How to Boost Your B2B Content’s Performance
It’s a challenge that all content marketers struggle with – how to rank for big keywords and improve your content’s performance without compromising your marketing budget.
In this week’s episode, we have a conversation with content expert James Scherer (VP of Growth, Codeless) about how to address the content performance challenge using the pillar and post approach. James also elaborates on what mistakes to avoid, the importance of strategy and research, what metrics to pay attention to, his recommended tools and software, as well as what easy-to-apply strategies can be applied to start seeing better results.
Topics discussed in this episode:
Companies & links mentioned in this episode:
Christian Klepp, James Scherer
Christian Klepp 00:00
Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for B2B marketers that helps you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. Each week, we talk to B2B marketing experts who share inspirational stories, discussed our thoughts and trending topics, and provide useful marketing tips and recommendations. And now, here’s your host and co-founder of EINBLICK Consulting, Christian Klepp. Welcome, everyone to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast where you get your weekly dose of B2B marketing insights. This is your host, Christian Klepp. And today, I’d like to welcome a guest into the show who is on a mission and that mission is to help B2B marketers to improve their content strategy for business growth. So coming to us from Cardiff, Wales, don’t cheat and Google that. All right. Mr. James Scherer, welcome to the show.
James Scherer 00:50
Thank you so much, Christian. Good to be here. Yeah. It’s about two and a half hours west of London. Look it up on a map. (Laugh) Seattle originally.
Christian Klepp 00:59
Yeah. Great to be connected. James and I’m really looking forward to this conversation. So let’s just get started. Okay, so, James, you’re an expert when it comes to B2B content marketing, but for the sake of this interview, let’s narrow it down to what we discussed previously, the pillar and post content method. So in our previous discussion, you said something, I would say it’s an uncomfortable truth when it comes to B2B content, which is, you need to become a big website before you rank big keywords. So can you please elaborate on that?
James Scherer 01:32
Yeah, for sure. The idea behind easy ranking is the fact now that it’s impossible, we’re well beyond the years when throwing a content piece at the wall of Google search engine would make it stick like it needs to be amazing content, thought leadership, high quality, but you can do all of those things and still not find success. Ultimately, it’s about having a domain that Google sees as respectable and sees as providing value. Now, the key way that we do that is by building momentum, and starting kind of from starting with intention with the content strategy, starting slow, starting intelligently, targeting key phrases and creating content that is all about building momentum and building domain authority. The idea combined domain authority is the main ranking demand authority. Moss came up a while ago, but it’s basically just the idea that like here is a single metric that we can kind of use to say this is a domain or a site that Google is seen as respectable. And this is a level of respectability in Google’s eyes. So for instance, we have… one of our clients is money.com. When they came to us, their domain authority was 82. So it’s far more… it’s far easier for them to create and rank content. That is another one of our clients, early bird who came to us and their domain authority was 23. They just had it. They just got rolling. So with that client, we need to, and with anybody who’s like at that early stage, you need to think, okay, what are the key phrases? And what content can I create? That gets me just on the page, that gets me rolling a little bit. And then once you kind of, can follow that strategy of building momentum and targeting lower volume, lower hanging fruit kind of targeted key phrases, can you start to consider, okay, let’s go after some little more competitive, let’s start targeting some of those, you know, those key phrases that our larger competitors are targeting currently. And the pillar and post strategy is a bit of that, which was a shortcut into but ultimately, it’s about understanding that if you are early stage business, and you are trying to succeed with content marketing, there is no real possibility of you doing it right off the bat targeting massively competitive key phrases. You need to have a foundation strategy in place before you can start targeting something that’s a little bit more ambitious for sure.
Christian Klepp 04:11
Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. And I love how you brought up the topic about strategy, which we’ll get into later. But um, you know, as you were talking, I was thinking about something and I wanted to ask you about it, and this is almost like SEO 101. But what would you say is a decent domain ranking that people should be looking at? Or like a legitimate ranking?
