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Just How Important Is Content for SEO and Conversions?

Textbroker helps tens of thousands of businesses with their written content, so how does our content perform? We thought it would be helpful to both us and our clients if we could answer that question. This blog is the first in a series where we will describe in detail how we tried to help one client, ad cetera, inc., an ecommerce company that sells promotional items like pens and mouse pads, use Textbroker content to achieve the two goals listed above.

Case Study Feature

Chris Scalise

Supervisor of Editorial / Staff Writer

Textbroker helps tens of thousands of businesses with their written content – blog posts, articles, press releases, social media posts, product descriptions … you name it. Many of our clients order content to achieve two goals: 1. Provide great information for their customers and prospective customers, and 2. Rank highly in search results for the keywords that are important to their business, leading to more traffic and conversions. So how does our content perform? Most of the time, we can’t tell you because we treat our client relationships as confidential unless we have explicit permission to disclose a client’s name. Also, our clients don’t always tell us how the content performs. We thought it would be helpful to both us and our clients if we could answer that question. This blog is the first in a series where we will describe in detail how we tried to help one client, ad cetera, inc., an ecommerce company that sells promotional items like pens and mouse pads, use Textbroker content to achieve the two goals listed above.

What Made This the Perfect Time for an SEO Case Study?

With updates to its search algorithms, Google has placed a premium on quality content. Long gone are the days when keyword-stuffing irrelevant content would get you on the front page. Google expects content creators to place an emphasis on making content that is relevant for the user and not the search engine. This presented Textbroker with a perfect opportunity to test our theory: If we injected a blog with relevant and high-quality content, we would start ranking for industry-specific keywords.

Understanding How Digital Content Strategies Might Help or Hinder Companies in Search of SEO Superiority

Sure, Google encourages content-focused, idea-rich SEO practices, and marketing experts promote the idea that content should play a role at each stage of a marketing funnel. Yes, publications like Search Engine Watch note that organic search interactions, which intrinsically rely on SEO, can account for up to 64 percent of your site visits. Even publications like Forbes maintain that SEO is a worthwhile high-ROI practice that might actually damage your brand’s digital profile if overlooked.

Looking at the widespread consensus, the real question isn’t whether content-oriented strategies are effective; it’s about how you can leverage them for the greatest gain. Our case study examines the links between brand content practices, SEO rankings and business transactions. Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

Our Methodology

We thought it best to examine the impacts that a conventional content strategy might have on a typical brand presence. To achieve a high signal-to-noise ratio, we chose to:

  • Use ad cetera, inc’s existing website to establish a baseline and gauge the strategy under genuine conditions,
  • Use Searchmetrics tools to highlight potential problems and refine our posting strategy in real time, and
  • Create and maintain an on-site blog as a means of exploring an accessible, low-cost practice that most companies can implement easily.

The blog, in particular, gave us the chance to examine common claims concerning the efficacy of blogging as a general SEO strategy. For instance, blogging has been purported to increase site traffic, strengthen business value propositions, engage new consumers and promote organic interaction for years after posts go live. Our methodology allowed us to see if the numbers backed up these ideas.

Overcoming the Starting Obstacles

Even with a solid foundation, we knew things wouldn’t always be smooth sailing. Ad cetera, inc. offers an inventory of over 1 million promotional products, and working with such a large database presents some distinct marketing challenges. For instance, since it’s so labor-intensive to build an online shop of that size, ad cetera opted for a premade template that is already used by many other sites selling the same promotional products. As a result:

  • We were limited to creating a generic blog tab due to the hosting provider’s limited customization options.
  • We came to the early conclusion that just creating relevant blog posts was unlikely to generate the desired impact.
  • We weren’t allowed to tweak any of the site’s content outside of the blog, such as HTML, metadata or product descriptions.
  • According to Searchmetrics, we were working with about 1,000 errors brought on by the derivative nature of the site and its product descriptions.
  • Google heavily penalizes generic or copied product descriptions, such as those that the site already contained.

Finding a Sustainable Solution

From the beginning, the blog’s success was hampered by the existing site framework and content. For instance, Google’s Search Quality Rating Program guidelines explicitly deem content that appears to have been copied from other sources as the “Lowest” quality. The site’s initial state may have contributed to the above-average bounce rates and low session durations we originally observed.

We ultimately decided that the issues related to starting a blog on ad cetera’s existing website were too difficult to overcome. So we deleted the blog page and created an entirely new website from scratch: ad cetera, inc. blog. We decided to host it at WordPress using a Premium hosting plan for $8 a month. This would afford us total freedom to customize the design, ample storage for high-quality photos, and access to premium customer support if needed. Although this blog had the same beginning URL and linked directly to the “.com” website, separating it from the main page helped us realize some unique gains:

  • We boosted the site’s traffic from zero blog page views at the end of August to a steady stream of visitors by January.
  • We achieved a 50 percent increase in the number of unique visitors that the blog received weekly.

Moving to WordPress let us refine our strategy and hone in on the relationship between publishing new, high-quality posts and capturing inbound page traffic. It also offered a workable example of how a business struggling with SEO might make life simpler by adopting a compartmentalized approach. True, using a separate blog to help correct poor performance trends may lack the efficacy of a total content overhaul, but for companies that don’t have the resources to implement such wholesale changes, such strategies could prove far more practical.

What Comes Next?

Going forward, we’ll integrate our blogging strategy with SEO practices like social media outreach and post engagement tracking. Although our WordPress-based blogging strategy may require extra effort to achieve harmony between different traffic analysis suites, such as Facebook and Google user tracking tools, we believe that these issues aren’t impossible hurdles and look forward to solving them.

Since this study began about five months ago, we’ve been consistently publishing blog posts and gathering data. As we continue learning, we’ll keep sharing the insights we gain here so you can learn from our triumphs and mistakes. Stay tuned for future blog posts and discover how you might be able to improve your SEO rankings with smarter content strategies.


Part 2: How to Get a Blog Ranked in Just 6 Weeks

Part 3: Just How Effective Are Niche Blogs for SEO?

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