How High Interest Topics Got This B2B SEO Program "Out of the Hole"

In Real Estate, it's "Location, Location, Location" and in Content Marketing it's "Topic, Topic, Topic"

There are many techniques for ensuring content marketing topics are more likely to gain interest than others. Among these is choosing a trending topic and then expanding upon that to cover many more aspects of it, with related, but still unduplicated, content.

Even the Most "niche" markets have issues that can attract qualified prospects

While "big interest" topics are typically found in the consumer marketing realm, that doesn't mean content marketers should ignore trending topics in niche industries. The nature of the world is change and "piggybacking" on the highest impact of those changes can mean good traffic increases - as long as the topics are likely to attract qualified prospects.

The website that helps people become certified to various standards that are often needed to do business in areas such as health care, automotive, aerospace among many others. The certifications deal with core areas such as quality, safety, environmental compliance and other business operations. This program took advantage of a major update in one of these certifications, meaning thousands of businesses would have to prove they were following the new standard correctly. The program required:
  • Understanding the new standard and how it would change the way these companies did business, both for those who had already been operating under the previous version, and those who may be seeking certification for the first time
  • Ensuring that the articles were created and published ahead of the client's competition, so that the content would still be considered as being "newsworthy" and helping develop the topic further
  • Filling in missing pieces of information with credible predictions as the actual changes in the standard were still being formulated and it was no where close to final form

This is an example of predicting what turned out to be a very popular topic well in advance of actual interest. As you can see the page was posted over six months before it started gaining in popularity. During the initial posting phases, efforts to build awareness for the topic were made including an email blast to up to 50,000 recipients (the reason for the initial "bump" in traffic). Patience paid off as this page alone has received nearly 30,000 views over nearly a two-year period. This is in contrast to a less targeted effort that this client posted on their own (see next graphic).

What We Did
The effort included an emphasis on both ensuring added content would be compliant with search engine optimization best practices within the scope of their rather extensive content management system including:
  • Developed a series of topics that covered all of the aspects and implications of the change, and determining the "velocity" of interest in each of those topics by looking at previous search patterns and trends for the new item
  • The topics were reviewed for commercial value, ensuring that they would attract those whose primary interest was in attaining or maintaining their certification
  • Created a "clustered" keyword approach so that the main topic elements would contain a core reference to the new standard, but be different enough to attract further attention from the search engines (essentially moving more broadly and more deeply into the main topic
  • Identified and accessed "thought leaders," some of whom were on the actual committee drafting the standards, and using them directly as subject matter sources

This article, which is actually an announcement of a new service, shows an example of a less well managed placement. In this case, there was no attempt to tie the article into broader, more popular themes. Nor was there any broadening of the topic itself to increase reach. This article was placed at approximately the same time as the more successful program outlined above, appearing on the same site. However, it only received 5% of the views that it's better placed relative enjoyed.

How This "News Peg" Approach Worked, And Why
The program was the client's first attempt at content marketing and as such they wanted to establish some benchmarks that could be used for later improvement and optimization. The results included:
  • Over 58,000 unique visitors from only 8 article posts with an equivalent cost per click of less than six cents (PPC for this business area can range from $1.00 to $7.00 per click, depending on the focus area)
  • Steady interest in the topic since content program launch, over a 21 month period (initial interest was higher in basic or main articles that helped define the changes)
  • About 50% of those visiting the added pages were landing on the site, slightly more than the 45% internal landing page ratio for the site as a whole

The value of building upon a popular topic can be seen in the results above as companion articles were added. Even though these "add ons" were not as popular individually as the original article, the result of this effort was to double the overall page views.

The site itself is well positioned and has had leading rankings in various categories. (It did suffer from some losses during the Google Penguin/Panda updates, but has recovered since then.) Sites that are well positioned as this one have every reason to maintain their content additions - particularly if popular topics that can attract qualified prospects can be identified.