James Scherer 04:33
I’ll do you one better. Whenever I’m doing content strategy. I, we have a bit of like a built in process. And so I asked our researcher to pull key phrases, targeted key phrases based on the client’s domain authority. So when and the cut off there is pretty much pre 50 and post 50. And you could actually break it up in even more segments. But if you’re going, if your demand for already is currently 50, then you shouldn’t really be targeting any kind of key phrases that have a higher KD (Keyword Difficulty) or high competitiveness of more than like 30 to 35. Then once you get beyond 50, which is like any authority is all about referring domains, backlinks and amount of content ranking on for Google, those are the three primary variables that impact it. So once you get beyond 50 Domain Authority, then you can start targeting kind of pillar posts, particularly between 35 and 55. And then once you get beyond 70, you can really start targeting with reliable, you know, results. Some of those higher competition key phrases that are looking in more like the 65+ phrase. If possible, you can do it you can target like, and you can you can rank for extremely competitive key phrases with a lower domain authority. But just if you’re looking for like a what should we be expecting? And what are kind of the three tiers of domain authority? I would say that that’s a reasonable way to look at it sub 50, 50-70, 70 plus.
Christian Klepp 06:04
Okay, okay, that’s fair enough. That’s fair enough. You know, you’ve been in this field for a bit. So you’ve probably seen that all but like, just list some of the common mistakes and misconceptions that people have when it comes to the pillar and post content method and what should be done to address these.
James Scherer 06:22
Sure. So quick breakdown, I’m sure a lot of listeners are aware of the pillar and post method or, you know, Backlinko, or Brian Dean called skyscraper and some sites, and some people call it the cluster method. They’re all very closely related. The idea is that you create and publish your most ambitious content, the content you want to rank for really ambitious key phrases, first and foremost, get it indexed, get it live, and then support it with internal linking from additional content related to it. So if you do the complete guide to project management as your pillar piece targeting the key phrase project management, then your support content would be project like, you know, task planning, task manager, project planning, you know, project manager roles and responsibilities that practices that kind of stuff, support content. And only with the creation of both the pillar and support content, will you rank in that category. So with that kind of established, the primary concern, the probably problems I see people do is the most frequent one is that people choose their top like the top most ambitious key phrases that they want to rank for, and just, like double down and create the most insane articles ever, on those objects. I think it’s worth mentioning that your pillars while they should be the best content you can do, they shouldn’t be dissimilar from the support content, they can be a little bit longer simply because the subject matter is probably a little bit larger in scope, the project management needs to be a comprehensive guide, and you need to touch on a lot of stuff in order to do that. But the piece itself shouldn’t be massively dissimilar. Don’t write a 10,000 word article, a sense, you know, the May June Google algorithm don’t publish more than 3500 word articles anyway, because like we’ve seen a lot of decline and ranking positions for massive content. But all of your content should look similar. It really should, I mean, you can put a little bit more energy into pillar pieces from a design perspective, or from a, you know, custom images or maybe do a video or something like that. But it’s not like your pillars need to be incredible your support content can be whatever, it all has to be good.
Another side of this, I think is another mistake that people make is when you do when a lot of businesses do create those massive pillars, they create them within a single category, they want to be known as the project plan or project marketing tool, or whatever. And so they create massive pillars within that category specifically, whereas what they could do is they could have an entire category around project management, another category around productivity and productivity tools and how to increase productivity your business and attack other category around remote work and hybrid workspaces and how Project Management enables you know businesses to succeed in a remote and hybrid workspace. And then when you have pillars for each one of those categories, you see which Google just naturally seems to vibe with from your business, you create your pillar pieces and your support content within each category and then see what works. And then once you kind of do have an understanding.
I’ll give you an example before I kind of, we have a client who they’re called Early bird that was one of the lower DA sites that we work with, to begin with, and we created we will call it with a four categories because I do pillar and post, post plus categorization content planning. And we do gifting financial literacy like UGMA. UTMA, kind of like style, like gifting student loans, like student kind of financial stuff. And I didn’t know which one of the categories was going to work. It turned out that naturally their site just clicked more with Google around the gifting and the gifting space, financial gifting, gift tax etc. So we built off of that category and doubled down on it in kind of Q2 and Q3 After seeing what works in Q1. And going back to my original point about round the pillar as well is that like, only when their primary pillars really started to get to the second page of Google did we go back in and make sure that they were as good as they possibly could be. Indexing them was the most important thing we could have done in that first quarter, getting them live getting them and they’re good. But because the extension wasn’t that they were going to rank on the first page and get significant traffic in the first month or first three months, we didn’t, I didn’t care so much that they like, weren’t absolutely incredible, I rather than they were indexed early, and that’s also an error you see, is people who like create everything, you know, with equal priority, do your pillars first and then support them after the fact, indexing is the most important thing. So everything clicked, click with gifting, and then they were able to… we were able to double down on that. And in in Q3, we were like hit home and cover that category. And now we’ve actually exhausted with them, the amount of kind of content opportunities that are there. And we can move on to like doubling down the other the other categories, which now I’ve had a little bit of time to start clicking as well. But A) be dynamic, be versatile, allow your content plan to change, but set it up such that when things happen to naturally click with Google, you can kind of pivot and focus attention on that on whatever’s working. So yeah, kind of a few different errors that I see. But in general, there’s a lot of strategies to try to address them and, you know, mitigate the risk, I guess, across the board.
