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Do you know how much traffic you are losing if you are ignoring content optimization?

This post shows how Linkody nearly doubled its blog’s traffic in one month.

Most of us tend to produce content, do some quick marketing and then forget about the content we worked so hard on.

That’s a lot of traffic down the drain.

What if I told you that a simple content optimization process is the missing piece of your content strategy?

What You Will Learn

  1. How to improve your content’s rank using Google Search Console
  2. How to spot optimisation opportunities with Google Keyword Planner
  3. How to conduct effective, on-page keyword ‘SEO’
  4. How to track progress with Google Analytics
  5. BONUS DOWNLOAD: The Google Sheet I use to automate the process

How We Doubled Traffic With A Simple Content Optimization Process

After discovering the potential hiding under the bonnet of the Google Search Console and connecting a few dots, we @ Linkody HQ realised that content optimization has huge potential.

We noticed that the keywords that bring the most traffic, in most cases, were not the ones we originally targeted and optimised while writing the articles.

Even if you carry out keyword research with due diligence and pick topics based on that, you will sometimes find that an article has a better ranking potential for other keywords.

We realised we were leaving a huge source of traffic on the table and that we could generate a lot more visitors to our articles, using proper on-page optimisation every once in awhile.

So, we decided to give it a go!

Fast forward one-and-a-half months, and we have nearly doubled our blog traffic since we began actively optimising Linkody’s blog! ;)

linkody blog traffic

There is more: ever since we made this hack part of our content strategy, traffic has been steadily growing.

Linkody content optimization strategy results

Moreover, we have noticed that together with the increase of website’s overall authority, the traffic to Linkody’s backlink monitoring tool has been growing faster than before.

Traffics Growth Google Analytics

Sounds interesting, right?

Let’s dig in.

Step #1 – Content Optimization With Google Search Console

Before we start: Just so we are on the same page, I need to make sure you have Google Search Console set up & ready. This video guide will get you there.

content fun meme

After that’s done – you will need to wait a while before the data is imported.

For those already familiar with the Search Console – congrats, that was the most complicated part of this process.

Here’s the part where you will learn how to find the keywords which will bring the most traffic, for each of your posts.

Step 1

Head over to Search Traffic (1) > Search Analytics (2).

Google Search Console

There you will be able to see:

  1. The queries by which people find you
  2. All your pages
  3. Countries
  4. Device usage (Desktop, mobile or tablet)
  5. Search Type (web, image or video)

Step 2

Select all the necessary metrics (1) – in this case, we selected all four.

Search Traffic

Then click on pages (2) to see the site’s content neatly organised.

Step 3

In this case, you will need to organise all the pages according to the clicks (1) – a.k.a according to the traffic.

Keyword position

Then, go ahead and click on one of the articles (2).

As an example, we will select the “niche-sites-case-studies” post we optimised exactly one month ago. Let’s try to see if there are already any optimisation opportunities.

Step 4

Afterwards, you should click on the queries (1) to see all the keywords by which people can find your article.

Search keywords

It gets better, at the bottom of the page you can export all these queries (2).

Download keywords

This will give you a CSV file holding a list filled with all the keywords that have ever got an impression from a browser.

Step #2 – Analyzing Keyword Opportunities to Rank

Keyword search volume will change over time and your focus keyword might be replaced by a trendier query. KW Planner is here to save the day.

Google Keyword Planner

Note: To access the main functionality of KW Planner you have to set up 1 ad on AdWords. It can be turned off after the signup so you don’t have to worry about getting charged. Quick video guide here.

Now, let’s learn about spotting new traffic opportunities.

Step 1

Head over to Keyword Planner and click on Get Search Volume Data and Trends (1).

Google Keyword Planner

Then, upload the CSV file (2) you got from our friend, the Google Search Console.

Search volume upload

Optionally you can open up the CSV from Google Search Console and copy the keywords to paste into Google Keyword Planner.

