One of the most significant benefits of content marketing is the ability to show up in organic search results. This helps drive consistent traffic to your site over time and eliminate the need for ads. With Content Value, we’re now able to quantify how much that traffic impacts your business every month.
We will walk through:
What is SEO Traffic Value? How is it calculated?
What is my SEO Traffic Value history?
How is Net SEO Traffic Value calculated?
How can I improve my SEO Traffic Value?
Frequently asked questions
1. What is SEO Traffic Value? How is it calculated?
Your total SEO Traffic Value represents the estimated monetary value of all the visits your content has brought to your site via organic search.
To calculate this, our platform first understands how many SEO keywords your content ranks for. From there, we can measure how many visitors came to your site through these keywords rankings (see ‘Total Organic Search Traffic’ on the dashboard).
For example, our blog post “8 Basic Tips for Writing an Amazing White Paper” on The Content Strategist ranks for over 100 keywords. In other words, it appears within the search engine results pages for over 100 types of search queries. This particular story is often one of the first results listed when a user searches for the keyword "creating a whitepaper”, a query which is searched for approximately 1,000 times per month in the US. Because of this, this page drives nearly 1,000 of visitors to our site per month from that keyword alone.
We use robust data processing techniques to understand the total amount of organic search traffic that your published content has generated from January 2019–present. (Please note that we can analyze most published pieces regardless of published date, but data collection is only available from January 2019.)
Then, we’re able to calculate the monetary value of this traffic using data from Google’s pay-per-click advertising marketplace (Adwords). Nearly every keyword is associated with a distinct cost-per-click (CPC) value that advertisers are charged when a user clicks on an ad listed on that keyword’s search engine results page. You can view the estimated average CPC of all of your keyword rankings on the dashboard.
Keywords that are extremely popular (like "creating a whitepaper") have a higher marketplace value than niche keywords that people don’t search for as often.
Imagine that a new company invests only in pay-per-click advertising to drive traffic to their site. Your SEO Traffic Value represents what they’d have to spend on Ads to generate as many visits from search as you’ve driven organically.
2.What is my SEO Traffic Value history?
The historical chart on this page shows running totals that represent the total number of stories you’ve published within Contently, and the total SEO Traffic Value your content has generated. You should see a correlation between the number of stories you’ve published and the value you’ve generated.
To see different timeframes, use the date dropdown on the top right hand side of the chart to see it reassemble.
Please note that these are cumulative values and do not represent how much new value you have added each month. We recommend thinking about your total SEO Traffic Value like you’d think of your 401k - a long-term, compounding investment.
3. How is Net SEO Traffic Value calculated?
The dashboard uses a basic equation to calculate this dollar amount. Your Net SEO Traffic value is equal to the total value of your organic search traffic minus what you’ve spent on those stories (this is called Associated Spend - it isolates how much you’ve spent in freelancer payments specifically).
4. How can I improve my SEO Traffic Value?
Your SEO rankings improve gradually. By following the tips below, you can expect to see increased SEO Traffic Value in anywhere between 1–3 months, depending on the amount of published content you have.
1. Taking a strategic approach to new content creation
Investing in one of our Strategy Services programs or collaborating with your internal SEO team can help you identify which topic areas and SEO keywords are most well-suited to bring you traffic (and increase your Content Value). Including SEO Keywords within your pitch requests and story briefs can help your team stay accountable to your Content Value goals. For more information, check out our guide to strategic ideation here or read more about our Strategy Services.
2. Sharpen your skills with Contently’s SEO research features
If you have a set of SEO keywords already and you’re not sure which to prioritize — or have a hunch about what your prospective customers are searching for — you can view data about your keywords in the Content Strategy section (Content Strategy > SEO Keywords). When you enter a phrase here, the page will return useful information about how many users are searching for the keyword each month (search volume) and more. You can check for relevant keyword data when creating a story brief by selecting the accompanying "Check keyword competitiveness?" text.
3. Evaluate your Docalytics strategy
If you’re using Docalytics but are not currently employing custom domains, your content may not be contributing to your overall traffic and SEO Traffic Value. Read more about custom domains here.
4. When creating a new story, use the Review tab for guidance
We’ve designed review tab features specifically to help your content adhere to quality standards that search engineers care about. The Quality section of the tab will highlight things to fix in order to increase your content’s quality and improve your SEO Traffic Value. For example, replacing broken or low-trust links can help your content get more traffic. Ensuring the relevancy of your piece’s headline will also help search engines understand what your piece aims to cover.
5. Use Performance analytics to your advantage
If you have access to performance analytics, take a look at the engagement rate and the returning visitor rate for your most-trafficked stories. Pieces with low traffic but high engagement may be good candidates for content refreshes (see suggestion #8 below). Time on page and engagement are important user signals that Google takes into account when ranking your content on a SERP.
6. Investing in long-form assets and original reporting
Though Google and other search engines don’t publicly disclose the inner workings of their ranking algorithms, recent announcements and changes to their Quality Rater Guidelines suggest that they favor long-form content (pieces over 1,000 words) that feature original reporting. If you’re interested in learning more about Google’s changing guidelines, contact your Contently representative for help.
7. Making technical site improvements
Making technical improvements to your website can go a long way to increase your content’s potential for more keyword rankings and traffic. Images with long load times, improperly formatted meta tags, and poor mobile optimization can hurt your content’s ability to rank well. If you need help identifying technical areas of improvement for your site, reach out to your Customer Success lead about a Content Audit.
8. Refreshing your old content
Contently recommends updating old content to ensure that search engine crawlers recognize its freshness. Click here to read our guide to quick and effective content refreshes. If you’re working with a Contently managing editor, they can help guide you through this process.
5. Understanding Benchmarks
If you have access to our Performance analytics, you’ll see benchmark indicators on nearly every card of this dashboard that may look familiar. At the end of each month, we calculate the average Organic Search Traffic, SEO Traffic Value, and more across all Contently customers’ publications.
This allows you to assess how content’s value fits into the larger picture, and measure your results against like-minded publishers within our network. Please note that we calculate up-to-date benchmarks at the end of each month, and that only customers who have had at least one published story analyzed for its value are included in these benchmarks.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is all of my content included in this Content Value calculation?
We can only determine content value for stories that have been published through Contently and are associated with a valid Publish URL. Stories with valid published URLs that have received no traffic from organic search Read more about how to add Published URLs to your stories.
2. When are new Content Value results calculated?
At the end of each month, data from the last month is processed and all calculations are automatically refreshed. For example, if you publish a new piece of content on March 15 (or add a Publish URL to an existing story), you can expect to see its lifetime traffic value added to your upcoming report on April 1st.
If you're adding URLs for content that was published previously, once you add those URLs into the Published field, you will see historical data represented in your Content Value Dashboard almost immediately. New data going forward will be added as explained above.
3. Where does SEO data come from?
All data on this page is sourced from SEMRush, a leading international authority on search data. SEMRush has provided data to our platform since 2014 and is responsible for the results that appear in your SEO Keywords section of your Content Strategy. Currently, only search data from the US is shown.
4. How is associated content spend calculated?
Our platform calculates your associated content spend by only counting stories eligible for Content Value (marked as published with URLs listed), and that have Organic Search Traffic associated with them. This is done to exclude work in progress and content not created for organic traffic (webinars, sales enablement, presentations, etc).
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