A successful content marketing strategy consists of both quality content and quantity. (Even if you’re producing high-quality content, skimping on the quantity is simply not an option.) But even with quality content and a lot of it, that still might not be enough to guarantee success.
For success in content marketing, your content needs to be appealing. That sounds like the most obvious statement ever made, right? But wait. Let me finish.
For success in content marketing, your content needs to be appealing – to spiders.
Web spiders – also known as web crawlers or search engine bots – are tools that search engines use to scan the internet. They are referred to as spiders because they don’t exactly ‘scan’ the internet as much as they ‘crawl’ through all the content posted online, getting a quick feel for what the content is, who it is likely to be useful for, and how good it is. They make these assessments almost instantaneously, and they use their assessments to track down content they feel would best respond to a user’s query.
When you type a query into a search engine, the spiders go crawling. And it’s these spiders that determine what content they feel will best respond to your query. These spiders determine what you are shown in your query results and in what order. And since the vast majority of users only click on the first query result shown (or one of the first query results they are shown), web spiders are quite powerful little critters, indeed. Creating content that appeals to spiders could be what makes or breaks a company, what transforms a simple blog into a web sensation, or a content creator into a veritable trendsetter.
Understanding what these web spiders like and producing content that is attractive to them is what’s known as search engine optimization (SEO). And the sad truth of it is that if you make content that is attractive to humans but doesn’t interest spiders, there is a great chance that humans will never see it.
On the other hand, technically web spiders are designed to understand or predict what humans (users) are interested in. In some instances, the two go hand in hand. But in many instances, what spiders find appealing is not necessarily immediately evident to content creators. This is why SEO professionals are so sought-after. (Take a look at the popular online jobs portal, Lensa, and see the many high-paying job offers available for SEO professionals.) And why SEO tools like the SEO Checklist are so important in the growth of a business that wants to have an online presence.
When web spiders crawl online content in order to find content they feel best responds to a user’s query, they are essentially judging the content based on three factors.
- Relevance - How pertinent is the content in relation to the query? To a large extent, search engines base their response to this question on keywords.
- Quality - Search engines want to suggest responses to queries that they believe are of high quality. To a large extent, they determine quality based on a number of metrics that include loading speed, navigability, and authority of the content’s hosting site.
- Popularity - The more a specific webpage is shared among users or linked to by other websites, the more popular the search spiders deem that specific webpage.
Different search engines prioritize these factors differently, but they all judge content based on these three factors. And all search engines love interviews. (Perhaps it may be more accurate to say that “it is easier for content creators to make content that appeals to web spiders when using the interview format”) and here’s why.
The All-in-One Platform for Effective SEO
Behind every successful business is a strong SEO campaign. But with countless optimization tools and techniques out there to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. Well, fear no more, cause I've got just the thing to help. Presenting the Ranktracker all-in-one platform for effective SEO
The reason why interviews tend to rank high on search engine results pages, and quickly too, has to do with link sharing. When a content creator interviews someone, the person being interviewed is highly likely to then share the finished interview with their network, both professional and on social media.
The popularity of a site that is linking to your content is an important factor in SEO. However, diversity is also important. When your content is linked to from a social media profile that has never linked to your content before, this is an indication to search engines of a significant growth in your popularity. This will have a significant impact on your content’s SERP (search engine results page).
Used an advanced tool like SERP Checker. And when you’ve added a few interviews to your content channels, you’ll notice an improvement in your results.
(Link to the royalty-free image from Markus Spiske)
Generating organic traffic to your website doesn’t happen overnight. It requires you to first create a significant amount of content. To a certain extent, generating traffic is a numbers game. A content creator with 100 articles is going to have a far easier time generating traffic than a content creator with only 10 articles.
Creating content takes time, energy, and effort. If you’re lucky, you have a team of dedicated professionals helping you create content. To a certain extent, interviews function much the same way as having a dedicated team of professionals creating content for you. Once you have an interview template that works for you, the interviewee will be doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to generating the content.
For written content, you need only send out a list of questions. The interviewee writes out their answers. You may need to do a bit of editing (maybe), but to a large extent, the interviewee has created the content for you. This works much the same way in a video interview too.
Visitors come to your online content from a variety of sources. These paths that visitors take to end up on your content can be broken down into 5 categories. Let’s take a look at these 5 categories of traffic and examine how effective interviews can be within each one.
Organic traffic refers to visitors who come to your content through a search engine. The visitor has made a query using keywords, and the visitor’s browser suggested your content as likely to satisfy that query. Organic traffic is the hardest to generate and requires special attention paid to SEO best practices. Begin with a Website Audit and take the necessary steps to make your content appealing to search engines.
Direct traffic is also known by the nefarious-sounding “dark traffic.” This means that the visitor came to your site without a link or without the help of a search engine. The visitor simply typed your URL directly into their browser. This type of traffic generally comes from repeat visitors. High direct traffic is generally a sign of customer loyalty.
Referral traffic refers to visitors who come to your content through a link. This kind of traffic is where interviews can prove to be a big boost. The trick then is to link your referral traffic to more of your content and create a steady stream of referral traffic which then later becomes direct traffic.
Social traffic works much the same way as referral traffic though it more specifically measures the amount of traffic that comes to your content via social media links. Interviews should boost your social traffic as the interviewee is likely to share the interview with their followers. It’s up to you to convert that social traffic into direct traffic (in other words, loyal viewers or subscribers).
You can pay for traffic via Google ads, for example. Paid traffic is effective though an SEO-friendly content marketing strategy that includes interviews will be far more cost-effective. Don’t underestimate the power of a great guest post.
To get an idea of just how effective interviews are in a content marketing strategy, let’s try out this simple experiment. We’ll do a search for a professional in any field. For example, I type in real estate professional, and the top search result is a how-to article followed by a company. And unsurprisingly, the company website (my search results came back for Fortune Builders) has several sections of content dedicated to interviews, for staff, coaches, students, and clients.
It is not a surprise that this company’s website ranks high for a broad keyword search like real estate professional. Every interview they have posted gives them multiple link shares, generating social traffic and referral traffic from a variety of sources (and search engines love variety in referrals).
You can try this experiment for any niche field in business or in the creative arts. Authors use interviews to try and grow their YouTube channels. Entrepreneurs and start-ups use interviews to try and boost their online presence. The reason why so many business professionals and creatives use this tactic is because it delivers results – and it’s easy and cost-effective to do.
Producing interviews shouldn’t be a substitute for a content marketing strategy, but it should be a vital part of one. You need to create content - and lots of it - and the interview format is easily replicable. and since the interviewee is generating a large portion of the content, it can be a great way to boost productivity without adding to your expenses – all the while, expanding the reach of your content and getting more referral traffic from new link sources.