Developing Great Content – SES San Francisco

Are you still with me, or have you run off for cocktails? Don’t sneak away just yet. We’ve got Mr. Greg Jarboe moderating a beautiful panel of speakers: Rand Fishkin (SEOmoz), Heather Lloyd-Martin (SuccessWorks), Michael DeHaven (Bazaarvoice), and Wendi Sturgis (Yahoo).

Wendi takes the stage first. She’s talking about how to create great experiences by providing great content.

Market trends still say that “Content is King”. Then she says something about David Beckham videos, and I forget what she says after that as I’m off searching for them…

There are many challenges to creating content, including costs and time spent on business and relationship development. Old Spice gets another mention (Strike 2).

Wendi announces that Yahoo is looking to help simplify the content creation process with their new Content Network platform which has just been launched in beta. She also adds that Yahoo will be transitioning their organic search results to Bing later this week.

Michael is up next. He throws a few screaming monkeys out into the audience.

Michael sees 75-80 percent of user-generated content on major websites. User-generated content (UGC) rocks as it:
– Lifts conversion
– Increases average order value
– Reduces returns
– Improves e-mail and advertsing ROI
– Strengthens SEO performance

There are 3 simple rules for UGC and SEO
1. Append the most recent UGC to existing pages for freshness
2. Create new pages that expose UGC
3. Ask users to contribute

Swanson Health Products found some really great keywords being used in user comments, which was useful for their search marketing efforts. The impact of comments led to a 163 percent increase in search traffic for the pages that were indexed.

With UGC, there is also the opportunity to capture the obscure, really long tail keywords. In a period, they saw 55,000 visits from 40,000 unique keywords. Wow.

Rand comes up to the podium next. He also throws a monkey [I feel like I’m missing out here]. He’s going to talk about four methods to accelerate your SEO with great content.

1. Increase Rankings on Individual Results
Determine your weak vs. strong metrics. This helps to determine what kind of content you need and what kind of links you want.

2. Earn Rankings in Alternative Results
Alternative universal results are largely non-competitive. Video results and YouTube are, in Rand’s opinion, the most underserved way to get into top rankings. News results are also a great way to get in, as are real-time results, like Twitter.

3. Improving Visibility in the Long Tail
The long tail is much less competitive, but requires high quantities of unique content. UGC is a great way to target the long tail; blogging not so much. Tweets and social updates can also be used as content and fed onto your site.

4. Better Convert Existing Search Traffic
Build out your conversion rate funnel and look to increase each conversion event. Alaska Airlines does a great job on the conversion end when they tell you there’s only two tickets left at a certain price.

Heather is up next. Heather is going to cover the CUL method for prime-positioned content that converts like crazy.

So what is CUL?

C = Customer personas are key
U = Understand the benefits you bring to the table
L = Leverage your SEO opportunities

Customer Personas
Personas are key. It helps you tailor your content to different customer personas, which in turn improves conversion.

To build personas, think like a newscaster:
– Who is your audience?
– Do you have multiple audiences?
– How do they look for and process information online?
– What are their concerns/hopes/objections?

Understand your Benefits
Your prospects want to read specific benefit statements. Make it clear why they should choose your solutions over some else? She uses the analogy: People want quarter-inch holes, not quarter-inch drills. do a good job of drilling down their benefit statements, while making it personal to the prospect.

Leverage your SEO Power
Follow the general SEO content rules:
– Keyphrases in headlines and subheads
– Keyphrases thoughout the content
– Focus around 2-3 keyphrases per page
– Create a killer clickable title

Content marketing can seem overwhelming when you are first starting out. Start by focusing in on your top 20 percent of pages now and all new pages – it’s OK to start small.

Heather’s main takeaway: SEO content development is detailed… but when you do it right, it’s incredibly powerful.

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