outsource: Get recommendations on template format Example: Article Page title => uses article headline Customized pages In-house: Generate basic keyword research with tools & internal search engine Outsource: Determine best keywords Example: “Game Room” overview page Page name => customized keywords
  19. 19. SEO Copywriting Outsourced: Results Examples – pages optimized in 11/07 “ Economy” Overview page “ Game Room” Overview page => 1,150% traffic increase from SE Customized keywords: Customized keywords: => 405% traffic increase from SE
  20. 20. Outsourcing SEO Copywriting: Pros & Cons <ul><li>Pros: </li></ul><ul><li>Allows staff to focus on prioritizing overall SEO initiatives </li></ul><ul><li>Level of expertise & specialization </li></ul><ul><li>“ External consultant” status </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer full time staff </li></ul><ul><li>Cons: </li></ul><ul><li>Time for consultant training on brand & website content </li></ul><ul><li>Agencies often have high staff turnover </li></ul><ul><li>Less control over project turn-around time </li></ul>
  21. 21. In-house or outsourced? “ Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
  22. 22. SEO copywriting – the real scoop
  23. 23. What SEO copywriting is NOT
  24. 24. SEO copywriting basics <ul><li>Keyphrases in headlines and subheadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Keyphrases in hyperlinks </li></ul><ul><li>Keyphrases throughout the content </li></ul><ul><li>Keyphrase-rich Title </li></ul><ul><li>“ Longer” copy (250 words is a rule of thumb, but it depends on page content and the page templates.) </li></ul>
  25. 25. Whether in-house or outsourced If your copywriter is writing sales-related copy, look for direct response copywriting experience… If your copywriter is writing informational copy, look for journalism experience Either way, the writing – and how it flows on the page – is crucial. Don’t pay low dollar for bad writing!
  26. 26. Content and conversion Q: What’s your first conversion opportunity?
  27. 27. In-house or outsourced? Partnership approach Outsourced
  28. 28. In-house or outsourced? Outsourced <ul><li>No writing staff </li></ul><ul><li>No time </li></ul><ul><li>No editorial calendar </li></ul><ul><li>No clue </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: outsource the work to build content </li></ul><ul><li>Cons: Expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Finding the “right” firm </li></ul><ul><li>Training writers in your tone and feel </li></ul>
  29. 29. How to decide? Partnership approach - Have existing writers on staff - The writing team has time for SEO content development Solution: SEO copywriting training OR Writers create content, and outsource keyphrase editing Cons: Explaining tone, feel and parameters to the training/content strategy
  30. 30. Justifying budget <ul><li>Review current positions and do keyphrase research. Where are the positioning “holes.” </li></ul><ul><li>Review current conversion rates. Well-written content converts at a higher rate than so-so copy. </li></ul><ul><li>Are the PPC keyphrases represented in the organic campaign? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you baby step the budget/process? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you show success with long tail keyphrase? </li></ul><ul><li>Remember, organic doesn’t necessarily replace paid – they can both work together. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Thank you! Heather Lloyd-Martin [email_address] Blog: