How To Create An Effective Content Strategy For Your Website – 038

content production

Develop A System To Consistently Produce New Content For Your Website

Content is king, but producing good relevant content for your website is easier said than done. Especially if you need to put out that content on a regular basis. In this episode we share some tips and tactics on how to create a content production strategy that allows you to stay on track and keep putting out fresh content. Learn how to get easy ideas for content, what type of content you should produce, and how often you should be creating it. Plus, don’t forget to setup your website to automatically alert Google when you have new content on your site, too!

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YOU’LL LEARN

  • You need to have a regular content production schedule to continually produce new content for your website
  • Your level or quantity of content production will depend on what your competition is doing
  • You can research your competition to see what their content output is by viewing their blog, or checking their XML sitemaps
  • You need to be active in producing new content because Google is continually looking for new content to show in search results
  • Use an XML sitemap and submit your website to Google via Google Search Console to automatically get your new content submitted to Google
  • Putting out content with 1,200-1,500 words on the page once per week is ideal, but at least once per month or every two weeks is okay
  • Sit down one day per month (or quarter) and list out the content or topics you will be working from
  • Easy ideas for content creation can include things like category pages, FAQ pages, Q&A, industry news, internal company news or events, and local community related topics
  • You can create new content for your website by using case studies or customer testimonials
  • Do keyword research to find out the most popular keyword searches for services or products you want to be found for so you can write content specifically for those topics
  • You can use a freelancer to help create content for your website, but make sure you understand the process yourself first

Here is the transcription from Episode 38 How To Create An Effective Content Strategy For Your Website;

Jesse: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics. Jesse Dolan here with Bob Brennan.

Bob: Howdie.

Jesse: As we do each week, we’re here to bring you some tips and tricks to help you with your website and this week, we’re going to talk about having a regular content production strategy for your website. What we mean by that is just having a plan for what you’re going to be producing for your website, right? So content is king. Everybody has heard probably beat to death, but it is true. You got to be putting out content for the search engines to see that you’re relevant, see that you’re fresh, and get served up.

So it’s pretty important. The frequency and how much content that you do put out is going to depend on what your competitors are doing. So, we’re not going to get into that kind of metric here. This is more about how to have a strategy and kind of roll it out and the importance of it, but that’s where you’d probably want to start with this whole topic is see what other people are doing. A lot of times if your competitor is … he may have a blog or news articles and things like that. It’s easy to get on there and see the dates and things like that for how often they’re producing content and what they’re doing. You can also look at sitemaps. Usually down in the bottom of a website, people are going to have a XML sitemap or an HTML sitemap. You can kind of browse through it like that.

And we had one of our previous episodes, I’ll link to it in the show notes, but we talked about website monitoring. You could even go so far as to set up some of these monitoring tools to see when they put out new content and get an alert. So it’s kind of a tricky way to go about it, you know? But totally legit and just kind of good intelligence gathering. So your level of content production is definitely going to depend on what your competitors are doing. You got to keep up with the Joneses in your niche. You know, whatever that is.
Now aside from that, a good rule of thumb I usually like to throw out to people is; try to do one thing a week. Minimum one thing a month for a piece of content. And we’re going to break down some different ways to do that, how to stay on schedule, and just kind of the variety of that. So, first thing is why this is important. It’s part of Google’s algorithm.

Bob: Yeah.

Jesse: How relevant are you? How fresh are you? How much authority do you have? You know, things like that. In this case, we’re talking about how fresh is it. If you haven’t put out any content in two years, unless you’re in a niche where nobody else has, or your website is so crazy dominant that it’s got hundreds of back links and everybody just goes there, yeah, you might be the exception of the rule where you don’t need new content. But for the rest of us regular folks, operating regular old websites, putting out new content is very important.

If you have an XML sitemap on your website, it stamps when you produce that content for Google. Google’s crawl on your website. Hopefully you’ve hooked it up with a Google Search Console. We’ll link to the episode here in the show notes as well if you don’t know how to do that to help you out. And you submit your sitemap to Google. They’re crawling it on a daily or a weekly basis looking to see if you’ve added new content so then they can add that new content to their search index. They’re looking at dates. They understand how often you’re posting on your website, how many new pages you’re putting up, and that frequency.