Christian Klepp 11:43
Yeah, and all those definitely good points. And, yeah, let me just go back to something you said earlier, and I had to follow up questions. So I know sometimes it’s hard to say but what what would you say is the general rule of thumb in terms of the length of the content? Because you said like for sure, like nobody has time to read like a piece that’s like 10,000 words. But the general rule of thumb would how long would you say should be?
James Scherer 12:08
I mean, it is going to depend on the subject matter. I would say the 1250 to 2500. Depending on scope. If you go above 2000 words, make sure you’re including a table of contents with internal linking down to the headers, relatively straightforward, CSS, HTML kind of stuff. Like, and a lot of CMS has now allowed that to be like getting a building block. What you do, you do want to make sure that if you’re going a little bit longer, that you are giving readers the option to navigate to the sections that they’re most interested in getting to and that’s going to increase, you know, it’s going to decrease bounce rate, it’s going to increase time on page, it’s actually going to read that thing they want to read. Otherwise, they’ll be the first paragraph not interested and bounce. And that is an SEO factor.
Christian Klepp 12:52
Absolutely. Absolutely. And this one might be a little bit of a refresher for some of the listeners out there. But you mentioned the importance of indexing. So can you elaborate a little bit on why that’s so crucial?
James Scherer 13:05
Indexing essentially, indexing, let’s just quickly clarify is the idea that when you publish a article or a URL live to your site, the next time Google crawls your site, it sees it. And that means that the URL is indexed. And you can do it manually within Google search console as well. But in general, it’s going to be done automatically by Google once every week or two. And the importance of it from SEO perspective, is simply that unless an article was indexed, it can’t be seen. And it can’t get backlinks and it can’t get internal links, and they can’t get referring domains. And so you prioritize the content you want seen most by publishing it first. The other component of this is that you can’t support content… if you can of course, you could add internal links to new content from old content, that’s fine. But it’s easier to create support content, knowing the article that you’re supporting. So get it up live, get it up first. The other component of indexing is that like a age is not an SEO factor. We know that Google doesn’t reward URLs for being older. In fact, it kind of caters to new content, kind of. They like to say that they deliver the most complex the most up to date pieces at the top of Google and that’s true to an extent, but there’s a lot of stuff on the first page of Google from 2018, that HubSpot, gravity, you know, domain authority and backlinks and referring domains matter far more than recency, that’s just the case. So that said, indexing early. Getting your pillars up early gives them the highest chance to build up their own momentum and strength and backlinks. So that because it’s eight now, especially we’re talking about serious KDs, serious competitiveness here, it may take a year, with doing everything that I can possibly recommend you do and creating all this poor content world, it can, if you’re hitting something that’s like 65 Plus competitiveness, it can still take a year period with the strategy and pretty complex. Granted, once you get there, we’re talking 1000s and 1000s of visitors a month if you’re talking like seriously, but it may take a sec. So give yourself you know, do it a year in advance, then you want to start actually, you know, if you want to like, Okay, we have a sales funnel in place. Now, I’m super glad we published that pillar piece a year ago, because now we can drive traffic into that sales funnel.
Christian Klepp 15:36
Yeah, absolutely. No, that’s super helpful. Um, so when it comes to the pillar and post content method, you talked, you touched on it a bit earlier, but talk to us about the importance of a having a strategy, and conducting the relevant research before you implement any of that stuff.
