Creating content on a continual basis for an effective content marketing strategy requires a lot of work and a lot of planning. One way to optimize the content creation process and make it more efficient is to do a content audit of a successful website and pick out some tasty content ideas.
Content Audit + Content Strategy Analysis = Tasty Revelations
The great thing about doing this is that the website does not even have to be in the same industry, as the themes are usually able to transfer. It can be very useful to look at specific industries, pick out the websites which are obviously doing it right and drill down to find out exactly why.
Using this technique you can be sure that you will employ a highly efficient content strategy and one that your competitors will always be playing catch up with. Because you are being proactive and reaching outside of the industry bubble.
This is a partial content audit, performing a full content audit or even a content inventory on just one of these sites would take several days. What I am doing here is picking out the most interesting things I find and leaving alone the regular stuff or the stuff that is actually harming the sites.
This is in no way to be seen as a complete picture, but as a series of examples of what can be highlighted and found out during such an audit.
If you were to run a full and proper content audit you would have to report back the complete picture meaning the good, the bad and the ugly.
A content audit performs the following:
- Detail 100% of the content assets under the domain and sub-domains of the website.
- Gauge the power and effectiveness of each content asset
- Determine what category the content asset is, ie. Article, Infographic… etc.
- Asses the probability of re-using the asset to gain, links, social share, increased brand awareness… etc.
- Define the overall brand image that current content assets are communicating and if this is aligning itself to the marketing strategy.
- Sort the content into different audience categories, if an e-commerce site then some content is informational and for the purposes of content marketing, possibly to a specific tribe or sub-culture.
- Identify types of headlines which work for your market.
- Identify specific types and themes of content which works for your website.
- Reveals the content structure of the site and how this effects the SEO
- Uncovers duplicate content issues.
- Lists the keywords and how they relate to best performing content
Also we are looking at the Content Strategy, to enable us to see where the content assets are benefitting the websites. We do not know the marketing strategy of the websites so we couldn’t say whether or not the content is following the marketing plan. If we were to do a full and proper audit and strategy we would be taking these factors into account and using them to measure the effectiveness of the website.
It is important to remember that the website has a specific task to perform and it is this task that the content must directly and indirectly support. The task for an e-commerce site is of course to sell more stuff.
Content marketing, SEO, inbound marketing, UX design, branding, blogging… etc. all indirectly support the primary aim of the website, which is to sell more stuff.
The aim of a content strategy is to support the overall marketing plan, and effectively deploy content assets that support the indirect tactics such as blogging… etc., to get more stuff sold.
For the purposes of this analysis we are focusing on the direct goal of these websites to sell more cameras. This means to rank higher in the SERPs and to get more social shares to people that are in the market for digital cameras or who will pass on the content to those that are in the market. We are not interested in making noise for its own sake, but for the content to attract those who are at present or who are in the future going to be interested in buying a camera.
However there is another group of people which we are interested in influencing. These are those who may never buy a camera but have great influence in getting people to buy cameras, even if it is indirect. This a journalist of a major news site may not be interested in a digital camera but may cite the website in an article about digital cameras, allowing those who are hot to buy to come to the website and enter sales funnel of the website.
The phrase I have chose to use as keyword phrase is
Panasonic Lumix G6 + 14-42mm Lens
Alternate phrases for this keyword are:
Panasonic Lumix G6 + 14-42mm Lens (G6KEB-K), Black + FREE 8GB CARD
Detail the content assets and strategy of the top 5 e-commerce sites for photographic equipment, and provide future opportunities.
I performed a deep search using the cogntiveSEO tool.
I was looking at and interested in:
- Social shares
- Interesting headlines
- Content ideas
- Content Promotion ideas
- Headlines that attract a lot of social shares
I am ignoring minor shenanigans for the purpose of this report, unless I find something crazy and worth reporting.
The search engine results page listed the following:
I wanted to focus on pure e-commerce sites, bricks and mortar stores taken out of the list, along with review sites or sites that make money through affiliate sames. Amazon and Ebay were also removed.
Interestingly, review sites were listed is roughly equal measure than the e-commerce sites but did not have the top rankings.
- Department store John Lewis
Lets focus on the wexphotographic.com website and drill down
We see from this screenshot of the top 25 linked to pages that 5 of them are informational pieces of content rather than straight out sales pages.
Link 4 – Competitions and quiz’s can be very powerful for content marketing, they can attract a lot of attention both in links and social signals and allow the brand to develop emotional ties with participants and those interested in the contest.
It may be worth re-linking internally to this page and creating new content that talks about the photographs in the contest. This web page content is an asset to the site and should reused, it could easily be reformed and sent out as an email newsletter or posted on a Facebook webpage.
An asset that has been paid for in terms of time and money that just sits there and does nothing is a wasted asset and represents opportunity.
Link 5 is a direct link to a .jpg and it’s listing 26 links, whilst it may raise the profile of the domain and Google may look on this as a positive factor, you could direct this link equity elsewhere. I would suggest a 301 redirect to a page that still has the original image on (don’t be like Moneysupermarket.com and redirect to the front page, destroying the content that generated the link in the first place) the page and so the reason for the link still exists, but by having it on a template page the link equity can travel around the site. This is a benefit to the other pages.
A very useful camera review. Not only listing the features, which anyone can do and is not that useful. But actually taking pictures with the camera and showing, rather than telling you what the camera can do.
This may be a great case study of how best to present a camera review and as half the sites in the top 20 of Google are camera review websites. By e-commerce sites creating the same type of content that the review sites do, they may squeeze the review model out of the SERPs. Especially when you consider that the review sites get their income from the e-commerce sites by linking to them.
This model of content should be recreated for every popular camera.
The content from Link 10 was made 5 years ago. It seems that the piece of content has not been reused since. This means that the money which the content could have gone out to raise is left under the bed. Even if this content was trotted about once every year, would be a further 4 times it could be used.
Savvy sites like buzzfeed.com reuse content all the time, it helps reduce content costs, chopping this content up and putting it out on Facebook or even Tumblr would have a benefit.
When content has proven to attract links and be liked by people who will promote your brand, it is a no brainer to dust it off again.
Link 21 is an editorial piece on sponsoring the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios celebrating its 20th year.
What this piece is really about is tribe building, or networking.
It’s talking about other people and non-competing businesses and also giving links, sharing the link equity. Reaching out in this way is very effective as the law of reciprocity comes into effect. Anyone given free publicity and ranking help is going to feel that they should pay it back at some point.
This could have been a jumping off point for further tribe or community building, but it seems that this is the only one. It would be very easy for the website to create a directory of independent photographers, thus building further good will.
We can see that even this shortened version of a content audit and content strategy has thrown up juicy stuff. As we only looked at the first 25 top linked pages, these are probably the strongest pieces. But a further digging down into the web pages could reveal further ideas for the site to reuse and even ideas that a competitor could use.
In our scan, the website, wexphotographic.com returned 741 pages in total and has 1,456 referring domains.
Let quickly look at the other sites that rank and the number of their backlinks.
Wilkinson.co.uk has 143 pages with 400 referring domains
Camerabuster.co.uk has 160 pages with 532 referring domains
Bhphotovideo.com has 11,858 pages with 13,987 domains
Ukdigital.co.uk has 139 pages with 283 domains
It’s interesting to note that the biggest winner was not the website with the most links, possibly they need to look at disavowing a few. I haven’t run that audit so I don’t know.
But it shows that whilst biggest is not always best, each website does have a substantial number of links and so they still are vital to rank.
No doubt we could find more content ideas and methods to build links from running the same audit in each of the sites. They would certainly reveal websites where links could be got.