May 9, 2017 - by Matt LeBaron
Of all the mistakes and missed opportunities that I encounter while serving the SEO world, there’s one that continually pops up the most, even where experienced, creative SEOs are in charge: misaligned content. It is generally misunderstood and rarely talked about. Here’s what happens.
Most organizations with SEO success are engaged in ongoing content creation. Whether it’s writing product descriptions, resource center articles, or blogging, these teams know that SEO is hard and that throwing content against the wall and seeing what sticks is a proven path to success. However, researching the keywords and building the corresponding content is where most companies stop. There is another step, one that isn’t immediately obvious, that can unleash much higher rankings, visits, and revenue – 24% higher revenue, on average, in our experience: revisiting your content and aligning it with how it’s been received by the search engines and the broader Internet.
Here’s an example I ran into recently. A Revvim customer had a page optimized for “women’s tops” that was driving lots of revenue through organic search. In fact, it was one of the top performing pages on their website. However, upon analysis, we found the page actually had negligible rankings for “women’s top”…but where it really shone was “silk blouses”.
This latter keyword and its variations had tens of thousands of searches each month, more refined buying intent, and our customer was ranked on the first page for it. People searching for “silk blouses” loved what this company was offering and were buying up their silk blouses left and right. Clearly, despite our customer’s best intentions to target the page for “women’s tops”, the Internet as a whole saw it as being about silk blouses, and the search engine rankings reflected that, as they are meant to do.
Now, the high ranking for “silk blouses” may have been driven by links from fans to the page with “silk blouses” in the anchor text, or perhaps Google recognized the high CTR of the organic listing, or it might even have been the incredibly high conversion rate of searchers for “silk blouses” as reported through Google Analytics. It doesn’t matter. The fact is, Google loved that page as a result for “silk blouses” and the broader Internet did as well, despite the fact that the key on-page SEO elements were optimized for “women’s tops”.
You can see the dilemma here. Either do nothing and stay true to the original “women’s tops” intent of the page, enjoying the fruits of a low first-page ranking on a great keyword…or revisit the on-page content to further align it with “silk blouses” in an effort to move up further. Our algorithms, driven by deep data on hundreds of thousands of similar situations, told us that by aligning the key SEO elements with “silk blouses” that we had a very high chance of achieving 2nd position, with its bounteous CTR that was a multiple of the CTR from their current position….
Sadly, most teams never get to enjoy such dilemmas, because they aren’t aware they even exist. They lack the data at scale to truly know which keywords are driving revenue from their organic search listings, or they are in need of proven algorithmic SEO insights to determine with confidence which keyword to optimize for which page, and as a result hesitate to act. Ultimately, they aren’t revisiting their successful content and aligning it to how it is being seen by the search engines, the broader Internet, and most importantly their target audience.
Don’t get me wrong…these teams are often successful, having gotten part of the formula right, the ongoing creation of great, targeted content…but are missing the tools to take that final, most lucrative step of aligning that content with how their content is ultimately received and driving revenue.
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