Dominating with Content and the Fight to the Top

by on February 27, 2012

Content developers R’ Us. Using the highest forms of technological pen and ink (to wit, the computer), we craft humorous, informative, selling copy – not for just anybody, but for your target market. We talk about content on our service pages, emphasize it heavily in our articles (have you seen our Content Development section?), and use it with blunt force against our clients’ competitors. We call it content domination, and it works a little something like this…

Now You're Ready

Developing Content Strategies & Tactics

A strategy is immutable. It doesn’t change. It’s a “Big Picture” kind of thing. When you’re developing strategies, you do so by looking at the big picture and saying things like:

  • People don’t come to us for answers; we need to increase our authority.
  • Our brand is not well known; we need to publicize our company, products and/or services.
  • Our site ranking across major search engines is low; we need to rise in the ranks.
  • Our traffic is non-existent; we need to become more prominent and invite conversation.
  • We consitently rank below our competitors; we need to dominate the competition.

Tactics, on the other hand, change depending on technology, open doors and current capabilities. When you’re developing tactics, you do so by looking at individual areas and saying things like:

  • We need to increase our authority; we’re going to do this by guest blogging on authority sites.
  • We need to publicize our company, products and/or services; we’re going to do this by publishing press releases.
  • We need to rise in the ranks; we’re going to do this through organic, passive link building.
  • We need to become more prominent and invite conversation; we’re going to do this by creating informative, entertaining content worth linking to and talking about.
  • We need to dominate the competition; we’re going to do this by careful insertion of targeted content into the SERPs.

Even though these seem clear-cut, they are subject to changes. For example, although you can guest blog on authority sites, which sites you use can change drastically. While you may always target your content, the target itself may change. While you may plan on publishing press releases, what if your company has no news to speak of?

Tactics have to be flexible. Strategies, such as increase our authority, are set in stone.

Dominating with Content, One Piece of Copy at a Time

King Content and Queen SEO

It is possible to dominate with content using only copywriters. Where an organic SEO specialist comes in, however, is ensuring that each piece of content targets a specific niche area. If you’re going to put so much effort into something, you might as well make sure you’re targeting the most profitable areas, non?

With content domination, each piece of copy that goes out serves a specific purpose. For example, guest blogging on authority sites helps build your authority, but doesn’t necessarily work to invite conversation on your own site. Creating content worth linking to may invite conversation, but it doesn’t necessarily help dominate the competition.

To dominate – the competition, in the SERPs, through traffic, through authority – you have to carefully consider each strategy and develop specific tactics. Let’s walk through an example:

Strategy: Dominate the Competition
Tactic: Careful insertion of targeted content into the SERPs
Methods:

  • Keyword research – It does no good to rank above your competitors if you’re targeting the wrong key terms. Sure, you may get traffic, but if people are coming to your site from the search query bugs life, and you sell bug spray, it’s not going to do you much good. Keyword research provides an in depth review of the terms that actually fit your site, your services/products, and buyer/information hunter personas. Thus, when you rank, you’re ranking for terms that will actually do some good.
  • Competitor research – Is Wal-Mart your competitor? What about Overstock? Not really – not if you’re a small business, and most especially if you sell products or services much different than they. When talking about online competition, your actual competitors are any business ranking for the same terms as your company. These are the ones you want to watch.
  • Rank monitoring – Where are you ranking? Where are your competitors ranking? You have to keep a careful on the SERPs, because they change rapidly. All it takes is the competition putting content out a few times without you matching them, and they can knock you off the front page.
  • On demand content development – Once you rank at the top, you can’t sit there fat, dumb and happy. You have to fight to get there, and you have to fight to keep that position. To do so, you have to have on-demand content development.

Pulling It All Together – The Fight For the Top

Now What?

You have your targeted key terms, you know who your competitors are, and you’re now monitoring your ranking to the best of your ability. Now what?

The Internet is a content mill, constantly outputting information through various websites, blogs and news sites, etc. The job of on demand content development is to make sure your content gets out there at a rate that’s fast enough to keep you ranking, without being so fast that you bombard your readers and the Web with content spam. How do you do that?

