Content Intent: Why One Tweak To An Article Could See You Hit Page One

Most people would agree that creating quality content is a great method for securing SEO success for a website. The trouble is, what constitutes ‘quality content’, exactly?

The misguided temptation these days is to simply publish lengthy articles. That’s the tactic that’s pimped around on a lot of the fashionable digital marketing blogs out there. However, in my mind, that’s generally a pretty unsophisticated approach.

Some subject matters clearly deserve attributing a hefty word count to, but I’m seeing a lot of topics that could be addressed in 500 words dragged out for much longer.

What happens as a result of this is that the key pieces of content aren’t actually consumed (which renders the whole content marketing process pointless).

Actually, many of these articles often ignore a really important concept:

The value of any post will vary from person to person.

Sometimes quite dramatically, too.

In other words, we’re all different. As such, we’ll all have different reasons for reading a piece of content. Ultimately, the success of a blog post will depend on the author’s ability to cater for his or her audience’s need.

So today, I’m going to show you how it’s possible to make a close interpretation of how your readers are actually using your content and how to tweak your work using this information so that it’s a better fit your for fans.

This is a simple 3-step process that will greatly enhance the impact of a piece of content after it’s been published. And, of course, it should result in a HUGE boost to its ranking position.

What’s more, this quick SEO hack will also indirectly highlight the important role that click-through data plays in determining ranking positions.

Let’s set the scene…

Just to reiterate then, my strategy comes into play after publishing a piece of content.

So you’ve written an article, pressed ‘publish’ and a few weeks have passed.

And suppose your work just isn’t delivering any results. You’re struggling to move the needle once the dust has settled and life just doesn’t seem fair.

You know your approach to content marketing is solid and you’ve created a good piece of content, but it’s not ranking highly and getting much traction.

If that sounds familiar, then pay attention. I may have a simple strategy that could ignite your published content and generate the kind of tangible results that you’re after.

I’m going to use a post that I wrote a while ago about trade marketing while I walk you through the process.
Trade marketing is a broad subject area and it’s looked up online frequently.

Now obviously, none of us are mind readers. In the beginning, it’s impossible to predict exactly what your audience will use your content for.

Therefore, your initial approach to content marketing should be pretty standard:

  1. Research a popular topic
  2. Source a valuable keyword
  3. Write an entertaining and informative article
  4. Optimise your article for search
  5. Promote your piece

Thanks to keyword research and other such similar tactics, we can form a general idea of what people want. That’s exactly what I did.

A lot of people are searching for the term “trade marketing”. And because there are lots of subject areas for this topic, my initial thought was to create some sort of ultimate guide.

I also took up this position because nothing else really existed that covered every base. I wanted to publish something all encompassing.

My face palm moment?

I found that, despite the keyword “trade marketing” appearing to have a low difficulty level, and despite having promoted my piece well and having sourced multiple backlinks, my article remained stuck on page 3.

I had ticked every content marketing box but it still refused to budge.

It was demoralising. From research to writing, the piece took 2-3 weeks to put together. Of course, I also spent some time promoting the post and creating backlinks. All in all, it was some effort so to draw a blank was annoying.

But I hadn’t given up.

About 3 months after publication, I felt that it was time to do some digging. What I discovered was, people didn’t actually want an ultimate guide;

instead, they seemed to want something a little different.

Step 1: Open up Google Search Console

As the saying goes, one accurate measurement is worth a thousand opinions. As per the image below, we need to go to Search Traffic and then to Search Analytics.

You’re now looking at a lot of data that can tell us a lot about how your content is performing. At the top of this page, make sure the checkboxes for clicks, impressions, CTR and position are all ticked:

Step 2: Look at the information under the graphs

What we’re looking at is the relationship between the number of impressions that a piece of content gets and the corresponding click-through rate.

In other words, how often is my content getting in front of people in search results and, out of those times, how many people are actually clicking on my result.

When I looked at my stats, I noticed that the keyword “trade marketing” had a lot of impressions, but a very low click-through rate.

This told me that the piece as it originally stood (as a general ultimate guide), wasn’t relevant. However, there were a number of terms where the click-through rate was extremely high.

Terms that focused around trade marketing strategies and examples had click-through rates above 25%. This told me that my audience was more interested in that side of the topic.

Much of the content of my article was highly relevant, but the way I had framed it was putting an unnecessary barrier around achieving any progress.

Step 3: Change your meta title, meta description and headline accordingly

Armed with this knowledge, I changed my meta title and meta description to:

The headline of the article was also changed to:

Now this piece of content specifically refers to strategies and examples.

It’s suddenly a much better fit for my audience and it hits their pain points more accurately – in that the copy calls out trade marketing strategies and examples.

And the all-important result?

The piece hit page one about 10 days after making these changes – the impact was practically immediate.

People are now clicking on my article in their droves and the piece has stayed in second place on page one ever since.

Right, what have we learned?

That actually, achieving SEO and content marketing success is a pretty logical affair. Contrary to popular belief, Google doesn’t care about which website has the longest articles.

Or who has the most backlinks.

Or who has the most social shares.

It cares about who provides the most value.

And basically, this little 3-step strategy above can better align your content with what your readers need. If you put it into practice a while after your publish something, I’m confident that it will make your work stand out more.

My trade marketing article was lengthy. That was deliberately so, but it didn’t need to be. The only metric that really matters is that people weren’t using the post in the way that I had envisioned.

The trade marketing audience didn’t need a massive guide. Maybe there’s a reason why there are no comprehensive trade marketing guides out there.

Those who did click on my article didn’t hang around for long, so although the piece contained many valuable pieces of information, I clearly had an alignment issue that needed sorting.

I’ve always said that a good content marketer must be something of a detective. You need to know everything about your readers. From what they like to how they like to consume their content, the more information you have to hand, the greater your chances of success.

If you understand the needs of your audience, you’re going to be able to create more clickable stuff. Not only that, but your readers are likelier to stick around once they’re on your site.

Rankings and engaged traffic. That’s what it’s all about, right?

Additionally, we’ve also learnt that clicks really do affect ranking positions.

Ultimately, Google is using engagement data more than ever. And this makes perfect sense. It uses click-through data to see what sort of results are of interest and bounce rates to analyse the quality of said results.

And if Google is trying to work out what people are using content for, so should we. Today’s strategy is a pretty simple way of doing just that.

Why not give it a try? The beauty of this approach is that you can apply it to any piece of content. If you’ve got an archive full of pointless posts that aren’t contributing anything, see if you can breathe new life into an article or two.

Bio: Matt Press is an experienced copywriter who has written words for some of the UK’s biggest brands, such as Sky, Three and Vodafone. He now helps other copywriters find jobs and improve their skills.