If you’re looking to grow your business, then it’s important to have a digital marketing strategy. With our suite of tools, reports and dashboards we can make your marketing more straightforward, flexible, fact based and measurable.
We’ll discuss what a data driven digital marketing strategy means and how you can go about implementing the best practices for your business.
Ready? Let’s do this!
What you will learn by the end of this article:
Why is Data Driven Marketing Important?
Without data, marketing becomes very subjective indeed. What we are seeing today in terms of Search optimisation is that it is becoming increasingly hard for new websites to rank. This is because there are 1.86 billion sites out there. They can’t all rank in the top ten. It has become hyper competitive around valuable niches and so any kind of analysis that can provide deeper insight into what makes a web page successful is useful.
With our approach you can make better digital marketing decisions based on real data.
What is the Meaning of Data Driven?
We mean that analysis of every aspect of your digital marketing is essential in coming up with strategies and tactics that will work. Unlike the government we value experts! We take your steer about your business – where you want to be, who you are aiming at and feed that into our data driven approach. The data will steer our implementation of your strategy.
A Data Driven Approach
Corporations and SME’s have been using data to drive email marketing and advertising for years.
What is new is the access to reliable tools that can deliver the data you need to your desktop at a reasonable price.
The second thing that is new is the concept of a data driven marketing strategy being applied to every facet of an organisation’s digital presence. The strategy moves back from being about a particular campaign to a much wider entity including the website itself and all of the content inside it and outside of it.
The reason for this is that as quickly as everyone realised their website was useful as a marketing tool, the proliferation of websites has meant that the competition for website visitors has become increasingly intense.
We Make the Data do the Work For You
The availability of reliable data for marketers concerning their websites has until recently been restricted to Google and filtered out through expensive subscriptions to the likes of SEMRUSH, A Hrefs and Moz. Marketing teams pore over this data in order to see what is working and generally react to the data they find.
We use a variety of tools to do Technical SEO for example. It’s a hoop we all need to jump through but once the website is running perfectly, the content is written and we’re still not ranking in Google search, what do we do next?
Unless an organisation defines its target audience accurately and does the research around the competition for the keywords they want to rank for, all the reactive tweaking in the world won’t help.
Data Driven Digital Marketing Components
The most important data of all is that surrounding keywords. The Search Volume, their Cost per Click, their Keyword Difficulty. Successful marketers use this data to shortlist the keyword variants they might use to gain an advantage in the SERPs.
In plain English, I can get an article on “The Hidden Meanings of Rainbows to Frogs” on the front page of Google in short order. It’s quite a different matter to get a ranking for “Law Firms in London”. There’s a rule of thumb that says the lower the volume of search, the easier it is to rank. The difficult bit is finding keywords that have significant search volume and low keyword difficulty.
The reason we don’t simply go for keywords in the high volume, high difficulty category is that at least one of the criteria Google use to determine position in the SERP’s is out of our control. Competition.
In SEO terms competition means two things, firstly in the business sense of the word my competition is any other marketing company that may be considered by my potential clients. In the SEO sense, it’s any other website that figures in the top ten positions for any given keyword.
The art is to compete in the SERP’s with companies you have a reasonable chance of beating. Since longevity and domain authority (DA) figure in this equation, we’re going to initially choose to compete on terms where the playing field is level. There is no point in Helter Skelter Digital attempting to compete with WPP for example. So we look for ways of competing that won’t bring us into direct competition.
The more links we are able to rank, the higher our own DA becomes and the more likely it is that we can compete on more popular keywords.
A Content Strategy Built Around Keyword Research
We like to have a reason for everything on our websites. But that doesn’t mean that all pages are of identical importance.
Always consider the use case first. Take for example the “About” page. Its reasonable to assume that if anyone is searching for “about Helter Skelter Digital” they already know about us, or at least the name. The purpose of the page is to give readers a chance to take a peek at the people behind the website. Nine times out of ten, they arrive there from an internal link. i.e they have found an article in Google, read it, enjoyed it and want to find out more. There is no point in wasting a prime keyword on the “about” page.
The same could be said for the Contact Page.
The key pages we want to rank on any website are:
- Home Page
- Services Page
- Pillar Content
The concept of pillar content is not new.
As long ago as 2013, centuries ago in marketing, an article entitled What Is a Content Pillar? The Foundation for Efficient Content Marketing, defines Pillar Content as,
“… a substantive and informative piece of content on a specific topic or theme that can be broken into many derivative sections, pieces, and materials. Examples of content pillars include eBooks, reports, and guides.”
Applying this to a data driven strategy we see that a website can contain a number of pieces of pillar content. In our case we align these pillars to the services we offer.
The beauty of this is that each piece of pillar content will contain two way links to content that specifically addresses one aspect of the pillar. If for example we can derive four posts from a piece of pillar content and each post is promoted via a further four posts on social media, then you end up with sixteen links back to a single section on your pillar content.
It is important that Google can identify a single theme running through the website. This enhances the authority of the website and makes for a more coherent resource for visitors. If I have a website on the subject of Trout Fishing and write an article there about Digital Marketing, I will not be successful.
This makes it difficult for companies like ours that have a unique position in the market. We have marketing expertise and content creation expertise in depth. We have chosen to have two websites to support the two strands as video technology is not generally seen as a natural match for content strategy.
