6 Content Marketing Mistakes

Over 40% of a business’ revenue can be captured through organic traffic.

Many small businesses are spending up to $5,000 per month on SEO.

If you’re not creating content that brings in your target audience and convinces them to stick around, you have a problem.

With 55% of businesses planning to increase their marketing budget in 2019, competition for your audience’s attention and loyalty is harder than ever.

You have to do what you can to maximize your marketing dollars. Here are 6 mistakes that many businesses are guilty of.

Not Putting Old Content to Work

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that old content is just that: old. That it doesn’t bring much value to the table.

However, old content has one major upside to new: Google and other search engines already know it’s there. It doesn’t need to be indexed. It’s already considered high-quality content.

If you spend an hour updating an old article, it could bring in hundreds or thousands of new organic traffic.

Google views old-but-recently updated content as “fresh” and valuable content. It’s a ranking factor in their algorithm.

Which content should be updated?

To figure out the answer to that, you’ve two main options:

  1. Google Analytics – find pages or articles with declining traffic
  2. Google Search Console – look for pages or articles that are on page 2, 3, etc.

The fix

There are a number of ways you can freshen the content, some of which are:

  • Inserting new graphics
  • Referencing new data or studies
  • Adding new quotes from SMEs
  • Checking and replacing broken links
  • Performing keyword search, and …
  • Tweaking the Headers and the first couple paragraphs to incorporate the new keywords

Neglecting Your Auto-Created Pages

Many bloggers and business owners who make their own websites don’t realize that some CMS platforms automatically generate pages for you, like category pages, tag pages, and author pages.

Sounds nice, right? The problem is: because they’re neglected or go unnoticed, they often go stale. This can actually harm your SEO. These pages are considered low-quality by Google and other search engines, and the search engines will bump your ranking down.

The fix

You have two options: do a deep dive into your CMS, find those pages, and either A. delete them and set the url to redirect to a better quality page, or B. optimize them. If you choose the latter, you’ll need to update the metatags, add alt-images for images, and update the keywords.

If you’re concerned about deleting pages, don’t be. Remember that quality content is far more valuable than quantity.

Publishing User-Created Content

It’s a great idea to bring contributors on board. Their content can be put to work for your business. However, without guidelines and strategy in place, these contributors can end up harming your business’ SEO value.

Without monitoring and guidance, the content often are:

  • Regurgitated/re-spun content
  • Overly promotional or sales-y content
  • Keyword-pumping
  • Duplicated content (plagiarized)
  • Insubstantial content

None of the above are favored by Google. In fact, it’ll penalize your site for this type of content.

The fix

Set up a topic-approval process and create a contributor’s guidelines. Stop giving your contributors the ability to publish content without your approval.

Optimizing for the Wrong Keywords

Keywords are a big part of SEO. Most people know that.

What most people don’t always realize is: finding the right keyword is a little trickier than it sounds. That’s why businesses pay SEO marketing specialists the big bucks.

Many businesses will pick keywords that are relevant to their businesses. However, they’re not necessarily the right keywords that will bring organic traffic to your site. Or they’re bringing in the wrong type of organic traffic: visitors who won’t convert.

And there are keywords that are so competitive that it’s nearly impossible to rank well enough to be on the first page of search results.

The fix

Short of hiring a specialist, use tools like Ubersuggest to figure out similar keywords that might be valuable. Pay attention to these three main metrics:

  • Monthly search volume – how many people are searching for the keyword every month? Look for one with a low-medium volume because they aren’t as competitive, and will be easier to rank for.
  • Search trend – Is this keyword increasing or declining in usage? It may be best to steer clear of declining ones.
  • SEO difficulty – how hard would it be to rank for this keyword? If your site is new, aim for keywords with a score of 30 or below.

Make sure each keyword relates to your service/product or solves your customer’s pain point.

And then begin to create content using these keywords. Don’t forget to update the old content using this information, too.

Creating Instead of Promoting

There was a time when you could “build it and they’ll come.” That day was very short and is long gone.

Many businesses spend significantly more time creating content than they do on promoting it. Even with great content and the perfect SEO, your content often will struggle to bring in traffic — unless you spend some time promoting it.

Self-promotion can be challenge for some people. It is also critical to your website’s success. By raising awareness of your site, and encouraging people to not only visit it, but also to stick around, you’re improving key metrics like total traffic, time on site, and reducing bounce rates. These metrics are an important part of Google’s algorithm,.

The fix

Follow the 80/20 rule. Spend 20% of your time creating new content, and 80% promoting that content. Some example of how you can promote are:

  • Social Media – post the urls to your content
  • Social Media – tweet the quote from a SME used in your article and tag that SME, particularly on Twitter and Instagram
  • Sharing – share snippets of relevant content in online communities
  • Commenting – responding and answering other comments with relevant replies and linking back to your site
  • Email – share the link and a great blurb with your email list
  • Outreach – contact the quoted SMEs and any relevant parties and ask them to share it with their audience. E.g. if you wrote about your local community’s events, reach out to your local government’s PR or media department

Spending some time “hustling” and reaching key people and key audiences with similar interests will have a positive result on your traffic.

Neglecting Internal Links and 404 Pages

Internal links play a huge role in SEO, and having a logical internal link infrastructure also helps your on-site metrics.

Good internal links help search engine spiders crawl and index a site’s new pages. They also impact a user’s experience on a site; if certain pages are difficult to find, a user isn’t going to stick around to hunt for them.

Over time, businesses often delete pages, change URLs, and move content around. This can break the internal links if you’re not paying attention.

The fix

As you probably can guess, the best fix is to go through all the pages and check the links. If your site is small, with only a few pages, you can do this manually. However, if your site has been active for a long time, you likely will want an automated tool to hunt for broken links. Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a good one.

It will take some time to repair them, though. You can do a few things to placate your users:

  • Make an exclusive freebie as a way to say sorry
  • Link to your search bar to try help your visitor find what they were looking for
  • A link to your most popular posts

Conclusions

While SEO plays a huge role in content marketing, it isn’t a solo act. You’ll need to win over not only Google, but also your human visitors, if you want to stand out and build an audience.

In any content marketing strategy, your first priority should be people. Write for people. Make your content valuable, original, and entertaining enough to share. Make quality content, and they’ll come back.