And kind of two things. One, if you don’t do it, that tells them if you’re active or not. And secondly, if you have huge gaps in time, I mean I think lots of businesses either have done this yourselves or you’ve run into businesses that you found when searching for products and services where they’ll start a blog and just go in blazes, you know? Every couple days or every week, some kind of new thing that’s coming up, and you’re reading through these and you’re noticing, “Oh, this is February 2016 and August 2016 is the last entry.” They just stopped. Google sees that too. And it’s kind of a signal to them that you stopped. Something went wrong or you just gave up or whatever. You know what I mean? So-

Bob: They see everything, don’t they?

Jesse: They do see everything. Mike Myers or Austin Powers, I’m sorry. Little finger there. What was his name?

Jesse: Dr. Evil.

Bob: Dr. Evil.

Jesse: How could I forget that? So, Google knows, to Bob’s point. They’re master plan, their evil plan is just knowing everything and if you want to be in the game, put out new content. They’re watching the timestamps. They know all this, right? So just to make that very, very clear.

Now secondly, in my other example I just gave of that blog, right? That started in February, ended in August or whatever, depending on what kind of content you’re producing and the format it’s in, it’ll be date-stamped for your customers or your users to see. Maybe it’s who wrote this and the date and things like that, but in those cases where it’s timestamped or you’re some of kind of blog or some kind of roll timeline here, that’s important too. They want to see. If you’re putting this out there to be known that you’re publishing these things and you have these dates on them, if there’s any kind of regular thing that you were doing, you want to keep that up. Otherwise, you’d look like you took time off or you got too busy or you got distracted. You know what I mean? It just doesn’t reflect very well for the users in addition to the search engines there. So, definitely some reasons why you want to have a regular content production strategy.

Now we’re going to take a few minutes on what is content, what the heck are we talking, and how do you operate this? So-

Bob: Quick question I have. So if you’re just starting out with your website, is there … can you hammer out a bunch of content the first couple days, weeks, whatever? Is it okay to do that?

Jesse: Yeah, it’s okay. I mean if you launch a website, kind of by definition of content, like if today I don’t have a website and tomorrow I do, my own home page, my about us, you know, you’re popping off seven to 15 pages just to have that shell of a website. So, in that regard, I mean the answer is yes. Because you can just throw stuff up. Now, if you’re going go after, let’s say 100 keywords in your niche and you’re going to throw up 800 webpages tomorrow. You developed them all, you just didn’t hit publish, let’s say, right? And you just spam the heck out of everything, not a good idea.

Bob: Okay.

Jesse: You might have some pages and they’re going to stick. Don’t get me wrong. You throw it up against the wall, something’s going to stick, but I wouldn’t call that a good strategy. It wouldn’t be something I would definitely recommend and I know you have the same answer. You’re kind of seeing the question there. That’s definitely not a good way to go.

There’s definitely the most effective way we found so far is kind of a crawl, walk, run. And start out with smaller, smaller bits of content. If your website is brand new, start out with maybe 1,000 word, 1,500 word pieces of content, which kind of sounds like a lot, but it’s also not in the grand scheme of things for what you find out there on the search engines.

Bob: Yeah, not what Google wants. We used to be able to get by with that as little as probably two, three years ago. It’s known as kind of thin content, right?

Jesse: Yeah. 500 words, 350 words.

Bob: 500 words. Just quick down and dirty deal. Google’s part of their AI and everything else is they’re looking to see if you’re legit and if you’re legit, you’re going at least 1,500 words. Between 1,000 and 1,500 and later on, you’re going to want to put bigger content out there.

Jesse: Right. So, let’s say if you’re starting from scratch or if you’re trying to breathe new life into your website, what I would say is try to put out 1,000 word page once a week. If you can’t do that, at least try to do it once a month or every two weeks or something like that. Be on a regular schedule.

And that’s not as hard as it sounds. That’s not some huge encyclopedia, you know, like a big post or a big page is going to be 3,500 words, 4,000 words. That definitely takes a lot of effort to kind of craft. But if you know what you’re talking about and you’re trying to promote your product or service or kind of wrap things around a keyword here, you can put out 1,000 words or more pretty darn easy, quite frankly. It’s not saying it’s going to take you 10 minutes, but you can do it once a week or once a month or every two weeks without a problem if you have that discipline to do it.

So as an overall strategy, I would probably do that, round up 1,200-1,500 words. I mean 1,000 is even kind of a little bit on the light side. I mean if that’s what you can do, do it. That’s better than nothing, but if you can get close to that 1,200, 1,300, or 1,500 words, that’s where you want to be. I’ll put a link in the show notes to a web text analyzer tool that we use. It’s free. Just to give you some examples. You can take your current website, plug some pages in. It’ll tell you how many words are on your page, just to kind of help give some context, right, to what this actually means and what it would look like for you. And then as you’re developing new pages just to test them to see what kind of words you got on there to count them up to help you guys out. So check the show notes out for that, Intrycks.com/show.

