We know this – quality content that attracts lots of organic traffic takes time to write. And you don’t want to sit for hours writing a post that collects dust on your blog.
I surveyed professional content writers on LinkedIn to know how long they research and write a 1000-words blog post.
The result – 33% of writers use a staggering 6 to 8 hours.
Sadly, many blog posts do not get read because they fall for several content marketing mistakes. According to research by Ahrefs, 90.63% of pages get zero organic traffic from Google.
Your posts can be among the 9.37% of content that gets organic traffic from Google. To achieve this, you need to avoid the content marketing mistakes in this post, including those of 2012 and 2015. They are all capable of suffocating your blog posts among the millions of posts published daily.
So let’s dive in.
Content marketing mistake #1 – Targeting keywords instead of topic clusters
In the early days of Google, it was easy to grab a keyword, write a post on it, and boom, the content ranks. The story is different in 2021. Many websites are competing for Google’s top spots by targeting keywords. Rather than join the crowd, use the topic cluster model.
The topic cluster approach has been around for a while. It was introduced and first tested by HubSpot in 2015. This approach requires the creation of pillar and cluster content.
Pillar content: Pillar content is detailed posts or pages on your website. These posts contain a broad range of keywords that you want to rank. An example is this Google Tag Manager guide.
Cluster content: Cluster content is posts or web pages that thoroughly discuss topics on the pillar page.
According to Anum Hussain, a former growth marketer at HubSpot, focusing on topics rather than keywords resulted in a better organic ranking.
HubSpot isn’t the only brand that benefits from adopting the topic cluster model. Ninja Outreach had a 40% increase in organic traffic a few months into an internal linking campaign similar to the topic cluster method. And yes, good ol’ Google wants you to implement this SEO strategy. According to Google Webmaster guidelines, your website should have a clear conceptual page hierarchy.
Keep the following in mind as you use the topic cluster model:
- Your pillar page should link to all cluster content once
- Your cluster pages should link once to the pillar page
- Your cluster page could link to other cluster pages once (where the text fits naturally. Don’t force it!)
- Cluster pages should cover only one subtopic in detail. Don’t discuss something else. Instead, create another cluster page
- Write your cluster pages like regular blog posts while following SEO best practices
Content marketing mistake #2 – Zero voice search optimization
Here are some of the interesting statistics:
- According to a PWC survey, 50% of respondents use voice search to buy or order an item.
- The average voice search query contains 29 words
- Pages using Schema Markup provide 36.4% of voice search results
- 40.7% of voice search answers are pulled from a Featured Snippet
- Voice search result pages have an average of 2,312 words
Failing to optimize your pages for voice search is a content marketing mistake capable of reducing your organic traffic. There is a claim that websites using schema markup rank an average of four positions higher in the search engines than those without schema markup. Also, less than one-third of websites use schema markup. This offers massive SEO real estate for improving your organic traffic.
So, how do you optimize your website pages for voice search:
1. Find Long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are search terms of three or more words. You can find them with keyword research tools like Answer the Public or Long-tail Pro. For instance, after typing my seed keyword (voice search) in the Answer the Public search bar, it returned 321 results.
- Questions – 55
- Prepositions – 43
- Comparisons – 23
- Alphabeticals -192
- Related – 8
This data has lots of questions like:
- What is voice search?
- What is voice search optimization?
- What is voice search app?
- What is voice search SEO?
Here’s why you should care about these long-tail keywords framed as questions.
- According to a voice search SEO study by Brian Dean, many voice search queries are question-based
- Since 40.7% of voice search answers are from featured snippets, it means you should answer questions that your audience is asking
So, how can you effectively use the long-tail keyword data?
- Use them to form headings for your posts
- Use them to answer questions in your Frequently Asked Questions pages/posts
- Use them to create long-form content that satisfies your audience
2. Schema markup
We have discussed how schema markup can increase your organic ranking and traffic. If you don’t have trouble with coding, you can apply schema to your posts by following the Google schema markup guidelines.
But if you are not good with code, you can use a plugin like Rankmath, assuming you use WordPress as your content management system.
