Ian Lurie // Nov 11 2009
I’m speaking at Pubcon tomorrow in the Real-World Content Creation Tactics session. I’m going to focus on how you avoid destroying copy with SEO, and how to do great analytics-centric SEO. If you know me, you know I rehearse, in part, by writing. So here you go – a preview of tomorrow’s talk.
“Write good content, and they will come.”
You’d better have more of a strategy than that. Ian’s Cynical Version of the same rule is:
“Write the right good content, and they’ll eventually show up.”
It’s that critical word – right – that can make or break your Internet marketing efforts. So here’s a formula I’ve used for years to make sure I’m writing what my audience actually wants to read:
What’s bringing people to your site, and where do they go when they get there? You can figure it out with analytics.
If you don’t have traffic reports of any kind, bookmark this article. Then go kick your webmaster’s arse, get traffic reporting set up, and come back in about 4 weeks.
You can get a lot fancier with conversions and such, but I’m sticking with the simplest version of this procedure for now.
Now you have a nice, neat list of keywords that drive traffic to the busiest page on your site:
Copy the top 5-10 terms into a tool like the Google Adwords External Keywords Tool. You can delete any terms that are clearly branded. In this case, I removed ’22 things you don’t know about your customers’, because that’s the article title. I don’t need to optimize for that.
In my case, the best phrase generating traffic is ‘marketing strategies’. If I have a prayer of ranking for it, I need to pursue it:
Now I know: My post is getting traffic from ‘marketing strategies’. It’s decent quality traffic. I want more.
Can I compete for a top ranking for ‘marketing strategies’? A quick look at the Google rankings tells me I can dream: My home page is actually high on page 2 for the phrase. Click here to see the rankings.
The specific post doesn’t show up in the first five pages. But what the hell. I’m an optimist. Cough. I’ll take a shot at it.
Armed with this knowledge, I’m going to do a few things:
Voila. Analytics-driven SEO.
This method is never perfect, of course. Once you make your changes, keep a close eye on how traffic patterns change. I also encourage you to learn more keyword research tools, so you can more thoroughly check on the phrases you select.
The real beauty of this strategy: You’re just doing what your customers tell you to do. Worst case, it should improve the page’s ‘curb appeal’ when visitors arrive.
Ian Lurie is founder and CEO of Portent Inc., an internet marketing agency that has provided internet marketing, including PPC, SEO, social and analytics services, since 1995. Read More