Today’s post looks at how to develop a quality content strategy for your website, which will increase long tail traffic and rankings.
It doesn’t matter if you are running your own ecommerce business, an affiliate site or a blog – to succeed on the internet and to increase your traffic from search engines you are going to need to develop a content strategy.
For certain industries this is pretty straight forward and there is always something to write about, but what if you are in a boring niche? How do you churn out high quality content on a consistent basis that will build your traffic and keep the search engines and your visitors coming back for more?
Well, to help you out, here is an example of a real life consultation I had with the owner of a hairdressing scissors business and how after a couple of hours we had gone from a blank piece of paper to enough content ideas to keep him going for years!
Why You Need A Content Strategy
Before I carry on with the story, I had better quickly address why you need to develop a content strategy for your site. Don’t worry… I’ll keep it brief!
Firstly, content can be a number of things. A few examples are: -
An ideal content strategy will incorporate different elements of the above, however…
pro tip: If you are putting up a content page with a video, or podcast, then put a text transcription of the audio on the same page. Video is great for visitors and can send fantastic traffic from youtube etc, but google is still primarily a text based search engine, so back up the rich media with text and you’ll be benefiting your visitors and your search rankings
So why do we need to produce regular content? Well here are a few good reasons:-
- More content = more pages = more text for google to index = more keywords = more search engine traffic!
- Google likes fresh pages and will often give them a rankings boost
- Fresh content gives your visitors a reason to come back time and time again. Would you buy yesterday’s newspaper twice?
- Fresh content is more likely to be shared in social media = more traffic!
Or in a big bold nutshell…
More content = more traffic!
Ok, back to the case study…
I Have Nothing To Write About!
So, I met up with the client in my favourite café (Nero, in Glasgow’s west end) and with a couple of large hot chocolates with whipped cream for inspiration we sat down to get started on a content plan for his site.
To give you a bit of background to the meeting I had just completed a redesign/redevelopment of his ecommerce website and it was looking great, but what’s the point of having a shiny new shop and hiding it down a backstreet? You need to be on the high street right? You need footfall? And on the internet that footfall comes from growing your search engine/referral traffic!
Well, after an enjoyable ten minute catch up and discussion about topics ranging from running and football to music, we got round to the purpose of the meeting – getting more traffic to his site! Allow me to paraphrase how the conversation began…
Me: ’The site’s looking great and you’ve got all the tools you need to grow your online business. What we need to do now is develop a content strategy and start building your traffic’.
Client: ‘But there’s nothing I can really write about. Who wants to read about scissors?’
What’s wrong with that statement?
Well, both of those sentences are wrong!
1) There’s so much to write about (as I will demonstrate)
2) His target customers want to read about scissors!
It was the response I was expecting and the one I hear nearly every time I talk to a client about developing a content strategy.
So, I took a big gulp of my hot chocolate, engaged the creative side of my brain and started to come up with some ideas. And here they are!
Content Idea # 1: A Detailed Buying Guide
This is one of the first things I recommend putting together for an ecommerce or affiliate site. Put together the ultimate guide to purchasing the product/product category.
Get it right and it is going to be one of the most important pages on your site for pulling in search traffic, but more importantly traffic which converts to sales/commissions.
So for our scissors site we would want to be explaining the different types, the different price points, the differences in the metals used etc.
With over 500 scissors available in loads of different styles there was going to be a lot to write about here!
A lengthy article with lots of great long tail keywords. Great! But we can only do this once (or at least once per category), so what next…
Content Idea # 2: X v Y Posts
These are great, easy posts to write, which convert extremely well.
Take two popular products in a category and write up a detailed post on the pros and cons of each, before coming to a conclusion about which product is better and why.
Even better; X is great for this, while Y is great for that.
These type of posts make for great videos too.
Content Idea #3: How To Articles
Lots of scope for these. Put your thinking cap on, do a bit of research and you’ll come up with loads of ideas. A few example for scissors…
- How To Clean Your Scissors
- How To Extend The Life Of Your Scissors
- How To Sharpen Your Scissors
You really can’t go wrong with a well written ‘how to’ article and they are likely to bring in good traffic, shares (visitors will appreciate you helping them out) and possible links from tutorial sites like ehow.
