Are you spending a lot of time creating blog content? We certainly are, and it’s very time consuming. But is it worth it?
I recently listened to Mike Stelzner discuss this topic with the super-knowledgeable Andy Crestodina, and this spurred me on to write this post (interview link).
Here are some things to consider:
1. What Type of Posts Are Getting You Links?
Sometimes you spend a day working on a 2,000 word post, spend $500 dollars on an infographic or write a short post in 15 minutes.
But do you analyze which kinds of posts people link to?
When sites (particularly sites of authority) link to your content, Google thinks it must be important and, the better the quality of the link, the more important Google thinks your content is.
You may find that some of your posts get some initial traffic on the week that you write the post, but then you never see any more traffic after this. Is it worth writing these posts? If they don’t rank anywhere for the keywords you are targeting then the post disappears.
My friend Brian Dean from Backlinko writes one post a month. Each post is super detailed and typically will rank in the top 10 on Google for the keywords he is targeting. For example, if you search for ‘backlinks’, you will see Brian appears number 2 in the search results.
‘Backlinks’ is an extremely competitive term to rank for and Brian’s site is not that old. To rank for this piece of content, he had to do something special. He wrote a superb piece of content that was 3,000 words in length.
If I do a link analysis on this piece of content to see how many sites link to it, you see 201 dofollow links (valuable links that pass benefit to his site). That’s a substantial number of links for one article.
To get this many links, you need to really promote your content. If you spend the time writing great articles then you need to also spend time promoting them.
So, how do you know which types of articles work the best for you?
We have mentioned before how essential Google Webmaster Tools is for detecting any issues that Google finds with your content. It’s free and easy to set up so you’ve no excuses!
One good way of finding out which content works best on your site is to look at Google Webmaster Tools to see what gets a lot of links. But sometimes you will see hundreds of links from one particular site, because of where the link appears, so I prefer to look at the number of unique domains that are linking to that piece of content.
This is not a 100% perfect way but it will give you a good idea.
When we look at this, we see the following:
Home page – naturally, our home page gets the highest number of links. Other pages on the site that people link to include:
- Infographic – We have a very detailed infographic on marketing tools. This is over 2,000 words in length and contains a really professionally designed and useful graphic.
- Group post – This is where you gather information from a large variety of influencers. This post is over 5,000 words in length.
- Infographic – Another infographic that is supported with a lot of content.
- A detailed post – A post greater than 2,000 words.
- A detailed post – A post greater than 2,000 words.
What works best for us are infographics, group posts and very detailed posts!
Here’s an example of the type of content that doesn’t get us many links:
- A news story – We wrote about a piece of new functionality on Hootsuite. That’s nice to read and people will share it, but it’s old news the next day so it’s not so good as link bait!
- Weekly technology tips – We used to do short, snappy posts that were less than 500 words and contained some useful tips. We did about 10 of these and gave them up. They were popular and people liked them but nobody linked to them. There just wasn’t enough value in the post.
- Short posts – If you write a post that is not that detailed, you won’t get the links!
2. Which Blog Posts are Driving You the Most Traffic?
Ideally, you want ongoing traffic for any blog content you write.
Are most blog posts sending you traffic?
The first thing you might want to do is check Google Analytics -> Behavior -> All Pages and look at the list of pages that get traffic. When we scrolled through this list, at least 75% of our pages get at least 100 visitors per month so our strategy is not broken. There are always improvements that could be made but at least we’re getting regular traffic for most of the content we write. This means that most of our content ranks on Google somewhere!
Which blog posts are generating the most traffic?
In the same section of Google Analytics, change the filter to look at content from the past year and sort by page views. You will now see the pages that get the most traffic.
Some of the content will match up with the content that gets the most links and some won’t.
When we look at this, the list is slightly different to the list of content that gets the most links. All the content consists of detailed posts and, typically, it is at least 1,500 words in length.
The content that gets a lot of links still gets good traffic but it’s not in the top 10. The reason for this is that, for posts like infographics and group posts, we typically target highly competitive terms so it’s harder to rank for those terms.
3. Which Blog Posts Achieve the Highest Conversions?
In the interview we mentioned, where Mike Stelzner interviewed Andy Crestodina about Google Analytics, Mike said that in Social Media Examiner they used to focus on page views all the time.
However, one of their main goals was building email subscribers. They found that some posts get a lot of traffic but very few email subscribers, while some posts with lower traffic got many more email subscribers.
So, you need to consider how your blog content fits into your conversion funnel. The following will give you an example of a conversion funnel that starts off with content that attracts people to your site. From there, you build subscribers from those visitors.
Once you have your goals set up in Google Analytics, you can start tracking the conversion rates for each blog post.
You will then have a better idea of the best type of content to write. This may not be the content that gets the most shares and attention, it might be the ones that build your list and, as they say… the money is in the list!
4. What Blog Content Gets the Most Shares?
Your social media presence is extremely important to build up awareness of your products and services and, ultimately, to drive people back to your website where they can start to move through the funnel.
So, it’s useful to see which blog content gets the most shares out on social media.
If your content is very popular on social media channels, that will build awareness. It will help to increase your fan base, too, and lead to more traffic back to your website.
One very useful tool for analyzing your content to see what gets the most shares is BuzzSumo. It will crawl through your site and sort it according to the highest number of shares for each piece of content.
Here’s an example of a site that is based around tourism. You can run this report on your site and also your competitors’.
5. What Blog Content Damages Your Reputation?
If you find that you have blog content that is not getting shares, links or comments, then your strategy is broken.
If you are writing high-quality content then you need to do more outreach. You content won’t be discovered if you don’t promote it.
But if you are writing poor-quality articles, this will be causing significant damage to your business.
Just because you’re not getting links, shares or subscribers, it doesn’t meant that people are not visiting your content. If you see you are getting visitors to your content but no links and shares, this should start alarm bells ringing. Is your content not good enough? Are potential customers reading your content and leaving?
It’s time to revisit your blog strategy ASAP!
A blog can be a hugely effective way of building up leads and sales for your business, but it can take up a significant amount of your time. It’s 7 AM here in Ireland, on a Saturday morning, and I’m writing this!
You need to make sure that your blog strategy is effective. Should you be writing five short posts a week or one long one? Do you create infographics? What type of content should you be writing?
These are all questions that can be answered with some research.
I recommend that you step back and analyze your blog at least once every three months.
What have I missed in this post? Which parts do you like? Are you going to take action?
Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.