Doing Blogging Right (By The Numbers)
In a recent post we introduced you to SmartDreamers*, a startup in the recruitment marketing automation sector who we feel is seeing great returns on their content marketing efforts. Specifically, we discussed their blog and the ways they’re getting it so right.
Today, we’re going to go into a bit more detail on the what, why, and how of the SmartDreamers blog. We’re going to bring in some statistics from the backend to emphasize both the short-term gains, and the long-term benefits of a solid blog they’re seeing. To keep it simple, we’ll use the same sections as in our last piece, then connect each aspect with some of the stats showing how each aspect is impacting their performance.
Regular Posting Schedule: Boost Your SEO
A regular, consistent posting schedule is one of the first things we tell clients they need to have in place to see gains in their SEO pull. There are many reasons for this, and there is no single definition of what the “right” schedule is—it depends. On your subject, your industry, your staffing, and myriad other factors we’re not going to go into here. The best answer we can give when asked about this is, “experiment and analyze.”
That’s exactly what SmartDreamers did. And the result of their research was to settle on a schedule of 2 regular posts per week, with special reports slipped in as a third post most weeks as well. This schedule means their reader could come to expect new content consistently, and the search engines got plenty of new pages chock full of great keywords and subject matter to index. And both of these factor into their steadily increasing page visits and organic search results.
SmartDreamers organic search numbers are promising, this stat shows nearly 6,000 visits from organic search results pages and a 4.3% contact conversion rate (2-5% is considered a target) from those visits leading to 256 new prospects in the last 90 days alone.
Over the last 90 days the number of blog page views just continues to skyrocket, especially year-over-year. This reflects the change to a consistent posting schedule combined with the other aspects discussed below, all of which were implemented in the last year.
Targeting Conversions: Grow your Contact Database
Conversions are created primarily via links to ebooks and newsletter subscription forms located at the bottom of each blog post, as well as in the header. By using a template for posts, the bottom of each post displays a selection of ebooks on related topics. These links go to a simple form that collects the visitors contact info to add to SmartDreamers contact database. Each subscription request does the same, in addition to providing consent for receiving additional emails going forward.
View-to-submission rate is a metric that lets a company know how many people are clicking through and asking to receive more information by submitting their contact information. This can be by way of a CTA, subscription request, demo request, etc. This number is generally broken down by page, category, or a similar factor.
This shows the blog posts with the top 3 view-to-submission rates. Across industries, an average target for this metric is 3-5%, so these numbers are already looking great!
Appropriate Backlinks: Cluster your Topics
Internal links to other pages are another way to improve SEO pull by creating what are called “topic clusters.” These are collections of primarily blog posts and landing pages that center around a single “pillar page.” They show authority in the subject matter which in turn tells search engines to give more weight to these pages.
The idea behind these clusters is to give your readers a sort of one-stop-shop for everything they could want to know about your a given subject you’re a thought leader in. Whether directly related to your product/service, or more generally applicable to your industry or sector, these pages tell people (and search engines) that you know your business and help position you as a trustworthy source of further information.
SmartDreamers top 5 topic clusters, showing session-to-contact rate (another common conversion metric, cross-industry targets here are in the 2-5% range).
Images: Engage While Increasing SEO Pull
Images are a special subject when it comes to metrics and KPIs. There is no one number, or set of numbers, that can tell you the direct impact of proper use of images. What they do is aid in the overall SEO pull of your blog posts by allowing you to add keywords to the AltText of each image, as well as providing visual interest to your posts.
Both of these impact the ranking of your blogs, in that the AltText will be indexed so search engines find the keywords used, and by engaging your readers, you increase the likelihood of them clicking around and viewing more of your awesome content. This amounts to a general boost in ranking, engagement stats, and organic search pull.
“Entrances” refers to site visitors clicking to another page within your domain from the page listed. These pages were interesting and engaging enough to cause visitors to stick around and view more content. Again, these numbers represent the most recent 90 day period.
Informative, Non-Sale-y Content: Be Useful
And lastly, we get to the true crux, the reason the SmartDreamers blog is so successful—the content.
SmartDreamers understands that content marketing is first and foremost about building lasting relationships with their audience. They get that each new post won’t be bringing them instant customers. Rather their readers have come to value the general information they provide, the engaging nature of that content, and the fact that they offer it freely with no expectations. And over time, they also know that these readers will come to them when the time is right and they’re ready to hire SmartDreamers for their recruitment marketing products and services.
Take another look at the first graph in this article. In the last year, SmartDreamers blog has gone from just over 1,000 views a day to nearly 10,000. That’s a 10-fold increase in readership. And with their conversion rates hovering near the top end of the ideal 2-5% range, that’s a healthy ROI for their blogging efforts alone.
* SmartDreamers is a client of Aspiration Marketing