Now, getting a content schedule and a production schedule is kind of important here. So if you know you got to create, I’m going to say one a week from here on out for the example, if you know you got to create a page a week, you don’t want to spend energy every week trying to decide what you’re going to come up with, right? So maybe once a month or even once a quarter, if you could write out or list out all the things you want to be talking about and what your ideas are, it becomes a lot easier to kind of do this stuff once a week. Or even if you batch it. Maybe you sit down for one day a month and you write, four, five, six, eight pages that you’re going to release later. You can totally do that too.

Some real easy pieces of content to do that, one we talk about it in another episode is category pages. Real easy way to create a new page with a lot of content, kind of bringing in other pages on your website, grouping them into categories. Another way to beef up any page, so let’s just say you wrote an article or you wrote a landing page for your website, you got 750 words on it, a great way to add some more content into that page is FAQs. So whatever you’re writing about, whatever the topic on that page is, there’s going to be a few questions people ask about this once they engage with you for that product or service. Throw up some FAQs about it, right?
You want this content to be relevant to what you’re writing about, completely on topic, and making sense to that. But you can easily add in a couple hundred words with just a couple questions. The actual question type it out, the answer type it out. Don’t use contractions if you’re really stretching. That’s do not instead of don’t, you know what I mean? You know, things like that. Other easy wins for what kind of content is check out your industry. What kind of news and updates? If you’re spinning this our for a customer, make sure you always understand how to kind of transpose that, if you will, or relay that. In customer terminology. Not in the industry speak.

But I’m sure every business out there has some kind of industry news publication or website or blog you can subscribe to and they’ll put you on an email list and they’ll send you the updates. And just save them. Put a folder in your inbox for website content ideas and as you get these newsletters being sent to you that you used to delete as spam, if you have a headline in it that catches your eye, save it in there for topics for later. And when you sit down once a month to kind of plot out your map, pull those out and look for which things makes sense for you to write. If it doesn’t make sense anymore, delete it. But if you do find something that makes sense, use that as inspiration and kind of run from there.

If you’re going to paraphrase and extrapolate things directly, always link back to those websites which is completely fine to say sourced from whatever. If we’re talking about industry stuff, usually it’s maybe from a manufacturer to you, you’re not going to have to worry about your customers jumping over to the manufacturer. You’re a reseller or part of a channel. It’s not like it’s a direct competitor. So give credit where credit is due. Just make that very clear.

Other ones are, if you have internal company news or events. You can blast out to everybody in your company, “Hey, any interesting stuff happening this month?” Or, “What’s coming up?” Or, “What did happen?” Again, it doesn’t take anything but a topic to really get your writing and get you going, so just think about what’s happening at your company. And then in your own community. If there’s something related to what you’re doing, whether some people volunteered at your company. This content doesn’t … I guess my point in this, just take a quick pause, this content doesn’t have to be about what you’re selling or providing, right? It’s just content that’s related to your business.

So, if it was about some cool thing you did at some church to help some people, or you helped to build a house for somebody, or clean up some ditches, or whatever it is, that can be content on your website. And there is definitely a strategy and SEO to write about and have content about your community to show that you’re related to that. We’re in Eagan, Minnesota, right? So writing blog posts or pages about Eagan, serving Eagan, or things to do in Eagan that are related to us and kind of circle back, lets Google know you’re about Eagan, not just that product or service, but also that city. So, just to make that clear, too. This doesn’t have to just be about something that you’re selling. Has to somehow track back to you and make sense.

Bob: Yeah and that kind of makes sense because we’ve all gone to websites and we’re like, “Okay. Why are they talking about the Eagan book drive?” Or whatever the deal is. Well they’re doing that to help Google see that they’re part of the Eagan community and it’s all of part of that E-formula or what have you. And so that’s kind of interesting. I guess a kind of a redirect that I have or a question I have is, how do you implement content as it relates to maybe some of the Google analytics or were you wanting to cover that at all?

Jesse: No, that’s great. Yeah it’s on the shortlist of notes here, but absolutely. When you say Google analytics or I’m assuming you’re talking about the actual keywords and stuff or?

Bob: Yes. Keywords and some of the stuff that kind of tells you … Because I think we all, again, we sit down in our business and it was like, “God, there’s a zillion things I could talk about, most of which would bore the tears out of people.” But what’s really productive? What are the key things that we should really hit here and then maybe any supporting topics to that? I mean, how do you approach that?

