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Date
June,2019
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POV - Crafting Content That Ranks

Matt Howell

Associate Director, SEO

 

Executive Summary:

When launching a new treatment or medical device one of the top things to consider is how people will become aware of it. Search is a primary way that people access and learn new information, so it’s key that brands prioritize their organic search strategy. Every day, according to SearchEngineLand there are 5.6 billion Google searches. It’s still true that content is king, but while you must have the information searchers desire, it also must be created in a way where it has high visibility across search engines. There’s no value to content that no one can find. There are many ways to accomplish this. In this case study we explore best practices in driving users to content using organic search and highlight the success with a healthcare brand.

Background:

Creative agencies conduct research into messaging to determine how to best market to targeted audiences. Once the message is crafted, however, an often-overlooked component is whether that messaging is aligned with how its audience searches.

Aligning your messaging and content to how people search is one of the most important things you can do to promote organic success, and the analysis of this often falls on the marketing   agency. The ideal dynamic is a fusion of the two specialties, but many times the creative agency leads content initiatives. As a result, there are many instances where a brand has a great message, but people cannot access and receive the message organically. Searchers trust organic results over everything else, because they know these are the best results based on their query, and the data supports this. Users focus on organic search results 94% of time and typically skip right past paid advertisements according to Alphametic. Incorporating search insights and letting them be a driving force in your content creation/development strategy is worthwhile. Why create content only to spend hundred of thousands of dollars to drive people to it, when they could reach that same content for free?

Incorporating search into your content process:

CMI/Compas was tasked with leading a go to market search strategy for a new medical device that competed with other traditional biopharmaceutical medications. Our first step was to introduce this product into a competitive category while positioning the brand for maximum organic success. We needed to determine how to achieve the brand’s goals of creating content that ranked on the first page of Google to drive awareness and traffic for the new device.

Through conducting keyword research and analyzing search queries we were able to present data that highlighted opportunistic and relevant search themes. We determined that there was an abundance of search interest around alternatives to current medications that warranted creating new content. The new content around “alternatives” was designed with the goal of attaining high rankings for related queries, and thus more patient awareness and highly qualified traffic. Based on our understanding of the landscape we were able to begin crafting content focused around 11 target keywords. As part our process we first determined what content was available, and what needed to be added. We then conducted keyword research to better understand what information our audience was seeking. This helped us to develop a content roadmap that we worked through alongside creative and development partners.

Cross-Agency Collaboration

An important part of our success was coordination across multiple agencies with different perspectives. Collaboration is necessary in order to find the right balance between creative messaging and search demand/optimization. The process for our content development was as follows:

  1. Share keyword research and content recommendations
  2. 2. Provide a recommended page flow to creative agency for content development
  3. Creative team to develop new content based on recommendations
  4. Align to identify any remaining SEO content opportunities
  5. Connect with brand team to present and align on the new content
  6. Work with legal teams to gain approval for the newly developed content
  7. Optimize on-page SEO elements to maximize reach

The dynamic for many creative and marketing agencies is one where the SEO team’s benefit can be limited by process. Often SEO teams are handed a manuscript from a creative agency and are responsible for optimizing it. When the goal is to produce content that ranks and performs across search engines, this dynamic is not ideal. Optimization will absolutely benefit content that has already been created, but your content is your SEO strategy, so these concepts should be considered from project inception. Throughout the content development process the SEO team had influence over:

  • Keyword Targets
  • Sitemap/Site hierarchy
  • Meta Data Optimization
  • Content Themes
  • Copywriting
  • Content Depth
  • Content Format

The Impact of SEO Leading Content Development

Letting SEO lead the content development process yielded positive results. We were able to create and launch content for an alternative to existing medications and the content produced ranked on the first page of Google for 9 of 11 keywords we targeted 15 months post launch. This was in large part due to our ability to align our content creation to search demand.

Additionally, as a result of this content expansion the traffic to the website increased by 85% over a 15-month period post launch. Through the creation of content that positioned the new device as an alternative we were able to attain many high rankings on Google, and the high visibility positions translated into large traffic increases.

This content approach yielded additional benefits greater than even that of first page rankings. The most important search result to own are rich snippets/quick answers. These results provide answers to queries without a searcher actually having to click through to your website.

Rich snippets are awarded to sites that Google deems to have the best answer for a user’s query. To achieve these, you must have SEO best practices in place, but you also must have great answers to user queries. Our search focused content approach yielded 4 rich snippets among the 11 keywords we initially targeted.

There’s another reason this is important: the growth of voice search. ComScore has predicted that by 2020, 50% of all search will be voice activated and 80% of voice search results are currently read from rich snippets. Across Google Home and Alexa the way to get your brand’s results on voice assistants is to have a well optimized web presence.

These results, which you cannot pay to own, are another reason why organic search performance is a big indicator of future success. This makes the potential benefits of a search focused content strategy all the more important, because the payoff is that much greater. Incorporating search into your content process has proven to yield greater results and helps to set your brand up for success in the future.

How to Get Started:

The first step is to evaluate if your brand is achieving its goals and to determine if your website performs well from an organic search standpoint. If you do not rank on the first page of Google for the types of keywords most often searched for by your target audience, this approach could be of great benefit in helping you to achieve brand goals. For more information regarding this topic or to request an audit of your site please reach out to the CMI SEO team.