Of course, in the examples above we would want to be recommending a few products they will need to do the job right. And if these products just happen to be available in the site’s shop…
Content Idea #4: Hair Stylist Of The Month
Did I hear you say link bait….
Or perhaps the more accurate phrase would be ‘ego bait’.
A feature like this is sure to be shared by the lucky winner. Certainly on their social media and with a bit of luck on their salon’s website too (hello links!).
I suggested an interview format, with pretty much the same questions for each month’s winner; one of which being something like ‘What are your favourite hairdressing scissors and why?’.
We’ll be getting some nice keywords in the article and a recommendation for a product, which should hopefully lead to some sales
Oh… and how does a hairdresser become eligible to be stylist of the month. Why, by liking and sharing the companies facebook page of course!
Monthly features are great as it’s an article in the bag each month and something that people will come back to check.
Content Idea #5: Problem/Solution Articles
Kind of similar to ‘How To’ articles, but this one involves really identifying specific problems and giving the answers to them.
tip: A good way to find ideas for articles like this is to look on forums specific to your niche and question/answer sites like yahoo answers.
If you can solve someone’s problem, then they are going to trust you and are more likely to turn into a paying customer/subscriber.
Content Idea #6: Industry News
It’s ok to broaden out your niche sometimes and not every article on a site has to be micro targeted to your topic, as long as it maintains a relevance to your site’s theme and will be of interest to visitors.
So for the scissors site articles on news in the hairdressing industry would certainly be of interest and a weekly or monthly round up of industry news could be a regular feature.
Content Idea #7: Competitions
Competitions are a great way to get people visiting/sharing/talking about your site… after all, who doesn’t like a freebie!
Again this could be a regular weekly or monthly feature and should build repeat traffic/loyal visitors.
Each competition actually has the potential for 2 articles; the first for the competition itself and the second for a feature on the winner.
Content Idea #8: Topical Content
Topical content (i.e. current affairs) is a great way to bring in short term traffic. If you can tie an article in to something that a lot of people are searching for at that time then you can get a pretty decent spike.
Keep your thinking cap on when you are watching the news/reading the paper and you might just hit on a great idea for an article.
Content Idea #9: Seasonal Articles
Again, these are good for bringing in short term traffic and, for example, an article idea in the run up to Christmas might be: -
‘What Is The Ideal Christmas Gift For A Hair Stylist?’
And of course the majority of those gift ideas would be found on the site.
tip: If you are running an ecommerce site, it is often a good idea to include products that you don’t sell yourself on a list like this. This is good for building trust and…. for extra ninja points… sign up as an affiliate for the products you don’t sell!
There Was More…
The above is not an exhaustive list of the content ideas we discussed, but some of them were very specific to his niche so probably not relevant to this article.
I am sure you will see though that after a couple of hours (and a second cup of hot chocolate) we had more than enough ideas for a regular flow of high quality content.
Getting ideas for your content is the first phase of developing a content strategy, the next stage of course is actually producing the content!
There are a couple of key factors to make sure your new content strategy is a success and will start to increase your traffic.
I’ve talked about them extensively in the past, but for completeness I will summarise quickly and link to previous articles where you can read more.
Sorry, I’m using that word again! Make sure that everything you publish is well written, engaging and provides true value.
For more on this read:-
Pick a schedule for your content – be it daily, weekly or monthly and stick to it!
For more on this read: -
Watch The Traffic Grow!
Producing a regular flow of high quality content is a key factor in increasing your search engine traffic.
Combined with a solid, white hat off site SEO campaign (social media networking, outreach and quality link building) you’ll be well on your way to success with your website and watching your visitor stats go up and up!
Over To You
So, that’s how for what the owner of the business considered a boring niche, we went from a blank piece of paper to a solid content strategy.
Like I said, the list is not exhaustive and whatever niche you are in, if you put your mind to it you will come up with loads of great ideas for content.
If you have any questions or other tips for developing a content strategy you would like to share then please leave a comment below!