in Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media, Tutorials

Now, with so much information abundance on the internet competition is really tough, we all know that. You were probably wondering why certain blog posts or contextual pages get highly ranked in Google’s organic listings with loads of traffic while you can barely keep afloat and survive. The good news is that if you stick to the if they could then I also can positive attitude along with following all the steps and guidelines described just below, I assure your posts or pages will get into the same limelight than those right ahead of you at this very moment.

Basic questions for which you’ll get answers for in my new post:

  • how to increase your blog and website traffic?
  • how to proceed getting noticed and higher exposure on search result pages and social media channels?
  • how to generate new visitors for brand new sites?
  • how to achieve short term results?
  • what content marketing strategy should you use that really works and delivers result?
  • what tools will you need to accelerate your work?

Main steps you must follow

  1. I. identify hot topics within your industry which performed well for other players (usually your competitors)
  2. II. identify deficiencies by thoroughly analysing what they covered and find opportunities with which you can further expand your topic with even more intriguing content
  3. III. promote and distribute your content

I. Identify hot topics

In our fast paced globalized world it’s pretty hard to come up with something really new which would practically mean you’re so much of a genius that nobody else has ever thought of your idea. Although there might be exceptions, the harsh truth is that whatever your new content idea might be about, most certainly someone had already covered it in a way or another.

The good news is that there are good chances that you can overtake this issue and turn it into your own benefits. All you need is to assure yourself that your new topic you plan to write about has already a proven track record of its performance. In the following sections I’ll be covering some of the greatest tools most professional marketers are using including me and hopefully you as well as soon as you’ll also find the benefits. Tools you’ll need:

Let’s see what each of these tools, one by one, can offer you and how to use them in the topic identification process.

Buzzsumo

First you need to find a general term within your niche (the topic you want to write your next post), a term very frequently used by your customers or in general. In order to make my points more evident and clear, I thought the best way to do this would be a case study. With this in mind, I’ve chosen the hair care industry and started with the hairstyles like terms.

BuzzSumo list for the term “hairstyles”

BuzzSumo list for the term hairstyles

In an instant, you are given a list of posts in descending order based on total number of social shares in default view. The tool is very flexible, easy to use and manipulate. The most obvious features BuzzSumo offers you, are the filtering options (top left side) where you can filter content by type (article, guest posts, videos or infographics). Then you can further filter your result by time range, which is very useful when you want to see most recent hypes around a certain topic. Since not all of the social media channels are widely used in each industry, you can further refine your search results based on the social channel of your choice, then reorder your list.

There’s not so much to say here, your next move is to gather these lists of topics by using the tool’s export feature (see right in the top) and add them in an Excel or Google Spreadsheet (I prefer GDocs).

Google search

Expand your list by identifying additional terms within your list of topics from BuzzSumo and start typing them manually in Google search and see what Google’s autocomplete feature is offering you.

Google autocomplete for hair styling term

Google autocomplete for hairstyle hacks term

Google autocomplete for hairstyle hacks term

You can gather quite a number of relevant terms from which you can pick the most general ones and proceed to the next step of finding out what other terms you might be considering based on their search volume data. For this, I strongly recommend using Google’s Keyword Planner tool (take care of geolocation and language settings). In my case-study, I’ve added the following terms: hairstyle hacks, hairstyle ideas, long hairstyles, bridal hairstyles, wedding hairstyles, updos. After hitting search, you are given a whole bunch of categorised keyword listings with valuable data like average search volume, suggested bids and so on.

Sample of keyword terms from Google’s Keyword Planner tool

Sample of keyword terms from Google’s Keyword Planner tool

Select those terms which have a significant amount of search volume and add them to Google search. Here, I highly recommend use of geolocalized and anonymous search parameters (ex: google.com/webhp?pws=0&gl=us&hl=en) then extract the top 10 listed pages (URL addresses) from Google’s SERP, you can do this with SpyFu’s Google SERP analysis tool or there are plenty of other quick solutions like Oscraper or URLProfiler.

What you’ll need here is to identify all those pages which are linking to top 10 ranked pages. I’m covering this approach a bit in more detail later in the promotion section.

Topsy

Another great tool used for Twitter search, monitoring and analytics purposes. It’s so great that I’m covering its benefits quite often in my posts.

