Over the last 6 weeks, I’ve been auditing some websites for SEO and creating what I call an “opportunity audit.” It’s a 6–8 page report outlining a site’s opportunities, where they stand against their competitors, and the 3–6 projects I’d focus on for SEO if I were them.
It’s been a bunch of fun. It’s been nice to get my hands dirty with SEO again and to point some companies in the right direction.
I’ve noticed something, though, that is coming up time and time again that I think is worth pointing out so you can learn from others too if it applies to you.
Most of the sites I’ve audited are bootstrapped or lightly funded B2B SaaS companies. I guess that makes sense based on how my audience has shifted online in the last few years, from mostly SEOs and marketers to entrepreneurs and bootstrappers. This shift has been purposeful on my part, by the way.
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The problem I’ve identified with these and other companies is that their sites have very few pages that could even rank.
Most of the sites I’ve audited have 15–25 public-facing pages on their site. Ten of them are the homepage, about, pricing, and features pages, meaning just 5–15 are other pages that can also actually rank in the search results and drive traffic.
The problem with this is that most of these sites are operating in spaces that have some entrenched competitors who do quite well organically. That means that for many of these companies, it is going to take a lot of backlinks to rank for their key high volume transactional keywords and phrases.
While I recommended some ways for these companies to build backlinks that over time will help them rank, realistically it will be a two-year endeavor for them to rank for the big company-defining terms like “forms.”
As an example of how I’ve seen this play out in other areas, let’s look at Zillow. In 2010, Zillow got serious about their SEO program because they were being beaten by their biggest competitor (who Zillow ended up acquiring years later partially because Zillow had won the SEO competition to that point). Zillow didn’t dominate the search results for the “real estate” head keyword in the US until late 2013.
This meant it took 3 years of hard work with dedicated SEOs leading the charge, full buy-in from the top (Zillow 2011–2016 was an incredible place to be as an SEO), and a large budget to achieve it.
Most B2B SaaS companies don’t have the luxury of all of this. They’re bootstrapped and lean, trying to find product-market fit, and trying to get to “ramen profitable” — making just enough to cover basic costs. Some of the founders I did the analysis for aren’t even full-time for their company yet. In contrast, Zillow went public in July 2011.
So what should these companies and founders do if they want SEO to be a viable channel over time?
Simply put, they need to produce more content! Five to fifteen pages of content that can rank without a ton of backlinks simply isn’t going to get the job done.
Keep reading to learn why more content is better for SEO.
Why More Content Is Better For SEO
The principle behind “more content for SEO” is simple: sites that have more pages that target more keywords relevant to your business and your ideal customers’ needs will drive more organic traffic than sites with fewer pages targeting fewer keywords.
At this point, I often get questions about quantity vs quality. To me, this is similar to the “nature vs nurture” debate. Which is it?
It’s not a “trade off” at all. You should produce as much quality content as possible. But if you’re not doing anything right now, don’t overly concern yourself with “quality.” You don’t even know how to produce “quality” right now because you haven’t practiced enough!
So start. Start producing content. Make it as good as you can at this point. But don’t let “is this quality content” questions keep you from just publishing, and keeping on publishing. The truth is you won’t see many results for a few months, but then it starts to build over time.
And there are examples to back this up. One site went from 0 to 100k+ page views a month in just 18 months by publishing 10–20 long-form pieces of content each week. That’s 40–80 posts per month. If you don’t think that’s going to move the needle on their SEO, then maybe SEO isn’t the channel for you.
The Benefits of Content For SEO
Producing a volume of as-good-as-you-can-produce content helps SEO in quite a few ways.
First, sites with more content attract more backlinks organically! And not just that, there are certain types of content that generate more backlinks than others — content that is helpful, interesting, or provides unique insight or data.
Second, sites with more content can rank for more keywords than sites with less content. It’s simple math. If you have enough pages on your site to target 50 keywords and I have enough pages on my site to target 500 keywords, I am going to win the SEO game simply because I have a wider spread of keywords, assuming other variables are the same. And because I have more content published, I have more chances to earn backlinks which increases my ability to rank for even more keywords.
Third, sites with more content get shared more often, which leads to a bigger audience and more backlinks, and thus to more opportunities for “lucky breaks,” which then influence SEO. This includes things like TV and podcast appearances, opportunities to write for or contribute content to other sites, stages to speak on, and more.
How To Expedite SEO Results From Content
I’ve mentioned above — and many of you probably know — that SEO can take time to start working. If you do it right, and have had your site online for a bit and have some backlinks, you can start to see initial results within a few months. Of course, some keywords are more competitive and it will take a while for the search engines to trust your site for those terms.
One way to help search engines do this is to produce a mass of content around the topics for which you’re trying to rank.
In the fitness world, Protein Bombs are concentrated snacks with a lot of protein, often peanut butter and chocolate, to get you going before a workout so you can pack on muscle. Think about every piece of content as a protein bomb for your site, and you’re working out every day. You’re going to get big, fast.
The pages you produce will likely be a combination of features pages, large guides to the topics your audience cares about (Credo’s produced close to 50,000 words in our Resources), and blog posts covering top-of-funnel and mid-funnel topics that are meant to rank.
If you want to drive a mass of traffic faster, then focus on the top-of-funnel keywords. If you want to drive traffic that converts at a higher rate, then you can work the pain point SEO process used by many content marketing agencies, especially those focused on SaaS companies.
Finally, for every piece you produce, spend time figuring out where you can link to it from. Consider:
- Are there guest posts you can write to link back, or guest posts you’re writing where you can also link to this piece of content?
- Can you link to the piece internally from 3–5 other pages so the search engines can find it more easily?
Looking To Double Down On Content Marketing?
If you’re producing content and want to double down on your strategy, Credo has the best content marketing agencies who can get you results.
Schedule a free marketing evaluation to discuss your needs with our team so we can connect you with the right agencies, saving you days and getting you back to your marketing faster.