On-page content is certainly not one of the sexier topics in digital marketing.
Lost in the flashing lights of “cool digital marketing trends” and things to be seen talking about, it’s become the poor relative of many a hyped “game-changer.”
I’m here to argue that, in being distracted by the topics that may be more “cutting-edge,” we’re leaving our most valuable assets unloved and at the mercy of underperformance.
This post is designed not only to make it clear what good on-page content looks like, but also how you should go about prioritizing which pages to tackle first based on commercial opportunity, creating truly customer-focused on-page experiences.
What is “static” or “functional” content?
So how am I defining static/functional content, and why is it so important to nurture in 2016? The answer lies in the recent refocus on audience-centric marketing and Google’s development of the Knowledge Graph.
Whether you call your on-page content “functional,” “static,” or simply “on-page” content, they’re all flavors of the same thing: content that sits on key landing pages. These may be category pages or other key conversion pages. The text is designed to help Google understand the relevance of the page and/or help customers with their buying decisions.
Functional content has other uses as well, but today we’re focusing on its use as a customer-focused conversion enhancement and discovery tactic.
And while several years ago it would have been produced simply to aid a relatively immature Google to “find” and “understand,” the focus is now squarely back on creating valuable user experiences for your targeted audience.
Google’s ability to better understand and measure what “quality content” really looks like — alongside an overall increase in web usage and ease-of-use expectation among audiences — has made key page investment as critical to success on many levels.
We should now be looking to craft on-page content to improve conversion, search visibility, user experience, and relevance — and yes, even as a technique to steal Knowledge Graph real estate.
The question, however, is “how do I even begin to tackle that mountain?”
Auditing what you have
For those with large sites, the task of even beginning to understand where to start with your static content improvement program can be daunting. Even if you have a small site of a couple of hundred pages, the thought of writing content for all of them can be enough to put you off even starting.
As with any project, the key is gathering the data to inform your decision-making before simply “starting.” That’s where my latest process can help.
Introducing COAT: The Content Optimization and Auditing Tool
To help the process along, we’ve been using a tool internally for months — for the first time today, there’s now a version that anyone can use.
This link will take you to the new Content Optimisation and Auditing Tool (COAT), and below I’ll walk through exactly how we use it to understand the current site and prioritize areas for content improvement. I’ll also walk you through the manual step-by-step process, should you wish to take the scenic route.
The manual process
If you enjoy taking the long road — maybe you feel an extra sense of achievement in doing so — then let’s take a look at how to pull the data together to make data-informed decisions around your functional content.
As with any solid piece of analysis, we begin with an empty Excel doc and, in this case, a list of keywords you feel are relevant to and important for your business and site.