Let’s continue with the same term in case of Buzzsumo and see what Topsy has to offer for us.

Twitter search result with Topsy for the term hairstyles

Twitter search result with Topsy for the term hairstyles

As you can see, there is quite a bunch of data you can take advantage of (time range, type of content, sentiment score and trends). Probably the most intriguing of all would be the trends data this tool can offer us, so I’ve deep dived into this section which gives you quite clearly what is your term’s popularity based on its use by Twitter users and nonetheless have your traffic estimation after publishing your new blog post.

If only this wasn’t enough, you can further refine your research by comparing two additional terms (usually plural or misspelled versions) just to see how they compare. That’s exactly what I also did with the hairstyle term variations.

Tweets per day with Topsy for hairstyles, hairstyle and hair styles

Tweets per day with Topsy for hairstyles, hairstyle and hair styles

I’m almost certain you’ll find this tool very useful while working on your content marketing strategy and it will contribute to making your efforts pay off in your traffic growth as well as bigger social media exposure.

Backlink analysis tools

Another proof that a particular content is favored by a large audience are the large number of high quality links pointing to these pages. There are several tools with which you can accelerate your research among which the most popular ones are Ahrefs, OSE, Majestic and my favorite one SpyFu Backlink Builder.

II. Find deficiencies

Let’s continue with the wedding hairstyles for long hair term and see what differences we can spot between #1 ranked page http://www.latest-hairstyles.com/wedding/long.html versus http://www.ukhairdressers.com/style/top 40 long hairstyles.asp ranked #44.

Ranked #44

First, let’s see what content had been posted on 44th ranked page.

ukhairdressers.com Top 40 long hairstyles page

ukhairdressers.com Top 40 long hairstyles page

Visually, it might be catchy for some of us but it lacks details which might help visitors learn more about the listed hairstyles. The thumbnail images are clickable, leading you to a separate page on which I still didn’t find further useful details for the user.

Ranked #1

On the other hand, contrary to the 44th ranked page, if you look at 1st ranked page, the difference is evident. Let’s have a closer view and see what differentiates a contextually great page both from usability as well as SEO point of view from the one ranked much lower in Google’s organic listings.

On latest-hairstyles.com, we can scroll down a whole list of hairstyles, each of them in large detail, starting with a descriptive title (see attached example: Vintage Curls) then a large picture with additional sources of information in the bottom where the picture resides from.

Vintage Curls sample image

Vintage Curls sample image

Further down, publisher Steph Brinkerhoff has nicely detailed each individual hairstyle with recommended products, type of hair and face shape for which that particular style is applicable. Steph is also offering useful tips as well as linking to even more educational resources beneficial for the user.

Vintage Curls sample description

Vintage Curls sample description

I’m quite confident that a #1 ranked page can get noticed thanks to the additional useful information for the user which leads to get it widely spread on social media channels resulting in an increased traffic both organically as well as from referral sources.

I hopefully managed to illustrate quite clearly enough what differentiates a good content from a poor one. I’m using this same practice with my blog posts while researching for new topics, and the good news is that there is always room for better.

In general, there are several good practices teaching you how you can differentiate your content from others and stand out from the crowd. In that sense, here are my top considerations when it comes to standing out from the crowd:

  • a new look and feel, or even a mobile friendly version (responsive) of your pages could attract and retain many more visitors
  • update your content regularly with even more intriguing fresh new content useful for your readers
  • try to communicate with your readers as if you were in a face-to-face meeting
  • pay attention to feedbacks either in the comment sections or social media channels
  • link to further useful resources (that will not hurt your page’s performance)
  • don’t use too sophisticated or scientific terms, stick to the concept; if a child can understand it, then you are doing a great job
  • always put yourself in the user’s seat and try thinking of what did you miss while reading your new post

III. Promote your content

In this step, I’ll be covering tactics you should pursue to get exposure and traffic to your blog or website.

Sometimes, you might feel that by simply writing a very comprehensive blog post and having it published, your job is done. Unfortunately, this is by far not the case, quite simply because there are millions of new blog posts being published on a daily basis.

