search and write

To run a successful website, you must have content. However, what that should be is not always clear. Making content for content’s sake is a waste of time, a terrible marketing strategy, and will not bring you the SEO results you want.

So how do you actually discover what you need to post? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, to create the content that your audience wants you must check the following places:

1. Analyze Search Results

You might think you have an incredible idea for content, but do you know if it has been done before? Is this content people are even searching for? How would they search for it?

This may seem obvious, but to get a better picture of your content needs, you need to take a look at the search engine results pages (SERPs). Begin by looking at keywords, titles, phrases, and content topics; you will quickly get a feeling for your target keywords. You can also get a better feeling for the items that are already out there and what is being asked to get to these results.

When crafting this strategy, do not forget to check if you already have content online that would link to this particular topic. If so, is it strong enough to hold up to a search? If you did not find your link among the results, or do not have content related to these keywords, you will likely need to build something – something that is better than anything else out there.

Remember: just because you have an idea you like does not mean it is an idea your audience will like!

2. Evaluate Current Content

To evaluate content needs, you also need to understand the buyer journey and what information is needed to help customers make a purchase. You should begin by seeing what content on the site is working (and what is not) with analytics.

Funnel Analysis

Google Analytics is one tool that provides the ability to set up conversion funnels, which help you learn how visitors move through the site and where they are dropping off. If a specific page is responsible for the majority of drop-offs, you should take a deeper look to determine what it is on that page that is turning customers off. The opposite scenario is obviously looking at pages doing exceptionally well, and finding out why.

Bounce Rate

Similar to funnel analysis, bounce rates can help you understand how your content is performing. For example, if a product page has an 80 percent bounce rate, there is a reason why. Is it missing information? Is there a broken link? Are you using the wrong keywords? Look at referral sources and keyword targets, along with calls-to-action, cross-links, and headings. When you see how people are getting to the page and what they are expecting to see versus the content that is there, you can start to figure out why they are leaving and how to fix it.

3. Ask Your Customer

The most valuable sources of information about your customers are: your customers! I will not spend much time on these, as I have discussed this topic in depth previously, but utilize the following options to evaluate customer needs.

Customer Surveys

You can use services such as SurveyMonkey to send a survey to everyone on your mailing list, or, through a service like KISSMetrics, target specific pages and set email triggers based on behavior.

Abandonment Emails

Send an email offering to answer questions, encouraging a return to finish the purchase, or a quick survey on what went wrong when someone abandons a cart before buying. Sweeten the deal with a coupon or discount.

Live Chat

Live chat is extremely beneficial! It gives customers immediate support, and can serve you a wealth of information, such as frequently asked questions, missing information, misleading content, and website problems you might not be aware of. Evaluating live chat logs offers great insight into content needs.

Creating successful content is no easy task, but if you take the time to do it right, your content will shine in SEO. By evaluating your current content, analyzing the flow of a buyer’s journey, and asking your customers what is missing, you will have a better understanding of the content you have, and where the gaps you need to fill lie.