This is how a recipe blog post looks after schema markup implementation.
It is important to note that there are different types of schema markups and you should choose the one that applies to your page.
Content marketing mistake #3 – Lack of content promotion
You’ve sat down for hours to write and edit a post. You finish and hit the publish button.
Now you are waiting, hoping, and praying that your ideal audience searches for your target keyword and finds your blog post.
My friend, that is how blog posts stay within the confines of page 2 and beyond of search engine results. They don’t attract organic traffic from Google… even though they are well-written.
Many people now know the benefits of publishing blog posts. But only a few get the desired results because they care to promote what they write. Here are two ways of avoiding this content marketing mistake and putting your posts before your audience:
1. Find broken links
Broken links are links displaying a 404 error message and they are bad for SEO. Finding broken links is an easy way of attracting quality backlinks to your content and getting organic visitors to your website. You can use a tool like screaming frog to find broken links.
2. Write Guest Posts
Writing guest posts is an efficient way of proving your authority to your target audience. It also adds the benefits of getting you at least one link to your website.
And the B2C website get a tremendous amount of organic monthly traffic – 507,469
This amount of traffic means a lot. For instance, as people read any of Jeff’s 459 guest posts, they could view his website as well. As they check his website, they could subscribe and join his email list. If they love the content they receive from his list, they could buy any of his products or subscribe to a product or service via any of his affiliate links. This and other ways of content promotion is how a post can make you money through guest posting.
Content marketing mistake #4 – Publish, forget, and don’t update
Write it, promote it, then forget it.
Here’s the result of such a dreadful SEO effort – Google will send your content to the pile of posts resting on the other side of search results where no one reads them.
What if you update them. Any benefit? Of course.
According to Pamela Vaughan, HubSpot achieved the following after refreshing its old content:
- Doubled their monthly leads
- Had a 106% increase in organic traffic
This is why marketers like Neil Patel update and sometimes rewrite up to 90 of his articles monthly. But don’t go on a content updating spree yet. Before updating any content, ensure it has organic traffic potential. There is no point in updating an article that won’t get you the results you want.
So, how can you update an old post?
- Use Google Search Console and Google Analytics to find posts with organic traffic potential
2. Read the posts you’ve identified and look out for the following:
- Can the introduction be better?
- Are there outdated stats and facts in the article?
- Can you include videos in the article to better explain a concept and attract traffic through video optimization?
- Can you change any image?
- Can you tweak a section of the post to read better and sound more human?
- Can you add more keywords to get found in search engines?
Once you’ve updated an article, the next step is to monitor your results with a free tool like Google Analytics.
Navigate to Behavior >> Site Content >> All pages. This gives you an overview of your “before and after” organic traffic based on the selected timeline.
Content marketing mistake #5 – Poor user experience
Writing quality content is not good enough to attract organic traffic from Google. You need to provide users with an excellent experience on your website. From May 2021, Google will implement its page experience update.
This update will take the following into cognizance and impact your organic search rankings:
- Core web vitals
- Intrusive interstitial guidelines (aka annoying popups)
Here are some ways to avoid reducing your organic rankings due to poor user experience.
1. Check Your Website on PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights gives you a quick scoop on what you need to fix.
2. Optimize Your Images and Videos
If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin like ShortPixel to reduce your image size. A better alternative is reducing the image size with an online tool before uploading them to your website. When using videos on your content, copy the video link and embed it in your post.
3. Use a CDN
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) like Cloudflare helps speed up your site and quickly deliver content to your audience.
4. Eliminate Render-blocking CSS and Enable Browser Caching
If you don’t use WordPress, you’ll have to do this manually. For WordPress users, you can use a plugin like WP Rocket. WP Rocket also has other awesome functionalities that help speed your website.
Writing quality content is great. But what’s the point if no one reads it?
The first page of Google search results accommodates only ten blog posts. And that’s when ads are excluded. Many website owners want to gain page one rankings because that could translate into revenue for their brand. You could be among such website owners if you care to avoid these content marketing mistakes.
So what’s your next step – take action and start implementing.