When it comes to online marketing and websites, how can you tell if your SEO or your Brand building (perhaps via content marketing) is working the best at bringing in those visitors?
Well it is really quite simple, for if you are getting most of your traffic directly (and that includes people searching for your brand on Google) then you have a strong brand and your brand building programme is working.
Image by toprankonlinemarketing via Flickr
Quote from Hiten Shah, co-founder of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg
So one tactical thing you can do is see if you’re getting a growth in the direct visitors that are coming to your site. Just look in analytics you can find this, and if you are then it’s likely you’re building a brand, and if you’re not and that tends to be flat or growing very slowly, it’s likely you might need to improve your content so that people start remembering it more and coming back organically to your blog or your site.
On the other hand, if you are getting most of your traffic from search traffic for generic terms then it is your SEO is that is working and not your brand. However, both work hand in hand to some degree as well.
Look At Your Analytics
However, to, tell, you have to have a good hard look at your analytics and then discuss what you have found. The latter is important as so often today, with marketing teams, the right hand often doesn’t know what the left is doing and when the analytics people work on their stuff, and the content people work on theirs, no one really knows what is going on and how to improve matters.
SEO and Content Marketing are Converging
Then there is the matter of the way SEO and Content Marketing are starting to converge. This is because in the old days of Search Marketing, there were many ‘short cuts’ to getting traffic from the Search Engines, whether it was by using keyword stuffing or a mass linking programme.
Google the Sophisticated
But today, Google is much more sophisticated, which all means that at the end of the day the quality of the content on your site, the quality of the people linking to it, even the shares and the tweets, are really what drives the level of traffic you get.
Building A Brand
Building a brand is not an easy thing and this short blog is not going to cover the process, rather it is all about how Content Marketing, the right sort of content marketing, can both increase the power of your brand and the level of Search Traffic to your site.
The Branding Effect Businesses Want
One of the reasons car companies do all that TV advertising is to ensure that their businesses’ name occupies that most valuable marketing estate; the forefront of your brain / memory. Their ideal World being one where when you think of the word “car”, you think of VolksWagen (although at the moment, perhaps for all the wrong reasons).
If you could see VW’s analytics, you would no doubt see that a huge amount of their traffic is Direct, or for searches on variations of ‘VW’; which in turn means that their brand building has worked. The amount of traffic for the search term of, say ‘small cars’; is likely to be much lower, even though they sell some very good small cars and no doubt have a lot of good content on the subject.
That is not to say that they don’t concentrate some effort on SEO, just that their Brand is so powerful that they get most (or a lot of their traffic) that way.
For companies like VW of course, the trick is knowing what terms convert the best, and here again you need to examine analytics to work this out.
Hiten Shah: again
The biggest opportunity is always when you have high traffic – high traffic, low conversions – because then you have enough traffic to run A/B tests to convert people. If you have low traffic and high conversions, you need to go find new channels that you can get high traffic and high conversions. If you have high traffic and low conversions, you&’re just running A/B tests constantly trying to get that to be high traffic and high conversions.
But of course not all companies are as big as VW or have their budgets, so how can you win in the battle for a better brand and more traffic?
As Hiten again says
So the one thing, again, people forget, is that the majority of your traffic in the long-run is probably still gonna come from search.
So my philosophy today because I think content marketing helps you build a brand, is that you need quality first, and then you need quantity, and you need to be able to maintain the quality as you increase the amount.
Content Marketing is Therefore Key to Both Brand Building and More Traffic
However, with Google watching so closely at the content you create, even if it cannot tell itself what is good (it has ways, but these are only pointers to what is good or bad) it can certainly check on how many times people link to that content and how many people share it.
As poor content is not likely to be shared in a ‘natural way’; and may well also fall foul of some of the checks (e.g. on grammar, not using enough relevant words and on length) it should be avoided at all costs, quality content is what is needed.
High Quantity Low Quality v Low Quality High Content
There is quite a debate about which of these two is best, but experience seems to prove that the Low Volume – High Quality route is best as this is more likely to be remembered; so that people come back to your site for more, whilst also being more likely to get better rankings for any related term.
SEO and Content Marketing are much the same today, the latter creating content that is likely to be remembered and get better Google rankings. Thus your traffic increases at the same time as your Brand’s name becomes more synonymous with your market place.
A win win situation I think.