James Scherer 15:55
Sure, I talk a lot about intention, I talk a lot about content strategies need to have intention, you need to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it before you even set foot in a traps or malls or seminars or wherever you’re doing your primary research. So I’ll quickly run through the strategy that I implement, and tell people why I do it this way. Before I used to be that, I would say, alright, let’s look for your most ambitious pillar, you know, with the key phrases that you want to rank for. And let’s create content for them. Now, for me, it’s what are the categories of content that your product and your service kind of is related to? And if those are the categories, then let’s put those up on the Google Sheet or wherever you are. notion or whatever platform you’re using for content planning.
And let’s start thinking about what are the not just what are the highest, you know, search volume key phrases within these categories. But what do we want to talk about as a business. So since productivity as a category, within your project management, you know, space, you want to talk about like, so we have a lot of the key phrases you’re targeting are related to, you know, search volume, but some of them may be very product oriented, branded, branded type content. Some of that may be like social media, or writing content that just talks about, you know, is a listicle, that doesn’t really target a key phrase, but like is 10 positivity tips for remote workers, cool article will do really well on social. So you consider, okay, this is the category content, let’s focus 50% of our attention. This is for like mid stage businesses, early stage probably focus on SEO a little bit more, mid stage 50% of your content focused around driving traffic, and then 25% on bottom of the funnel content, case study, examples, product related content, and then 25 related to social, let’s just say that, that’s kind of the breakdown that we’re doing. And then we create kind of the same kind of model for three to five different categories that we want to be known for. And then within each category, we’d have three to five pillars, and then 25 or so support pieces, some of those being socially oriented, some of them being bottom, BOFU oriented, and some of them being straight SEO support pieces.
So then you have, you know, 3 by 30, or 90 or 100 Odd pieces of content. And that’s your first year of publication. You’re doing, yeah, somewhere around whatever 100 divided by 12 is I’m sorry, I’m terrible at math, but you’re doing that amount of content. And that’s your monthly schedule, and you publish the pillar pieces first. Do have intention behind each one of them, you know why you why that’s your pillar. Another quick, quick anecdote. Pillars aren’t exclusively focused on search, on search point. We have one of our clients, they do kind of they helps students get financial aid. And I identified all the pillars that I thought they should be doing. And they said, sweet, we’re cool. With 8 out of 10 of these, however, we’re going to be getting into the like online banking space in the next year. We want to focus on that as and I’m like, Well, okay, but you’re competing with American Express and a Capital One and Bank of America like these are, it’s incredibly difficult for you if it’s not possibly possible for you a domain of your domain authority, as early stage as you are, who just got their blog live to reasonably compete with Bank of America within the next year or so, if ever. And they said it doesn’t matter to us. That space isn’t so important to our service and our product and who we want to talk to and about. We want to get those articles live so that our team can use them to answer support questions so that we can repurpose some of the content for social media so that we can you know, create other podcast style content like we want like those pieces live, whether or not they’re targeting high traffic or high search volume key phrases, and whether or not we’re actually going to ever rank to them. And I said, Okay, those are still your pillars. Those are still your pillar pieces, we’ll do everything we can to get them ranking. But for my purposes from an SEO perspective, I’m not worried about or they’re not worried about getting the first page anytime soon. And that’s okay. I would say though, if you’re, if you’re looking to drive traffic from SEO, which you probably are, have those kinds of very brand focused pillars be less than 20% of what you’re doing in any given quarter a year.
Christian Klepp 20:35
Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.
You’ve already brought up some of these, you know, these tips, but like, give us something actionable here, James, granted, and you said it at least three times, as I can recall, this isn’t gonna happen overnight. But what can B2B content marketers do right now to boost their performance using this pillar and post content method. So tell us about some easy to apply content strategies and the lowest hanging fruit. Off you go.
