Your company can still take advantage of content marketing even if you don’t have a blog. We’ll explain how to boost search rankings by focusing on other written content.
Blogging isn’t for every company, but all organizations should optimize written content for search to drive traffic and convert visitors.
Too often businesses resort to blogging without reviewing the full spectrum of content options to choose from. Blogging does drive results for many businesses, but it’s not a universal medium every organization must adopt.
According to HubSpot, 60 percent of marketers focus on blog content, but only 29 percent of consumers will read a company’s blog posts thoroughly.
“Many businesses begin a blog with the belief that it will solve their marketing woes,” says Rebekah Radice, CMO of Post Planner. “Need more traffic? Check. Gain visibility? Check. Want a legion of loyal readers that hang on your every word? Sure…that’s easy. Or at least that’s what some believe.”
Radice adds, “In reality, building a blog and a solid content marketing plan takes time and effort. And whether you have a blog or not, you can still create a content strategy.”
To drive links to a website, quality traffic, search rankings, and conversions online from search, an organization needs to create a content strategy to plan what types of written content you’ll create, where will it live, why you’re creating it and how it’ll be distributed to the right audience.
According to Radice, these are the three elements to consider when developing an effective content marketing strategy for your company:
- Your audience likes, dislikes, wants, and needs
- The struggles they face daily (and the solution you’ll provide)
- How you’ll leverage content platforms (social, email, etc.) to spread your message
Instead of blogging, explore whether other forms of written content better match your audience, business offerings, and goals. There is no universal answer to what type of content every organization should invest in, which is why it is important to review the available options.
Let’s discuss the three major content options for strategically positioning a site in search with written content not found on your blog.
1. Develop In-Depth Product Pages & Landing Pages
In lieu of a consistently updated content hub like a blog, focus on the creation of in-depth, copy-rich product pages and landing pages throughout your website.
The goal of a product page is to convince a browser to purchase the item if it suits their needs.
The inclusion of copy and any other form of content on a product page should never distract from driving a purchase, but if executed correctly can help drive additional visibility to the page in search, while promoting the product.
For example, the typical elements of a product page, like the product image, product description, pricing, specifications, etc., should be featured prominently at the top of the page, while more in-depth written content is provided on the lower half of the page.
Best Made Company executes this strategy across their product pages by including the most pertinent information about their product at the top of the page, but if a user clicks on the Discover More button or scrolls to the bottom of the page they can view additional written content and a video related to the product.
This in-depth information can be additional backstory around the creation of the product, examples of the product in use, articles or videos about different ways the product is beneficial to customers as a solution to their problems, and more.
This additional content adds more context to a product page, helping in two ways: allowing customers to learn more about the product and improving search engines’ understanding of the page.
Consider experimenting with different formats of content-driven product pages to see what drives the most amount of search traffic visibility without reducing conversions.
Here are a few types of content-focused product pages to consider:
- Pages with in-depth product descriptions of 500 words and up
- Pages with in-depth product descriptions paired with multiple optimized images
- Pages with in-depth video showcasing product and its various uses
- Pages with links to related articles explaining different ways a product solves an issue
- Pages with an in-depth video and transcribed text from the video
- Pages that incorporate a combination of images, in-depth copy, and video
Similar to the approach to product pages, the inclusion of copy or other forms of content on a landing page should not be at the expense of driving visitors to complete the desired conversion.
When creating campaign specific landing pages or revamping existing pages, integrate additional copy, videos, or images that explain the value of filling out the form, downloading a resource, or whatever conversion the page is centered on.
For instance, WebDAM promoted their latest guide on a campaign-driven landing page and included additional text below the fold to convince visitors to convert and provide context for search engines.
WebDam could have finished creating their landing page above the fold, but instead included copy on the lower section of the page explaining the main benefits covered in the resource, logos from existing customers, and client testimonials.
It is important to think creatively when creating landing pages to best strike the balance between adding more valuable written copy to a page without distracting visitors from converting.
Add copy to a landing page to describe one or a few of the following elements:
- Match the content to a visitor’s previous source for consistency
- The benefits of filling out the page’s signup form
- Summarizing the contents of a guide, white paper, e-book, etc.
- A description of an included image or video
- Customer testimonials, endorsements, and other forms of social proof
However, be sure you don’t stuff as much copy as possible on a landing page or product page, but instead identify opportunities across each type of page where adding copy can provide value to a customer and additional context to the search engines.
2. Produce Content on Third-Party Platforms
Another method of reaching an audience without blog content on your own website is contributing content to third-party platforms with built-in distribution like social media and blogging sites.
While there are many third-party content platforms to consider, the most popular ones are:
Creating content for these channels allows an organization to still compete in search with relevant information related to their expertise and product offerings without having to maintain their own blog.
An additional benefit of sharing content on third party-platforms is that they already have a large built-in audience. The audience of a third-party platform increases the likelihood of viewership and interaction with content as compared to the visibility content on a company’s website might generate.
A downside to sharing content on a third-party website is that links to the content aren’t pointing to your website, readers aren’t on your website when consuming content, and it may be easier for them to view content from different authors outside of your company.
To address this issue, include relevant links within the content submitted to third-party platforms that point to related resources hosted on your website like white papers, landing pages, etc.
In addition, add a call-to-action at the end of any content shared on these third-party sites to drive traffic back to your website with a relevant offer.
