How to leverage the pages that convert
July 28, 2022
There’s a lot to be learned from the pages on your site that are already engaging people and converting leads.
These successful pages are a goldmine of insights as to what you’re doing right! They’re also the most efficient route to expanding your lead generation.
But this doesn’t mean that all high-conversion pages are perfect.
So let’s look at how to make sense of high-conversion pages, and how to build on their momentum.
🤭 High conversion rate ≠ high conversion volume
Our goal is to amplify the effects of every page that has a high conversion rate. And the path we take will be determined by the traffic that each of these pages is getting.
Because a page with 83% conversion rate sounds amazing! Until you realize that it only gets six visitors per year.
So, traffic volume is a significant factor. You can break up your best performers into two groups:
- High volume (High-traffic * High conversion-rate)
- Low volume (Low-traffic * High conversion-rate)
Each of those groups calls for a different course of action.
High volume pages are doing basically everything right. To amplify those effects, you can adapt the content for new formats and use it to generate ideas for new blog posts.
For low volume pages, the goal is to increase the number of visitors. Basically, distribution should be your number one concern.
🏄 What you can do
Inventory your site and collect those pages with the best conversion rates. Group them into high volume and low volume pages.
(You can also use the Ercule app.)
For high volume pages:
- Create a list of new blog topics based on subjects on this page
- Adapt the page to a video, downloadable guide, or webinar *Share it with the sales team so they can use it with leads
For low volume pages:
- Link to it from popular pages on your site
- Research related keywords that might drive more traffic
- Start talking about it on social a lot more. Cut up the content for posts.
And for all of these pages, it never hurts to refresh the h-tag structure and metadata. It makes unknown pages more visible to search engines, while helping the high-traffic pages stay competitive.
Tracking performance by topic
July 13, 2022
One of the nice things about strategizing around topics (rather than keywords) is that you can build authority around entire subjects, instead of one-off article ideas.
For example, if you make accounting software – wouldn’t it be nice to be the authority on “small business accounting”?
Of course, picking a great topic is just the beginning. You have to write the right articles, then see how they perform as a group, then adjust.
So let’s talk about the importance of tracking performance by topic, and how to do it.
🚊 Why you should track topic performance
When you assess page content performance by topic, you’ll get a wide-lens view of the areas in which you’re building authority.
Topic performance analysis can help you understand…
- Which topics are resonating with your audience (and Google)
- Which specific subjects within a topic are getting the most traction How well each topic is aligned with the sales funnel
- Where the most conversions are coming from
These are insights you simply can’t get by tracking individual blog posts in an atomized way.
🏄 What you can do
You can start running topic performance reports, even if you didn’t consciously design a topic strategy. A few core topics have probably naturally emerged in your blog over time anyway.
For example: if you’re an accounting software brand, you’ve probably written quite a few posts with ‘business accounting’ or ‘small business’ in the title.You can search for those topic phrases within existing blog titles to start running topic analysis. Here’s how…
First off, decide on 3 core topics you want to assess. (If you’ve got more than three topics dialed in, feel free to explore them all.)
Then, using Google Analytics, filter Page Titles in the All Pages view. Search for each topic phrase. Here’s a little demonstration:
You could also use the handy-dandy Ercule app for a quick inventory (and a less daunting interface). Use the “Library” view, and filter like so:
Once you’ve got data grouped by topic, you can start scanning for insight:
1.Inventory each topic for funnel stage content.
Do you have at least one piece of content for each stage of the buyer’s journey? (We’re talking, at the very least, Discovery, Assessment, and Decision stage.)
Make note of any gaps in the content program. Create content to fill the missing sales funnel stages in each topic group. Prioritize this in your content pipeline.
2.Compare individual post performance within a topic group.
You can go with whatever data you’ve been tracking for individual posts. Just compare them here within the topic category. How are the individual posts different in their traffic, engagement, or conversion metrics? How are they similar?
If engagement metrics are varied from post to post, for example, but they’re all showing a decline in Impressions, then it might be time to revise the subjects you use to illustrate your core topics.
3.Compare the different topic groups, in terms of performance.
Which topics are performing best? How is performance consistent across topics? How does it differ?
This can offer insights into which elements of your product and value prop are connecting most with your target audience.