James Scherer 21:30
Okay, interesting, lowest hanging fruit is not pillar post, if I’m honest with you, well, I can talk a little bit about some text around a pillar and post. And it’ll tie together essentially pillar posts, I alluded to this early on, which is the content you publish now doesn’t need to be the content that… it doesn’t need to look like now what it’s going to look like in a year. In fact, please, it shouldn’t. In a year from now, you will come back to these pillar pieces and make sure that they are as good as they can be. update them with new stats and do that every six months or so anyway, add custom images, whatever, whatever, you can create good content and make it great once it gets to the first page of Google. That’s okay, supporting intelligently, having a backlinking strategy. And, you know, giving a bit of of… like good content still ranks. So don’t worry about that necessarily, though, it does need to be excellent. But you know what I’m saying, it doesn’t need to be like 1000s of 1000s of dollars invested into it necessarily immediately. So that’s kind of a quick tip on how to think about content, it’s okay. Second tip is the low hanging fruit component. And that’s around optimization. As part of our scope of work with several of our clients, if they come to us, and they already have hundreds of blog articles live. Rather than recommending supposedly net new content, I often take a look at like, I’ll often run a quick content audit, which is extremely straightforward now, it used to be a nightmare. But it’s now very helpful, because there’s a lot of very helpful tools out there, it’s very, very easy. And I do an analysis of the URLs that they have ranking between 11th and 13th. position for a high volume key phrase. Now I refer to those as elevens. They are opportunities for optimization, that talking about low hanging fruit can send a URL in the second page of Google to the first. Again, we all know that the second page of Google does not get traffic, I mean, ninth position and eighth position don’t really get a whole lot of traffic. But if you can boost a URL from 11th to 5th, existing content, suddenly, you’re talking about a whole world of traffic you were, you know, exposed to before.
How do you do that? Well, there are tools that make it really straightforward. You can drag an existing like one of your existing articles into a tool like MarketMuse or phrase or clear scope or SEO search for, like, there’s a lot of great tools out there, drag it into the optimization tool, and it’ll spit out basically a score your content compared to the top 20 search results for the target key phrase. And it’ll say your content is a little bit lower word count compared to the competition. And it’s missing these key ideas, this subject matter, these symmetric key phrases, these secondary key phrases that the ranking context is including, so how would you go back to your existing article, add a section. So again, we’re doing project management, and a section on task management, because that’s just like, it seems to be in every single ranking URL on the SERP. And yours doesn’t have it. So Google is going to quickly look through all of the, you know, the stuff that’s targeting it, and say you’re not meeting the standard that the other the competition is, and that, you know, do that for your clearest opportunities, the 10 or 15, or 20, whatever. And suddenly, you’ll get significant traffic.
But note on that, though, is around cannibalization, which is a little bit more of a complex topic, but I will mention it really briefly because it can… I don’t want to recommend something that people try and they’re like, Oh, I actually ruin my day. When you do a search, make sure that the URL you’re targeting with optimization is not ranking higher for an unrelated key phrase. So the concern is if you optimize for a different key phrase that it’s ranking 11th for, then you could cannibalize the higher volume higher ranking position that it already has. It should be okay, it should be okay if they are related enough that cannibalization won’t be a massive problem. But it’s possible that optimization of a new primary key phrase for that URL will cannibalize the existing ranking position. And you could, you could see a drop in it. So the ideal opportunity for optimization is when the primary keyword is the one that it’s in 11th for, you know, if the URL is, you know, codethis.io, /blog/project-planning, project planning needs like should be the primary key phrase that I’m able to optimize for and move from 11th to 5th. So just be aware of it, be a little bit careful with it. But takeaway there, do not be afraid to update your content frequently. And based on its existing performance, whether it’s a pillar that you published a year ago, needs to be updated and is now getting traffic, or it’s an article that you published three years ago and happens to be in 12th. Don’t be afraid of updating your content, in fact, maybe spend as much time and energy doing that as creating that new, because it may be a better opportunity for growth.
Christian Klepp 26:52
Thanks so much for sharing that, um, do you see that happening a lot, though, like, you know, when clients come to you that they’d rather like, not go back and review their existing content, and instead just create something new?
James Scherer 26:40
Yeah, I think that’s the biggest issue I see in content right now is businesses who were like, We need to be creating content. Our competitors are creating content. We’re gonna hire a Content Agency, and they’re going to create content for us. And, you know, that is a lot of what we do. But what I hope I’m able to bring, and we’re able to bring is a different perspective on what is what should you be using your money for within the content space? It is not always… I’ve talked about the skeletons in this call. Like, it’s not always new content, it’s often optimizations, it’s often, you know, both who call and it doesn’t have SEO, you know, positioning, it’s often social oriented content, because one of their other marketing KPIs is not just traffic, it’s also we’re looking to build up a community, we’re looking to build engagement, we’re looking to engage on this platform or that community or whatever. So the primary yeah, the primary thing I see is people coming in with a word count target, and me saying, Okay, I’m going to scope while your optimizations in terms of word count, it’s gonna be 750 new words, 250 words worth of work and custom images will be another 250 words, or whatever it is. And they said, okay, okay, fine, but it takes… it can take a step to convince me to do it.
