If your SEO goal is to sell more of a specific product or service, content marketing can seem like an indirect tactic to get you there. How could blogging and content marketing improve the rankings for a page selling widgets?
Actually, it will help. A lot. But your site needs time, patience, and an intelligent content strategy if it’s going to grow naturally and organically.
Here’s How Your Site is Like a Tree
In order for a tree to thrive it needs a few things. It needs light from the sun and nutrients from the ground. It needs a strong root system and a powerful sturdy trunk. It also needs wide, strong branches to support its leaves.
The roots and trunk are the heart of your site; they represent the homepage and the overall strength and reach it has to your audience. The branches and leaves are your category pages and products that you want the world to see. But branches and leaves are the top of the tree – we need to start at the bottom.
These are the external links to your site. They can be from reputable news sources, industry publications, influential thought leaders and influencers with a large social following or reach. Any content you publish should either aim to build up the authority of your website, or the relevance of your site for certain keywords. If you’re producing and promoting shareable content, the links you earn will help your entire site (or tree) grow stronger.
The Root System
Next is your onsite, organically ranking content, like blog posts and resource pages. Blogging not only helps connect your thoughts to your audience, but it strengthens the tree by creating trust among your audience. Each post should be aligned with your business and SEO strategy, as outlined in our 13 Point SEO Blog Checklist.
This is your homepage and user pages (like your “About” page). Strengthening this section of the tree involves a lot of structural work, like site auditing and keyword mapping. A technical site audit scans through your site like a Google watchdog, looking at possible problems that could keep your branches from growing further, or in this case, prevent your pages from ranking.
Another issue that could be holding your site back at this point is a lack of keyword mapping. A keyword map aligns the keywords that your customers are using with those on your site. If you don’t have the proper words on your pages, they won’t match up with what your users are looking for.
The Branches and Leaves
With a strong and healthy foundation, you can start reaping the benefits of increased traffic to your category and product/service pages. Here are a few tips to make sure the top of your tree is healthy.
- Avoid duplicating content across different category and product pages. It is important that you establish your business as the authority, not someone else’s, so avoid copying and pasting manufacturers’ descriptions, syndicated reviews, and other content that isn’t unique to your site.
- Make sure that your content isn’t thin or low-quality. As a rule of thumb, aim to write at least 400 original words for each product page.
- Even though search volume is probably lower for the terms associated with your category and product pages (branches and leaves being smaller than trunks and all), keyword mapping is still important. At this point, you’re likely to find traffic with higher commercial intent, even if the volume is lower.
Don’t Become Unbalanced
You don’t want any of these to be out of balance. If you just built links to a category or product page, then one of the branches might get too heavy and break. This may not kill the tree, but it could limit its growth quite a bit. Focusing on a strong trunk and root system will help your site stand the test of time. Then you can take a step back and enjoy the beauty of a well-organized site.