Using the Impressions metric to improve content performance
June 28, 2022
At Ercule, we often work with teams that are still in the early stage of a content program.
Some are starting a blog from scratch. Others are taking over a blog that never quite performed. Others are changing the focus of their company’s content, or even the positioning of the company itself.
As a result, they’re all kind of resetting. And all of these teams need some metrics to gauge how well their early efforts are doing – but not all metrics will be useful.
Search impressions can help a lot. Let’s talk about them.
🛎️ Decoding “Impressions”
Google Search Console tracks a metric for your site called “Impressions.”
It means: How many times did a page show up in a Google search?
As an overall performance metric, it’s broad. And when you’re starting a program from scratch, even broad data helps.
But you can also drill down further into the Impressions data by filtering for search query results. When you filter it with targeted keywords, you can see whether you’re showing up in the Google searches that you want.
In the sample below, we filtered for queries that include the word ‘data’.
If you’re getting started talking about some new topics, this is a great way to see if your focus on those particular topics is getting traction.
🏄 What you can do
To get your footing in the analytics realm, start simple.
Pick one blog post, which you published recently – about a month ago. That should be long enough for the page to start ranking in Google, but recently enough to just be getting started.
Step 1: Find the data
Go look it up in Google Search Console. See if it’s getting any impressions.
(If the numbers are promising, then do yourself a favor and mention it to the rest of your team 🙂)
Then use the query filter to find out…
What are the queries it’s getting impressions for?
Are these queries that align with your target audience and keywords?
Even if it’s not getting any impressions, make a note of that as well.
Step 2: Wait a couple months
Let the page do its thing for a month or two.
Step 3: Revisit the data
Revisit those metrics. If the metrics are on the way up, and the queries are aligned with your target audience, you can let them be. Check back in another month or so.
If the queries are not aligned with your target audience, then it’s time to reassess the post. Ask these questions:
Is the title clear and specific?
Do the subheads speak to the topic?
Is the post using H-tags in a linear way?
By point of comparison, look at pages that are ranking for your target keywords. See what they’re doing right.
If the overall Impressions numbers are looking okay but not great, then there are a few things you can do to improve them:
Promote your content on social
Send it out in an email
Get somebody else to talk about it
The goal is to get more people linking to the page, which will show Google that your content is worth ranking.
Step 4: Repeat
Give it another couple months. If your metrics still aren’t moving, it might be time to rethink the page.
Cut out the strongest material from the post and add it to relevant pages that are already performing.
How to identify causes of declining organic traffic
June 15, 2022
Organic page traffic can ebb and flow. But when is it a cause for concern?
Here’s our criteria:
Traffic over the past 3 months has declined more than 15% from the previous 3 months.
Pages in this situation need immediate attention.
So let’s talk about how to identify specific causes of decline, and what you can do to get the traffic moving up again.
🔍 How to identify the causes of declining traffic
Organic traffic is determined by how well your page is performing for particular keywords in organic search. (Ranking #3 for a keyword will net you more clicks than ranking #35.)
And it’s further influenced by how frequently people search for your keywords. (A keyword that gets 5,000 searches per month will drive more clicks than a keyword that gets 10 searches per month.)
Either (or both) of those factors can be the cause of your declining traffic:
- Number of searches (Chart this data in Google Trends.)
- Number of clicks (Chart this data in Google Search Console.)
And each of them can point you toward more specific causes.
Factor #1: Number of searches
If the number of searches is down, then users are searching for the topic less frequently.
This leads to two potential theories for what’s affecting traffic:
- The language people use for a given topic has changed.
- The topic itself is less popular than it used to be.
Factor #2: Number of clicks
This factor is a bit more complex. It follows this equation:
Number of clicks = Number of impressions ⨉ Click-through rate
Each of those factors leads you to more specific theories:
- If the number of impressions is down (but overall search volume is steady), then you’re probably ranking lower on the SERP page.
- If click-through rate is down, then visitors are less interested in the title and meta description that appear on the search results page.
(Note: If these metrics have plummeted overnight from sky-high to zero, then it might also be due to a Google algorithm update that you missed.)
🏄 What you can do
You can’t fix every page at once – and some won’t be worth the effort. Prioritize pages that are (or have been) getting significant traffic.