Step 2

After you hit “get search volume”, you can organise all the queries according to average monthly searches (1), to see what’s trending at the moment.

And then download the list of all the KWs (2).

keyword planne

Top Secret Step

This is where the magic happens.

I have created an amazing Google Sheet that identifies content optimization opportunites for you automatically!

All you have to do is copy and paste!

At the moment you should have two CSV files:

  1. One from the Search Console with the data from your website.
  2. Another from the Keyword Planner with Google’s search volume.

Content Optimization Sheet Guide

  1. Copy paste your Search Console data in the second sheet (1).
  2. And the info from Keyword Planner goes in the third sheet (2).

Step 4

After that’s done, head over to the first sheet where you will see the chart with similar looking data-

keyword graph

In this case, you can see the following:

  1. Which keywords have the highest search volume
  2. And which queries bring blog.Linkody the most traffic

At the beginning of a blog post’s life cycle, keywords that bring the most traffic and have the highest search volume rarely match.

And when we look at our blog the query that brings the most clicks is not always the keyword we originally tried to optimise for.

This is the optimisation opportunity you should be looking for.

You should generally target the query you find with the highest clicks as your focus keyword.

But also keep in mind that it’s worth investigating whether there is a potential to rank for keywords with a bigger search volume.

Note: 99% of the time high search volume means high difficulty to rank.

The probability to rank, for the keywords with the highest search volumes increases with time as your blog post matures by accumulating backlinks.

You can also give it a further boost by making significant updates to the content.

Nevertheless, be realistic about your chances to get organic traffic from high-end queries.

Step 4

In our example above most of the clicks were generated by the keyword “niche website examples” so we will select this as our focus keyword.

After checking the blog post, we realised that this specific term appears in the article only once.

That means there is great opportunity to optimise for this keyword with some simple on page SEO tweaks.

It’s also important to find 3-4 LSI keywords (semantic keywords) as well.

Then you want to sprinkle these keywords throughout your article along with your target keyword.

To find LSI keywords run a Google search for the selected focus keyword, scroll to the bottom of the page (1) and you will see the related searches (2).

LSI Keywords

Step #3 – On Page SEO Optimization

Once we know the focus keyword and LSI keywords for the specific post, it’s time to optimise the post.

SEO content optimization gif

Step 1

Head over to your blogging platform and find the post you want to optimise.

In this example, we will be using WordPress.

Step 2

We prepared a checklist for you to know how SEO on-page optimisation should happen. It’s 9 steps – take one step at a time and do the following for each of your posts:

  1. The headline should start with (& include) the focus keyword (make sure the headline is under 70 characters).headline
  2. Add a clickbait KW to your Headline – best, epic, awesome, deal of the year/month, etc.
    clickbait headline
  3. Make sure there is an image in your post with the focus keyword as the alt-tag
    alt tag
  4. Drop your focus KW in the first paragraph.first paragraph
  5. Add 3-4 similar LSI keywords in the content.
    • For us it was straight forward, we just added a couple of similar keywords from the list that Google Search Console produced.
  6. Make sure your focus KW appears from 0.5% to 1% from the total content.
    keyword density
  7. Add KW at the beginning of the URL. Important: If you edit the URL, make sure to create the redirect
    slug update
  8. Add a Meta-description that includes your focus keyword.meta description
  9. Use sub-headings with your focus keyword.subheading

If you are running WordPress you can make this process a lot easier by installing the Yoast SEO plugin and setting a focus keyword when you are editing your post-

yoast seo content optimization

This is a long process but it’s one of the most important elements, without which content optimization won’t really work.

Step 3

It is important that you track your progress so please make a copy of this excel sheet

Just click on File > Make A Copy to grab a copy for yourself.

It’s fairly basic and self explanatory but make sure you fill it out each time you optimise a post for a new keyword so you can track your progress.

Step #4 – Tracking Results With Google Analytics

Knowing you have a problem is the first step towards fixing it.

You cannot know if you’re improving without data – so you’ve gotta measure it.