  1. Monitor your site ranking for your key terms, watching for a slight drop.
  2. As your site drops (it will, for even mildly competitive terms), you counterattack.
  3. Depending on the term, you create a well-written, informative, engaging piece of content that targets that term, and publish it on your site.
  4. For a brief moment in time (relatively speaking), that article ranks at the top, above the competition.
  5. Rinse and repeat across terms.

Caveats to Content Domination

There are several caveats to content domination, but there are also several work arounds:

Caveat: For the results to be quick, your site already has to have a good reputation and authority in the eyes of the search engines.
Work around: If you have access to authority sites, you can borrow their authority by guest posting. While this doesn’t generate the same amount of traffic to your site, it does put your content at the top of the SERPs.

Caveat: For the results to last, they have to be talked about and linked to. The more activity on the page, the better chance you have of staying high in the SERPs for a longer period of time.
Work around: If you have low amounts of traffic, it’s best to incorporate social media and active content marketing into your tactics. Strong articles can get much higher traffic returns for a low traffic site when social and content are combined.

Caveat: Content domination works best if your site is up to par with the current search engine expectations, such as site speed.
Work around: Performing a website audit before implementing your content campaign is highly recommended (in fact, we require it for most, if not all, of our projects).

Caveat: Content domination is not sales. It’s marketing. It’s driving targeted, trusting traffic (say that three times fast) to your site, so there is the possibility of sales. Your site has to do the rest.
Work around: There isn’t one, other than to make sure your site holds all the essentials needed to convert: calls to action (CTAs), converting sales copy, and easy guides (visible shopping cart, strong product or service descriptions, privacy terms,  shipping policies, etc), are just a few.

At The End of The Day

At the End of the Day…

Content domination works. You end up with an authoritative site with the information to back it up. You become a trusted resource for information on your industry. It helps to increase engagement, continue the conversation and build your brand story. The more seriously you take each piece of content you publish, no matter where you publish it, the better you’ll do.



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Neal Stewart March 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Thanks for writing such a thorough article on internet marketing. I think you are write to watch your competition when they rank higher than you on the same keyword. And if your competition is Walmart, you’re in trouble :P

Reply

Greg Bussmann March 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

Thanks for this. Too many articles just tell you that you need interesting content. I appreciate all the links and actionable information you included. Those are the best kinds of posts.

Keep up the good work.

Reply

Grant Tilus March 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm

This a great way to explain what I do as a Inbound Marketer. Thanks! @granttilus

Reply

Anita Campbell March 5, 2012 at 10:35 am

I like this article because it’s specific. Too many people fail to recognize that there are different strategies for a well-rounded approach to using content. Guest blogging is helpful, but not the whole approach. Catchy and sometimes controversial headlines may invite conversation, but do next to nothing for search traffic (or bring the wrong kind of traffic!). You do have to put it all together….

- Anita

Reply

Rick Castro February 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Agreed! It is always important that we focus on creating great content as it is one of the major causes of success for a website! Take time to research and look as what are people are looking for, remember they want fresh and new information. When I started to link build for a website, it is really tough to rank well especially if the website is newly established! But hey, patience is the key in link building! :D

Reply

David Christian-Woodruff February 27, 2012 at 3:55 am

Couldn’t agree more with this article. All too often, sites are designed for their aesthetic qualities and the content gets overlooked. What’s the point in having a beautiful site that promotes or achieves nothing?
When designing or building sites, I always ensure that I dedicate a good amount of time to the content, checking that it reads well, pushes the business and generally benefits the site in the long run. Coupled with this, adding a news feed or even video content onto a site adds that extra benefit to the overall usability, capturing the attention of the potential customer and drawing them in.
There’s a fine balance between design and functionality that needs to be adhered to. As previously mentioned, pretty but with no substance or content rich but with a terrible design, are both huge deterrents for a viewer of the site, and it’s through striking a balance between the two that a website will ‘work’.

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