2. Content Format Planning
If you want to get results from keywords, you have to figure out the best content to use with them.
Content is a general term for any new pages or information you add to your website. Text on a page is considered content, but so are videos, graphics, interactives, and form fields.
Altogether, the idea of "content" gives you lots of different ways to pursue your online business goals.
The most common types of content are:
- Article pages
- Blog posts
These types can also be broken into more general groups:
- Text-based content
- Graphic-based content
- Audio-based content
- Video-based content
Now, let's look at each format a little more closely.
1. Article pages
Article pages are typically static HTML pages you manually upload to your site via a file transfer protocol (FTP) client.
(An FTP client is a program that lets you add, change, or remove files from your website's server. We recommend FileZilla.)
These pages are ideal for addressing several concepts:
- Frequently asked questions
- Ideas for potential customers
- Demonstrating industry experience, knowledge, and authority
First, these pages do a great job of answering frequently asked questions. If customers regularly ask you about the same ideas in your industry, create a page that explains the answer in detail.
This has two big advantages — it reduces the time you spend answering the same question multiple times, and it shows potential customers that you understand their needs.
You can also use article pages to discuss ideas for potential customers. These ideas can run the gamut from alternate uses of your most popular products to reasons why a certain business needs your services.
Using pages for this purpose shows potential customers that you understand their industries. That helps establish trust, which is the first step in moving a new customer through your sales funnel.
Third, you can use article pages to demonstrate experience, knowledge, and authority in your industry.
This helps you prove to potential customers that you're better than your competitors.
What do you bring to the table? How are you different from your competitors?
Answering those questions is another great way to promote trust in your potential customers and earn more revenue.
2. Blog posts
Blog posts are quick additions to your site that cover topics about your industry or business. Blogs can cover just about everything, and they're excellent ways to add text, videos, graphics, audio, and other content to your site.
Most blogs — and a lot of websites — operate through WordPress. Their intuitive interface makes it easy for anyone to start a blog, and it's a cinch to publish new posts to your site.
Blogs serve a similar purpose to article pages, but they're timelier than static HTML. That's because you can post a blog to your site more easily than you can program a static HTML page.
In addition, Google and other search engines read blogs more frequently than other parts of websites. They know that blogs are updated more frequently than static HTML, so they index new posts accordingly.
That makes blogs a great way for you to get your content onto search engines quickly. If you use static HTML pages, you'll probably wait a longer time and even miss your window of opportunity.
To make the most of your blog, schedule your posts far in advance so you can work ahead. Then, publish them according to a consistent schedule that you can easily modify if you want to write about an urgent topic that comes up over the next month or two.
With that schedule, you can upload virtually any content to your blog while targeting any keyword.
It's a great catch-all if you're not sure how to target certain keywords, but you don't want to use it all the time.
Otherwise, you could look spammy to readers and search engines.
Infographics are data visualizations that present compelling information and prove a point in an engaging way.
Infographics are valuable because they have a great potential to go viral on social media and earn backlinks from other websites.
But infographics are also one of the most complex forms of content. Unless you have design experience and software at your fingertips, you probably can't make one from scratch.
You have to research an infographic, pick the data you want to present, find a designer, edit their designs, and then publish the graphic.
The infographic process can take anywhere from two weeks to two months! Compared to blog posts and article pages, infographics are major investments.
If you choose to post infographics on your website, make sure you plan accordingly — especially for your budget.
Just in terms of design, an infographic can cost anywhere from $400 to $2000 if you outsource the work.
Downloads are any kind of long, in-depth content that you feel is so valuable, you can give it away in exchange for someone's contact information.
Downloadable content is sometimes also called gated content because it places a small barrier between visitors to your site and the content they want — kind of like a gate.
Their "key" to opening the gate is their contact information. Once they give you their email address, they can get their content for free and learn from it.
In exchange, you now have a new lead to use in your email marketing campaigns.
