Although Google hasn’t confirmed it yet, it appears that they released an update called “Fred” to their search engine algorithm in March of 2017, which at least partially targets the quality of websites. A number of websites reported a drop in organic search traffic by 50% or higher overnight. It seems that many of these websites had low-quality content and a lot of ads, neither of which provide value to readers.
The reverse of that scenario may just be true as well – high-quality websites that provide value to the user may be ranking higher. That definitely appears to be the case for the majority of our customers. Many of our customers have previously attended one of our SEO classes here in the Denver area or they’re enrolled in our self-paced, non-technical, online SEO course. All of our search engine optimization trainings include a section on how to develop a high-quality content marketing strategy, and quite frankly, I’m not surprised to see that the work is paying off for our workshop attendees and our customers – literally! Let’s take a look at two specific customer examples.
Two Content Marketing and SEO Customer Success Stories
Customer one is a relatively small e-commerce site. In order to track the success of our digital marketing efforts, we implemented Google Goal Tracking so that we can actually measure how often users complete purchases on the site and through which channels. As you can see from the example below, conversions and sales directly related to Google organic search traffic increased by nearly 84% year-over-year.
This was only possible because we implemented a content marketing strategy that included bi-weekly blog posts, monthly press releases, case studies, in-depth articles, etc. We also re-optimized existing content at the beginning of the project so that we didn’t have to start completely from scratch. This customer picked one of our mid-tier SEO packages and the return-on-investment has been quite dramatic for them thus far.
For customer two, we started to notice a substantial increase in natural search from Google after the search giant began to roll out algorithm updates that addressed the quality of the content on websites. We’ve been working with this customer for several years and we’ve typically seen positive results year after year. Though, we were of course thrilled to see that after the recent algorithm updates, their website traffic rose dramatically, as did the request for quotes, inbound calls and ultimately a boost in sales directly related to our content marketing and SEO efforts.
It’s Hard to Find the Perfect Freelance Writer…But It’s Possible
For customer two, we had to find an expert freelance writer who could help us develop the highest possible quality content so that we could compete and outrank existing content that was already ranking well on Google.
With that said, I’d like to introduce Julie Walker, a very professional freelance marketing and technical writer. Julie and I met three years ago at our flagship digital marketing and search engine optimization training in the Denver area. I was lucky enough to have her in my workshop, and Julie was a very fast learner who immediately understood what SEO is all about and how it relates to content marketing. About a year after the workshop, I had a need for someone with exactly such expertise, and we’ve been working together on content marketing projects for over two years now. Since my goal is to share high quality and useful content on our blog, I asked Julie if she’d share her expertise in content marketing and describe how we work together.
By Julie Walker
Thanks, Chris! As Chris mentioned, I’m a freelance marketing and technical writer, and my business is called Words Tell A Story. I help businesses tell their story by writing engaging and educational content such as blog posts, articles, website copy and user documentation that customers can find online. I work with Chris and his customers to develop their content marketing strategies. I’ve had a lot of training in human-centered design and developing personas, so when I write, I put myself in the user’s mindset and think about what I’d like to know if I was reading the content. I focus on the content itself and getting a message across; the SEO piece comes later in the process.
Generating Ideas and Tracking Projects
When we first started working together, Chris and I set up an editorial calendar using a Google Sheet. Chris had several ideas for different types of content that he wanted, including blog posts, articles, white papers, press releases and website copy, and I worked through his list. Since then, either Chris or I come up with ideas or we’ll brainstorm when we meet. In general, we write about industry trends, educational topics, fun subjects, trainings and webinars. We track metadata for each piece, such as the type of content, the publish date and the audience type. We target a certain number and type of content per month. I follow the same process with my other customers as it works well.
Our Collaborative Writing Process: A Brief Overview
I start by creating an outline for Chris or his customer to review and then I develop the content. We use a Google Doc to track and review the content. This way we don’t have to send files back and forth, and everything we do is in real time and secure over the cloud. Once the content is final, Chris and his team make sure that the content is properly optimized for search. Either the Boulder SEO Marketing team or the customer then publishes it to the website and starts to promote it through a variety of channels, including appropriate social media platforms, e-Newsletters, etc. We track the overall performance of the newly-developed content by using free tools such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console and also a variety of paid tracking tools. The Boulder SEO Marketing team tracks metrics such as the number of organic visits from Google, how long people stayed on the page, the bounce rate and much more. We use this data in planning future work so that we don’t have to guess what’s working well and what’s not.
A Win-Win Collaboration
Fortunately, my customers understand the importance and value of good content marketing. However, not everyone has the time, skill or desire to write, and it often doesn’t warrant bringing someone on full-time. That’s where I come in – writing is my passion and I love helping customers and learning about different industries. It’s very satisfying to me to write a high-quality piece for a customer and see how well it ranks on Google. For example, I’ve been working with customer two who we mentioned earlier for two years, and with the “Fred” Google algorithm update, it’s thrilling to see that they’ve been getting a huge increase in organic search traffic, leads and sales because of the work that I’ve done for them. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you need help developing content.
By Chris Raulf, Founder and President at Boulder SEO Marketing
As Julie described, we have a successful and trustworthy partnership to develop high-quality marketing content. As with any major Google update, it’s been interesting to see the effects of the “Fred” update. Google certainly keeps us on our toes since they update their algorithm on a daily basis.
If you’d like to learn more about content and digital marketing, I invite you to attend one of our in-person or online SEO courses. Also, I invite you to contact us if you’d like to learn more about our affordable search engine optimization packages.