Sales & Marketing

A fool-proof guide to creating content that ranks

5 min read

02 October 2015

If your content marketing efforts haven’t achieved the results you want, check out this simple guide to learn how to get your content ranking.

You’ve heard how content is helping brands make the crucial leap between talking at customers to sharing with them, you might even have had a crack at publishing some blog posts and infographics, maybe even some video content. But has it worked? 

The explosion in content marketing has led to businesses everywhere swamping the web with their interpretation of ‘good, unique content’. 

Your SEO tells you that you need a blog, so you hash out a content calendar and get your intern to churn out some keyword rich posts, stick them on your site and wait for the traffic to stampede through your site. 

Did it work? Chances are, not so much. 

That’s because, good, unique content, in the words of Rand Fish, needs to die. 

Creating good, unique content is not enough

The world and his wife can create good, unique content. The effort involved in producing something that answers a searcher’s basic queries isn’t that hard. Do this, and you’re a drop in the ocean, a face in the crowd. Hell, you’re an overused cliché, and you don’t deserve to rank. 

This doesn’t mean you should give up, however. Today we’re going to show you how to make sure your content stands out. Follow this process (and I mean to the letter), and if your content doesn’t rank, I’ll gladly eat my hat. 

1) Choose your subject

This should be relatively straightforward. You know who your audience is, you understand their goals and challenges, and you’ve created a content calendar based on these ideas.
(If I’ve already lost you, check out five tips on how SMEs can embark on content marketing.) 

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to do a little keyword research. Use AdWords to find a relevant term with a decent search volume behind it, preferably one that’s not too competitive. 

In this case, we’ll use the example of ‘tips for selling my home’. That’s what we’re going to target with our content. 

2) Check what’s ranking

This is where we’re checking what we’re up against for that specific search term. Type it into Google, and take a look at the top ten ranking pieces. 

At this point it’s important to remember that they’re there for a reason. They’re doing something right, and Google has rewarded them for it. If you want to rank for this search term, you’ve got to do produce something better.

Continue reading the guide on page two for more fool-proof tips…

3) Carry out a gap analysis

Here, you need to take the time to really analyse these pieces. It can help to have a process here so that you’re able to do this objectively. 

Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What questions are being answered here? 
  • How is the UX? Think in terms of load time, mobile friendliness, layout and design. 
  • How thorough is the piece? 
  • What visuals are being used? 
  • How well-written is it? 
  • Where is their information coming from? 

Basically, you’re looking to see what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, and how you can do better. 

4) Plug those gaps!

There’s no magic formula to this part. If you don’t have the capacity to improve on what’s already there, you’re not going to eclipse it in the search rankings. 

However, if you’ve chosen a term that’s not too competitive, there’s a good chance that you can do better.

Take that search term I mentioned earlier. The top ranking piece is a big old bulleted list, topped off with a stock photo. I’m not going to rip it to shreds here because obviously they’ve done something right, but their subheadings are as generic as ‘make it look pretty’. 

I know I can do better than that, and I’m pretty sure, if you really want to, you can too.

Paul Hunter is marketing manager for Liberty Marketing.