For A/B testing we use Google Analytics. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s free and gets the job done (here‘s a great video guide on how to set it up).

Step 1

Head over to Google Analytics and select your domain.

google analytics

Step 2

It will take some time before you find the right content recipe that works so content optimization should be carried out every ~1-2 months.

With that in mind the data should be monitored regularly at the end of each month.

ab testing google analytics

Step 3

To monitor only the organic traffic head over to Acquisition (1) > All Traffic (2) >Channels (3) > Organic Search (4).

AB test organic traffic

Then click on the Landing Pages (1)

AB test Landing Pages

And you will be able to see all your website’s content. Find the post you optimised and click on it.

Google Analytics compares the traffic & different metrics for each month so you know the effect of your actions and what to improve the next month.

At the end of the day, content optimization is a game of A/B testing – test, see what works and optimise.

Discovering what works is also the hardest part and requires the most work.

Wrapping It Up

By following this framework, you can make sure that your content performs better as time goes by.

For us, it was an amazing discovery. As with many other blogs out there, our posts enjoyed a couple of good months of traffic and then started slowly losing attention.

Well, not anymore – now we keep our posts fresh each month and traffic is growing faster than ever before.

I hope this guide can help you to do the same.

If you are struggling, make sure to share your issues or concerns in the comments section below. I will do my best to help you out.

And finally, here are a few questions to harness our collective wisdom: How have you previously dealt with the loss of traffic? Do you have a content optimization strategy in your organisation and how is it different from this one?

Happy content hacking!

37 Responses

  1. Lokender Kumar
    5.8.2017

    Hey Matthew
    Once again you have shared very informative post. I have never used google analytics, Kw plannerand search console in that way as you described in this post.
    Learnt a new thing today and I will try out this.
    Thanks
    Lokender

  2. Habib Rehman
    5.8.2017

    Simple but very effective trick. This is why I never miss an article on your blog. Couldn’t make a copy of the Excel Sheet though!

  3. 5.8.2017

    Well did matthew and really informative post to write contents with full optimized content.
    Peace \/

  4. Sue
    5.8.2017

    hi
    I love your stuff… this is great.. but I got lost trying to work out where on sheets to paste? ;(

    I’ve got the 2 downloads… but.. lost now

  5. Sue
    5.8.2017

    found it! duh :/

  6. Ihor
    5.8.2017

    What to do with the old page after creating 301 redirect?

  7. 5.8.2017

    Hi Matthew, i will try this. Awesome post, like ever.

  8. 5.8.2017

    Cool trick!

    If you want to do this even faster you can use “Keywords everywhere” Chrome extension to display search volumes right in webmaster console and highlight high volumes like in this screenshot:

    http://prntscr.com/f5ls9u

    This tool also shows volume right in search results, it’s my favorite extension :)

    https://keywordseverywhere.com/

  9. daveM
    5.8.2017

    What perfect timing! I have been agonizing over the lack of traffic and wondering what I can do for a couple weeks. This article has some great answers for my dilemma. Thank you!

  10. Silly Hat Affiliate
    5.8.2017

    Great, as always :)
    I’ll give it a try

  11. sahil jangid
    5.8.2017

    It’s too informative and helpful post for me, thanks Helvis for sharing this amazing post…………I learn lots of new things from it.

  12. Ankit Suhane
    5.8.2017

    Very good.

    This I did not know, we can export the CSV file and import in keyword planner tool to get an search volume idea.

    Thanks Helvis.

  13. Shaun
    5.9.2017

    Might sound dumb but how do you do the redirect if you edit the url? (step 2, part 7)

  14. adam
    5.9.2017

    Hey Helivis, Great way to find gems and optimise. But can not past in the google spreadsheet. It does nt have any edit permissions, its a view only file.

    • May 10th, 2017 at 8:32 am

      Did you click on File > Make A Copy like the instructions say?