For example, consider sharing articles on LinkedIn as it offers any professional with a profile the ability to blog from their account and share it with their network.
“The Publisher platform on LinkedIn gives you an amazing opportunity to create content that can position you as a thought leader or expert, create greater visibility for you and your business, help you to better establish your brand, and generate engagement with your target market,” says LinkedIn expert Viveka von Rosen, owner of LinkedIntoBusiness.
According to Rosen, even if your organization does have staff with strong writing skills, gather and curate content from others like:
- Quotes from other influencers and industry leaders
- Book reviews of industry titles
- Recorded and transcribed interviews with influencers and industry leaders
- Recorded and transcribed how-to videos.
Sharing content in the form of a Facebook post or tweet on Twitter is significantly different than sharing a full article on Medium, LinkedIn, or Tumblr.
To succeed with driving attention in search with short-form content shared on Twitter or Facebook, consistently use these platforms to build an audience, cater content to the channel, and ensure some of the content shared on these channels is evergreen.
When sharing content on Twitter with the goal of ranking in search, generate as much interaction with the content that lives on a website like a landing page, product page, or case study by tweeting about it and encouraging others to tweet about it as well.
The more genuine engagement a content item gets from Twitter over time, the more likely Google will take those social signals into consideration and rank the resource accordingly.
“Twitter is a great platform for written content,” says Madalyn Sklar, Twitter Smarter podcast host and Twitter marketing coach and consultant. “While most people shrug at the thought of getting a quality message out in 140 characters, you can actually do this in a series of tweets. It’s a great way to build up hype and anticipation.”
Using Twitter to impact the ranking of the non-blog content resources on a website requires being consistently active on the network. Alternate the company’s tweets by including content from others with your own resources to slowly build an audience over time.
When creating short-form content adapted for Twitter, consider covering one of these four focus areas with the organization’s tweets:
- Provide straight-forward and immediately useful information
- Offer analysis on what a particular topic means
- Share a brief explanation of how this information applies to the target audience
- Occasionally add entertaining tweets to diversify the content being shared
After considering one of the four focus areas for company tweets, get inspiration for the subject of these tweets from content on site and the relevant content of others. Here are some examples of what to consider tweeting about your written content:
- Tweet quotes included in your long-form content
- Share interesting facts, figures, and statistics pulled from a resource
- Integrate video, images, and GIFs from your content
- Highlight an influencer’s participation in a resource
- Tweet the section headers of a piece of content
- Review the lessons learned from and the benefits of a resource
Lastly, it is less common for a tweet or a Facebook post itself to rank in search than it is to have those posts influence the ranking of your on-site content, but if it does happen, it is ideal if that content is evergreen.
Not all of the content shared to Twitter or Facebook needs to be evergreen, but it is recommended that a majority of it is to prevent it from expiring and reducing its value in the long term. For the best opportunity to rank a company’s social content, incorporate both timely, news related insights with evergreen content as a part of the overall schedule.
3. Invest in PDF-Focused Content
White papers, e-books, and case studies are three different types of content most often delivered in PDF format that are too often overlooked when organizations consider how to increase their search rankings.
PDF-focused content is usually more in-depth than a blog post or an article, not meant to be skimmed, but rather read thoroughly by prospects with a deeper interest in a company’s offerings.
“The difference between just a piece of content and content marketing is the destination,” says Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group and one of the leading voices in marketing today.
The destination or end goal of PDF-focused content is very different than a traditional blog post as it’s addressing customers at a deeper part of the marketing funnel, whereas blog posts are more focused on driving awareness of an idea, company, or product at the very top of the funnel.
Brenner argues that not knowing the distinction between different types of written content and how they impact a business shows a lack of commitment in content marketing and will ultimately lead to the failure of a program. “If a brand does not have a real focus and a true commitment, they shouldn’t bother with content marketing.”
Optimizing PDF content for search entails ensuring these documents are primarily text-based. PDF’s certainly provide an opportunity to add a unique visual presentation of a company’s data and expertise, but as long as the design of a document is not at the expense of including quality copy.
Include an enthralling title tag and meta description for any PDF document by updating its document properties in whichever PDF creator tool you’re using.
With most PDF tools there is an author field; add the company’s name as the author of the content from the document’s properties. If the option is available, add keywords and tags if a relevant keywords and/or tag fields exist.
Add a keyword-rich filename for the PDF as it will become part of the document’s URL, which needs to be as SEO-friendly as possible.
Don’t neglect to link to other content internally within PDFs, include keywords in the body copy, and optimize all images included with ALT tags.
To ensure PDFs aren’t downloaded and then reuploaded to another website with its links removed, write-protect each document, which makes it far more difficult for anyone to edit it.
Consider repurposing some of these PDFs into HTML content as well by either taking parts of a document or all of a document to build out a landing page, product page, etc.
When turning PDFs into HTML, avoid any duplicate content issues to ensure these efforts with content are helpful and not hurtful to the company’s search profile.
Lastly, ensure the file size for PDF content is reduced to be as small as possible. A document with a large file size will take longer to load, which affects how the search engine crawls the item, not to mention a person’s experience with the content.
Do You Market Already Without a Blog?
What challenges does your company face when devoting time, effort, and resources to creating non-blog content? What types of content tend to drive results for your organization and why? We would love to hear about your experience with content marketing without a blog over on Twitter @DigitalCurrent.