The reasoning behind this is that anyone who wants to learn about your business that badly is probably ready to become a paying customer.
So once someone gives you their contact information, you add them to your sales funnel and nurture them as a lead until they buy from you.
That makes downloads an excellent complement to email marketing in general. You can even segment your new leads based on the specific download that someone wants, allowing you to target someone's specific pain points and convert them more quickly.
A podcast is an episodic audio recording that you post for download on your website or podcasting networks (like iTunes).
Podcasts are excellent forms of content because they allow your leads to take your content with them everywhere.
Originally designed for portability, podcasts got their name because people would broadcast audio content to iTunes for users to download on their iPods.
With that in mind, podcasts are the ideal form of non-distracting and convenient content. Whether someone is driving to work, lying in bed, or designing a logo, they can listen to your podcast and learn from you.
Plus, podcasts are excellent forms of search saturation, an advanced SEO strategy that lets you rank content multiple times for the same keyword.
In this case, you can use podcasts to target certain keywords (including your brand name) to push your competitors out of search results.
That way, whenever someone looks up your brand in Google, they'll only find content that you've created instead of content from your competitors.
But there's a catch with podcasts. If you want to get a big audience, you'll need to publish them on a podcast network.
Depending on which you choose, you may wind up paying a little more than you'd like to get your audio content to your audience.
Alternatively, you could also host your podcasts on your site, but that would take up valuable server space. And while most podcasts are only a few dozen megabytes, they add up after 20 or 30 episodes.
Videos are the perfect combination of audio-visual content.
Videos let you engage users more effectively than infographics, and you can also use them to track user activity on your pages.
But videos are the only form of content that requires you to use a hosting network. The only exception to this is if you've built your own video hosting system for your website, but that's a long, intense, and taxing process.
Instead, you can use options like YouTube or Wistia to host your videos. Both of those options also provide you with embed codes that you can use to add videos right on your site pages, even if you use a blogging client like WordPress.
Still, this extra effort is worthwhile.
Depending on where you publish them, videos can rank for keywords themselves without even being on your site. You can also use them for search saturation — just like podcasts — to completely dominate a keyword.
On the flip side, videos require a big investment of time and money. You have to buy the cameras, microphones, and editing software, plus you need someone who knows (or can learn) the editing software.
Then, you have to figure out the best places and methods to film your video, cut it all together, and upload it with all the bells and whistles that'll make it engaging.
In all, videos can wind up taking anywhere between eight to 40 hours, depending on the length of the video and the experience of your team.
Plus, even as high-definition cameras become more affordable, you'll still sink at least a few hundred dollars into recording equipment, data storage, and editing software.
Video is a great medium — if you can afford the up-front costs.
Interactives are content on your site that allow users to change certain criteria.
That means allowing users to type numbers into a calculator, adjust a slider bar, or perform some other action that modifies the interactive's outcome.
Calculators are the most common form of interactive content. They let users input numbers or adjust their criteria to see different results.
But you don't have to restrict your interactive content to calculators. You can also use quizzes, visual narratives, and a whole range of other ideas to engage your site visitors.
Interactives are arguably the most engaging form of content you can create. They're great for user experience, and once you get them up and running, you can use the same interactive elements on multiple pages of your site.
On the flip side, they require an in-depth knowledge of computer code, including HTML, CSS, Java, and more.
In other words, if you don't know how to design websites already, you'll probably have some difficulty in getting an interactive tool up and running.
But if you have someone on your team who knows code (or is willing to learn), you can make a high-level interactive that engages your target audience.
Interactives work so well because they're the only form of content that requires activity from your site visitors. That means, as far as Google is concerned, you're providing a quality experience for your users.
Google's main goal is to deliver quality experiences to their users. If you can do that, you can bet you'll beat every competitor who tries to say the same thing with text.
Now that we've covered each content format you can choose, let's talk about the next most important criteria — budgeting.