As SEOs, we're often told the value of having unique, quality content on a site. However, it can be difficult to quantify what that means - is it just ensuring that the content itself isn't duplicate on your own and other sites? Is it a preventative measure against Panda or future search engine algorithmic changes? Or is it based on how well the content ranks in search engines and / or converts visitors?
Given the amount of time, effort, and resources it takes to write non-duplicate content, it's worth the additional investment to test and quantify if the content actually converts. Below are some examples of when content could be tested before it is implemented.
Paid Search Channels - Guides / White Papers / eBooks
Compiling guides / white papers / eBooks often require a significant amount of resources. A successful campaign has the ability to drive engagement, establish trust, build leads, and generate brand recognition. Thus, knowing how and if the content will actually convert is important to the success of the project.
Below is a strategy that has been used in the past for Distilled clients.
- Purchase of a domain for the sole purpose of testing
- Creation of landing pages via Launchrock
- Setting up an Adwords account to test out the cost-per-acquisition via PPC
Having access to this data means that we're able to make marketing decisions definitively based on quantifiable results. This type of test is also useful for any client that knows how much a conversion is worth. Based on the experiment's CPA, the client can then compare numbers and make well-informed decisions about whether this type of content is actually worth the time / investment for their business.
Similar type of testing can also be conducted to help drive other crucial business decisions, such as the release of new products / features or building an existing email list, especially for businesses / start-ups trying to enter a new market.
Social Media (paid / non-paid) - Audience Targeting
Quality content fulfills a need that is currently lacking online whether it be for information, to build a community, to build trust, or anything in between. When we formulate creative content ideas and envision that they fulfill a need, it's difficult to know for sure if there is interest around the content.
Both Twitter and Facebook have amassed tremendous (and accurate) data about its users. For instance, there's a video that shows how an individual can predict whether someone will get sick days before they've fallen ill using Twitter data.
Credit to: Fast co.Exist
We can use targeted ads, such as Facebook ads to test whether the content is actually wanted. If it isn't, then we've saved resources in investing something that has no market. We can also use other non-paid social media channels to test, such as Facebook, Twitter, and other community forums (such as Reddit, Hackernews, etc...)
Cross-Channel Marketing: Re-purposing Content
Some clients already have on-going marketing initiatives that they're implementing, such as social media and YouTube videos. Based on whether the campaign was a success or not, we can decide to re-purpose that same content across other marketing channels. For example, if a Pinterest campaign was successful, we can decide to re-purpose that concept into a visual content piece or even, a YouTube video. The risk of how that content will perform is mitigated to a certain extent and the content itself has already been created.
For example, Bonobos had a successful first campaign with their Easter Egg Hunt concept, During Easter, they hide Easter Egg promo codes on their website and on their Facebook page. This year, they've integrated that concept onto Pinterest and based on the number of re-pins, they'll unlock a new promo code. The concept was the same, but they've integrated the same concept onto other marketing channels.
As content becomes more integrated into the existing roles of SEOs, it becomes important to quantify how a piece of content would fulfill an existing need before expending tons of resources on it. Now that online marketing has become more advanced and data is readily accessible, integrating different channels to test this content becomes and will continue to be an incredibly valuable medium.