Jesse: Yeah. Great question. There’s a couple tools Google has out there. And a lot of this, too. All of the things being equal, if I had a list of this content that I have topics here that I’m going to produce content on, I should definitely go with whatever the highest search volume and kind of direct for my company, right?

Bob: Right, right.

Jesse: So using Google, it’s not quite the same as it used to be through AdWords. You could use their Google keyword research tool. It’s not quite as good as it used to be for giving you exact volumes, but it’s still okay for some research. So using something like that. LongTail Pro, which is something we recommend. We have it on our website. Intrycks.com/resources. I forget the exact offer, but if you go through our link, you can get hooked up with LongTail Pro too.

There’s tools out there for keyword research to get volumes and suggestions. Mind that data. There’s a Keywords Everywhere plug-in that I know we use on Chrome.

Bob: Yeah. That’s real helpful.

Jesse: That’s super helpful. So you can, I would say, use that in two ways. All these keyword research things in two ways. One is to find ideas because almost all of these give you related. You plug in something and it tells you other things related to it so it can help you spider out and branch out for your ideas. Then two, it can help you quantify and prioritize, which one should go above the other.
Some other super cool tools are Google Trends, which I’ll put a link to all of these in the show notes to everybody.

Bob: Yeah. Google Trends in a nice tool.

Jesse: Google Trends is great because if something’s kind of coming up, you can see what’s happening with it. There’s another tool Google Correlate, which kind of compares and contrasts, well correlates two different terms together. So you can kind of see the history and how they interact with each other. All those things. If you’re using Google My Business if you have a GMB page, which you should. Everybody should. If you’re listening to this and you don’t have it yet-

Bob: Yes. You should. Otherwise, just give up.

Jesse: Just give up if we’re talking local search. I’ll put a link too. I think it’s episode one and two we talk … We started this thing off talking about GMBs. Get yourself set up. We’ll put a link in the show notes. But anyway, in your GMB listing, you can go in there to the insights and they’re going to give you now, at the time at this airing, it may not have rolled out to everybody yet, they’re still rolling it out. But they’re starting to give you now the keywords people are using to search and when your business pops up. So that’s just another great way for different keywords and ideas and jump off points.

So, there’s no one tool to answer your question shortly. There’s no one tool to use, to kind of get that analytics and that research. Make sure you’re always taking all the stuff in. So again, if you’re saying once a month or once a quarter you’re going to sit down and just kind of hibernate for a day and get your content strategy, list it out. I would check out these tools, what have I produced, what do I want to produce? And just kind of list all this out and make sure at the end you’re ranking that son of a gun from most important, most popular, you know and then down. Produce the best content first. Does that answer your question? Hopefully.

Bob: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, no and I just think that it helps people focus on content, on what they need to focus on as part of your strategy because, again, it’s for me, I’m more ADD, but it’s hard to sit down and, “Okay, I know I got to write about something, but where do I start?” And that will help them focus on that strategy I think.

Jesse: Yeah. And then put this stuff in your calendar. Again, whatever works for you. If it’s once a week, once a month, once a quarter, do these things, but think about … I’m a big systems guy, process guy. You know that, but which is why I recommend this, but get it in your calendar, have the discipline because you don’t want to be those people that start and stop, start and stop. Your best results are going to be with just continued effort on this. You don’t have to spam the heck out of everything. Just do one big chunk, slow and steady is going to win the race on this. So, get it in your calendar.

Bob: And don’t worry about getting great, just get good.

Jesse: Yeah.

Bob: Because the first couple article or the content, it’s … none of this is going to be perfect, but Google doesn’t care. They just want to see that you’re in the game, so to speak. And then you can refine your craft as you get along.

Jesse: You can refine those articles, too. You can go back and edit them later. So you know?

Bob: Oh yeah. That’s another way of approaching it.

Jesse: So a couple more quick wins for you guys to help you develop content here. So we talk about industry news and events, kind of internal company stuff, things in your neighborhood, if you will. Case studies. If you’re trying to promote a certain product or service, get a case study. Case studies can be very white paper-ish or they can be very general and a little lighter to read. Testimonials mixed in there, things like that. I mean just a great inspiration for how to write something.

Bob: Infographics, which I have no experience with. We can probably dig into that in another episode, but those are important too I guess.

Jesse: Those are very good. The thing with an infographic, depending on how you put it on your page, it may be just an image, right?