Pull the data that we mentioned above, and flag which metrics are declining:
- Enter the page’s topic in Trends to identify any change in search volume
- Pull data from GSC: Impressions, Click-through rates
If the Trends data is showing a decrease in topic searches, then you’ll want to talk to your product marketing team.
- Are people using different phrases to talk about the same problems?
- Are the market categories changing?
- Is your company focused on a shrinking problem?
These might not be within your power to solve, but it’s good to understand so you know how much more to invest in what you’ve already been doing.
If click-through rate is down, then it’s time to revisit the basic elements which effect your SERP presentation: Page title and meta description
Note: Google is transitioning away from using traditional meta descriptions, but it doesn’t hurt to update them anyway. Also, updating these fields is a pretty easy task.
If impressions are down (but search volume is steady), then you’ll want to focus on SERP performance. In other words: it’s time to update your content to make it more competitive.
Review top-ranking pages, and note what they’re doing that you’re not:
- Content: Does it respond to search intent better than your page? Is their analysis more substantial? Is their point of view more modern?
- User experience: Is their page easier to navigate? Is their H-tag structure more clear?
Let those observations inform your revision of the page. In addition, [make sure the smaller details are optimized for SEO too.]
And once you’ve published the revision, remember: updates take time to show results in organic search.
While you wait, you can help out the page by distributing links across your usual channels, as if it were a new post.
Improving conversions by being more helpful
May 23, 2022
We got some help on this post from Josh Spilker, Director of Content at Range. (We’re big fans of Josh’s playbook for scaling traffic in one quarter.)
Content marketers pride themselves on being useful, rather than pushy. Educational instead of sales-y.
That doesn’t mean we’re supposed to sound like Wikipedia, though. We’re all still marketing a product. And if you lean into this fact, your content becomes more useful to readers and more effective for your brand.
At the end of any blog post, we should be able to complete the phrase: “Here’s how we can help…”
Every blog post can (and should) complete that phrase at least once – and, ideally, a few times:
- Through the content itself, with a product-led approach
- In the calls to action, each tailored to the reader’s journey
This works for every stage of the funnel. Yes, even the very top.
Let’s look at why the “helpful” test works, and how to wield it with your existing content.
🦮 The helpful test
The helpful test is not an anti-sales approach. We lean into it because it’s a very effective sales approach.
If you’re crafting a top-funnel post about “How small businesses use accounting software,” the topic itself is pretty broad – until you ask: How can our product help?
By answering that question, you’ll identify common customer pain points, which lead to a targeted discussion of your product’s features.
Including those product details in a post can be as simple as adding a subhead toward the end entitled, simply, ‘How our product helps.’
The helpful test comes in handy with CTAs as well. If your top-funnel reader has only started to read up on accounting software, then you can probably help by linking to similar educational posts on your blog.
You could push a product demo link in the CTA, but it probably won’t be very helpful to that top-funnel buyer. You risk losing their attention altogether.
🏄🏼 What you can do
You can use the helpful test to improve conversion rates on your existing content.
(We recommend starting off with your highest-traffic posts.)
For each piece of content, you’ll focus on:
- Product-led content integration
- Call-to-action optimization
Before you can add product-led content to an existing post, you need to decide what sort of content would be relevant to the reader.
Different points in the journey require you to answer different questions:
- Top-funnel: How does my product connect with this topic?
- Mid-funnel: How does my product help with this topic?
- Bottom-funnel: How does my product compare with others?
Once you’ve answered that question, you’ll know what sort of product-led material to include.
After you’ve added it, you can tailor the existing material. For example: with a mid-funnel post, this might mean adding a bit about pain points that your product helps relieve.
Calls to action
When it comes to revising CTAs, the helpful test requires a few considerations:
- Where this piece fits in the buyer’s journey
- What subjects are being discussed
- Which existing assets connect to those subjects
If the buyer is still in the top-funnel awareness stage… you might help by linking to a related, top-funnel blog post.
If they’re farther down, evaluating different software capabilities… you might help them by suggesting a white paper. Or direct them to a chatbot that can answer questions.
If they’re definitely going to choose a software… you can help with some docs pages from your product, and maybe a comparison page, or at long last, the product demo.
Later on down the line, you might talk with your web dev about different design elements that can help improve conversion rates. (We’re big fans of persistent/sticky CTAs, for example.)
But the helpful test comes before all.