  15. Sandro Haag
    5.9.2017

    Great Guide! I love the way and i’ll try the excel file for sure today! Thanks a lot! One thing: Do you really compare 1 month of data? Does it affect the Ranking that fast? i would check the search console again after a month.

    Quick question: Would it be allowed to translate your blog in german and republish it on my blog? With backlink for sure :)

    Best Regards

    Sandro

  16. 5.9.2017

    O**. This is one of the best methods I ever found to find related keywords that I already ranked before. This is really great. Thanks Helvis for sharing.

  17. Hey Helvis,

    You are simply made it very easy, I’m so thankful of you, Helvis :) You are so intelligent to share the tip on perfect content optimization. Really this is very necessary and it comes to mind reading the valuable post on it. Very happy to know the step by step process to improve websites contents rank and tracking progress using google Analytics.

    The secret steps to analyze keyword opportunities to rank is brilliant. Thank you so much for sharing an information post for content optimization. You made easy adding screenshots of each steps.
    Have a nice day. :)
    – Ravi.

  18. 5.9.2017

    Hi

    I am new in blogging sector and blogging from 2 month. This tutorial is very beneficial for me.

    I followed you step by step and understood the process.

    But i have very problem in interlinking post to post. Please suggest any article which will help me in.

    Thanks,

  19. romeyramshey
    5.9.2017

    according to me these whole strategy is helpful for you if your content is awesome. Either your all hardworking is totally waste

  20. Mark
    5.9.2017

    Hey,

    Thanks for the awesome write up and helpful guidance. I never thought of using SC with KP that way, it’s brilliant!

    The only issue I’m having is with the graph, it only shows 1 click for every keyword instead of the actual amount in the cell listed in the DC tab.

  21. 5.10.2017

    Hi Helvis,

    Great write up and easy to follow tutorial. I’m always looking for ways to better improve the content that I write. You’re definitely correct about blog posts getting traction when you first publish them then dying off after a while.

    I am always open to learning how I can get more from the content I have already written on my blog. This definitely looks easy to do, I may have to take some time this weekend and apply it to some of my top posts.

    I’ll be sure to grab the Bonus Google sheet to automate the process. I’m all about making things easy for myself.

    Thanks for sharing these tips and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

    Have a great one :)

    Susan

  22. James Smith
    5.10.2017

    Great blog. I only get the clicks coming up and not the search volume – is this because there are no matches?

    Is there a way to workaround this?

  23. James Smith
    5.10.2017

    I think the Google doc range was wrong, you were asking it to lookup from columns B-C (2 columns) but then telling it to return the value in the 3rd column. You got the error because the 3rd column was outside the lookup range you specified, just need to change it to 2nd column and it works :)

  24. 5.10.2017

    This is an insightful tip for me. I like the idea that use the CSV file and import in keyword planner tool to get the keywords search data for content optimization.

  25. 5.11.2017

    Thanks for sharing. Thanks to Vladimir for sharing extra tips o same topic. I was searching for more on page technique.
    My question – I have seen using below meta details apart from title & description. can anyone explain if they are really helpfull?

  26. 5.16.2017

    Nice guide Helvis,
    I am aware about the initial steps you explained but content optimisation spreadsheet is new for me.
    Normally, I put Google Console’s keywords into practice and this way I have increased the blog traffic. Content editing is also an important step in order to uplift the traffic. You can get idea what is missing in your content based on the keywords displaying in Google search analytics.
    I have added reviews when I have seen the keywords related to reviews for my blog page. I have added a paragraph that contains 3-4 lines content about customers review and below to that para, I have placed an image that displays 3 reviews from the customers.

  27. Chris
    5.23.2017

    Hi Matthew, the first tab is missing from the excel sheet when I download it. I see the first tab in the web browser but it is not there on download. Can you please check it and update the file?

  28. IADMS
    5.31.2017

    Really great idea to optimize the content with keywords and then track the results. A/B testing is great way to test and optimize. Thanks for the interesting post.

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