Bob: Okay.

Jesse: And I’m glad you brought this up. It wasn’t even on the radar here, but this is a big thing. Put the big old infographic up on there, right? Or if it’s a PDF they get to download, whatever it is, but then write about it. If it’s a flowchart, let’s say as an infographic, list out the steps. Just read what you’re doing and just kind of type, type, type away and kind of paraphrase the infographic in text.
At the end of the day, we’re looking for actual text on page here, right? So that’s great. You can an infographic as your inspiration and to just develop a piece of content around that and use the infographic right in the article.

Creating sales pages based on keywords you want to target. Talk to your sales guys, sales gals, talk to your customers, you know, find all these hot buttons, but just straight up create landing pages. Some of the other stuff that we’re talking about is much more maybe informative, but at the end of the day, if you’re completely tapped out and you just … we used pool repair in the last few episodes, as an example here. Man, just sit down and write something about pool repair. If you got nothing else, at the end of the day, just create a sales page, a click here to buy, contact me, request a demo, book a service, whatever it is. At the end of the day, just a straight up landing page, a sales page.

Bob: Yeah. You know, and to give you some idea right now, when this is being recorded, we’re at the eve of the release of the various iPhones.

Jesse: Yeah.

Bob: And you pretty much know what they’re called about 48 hours or 24 hours before they’re released. You could start getting that content out there. Ultimately, people are going to be looking to have those repaired and if you already have that content out. But like you said, you can go back and refine it. So in this case, we might call them the iPhone X Cs or X S or whatever we think they might be called and then upon the release, go back and edit that. But at least that content is published and it’s starting to get traction through Google.

Jesse: Absolutely. So you get it out there in the first place. Takes a while to sink in.

That’s about it. I got one last tip here. If this is completely intimidating for you, either for the process or for the time of it all too, you don’t even have it. You can hire people to write articles, right?

Bob: Yeah.

Jesse: From a couple cents per word, maybe $30, $40 per article. Now this depends on if you’re going domestic, or using something off-shore. But there’s lots of resources online like FreeeUp that you can use to help you out where you don’t have to hire somebody full-time on your staff. You’re just, “Hey. I need six articles. Here’s the things I want them on.” For a couple hundred bucks, you got your content for the month. And we’re talking about professional, well done content here, right?

Bob: Yeah. And I would throw out the caveat. Like a lot of things in small business, you got to live it first. So live it first, figure it out yourself, get as many articles out or content as you out can yourself and once you’ve got that refined, then you know what to expect, so to speak, from this person. And then you can outsource it and then you can guide them in the say the style and method you want to use. This isn’t one of those things where you just like, “Oh, I’ll just outsource it.”

Jesse: Right.

Bob: You’re going to create more of a problem than a solution. So learn it, figure it out yourself. Once you’ve got it dialed in, then yes, outsource it and focus on the next thing.

Jesse: That’s great advice. I especially like the part where you’re talking about them kind of following your style, too. This is really a supplemental thing here, not your overall strategy. It would be putting an expense of, but somebody’s kind of mimicking what you’re doing or following your style and it’s almost like a substitute writer for you. And again, you can go back and edit that work later too. You know what I mean? So, even if they don’t nail it, you can still get it out the door.

You got anything else you want to add?

Bob: No, that’s it.

Jesse: All right. Well let’s get into our five-star review of the week here. As always, if we keep getting reviews, we’re going to keep reading them and we just love it. Every week, we have a new one to read. So far in every episode. We haven’t run out yet. Tells us we’re doing a good job, that we’re kind of hitting it on the nose for what you guys want. And keep letting us know. It takes a couple of minutes out of your day, but hopefully we’re in-between your ears here for 15-30 minutes each week providing you some value. This is our one request from you is to go out to iTunes, leave us a review. Let us know that we’re doing a good job.

So, please if you can, give us a review Intrycks.com/iTunes. This week we got a great five-star review from Jessa Zimmerman. Jessa says, “Actionable and helpful. If you run a business, this is crucial information. Direct, easy to understand, and immediately helpful information about improving your local presence online.”

Well thanks, Jessa.

Bob: Yeah. Thanks, Jessa. That’s great.

Jesse: That’s a great review. Great review. That’s the reaction we’re looking to get from people and the value we’re trying to bring. So, yeah. Like I said, if you guys can, we’d love to hear from you.

So, that’s about it for this week. Hopefully it helped you guys out and we’ll see you next week.

Bob: See ya.

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