6 minute read
Content is everything we consume online. Users arrive on a site to be educated, entertained, inspired, or complete a task.
Content is how you win new site visitors, and how you entice them to return. So it’s important to remember that, though ads are driving revenue, content should be the focal point of every page.
With that in mind, part three of our series for new publishers focuses on how to plan, write, and promote great content. If you missed part one (AdSense 101) or part two (AdSense best practices), then check them out and get caught up.
The keys to engaging, shareable contentBe targeted, consistent, and frequent:Take the time to figure out who is reading your content and which topics they engage with most (we’ll get into the mechanics of this later on). Update your site as often as possible with fresh content, tailored to your audience.
Use video where possible: People crave video, users from around the world are now watching a billion hours of YouTube’s incredible content every single day! Video personalizes your brand and can boost the amount of time user’s spend on your site.
Be readable: Successful online content is scannable and snappy; follow these best practices to make sure your articles look enticing to viewers:
- Don’t use more than 7 sentences per paragraph
- Keep your column width between 700 and 800 pixels
- Organize your content with headers and subheaders
Stay on top of trends: Use online tools like Google Trends to identify subjects your audience is interested in, and discuss them while they’re still fresh. Trends is also really useful for location targeting - identifying popular topics and keywords in your target areas.
Incorporate evergreen content: Evergreen content is information that stays useful and relevant no matter when it’s consumed. While trending topics should be used to generate buzz, evergreen content will bring a consistent source of referral traffic that may boost your position on organic search pages.
Figure out what works, and do more of itIf you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to link Google Analytics and AdSense. Otherwise, the following recommendations will not be applicable for you.
Content groups allow you to bundle your content into different lists, to analyze the themes that drive most engagement with your audience. For example, if you run a digital marketing blog, you could create content groups around SEO, social media, PPC campaigns etc.
After setting your groups, use the AdSense page report to view and compare metrics. You may discover that your audience is interested in one particular theme - if so, try to focus on that topic more at the expense of groups with less engagement. For example, if your foodie blog has more views on food truck review articles than any other group, then adapt your content strategy to include more of that content.
The Landing Page report in Google Analytics helps you understand where users landed on your site, and where they left from. This will give you insights into the type of content that draws visitors from external sites, and may highlight content that should be re-worked due to poor metrics.
To get the most value from the Landing Page report, track the following:
- Look for pages with high bounce rates. If you find that one or two areas of your site drive your users towards the exit, then ask yourself what you could do to improve them.
- If you’ve got quality content that’s not attracting new visitors, then play with the headline or experiment with different primary images to promote it.
- Analyze page speed. 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. If some of your pages are slower than others, then it’s likely they contain bloated elements. Consider compressing images or getting rid of animated files. Check out the tactical recommendations to increase page speed in part two of this series.
Plan ahead with your audience in mindUse the Demographics and Interests tab in your Google Analytics account to understand who’s reading your content, and what their interests are (you’ll need to enable this feature before getting started).
The Demographics report will give you insights into the age and gender of your audience, and allows you to segment these groups to see how different people react to your content.
Use the Interest report to shape your content to your audience’s interests, and identify upcoming events they may be interested in. For example, if fans of your digital marketing blog are also interested in new technology and gadgets, you could mention these learnings across your social channels to increase your following.
At this point, you’ll have accumulated data from content grouping, as well as the Landing Page, Demographics, and Insights reports. Use it all to paint a picture of your average user, what they enjoy, what they dislike - then use those insights to build a content calendar.
A content calendar will allow you to plan a content strategy that’s focused on the topics you know your audience enjoys. Be sure to research seasonal events related to your industry or product, so you can discuss them while they’re still relevant.
Build an audience on socialGrowing an audience on social media can provide publishers with a consistent source of referral traffic to their sites. As with content, the best way to compel users to follow your social accounts is to provide them with consistent value.
Here’s some tips to help you set up and maintain a strong social presence:
- Don’t be too self-promotional. You’ll want to link back to your content, but if that’s all you focus on, potential followers will lose interest.
- Use your content calendar to prepare posts around upcoming events in advance. Users care less about an Oscars tweet a week after the ceremony.
- Create relationships with influencers. Retweet them, mention them in a favorable way, and link to their content. These relationships can lead to guest-blogging opportunities or retweets from an account with a large audience. This tactic can help you break through your current organic reach to access new users.
- Build relationships with your users. Answer their questions promptly, engage with them in conversations. If your audience feels valued, they’ll be much more likely to help you promote your content.
- Use Google Trends to discover trending topics on a daily basis, and tie in posts with popular conversations.
For a list of helpful tools to help you manage your social accounts and build your audience, read our ‘Amplify your content with social’ blog post.
And make sure to check in next week, when our series for new publishers continues with a post on improving performance to potentially maximize profits.
If you think AdSense is a fit for your site, then sign up now and get started.
‘Til next time.