Google now processes over 40,00 search queries every second, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day (source: internet live stats). That's a lot of people looking for information to problems they're trying to solve.

The role search engines play in this transaction is to connect people with the most relevant and valuable content based on their search query. 

So, how do you attract relevant traffic from search engines? You have to produce high-quality content that solves for both the search engine and the website visitor, not one or the other.

What's the problem?

Where do you start with creating content that solves for both the search engine as well as the searcher? You need a plan that plots out your content road map. Yet, most content marketers are so eager to get started with creating content, they skip the planning stage and get started immediately. In fact, only 44% of B2B and B2C content marketers have a documented content strategy (source: CMI). This is a big problem. Not knowing where you're going will lead to you wasting gas and ultimately stalling your content efforts. This won't solve for search engines or searchers who are trying to find the information you feel will help them in their search.

Additionally, search engines are changing, forcing content marketers to adapt

In just one minute…

  • 1,388 blog posts are published.
  • Facebook users share 2.5 million pieces of content.
  • YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content.
  • Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times.
  • Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos.

All in this one minute (source: MarketingProfs).

But, with all this content being published, search engines like Google are being forced to better organize and showcase highly relevant content. This led to Google releasing multiple updates over the years to better solve for the searcher looking for information. 

The first notable update was Google’s “Hummingbird” algorithm update in 2013. This update focused on parsing out phrases rather than focusing on specific search queries. Many search engine optimizers and content marketers viewed this as an initial shift from a keyword-to-topic focus to content creation and website architecture.

The next major update to a topics-over-keyword shift happened in 2015 with Google’s RankBrain algorithm update. RankBrain is Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence system that interprets the user's searches beyond the exact words they entered into the search by including synonyms. Google is able to do this by associating past search history with similar themes and pulling through keywords and phrases to put together a better context-driven search engine results page (SERP).

Is there a solution for creating effective content?

During January of this year, I hosted a content experiment with the goal of helping people create content that solves for both search engines and the website visitor. As search engines evolve, we must adapt if we want to be found online.

During this experiment, I put my adventure brand, Wild We Wander, through the framework by deconstructing a DIY truck camper guide that my wife, Ariele, and I wrote last year into an ungated, conversion-focused website page. 

content pillar page.png

The result? In less than four months, our non-paid, organic traffic coming from search engines tripled. 

content-pillar-page-results.png

Yeah, buddy! Instead of shoving all this valuable information behind a landing page, we opened it up for search engines to find, which also gives website visitors the opportunity of viewing our content before downloading it. 

Yes, I said ungate your downloadable content. People are more willing to give you their information if they find value in your content. It's the same reason why Barnes & Noble lets you browse their store to peruse their books and magazines before deciding on which one you want to take with you out of the store. Additionally, HubSpot did a study and found that 90% of our website visitors prefer to read from a PDF, as opposed to a website page.  

Wild We Wander wasn't the only website to receive results like this. For example, one participant's leads went up 4X in less than two months of launching their ungated, conversion-focused website page. 

With results like this, I had to keep the momentum going while refining the step-by-step content strategy framework. In an effort to do so, I hit the road with Ariele in our Airstream and DIY truck camper.

We traveled 10,700 miles in 100 days and hosted a series of content-creation workshops with the goal of educating and inspiring the U.S. to create more effective content.

If you're interested in reading more about our travels, check out our wandering log

Through our travels, I met up with other content marketers to determine what's worked for them, what hasn't, and why when it comes to content strategy. For example, I met up with growth marketer and entrepreneur, Sujan Patel, to discuss his tactics and strategies for effectively promoting content. 

What will you learn in the HubSpot Training Day session?

I've dedicated the first half of 2017 to identifing a content strategy framework that solves for both the search engine and the website visitor. I learned a lot and am compiling everything I've learned into a digestible, step-by-step training on September 25, 2017 to help you create a content strategy framework for your business. 

During this session, I will teach you how to:

  • Plan your ongoing content efforts, ensuring you have a road map in place to minimize roadblocks.
  • Create content that solves for both the search engine and the website visitor.
  • Effectively promote your content with the help of Sujan Patel and a series of content experiments that he's conducted.
  • Grow your content into the authoritative source on a specific topic. 

During this session, you'll: 

  • Write a content mission statement.
  • Map the buyer's journey for your buyer persona.
  • Outline a working content cluster for your content pillar resource page with a relevant conversion point.
  • Identify a promotion plan for your content pillar resource page.

By the end of the session, you'll leave with a completed workbook that you can take back to your business and make an impact immediately with the next piece of content you want to recommend or create. 

Start the free Content Marketing Certification course from HubSpot Academy.

Originally published Jul 17, 2017 1:00:00 PM, updated November 09 2017