Christian Klepp 28:23
Right. Right. You brought up something earlier that I wanted to go back to, because I think it’s actually quite important. Let’s open up your little toolbox there. Well, you know, like some of your go-to tools and software’s if you can share those with the listeners?
James Scherer 28:38
Yeah, for sure. Okay, got a notebook, I’ll try to go slow. To write them down. I use, we use … content production agency, we use a lot of different tools. From the content planning perspective, I use ahrefs I’ve also use SEMrush a lot, both of which are great. Moz is also of course, good. Those are really good platforms. When we’re doing kind of keyword content like research, that’s what we use when the writers are drafting content. We use, of course, Google Docs, especially because it allows for multiple people to be in the same doc, client, freelancer, editor, etc. And then the content that they write is brought into a tool like phrase, we use phrase, but we’ve also used MarketMuse in the past and also clear scope in the past and we didn’t leave because they were bad. We left because we left. So those tools will check the existing content they drop in. Sorry, the draft they drop in against the competition. You can also of course, drop or dragging an existing URL and check that. We also use… editors use Grammarly to check grammatical errors and errors in general, we use a tool called writer.com, which allows our editorial staff to import a client’s specific brand guidelines, and then check content against that, which is a really cool tool. It’s really good for agencies. But you know, you know, in house teams can do that too. It cuts down on the time that it takes to edit because while we do have client specific checklists that our editors edit to, being able to import some of those checklists essentially into a tool like writer.com allows them to cut to the chase and the writer to you know, avoid casual language, avoid end dashes, you know like, or be very, you know, very casual and be feel free to call us and feel free to use your contractions, all that kind of branded stuff that is very important to feel like your content pieces is your brand voice. So that’s writer.com. We also use a tool called AutoCrit to do plagiarism checks which is helpful for using freelancers because you don’t want to deliver something’s already published. Though Grammarly also has a plagiarism tool. I just find AutoCrit is a little bit I trust a little bit more.
Then we use a project management tool to coordinate the entire process we use clickup Though we have used Pipefy in the past and also Monday.com we use periodically. Some of our clients use notion to do content planning, which is a great tool. I am a Google Sheets guide. So that’s my bread and butter. And then of course we use loom to film kind of video breakdowns for the writers that have got a piece of content that’s particularly complicated. We also use a tool called Avoma to record like transcription calls, which can be really helpful for in house teams. If you want to get your CEO or your head of marketing or your head of sales or product or whatever on a call to have them go over an idea that they have for content piece or do a Q&A. Feel free to have on your freelancers, write up some questions or writer write up some questions, send it to the center of the whoever expert you have on staff. And Avoma will record both the call and give you a transcript of it. So that’s we also use it for client calls to make sure like you know demos and stuff are recorded for the record. So we are covered in software all day every day. And it makes our lives so much easier. I would recommend a try and I would say my top ones would be ahrefs, phrase and Grammarly. But there’s a lot of fantastic tools out there.
Christian Klepp 32:29
Well, that is an exhaustive, but comprehensive list. Thanks so much for sharing that. And just speaking about Avoma, I had the pleasure of interviewing via VP of marketing on this podcast as well. So that’s a shout out to Yaag.
James Scherer 32:43
Christian Klepp 32:44
Yeah, yeah. So…
James Scherer 32:46
Yeah, that’s what we call a tech stack Christian.
Christian Klepp 32:50
Yes. Indeed. Yeah. It’s, it’s quite the comprehensive stack. So thanks so much for that. Um, this next question, again, you’ve brought up some of these already, but like, just give us a list of like, the top metrics that people should be measuring? Right. You know, when they’re talking when we’re talking about like, the pillar post content method, what do they need to set up and track?
James Scherer 33:17
Yeah. The answer is not traffic, at least not immediately. The answer is ranking positions by and large. The reason that I would say ranking positions should be your primary metric for content kind of success and content growth, is that you want to be really aware of them whether or not you’re saying that their success metric or not, that’s a KPI. They’re a metric to be aware of. The reason being that if you start the internal links from your higher ranking content become more valuable as they climb the SERP. So if you have support URLs, that are supporting pillar pieces, or a pillar piece supporting another pillar piece, or, you know, vice versa, you want to be aware of where those URLs are within the SERP from 100 all the way up to first position, which is kind of the what we say is on this ranking period is 100. North. So if we’re saying that, sorry, the other side of that is that so first and foremost, higher ranking URLs are more valuable for internal linking perspective. They are also be aware of it for optimization opportunities. I’ve talked about 11ths. And the you know, low hanging fruit. If a URL gets to the second page of Google, and isn’t quite and has plateaued there.