Now, this is why you need to promote your content either on paid, owned or earned media channels for which there are a plethora of strategies you can follow. Luckily I had covered this topic in one of my previous blog posts in which I’m getting into details in all sorts of content distribution strategies you could apply to your own business. I highly encourage you to go through and try applying some of the strategies I’m recommending in my post:

I’d also highly encourage you to learn more about the advantages proper use of hashtags could offer you, especially on Twitter (find my post Leveraging the power of #hashtags).

Link building

I’m not a fan of the link building strategies but let’s be honest, they still matter a lot when it comes to getting you highly ranked in Google’s organic listings. The only concern you might face, without a great deal of experience in these matters, is that you can easily get into big trouble. It’s enough to have only one link which is detected and interpreted by Google as either paid or unnatural spammy one, raising a red flag and usually resulting in a penalty, sometimes with irreversible consequences.

Good news though 🙂 !

As soon as you have published your new content, it would be worthwhile knowing what pages are linking to the ones already being highly ranked on Google’s SERPs and try persuading those linking pages to have your content also included. Although, as I mentioned earlier, you must be careful. First you need strong proof that the pages are safe to have links pointing to your new content. There are many quick solutions available among which I’m recommending the one I’ve been lately using and recommending to my clients. It’s SpyFu Backlink Builder tool which really does its job very effectively.

SpyFu's backlinking pages to www.brides.com/wedding-dresses-style/wedding-hair

SpyFu’s backlinking pages to www.brides.com/wedding-dresses-style/wedding-hair

I’ve checked the wedding hairstyles for long hair terms and extracted the 4th ranked page
http://www.brides.com/wedding-dresses-style/wedding-hair then added it to the SpyFu Backlink Builder tool (be careful, extract the http:// from the URL, otherwise it won’t work).
Here you can also further filter your list of backlinking sites (pages) according to their performance metrics like domain’s and page’s monthly organic clicks, domain strength as well as contact details for outreach purposes. It’s not just a backlink builder tool, I personally use it for competitive intelligence purposes as well, by simply identifying strategies your competitors pursue.

Let’s see from the above list two examples of backlinking opportunities:

  • http://www.glamour.com/weddings/blogs/save-the-date/2012/02/10-ways-to-save-on-invitations

    Contextual link from glamour.com

    Contextual link from glamour.com

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brides/16-mustsee-beach-wedding-_b_1728362.html

    Contextual link from huffingtonpost.com

    Contextual link from huffingtonpost.com

Be cautious though! When it comes to rankings and link building, you should always make sure which market you are making your research on and use geotargeted and anonymous SERP listings as explained above in the topic identification section.

Reaching out to brand advocates and influencers

On this topic, I’d rather have a separate post dedicated exclusively to outreach and influence marketing strategies. But, in order to assure myself that you still got something from me on this part as well, here is some of my advice.

First and foremost, what you’ll need is to find out who are the top influencers within your niche and outreach them for having spread your new content.

Here are my list of top tools used for identifying influencers and brand advocates within your industry:

To help you out with outreaching sample letters and strategies, check out the following resources:

Some further resources on blog promotion

Conclusion

Now, I really hope my post will assist in implementing all the suggestions described in my step-by-step guideline and will result in an increase of traffic and exposure for a larger audience of your website and blog pages. The technique described above is based on the skyscraper technique with a slightly different approach which I hope you’ll find useful.

You might probably find it a bit difficult or time consuming but at least give it a try and track your progress.

I’d be more than curious what was your experience with this strategy and would more than appreciate sharing your thoughts and feedbacks in this matter just below in the comment section.

  • Hi Phil,

    I really like that you’ve put link building in the content promotion section of this article. So true. It’s all about getting your content in front of new audiences to build those links and relationships are key to accessing new communities. Rand Fishkin’s idea that link building is actually about relationship building is right on the money I reckon!

    Thanks so much for the mention of our Blogger Outreach Email Template too – much appreciated.

    Toby

    • hi Toby,
      yes, indeed, without link building it would be quite hard to beat your competitors but all this should work based on a link earning concept rather than link building which means that it will be useful for the user as an additional source of information and last but not least an additional source for increasing your referral traffic

  • Good Job Phil,

    You got one more subscriber 😉

    • Thanks Ludovic, I really appreciate it, hope I can amaze you with even more intriguing and useful posts in the long run

  • Really good article and Spyfu is my favorite tool too when it comes about link poaching. Good job done. Shared with my groups and students.