One of my favorite things in life is rankings. Whether it’s the college football rankings, college basketball rankings, or keyword rankings for blog content, rankings are an amazing storyteller.
Rankings provide us with a definitive snapshot at an exact period of time to see where things stand relative to other things in the same category.
“Is my team better than your team?” is the question asked by college sports fans.
In content marketing, rankings help us answer these three big questions:
- How many keywords are we ranking for?
- Is content ranking for certain keywords?
- Did our rankings improve compared to the previous period?
The answers to these questions matters for whether your audience is finding your website to inquire about products or services that you offer, leading to business growth.
What Content Are We Talking About?
When we talk about content on your website, this means different things to different people. The categories of content that I’m talking about are:
- Your homepage
- Your product/service pages
- Other secondary pages on your website
- Your blog content
- Landing Pages
Your homepage is pretty self explanatory — it’s your main website domain.
Product/service pages are the key pages on your website that explain what you sell. If you sell one product or service, you might only have one page. If you sell 10 different products or services, you should have an individual website page for each product/service.
Other secondary website content includes your About page, a Team page, and perhaps a Core Values page or other information about how you do business.
Your blog content is critical, too. The individual blog posts on your website are strategic access points to bring potential customers to your website.
Then, there’s Landing Pages. These are very strategic pages that are created to bring customers to your website through a campaign.
What’s the Point of All This Content?
The point is that Google indexes each page on your website.
And, Google will come back to your website to index more content that is published on your website. For example, a new blog that you publish. Or, a new product/service page with details on your newest offering. Or, a new Landing Page with a seasonal offer or a link to download a case study.
You want all of those pieces of content to reach your audience. That’s where the rankings come in telling you whether your audience is finding your content.
1. Rankings for Keywords
When we start working with a new client, we analyze their existing content to see how many keywords in Google search their content ranks for. This gives us a starting point to evaluate whether our content strategy is working. Then, we continue to track progress to see when the growth truly happens.
Here is an example of a client that we have worked with for three years:
- November 2016: ranked for 80 keywords (before working with us)
- November 2017: ranked for 145 keywords
- November 2018: ranked for 164 keywords
- November 2019: ranked for 312 keywords
While there was a good jump from Year 0 to Year 1 when we started working with the client, the significant growth occurred in Year 3. Notice that the client is ranking for more than double the number of keywords as when we started the content marketing program.
This is an excellent sign of progress. It’s also a reminder that a content marketing strategy takes time to really pay off.
2. Ranking for Specific Keywords
While it’s nice to see double the growth in the number of keywords you are ranking for, you also want to see growth in specific keywords.
For example, your website might rank for keywords that have nothing to do with their business. Sometimes Google struggles to differentiate certain keywords that are very specific to a particular industry. So, our job is to make sure your website content is ranking for the right keywords.
We have tools that allow us to find hot topics or hot keywords that your target audience is searching for. Then, as part of our Content Marketing Strategy, we create pieces of content such as blogs or Landing Pages that are very specific to those searches.
Google says, “Hey, this website is providing information about this hot topic, let’s rank this particular piece of content very high so that people see it in search results.”
The more that you rank for specific keywords, the more that it builds upon itself to elevate the overall profile of your website. Think of a rising tide elevating all ships.
3. Keyword Ranking Improvement
And then my favorite part of keyword rankings is evaluating progress from month to month.
Each month, we take a fresh snapshot of keyword positioning for each target keyword and we compare progress to the previous month. Our goal is for the ranking to improve month by month climbing higher in the rankings.
Just like in college football when you want to be able to hold up one finger in the air and shout, “We’re Number 1!,” our goal is to get to the top ranking for each keyword. Just like in sports, though, that’s challenging because of the competition and the need for time to achieve that top spot.
We’re also looking for trends.
- Did a certain keyword jump 5 or 6 spots this month — and why?
- Are there similar keywords clustered together that are performing well?
- Are other keywords dropping off because there isn’t a lot of search around these keywords right now?
We use this information to feed into our content strategy. If there is a lot of search around a particular keyword and we’re climbing the rankings with that keyword, then we want to make sure we have a fresh blog topic that targets this keyword.
When Google sees a new piece of content on your website nailing this keyword, then it’s likely that the content is going to rank for the keyword.
Let’s Climb the Rankings!
Content strategy, creation, and evaluation really gets me going.
Strategizing content for clients, creating the content, and evaluating the results of the content is exciting.
Seeing a client climb the rankings to land on Page 1 of Google and then climb even higher to Position #1 on Page 1 is really, really exciting.
If you’re in need of a solid content strategy to support your website, including optimizing your current content and creating new content, let’s talk. We’d love to see your business climb the rankings for target keywords, bringing in more of your audience and more revenue!