Plateaued being about kind of a month of staying between three or four positions on the second page of Google. We call it a plateaued URL that one can be that can then be tweaked, you can, okay, it’s almost there. It’s almost good enough for Google to rank on the first page of Google, or on the first page, let’s see what we can do to that one. And unless you’re tracking keyword metrics really carefully, you can miss that. You can miss the higher ranking URLs that could be giving a lot of really valuable link love to your other content, and you could miss an opportunity for optimization. So that’s kind of the first core key metric and it’s still probably the one that I track most frequently.
You can also of course, track referring, sorry, domain ranking, domain authority. That one moves a lot more slowly. And frustratingly is based far more on like external links and referring domains that is on really any other metric. If you have a really good backlinking strategy in place, whether using you know, backlink agency or whether you have an internal team, whatever doing it for you, you’re going to see your domain authority go up more quickly than just from sorry, just from publishing content. So, but that’s still a metric, because it basically says that Google is a respectability meter, as far as Google is concerned, and they place respectable domains far higher than they do, you know, non-respected domains. So once you kind of have those two, I would say, also keeping track of… the day traffic is also really helpful, I would say, ranking positions, and then seeing if those ranking positions are corresponding to traffic within Google Analytics, wherever you’re doing your traffic tracking, because not just as like, oh, sweet, we’re getting traffic. But also, because traffic is a SEO factor. It is one of the key SEO factors after links and after Domain Authority traffic itself. You also want to keep an eye on if it is getting traffic, then your bounce rates and exit rates and time on page becomes totally significant. So only when you get you know, a few 100 visitors to a URL every week, can you actually say oh, the bounce rate actually is 98%. Let’s be conscious of that. Let’s do something with that. Because so traffic is a metric not just for success of your content, but also a way for you to strategize and create better content or better site design, or a better page experience or whatever it is. So consider all the metrics that you’re that you’re looking at not just along lines of like this is success versus failure. But also, is this metric actionable. And all the metrics that I’ve talked about are clearly actionable. Ranking positions is actionable, because you can optimize content, link it better. Domain Authority domain ranking is actionable. Because if it’s stagnant, but despite the fact that you’re writing more content, you can look into backlinking. And you should do. And traffic is actionable because it allows you to see other important metrics that aren’t relevant until you have traffic and can’t be trusted until you have traffic. And then when you can see those metrics to tick, you can take action on it. So think about the metrics exclusively when they’re actionable, don’t worry about them until they are.
Christian Klepp 38:07
Yeah, no, those are some really great points. And I love how you meant. You know, you started off by saying not traffic first, because that would probably be the most predictable one that people would gravel. Hold on to right.
James Scherer 38:17
So dude, I’m like, I’m a content strategist to like 20 high tier clients. I cannot say, Yeah, we’re gonna be doing this traffic in a month. Yeah, it just isn’t all traffic.
Christian Klepp 38:30
No, no, absolutely.
James Scherer 38:31
Within a year, we should be seeing some good ranking positions. That’s, that’s my promise.
Christian Klepp 38:37
Yes. Yes. No, absolutely. Absolutely. James. Man, this has been an incredibly informative conversation. So thank you so much for coming on the show, sharing your expertise and insights with the listeners. So quick, introduce yourself, and how folks out there can get in touch with you.
James Scherer 38:53
For sure. So my name is James Scherer. I’m the VP of growth at Codeless though a lot of my time is spent doing client strategy. I can be reached on Twitter @jdsherer, though, I mean, honestly, if you’re looking to connect, I can happy to talk about content strategy, you do a content audit whatever. The best place to do that would be to get in touch at Codeless.io. Codeless was one of those brand names leftover from a previous business. But sure we all have those. Codeless.io would be the best place to get in touch. I appreciate it was fun.
Christian Klepp 39:25
Fantastic. James. Once again, thank you so much. So take care. Stay safe, and talk to you soon. Bye for now.
Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.
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