Often we get asked if there is such as a thing as true content marketing ROI. We might be biased, as we create content for a living, but our opinion is: heck yes content marketing provides ROI! We get it though. Sometimes it may feel like content marketing isn’t providing enough value. Or, more specifically, not enough value to justify large amounts of investment.
Well don’t worry internet marketing friends!
After reading this post, you’ll soon be able to prove real business driving value utilizing content marketing. Then you will be able to yell across the rooftop to your boss, investors, significant other, the old lady next door, your pet hamster…whomever will listen to your praises!
Also we hope that you will also be able to get away from those squishy, “It feels right” feelings or metrics and back up your efforts with real numbers.
And, of course, this post is a bit self-serving, but it’s a hot topic and we would love to get your feedback and ideas.
How much time and resources do you currently put into keyword research and optimization for your website? What about other on-site factors like link architecture, UI/UX considerations, 301 redirects, and link canonicalization?
What does your off-site SEO strategy look like?
Are you asking for links to your generic blog posts? Are you leaving it to some crazy third-world backlink company? Perhaps you are blasting your social media base with generic content?
How do you expect to get great SEO benefits to your website with such useless outreach tactics?
Time and time again, we see companies focused on squeezing out the latest little trick on their website. Meanwhile the outreach, publication, and link building/outreach efforts are left for whatever is left in the budget.
This is the wrong approach.
If you are putting any investment into your on-site SEO efforts, you probably are putting at least some effort into your off-site SEO efforts. These can be things like link building or haring on social media.
We would venture to say that your “off-site” factors are more important than anything you can do on-site beyond quick wins.
Google loves fresh new content! It loves well written and accurate information that serves a purpose to a user. Google wants users like you and me to continue to utilize Google time and time again – all in the hopes of getting more impressions for their ads.
Whether the content being produced is video, blog posts, PDFS, slides, audio files (to a certain extent), good quality content almost always moves its way to the top of the search results, and will always outrank a site with worse content or even some “bad” on-site optimization efforts.
Another way to think about it:
A website which writes about widgets and overall has pretty good content. However, it has a few broken links deep within the site structure, and is incorrectly using a canonical tag on the “About Us page,”
More than likely, this website will always outrank a competitor’s website with a near perfect “on-site” ranking and crappy generic content – if all other factors are the same.
To see this happening in real time, let’s look at a real life example.
Searching the very generic term: “Best Dogs,” take a look at what popped up in Google:
See anything interesting? The “petbreeds.com” website has two listings for the same term in positions #2 and #3.
As you can see, the internal page with the better content scored higher in the rankings than the root sub domain, in position #3.
This is happening despite the page having a broken robots file.
This means that despite the subpage having less than optimal on-site SEO configuration, the relevant content from the page actually scores higher in the search engine than the main website.
Proving Content Marketing’s ROI is simple in this case:
The more investment in great content creation, the more it will help move your rankings up in Google – even if you have issues or budgetary constraints with making your website an on-site SEO powerhouse.
Again, let’s dive into distilling content marketing ROI for SEO efforts.
A common tactic to increase your website’s rankings is to have links from other reputable websites pointing to your website.
As the “blogging” movement has exploded in the past decade (now everyone and their uncle has a blog), a great opening has occurred for professional search engine optimization experts.
Once you write your first blog post, many bloggers fizzle out pretty quickly. This sad but unfortunate truth can be found all over the web. You’ll know it when you hit a website on some obscure topic, but look around and only see a few posts from 5 years ago.
The process of coming up with engaging, exciting, and valuable content can be difficult to do well regularly.
Many professional SEO experts have found that by guest posting on highly reputable sites, they are able to embed a link to their own website.
There is a whole entire sub-group of experts who find and pitch websites on great content. (That’s another topic for anther day.)
When creating content for someone else, you are leveraging their audience. Your pitch needs to be interesting and include well written content to have any hope of being picked up. As a representation of your brand, it should also be top notch and provide some real value.
Do you think that evergreen content is going to work for these guest posts?
The content you are providing another website needs to be unique and provide their audience . As you start guest blogging and getting reputable links, your SEO rankings should increase.
Good content for guest blogging can significantly boost your content marketing ROI.
Tracking the incoming referral traffic in this case is easy to do from the article you have guest posted. Simply look at referral data from Google Analytics. If you are able to report back to your boss regarding the amount of traffic you are getting, and even perhaps tie it back to the number of transactions generated, proving content marketing ROI is super simple.
For traditional marketing leaders, this is also a great tactic which you can utilize for branding.
Millennials are an increasingly huge audience for the B2C businesses. As this group gets older, they will soon also be the purchasers behind B2B transactions. With over 80 million of these folks in our country, millennials currently have over $200 billion in buying power.
In order to get through to these folks, eliteDaily performed a survey to understand a bit about their buying habits. Some of the key findings (I’m summarizing):
You can now easily prove content marketing ROI as a tactic to appeal to the powerful millennial audience, that will continue to grow.
Content Marketing has ROI in many key areas of your marketing plans. It’s just a matter of measuring it correctly.
Whether you are utilizing it for SEO purposes, lead generation, or interacting with your existing base, tying a KPI to content to prove ROI shouldn’t be hard.
What do you think? What questions do you have? Leave them in the comments below.