Cutting Through The Noise: Delivering Profitable Content Strategies in Competitive Markets

17 September 2019

Posted in: BSEO

It’s never been harder to implement an effective content strategy. With greater hurdles to jump on the SERPs and more competition online, achieving a successful content strategy with genuine results is a challenge. But with DeepCrawl’s Sam Marsden’s hard-won tips, it’s not impossible.


Speaker’s name: Sam Marsden
Job role and company: SEO & Content Manager at DeepCrawl
Twitter profile: @sam_marsden
LinkedIn profile:
Link to the slides: TBC

What was the talk about?

Sam posits that we all need to contribute towards building a healthy digital presence with strong foundations. In the face of reduced SERP real estate, this presence should also not rely solely on organic search.

Today’s audiences expect more from websites than they did five, ten, or even 15 years ago. Consequently, we have to ensure we both deliver that and go beyond that too.

This starts with outstripping the competition. Fundamental technical fixes and site speed optimisation combined with a slick new design and a content overhaul are simple and achievable ways to get ahead of your competition.

But when featured snippets satisfy a user’s query without a click, how do you lure a customer beyond the SERPs? Sam echoes what Rand Fishkin said in his September 2018 keynote and advises: build a brand.
Begin by identifying what your target audience cares about, and then build engaging resources that deliver it. And if you’ve neglected your email database, now is the time to return to it. Your email subscriber list is a great way to drive traffic to your site beyond search engines.

But while technical and content optimisation builds growth, you need to go beyond that if you want to rise to the top in a competitive market. Sam used the example of marketing to SaaS marketers as an example of how to achieve this.

Using a custom marketing funnel, Sam identifies the following stages and corresponding actions:

  • Awareness
    • Become a recognised industry authority
    • Create memorable experiences (think of the DeepCrawl bar!)
  • Familiarity
    • Create valued resources
    • Prioritise external collaborations (Sam regularly writes for Search Engine Journal on behalf of DeepCrawl)
    • Align yourself with genuine industry experts
    • Put your own stamp on stale content formats — make it unique
  • Consideration
    • Clearly communicate case studies to your audience
    • Celebrate your clients’ successes publically
    • Host industry events
  • Conversion
    • Provide content that helps people to buy (think of user-centric landing pages)
  • Loyalty
    • Provide training for your clients after their purchase
    • Add personal touches to make your clients feel special
    • Give access to exclusive events

Finally, Sam advises looking beyond SEO KPIs towards hard business metrics. Think of your overall business goals and how they align with your content strategies. Lead, don’t follow — be unique, and ultimately reduce your dependency on organic search.

Favourite quote

“Lead the way — don’t follow competitors to fill gaps in your strategy” 

Potential impact on the industry

In Rand Fishkin’s September 2018 BrightonSEO keynote, he warned against the challenges of reduced SERP space for websites.

Highlighting the increased number of paid ads and featured snippets on the SERPs, Rand implored websites to make the most of organic traffic and put your site and email list at the centre of your campaigns.

Online competition is increasing, that much is true. Sam offers a lifeline for websites struggling to succeed. His talk builds on Rand’s advice, providing actionable steps (with real-world examples) that websites can use to succeed in even the most competitive of niches.

Key takeaways

  1. Reduce your dependency on organic traffic with email subscriber lists and optimised and valuable websites
  2. Build a brand that satisfies and engages audiences
  3. Find new and unique ways of luring traffic beyond the SERP
  4. Look beyond SEO KPIs and align your content strategy with your wider business goals
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