Typically, content creation is a great way to feed search engine optimization (SEO) and organic traffic to a website. But it can be a taxing job for PR teams.
It’s common to see the most emphasis on the production process: writing and loading the content. But it shouldn’t come at the cost of neglecting to monitor performance metrics.
Performance metrics will be different for each site, but they typically include social metrics (“likes,” shares, comments, pins, tweets, etc.) and standard website metrics such as conversions, visits, time on site, and orders.
In addition to a focus on good storytelling and relevant, interesting information, adopting a performance-oriented mindset around your content production will ultimately help your reach and SEO performance.
Here are some specific optimization tactics to keep in mind:
Learn from high-performing content.
If you have multiple categories of content on your site, work with your analytics team to identify the ones that are performing best. If you don’t have articles, videos, or other assets assigned to categories, consider doing so in order to better understand demand.
Optimize page layout.
In some cases, consulting a user experience expert may help your content succeed. Some content may seem like a poor performer, but the layout and context may be partially responsible. For example, social sharing buttons may be buried at the bottom of a long article or other calls to action aren’t easily visible based on how the Web page appears.
Ask your audience for their input.
Don’t be afraid to ask your fans or subscribers what they want. You may find they are willing to speak up and offer content ideas. If your content hub allows users to do a search, take a look at reports to find out the most popular or desired topics. Consider creating new content or refreshing old to be more targeted to what people are already looking for.
Title content for easy searchability.
Sometimes good content can be marked as bad because of low exposure in search engines. If the titles aren’t both relevant and SEO friendly, good content may get missed in searches because it isn’t labeled based on what people are looking for. Consider referencing Google’s keyword tool for this task
Reference last year’s performance data.
Looking back to the previous year’s data will enable you to identify topics that trend seasonally throughout the year and correspondingly perform high. As you make a content production plan, consider how you can target certain seasons or events based on what you’ve already learned.
Look to other brand assets and media channels.
If you have a YouTube channel or a blog or any other offsite social assets, take note of the pieces of content that perform well. Consider replicating these topics on your site and linking channels together to cross promote.
The content production process is a loop that never ends. Many PR pros charged with looking for opportunities for storytelling or sharing information know that getting the right message to the right audience at the right time isn’t always easy. SEO is an important piece of the content puzzle, and can be addressed throughout the creation process.
Nick Papagiannis is director of interactive/search for independent marketing and communications firm Cramer-Krasselt.