The most important thing to avoid in content marketing is keyword cannibalisation. This happens when we use the same keyword more than once on a website. From Google’s perspective, if my main keyword for Helter Skelter Digital is “Data Driven Marketing” and I use that on my home page then I need to find other keywords for my pillar content and for all of the articles that stem from that content.
As we’re a data driven company, we can do that in software. We take the root keyword and examine the derivatives.
The software we use generates a number of keyword silos that we may choose to use in articles pointing back to the pillar content. In this particular case there were 84 clusters identified. We choose the most suitable candidates and generate content based on those keywords.
This enables us to generate a content schedule that keeps generating new content that is coherent with the overarching purpose of the website.
Now that we know what content we are going to create, we need to understand a little more about search engines and how they see the world.
First of all, the Keyword tag is routinely ignored by search engines. What started as a means of identifying knowledge via a taxonomy of keywords turned into a rancid pit of abuse as web masters raced to stuff their articles with attractive keywords. Google knows about this and will make its own mind up about keywords based on the structure of the data it finds and the actual content.
If we do an analysis of the top ten websites in Google ranking for any particular keyword we can deduce what words are most common in the subject area and even see commonalities in word count, number of paragraphs, bold text, headlines etc.
SEO Plugins are only effective in creating content that has a chance of ranking, there are no guarantees. They are more than useful though in this regard. We recommend Rank Math to all of our clients and the feedback has been very positive indeed.
This is a shot of the helper Rank Math provides when you create content in WordPress. Effectively it encourages you to create content that provides Google with the help it needs to understand the page in the way you want it to be understood.
This is not all Rank Math does, for a really detailed deep dive, there will be a comprehensive review coming up on my Digital Skin blog in a couple of weeks.
Data Driven Content
For more detailed analysis we can look at the characteristics of articles already ranked on the front page of Google. This will show us what we have to beat. I’ve read lots of articles suggesting that the key is simply to write better content, but that is highly subjective. What we can know is what Google considers to be good content and from there we stand a good chance of creating better content.
From this analysis we can see that top ten articles are between 2000 and 2200 words long, we can find out how many external links, what keywords are used, common phrases that are used, number of headings, paragraphs and so on.
What is immediately obvious is that the days of frothy 600 word puff pieces are over. Even at 1000 words, you’re looking at 4th page ranking at best. Google want to see real value in the articles it recommends to its users.
We use this tool to generate a copy brief that we can either give to one of our copywriters or to a domain expert to turn into an article.
The outline shown here suggests word count, headings, paragraphs and images as well as phrases that crop up in the articles Google rates as the top ten.
Our next step would be to read the articles themselves to get an idea of the tone and who the likely audience is.
Depending on the subject and the length of the content – remember this example is pillar content, not web page content, we might use AI to generate headlines and come up with pithy phraseology or we may use a domain expert.
We use AI to help provide copy for our web pages. We also use it to supplement our copywriting for ads and press releases.
The market leader is without any doubt, Conversion.ai we are big fans and having tried numerous other products over the last few years have settled on this as our go-to solution. The tool has been trained to use effective copywriting techniques such as the AIDA framework (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) and PAS (Problem, Agitate, Solution) and apply them to internet copy such as Google and Facebook ads, Web page content, Product Descriptions and around a dozen other categories.
Off Page Content
We’ve focused exclusively on website content and the pillar post strategy. What we have found is that for pillar content we need long, authoritative posts that give the reader real value.
Off Page Content refers to content placed on social media that serves the purpose of stimulating interest in the website content. By its nature, social media content is an entirely different beast. Twitter is restricted to 280 characters, Facebook posts swiftly disappear below the fold.
When we create content for social media we like to use a variety of different types of media including:
to get people’s attention. A common mistake is to do social for its own sake. The problem here is twofold – firstly you don’t own the content on a social network and secondly you’re vulnerable to the vagaries of fashion and economics. Who remembers Google+? StumbleUpon? Vine?
Social Media should be seen as another channel to drive interest in your website.
Links are the glue that holds the internet together. Providing outgoing links in your content has benefits for users and search engines. There are plugins for WordPress that help find and create potential links in your content.
Users can easily find more detailed content on your site or on a more authoritative site (for the subject).
Search Engines use links to determine the importance and value of a post.
There are no hard and fast rules about how many links to use, but the best advice is to keep it natural and use links where they potentially add value.
Backlinks are the juice that drives Google Ranking. There are many views about how you get backlinks, but the fact is if your content is good enough to hit the top ten then there will be backlinks appearing organically.
Organically takes time though and so we recommend a data driven outreach program for generating backlinks. Google disapproves of directories on the basis that anyone can register a site. A valuable backlink has to be earned. Our use of data in this respect is to analyse where the competition is getting its backlinks from and focus our efforts on getting equally valuable coverage.
We think our data driven approach is the right approach for 2021. We’re seeing a lot of evidence supporting this.
- Google algorithm Changes favouring detailed, authoritative content.
- Increased Competition in every Niche.
- Behavioural changes – Covid has demonstrated that Businesses need Digital.
- Successful Clients – we have been using these techniques for 12 months now. In all cases we have been successful.
If this article has been useful, then pop a comment in the section below, we love to get feedback for our articles, it gives us valuable information that we can use to improve the Services we offer.
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