(The Entrepreneur Ridealong) Building A Niche Animal Site From $0 to $500,000: Content Strategy
Creating A Content Strategy
This probably isn’t a surprise, but the foundation of a content site is…content!
That’s why having a strategy before you take pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) is so critical.
This is a big topic but I’ll cover some of the core considerations that go into creating content with a focus on the exact strategies I’m using for this ride along.
Plan Specifically but Execute Flexibly
Because SEO is our primary traffic source, we always need to be ready to adapt to Google.
When it comes to our content strategy, that means we should have a clear and specific plan but we should also be ready to tweak it based on traffic and ranking data.
For example, if your website is about outdoor sports and your content about golf gets twice as many views and double the engagement, then you should be writing more about golf. Even if your content strategy had a huge section dedicated to football.
That doesn’t mean you’re not going to write about football, but it does mean your golf content should get more of the budget than you may have planned at first.
What types of content should we create?
The type of content will really depend on the type of site you’re creating but for this project, we’re primarily focused on informational content.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t have affiliate offers in our content, and in many cases, it’s a natural, and even helpful, extension of informative content.
While there’s a lot of talk about content ratios, we’re not looking for balance here. Instead, we want to match the intent of the query which typically lines up with what we already see ranking in Google.
In other words, if the SERPs for “how to get out of the sand pit” gives nothing but information how to content, we probably don’t want to roll in with our list of the 10 best clubs for getting out of a sand pit and expect to rank.
What are the crucial on-page SEO and formatting elements to consider while writing the article?
Stick with the basics and well-established fundamentals of on-page SEO. That includes:
Keep Your Keyword In Key Spots
Make sure your main keyword, or a very close variation, is in the title, URL, first paragraph, and meta description. You don’t need to stuff it or make it awkward and it might be easier to think of it as the main topic rather than the main keyword.
Whatever you call it, make sure it’s in those key spots.
Use Hierarchical Headers
Your headers should make sense to both readers and Google. That means descriptive and easy-to-skim headers that are rich in your keyword or closely related topics.
Don’t make these headers boring and generic though. Sprinkle in some style to encourage skimming and keep readers interested.
Check the SERPs Before Coming Up With Your Meta Title (And Make Something Better)
Reviewing other meta titles takes only 10 seconds, but it can significantly improve your own
You don’t have to create the best title on planet Earth, just one that’s better than your competition so don’t overthink this.
Use Plenty Of Line Breaks
It’s very easy for writers to create big walls of text that look okay on a laptop but horrible on a mobile device. Your content needs to be mobile-friendly.
Additionally, more line breaks leave more space for ad placement. Since that’s our main monetization for this project, we need to take any edge we can when it comes to improving our RPMs.
Address the Next Logical, but Still Highly Specific Question
This one can be tricky to master but it’s important to create an in-depth article that really helps the reader. That includes figuring out what they will need next and solving that problem.
For example, let’s say you’re writing a post on “How To Get Your Golf Ball Out of the Water”. It’s reasonable to include a paragraph with a title similar to “Do I Need To Clean My Golf Ball After Getting It Out Of A Dirty Lake?”
That isn’t the question that brought them to your content but if they just fished their golf ball out of a funky lake they’re probably going to be wondering so go ahead and have the answer ready.
How long should an article be?
1,431 words. That’s exactly how long it should be.
Okay, not really. The length really depends on the topic and what we’re already seeing in the search results. But review SERPs typically give us ranges and not hard answers.
For example, if we see that every article on the first page is at least 2,000 words, we’re unlikely to rank with a 500-word article.
Does that mean it’s impossible? Absolutely not and high authority websites do it all day long.
So in general, we want to get a feel for what the top pages are doing to get a general range. We don’t have to beat them but we want to keep our word count relevant in most cases.
Write Until Your Next Paragraph Is Off-Topic
From there, we should write until we’ve covered the specific topic in that article. That can be hard to really pin down but if you feel like the next section you add will be off topic then it’s time to stop.
Cut The General Content
Let’s say you’re writing about retrieving a golf ball from a water hazard and you include a short section on the history of golf.
If that could section could potentially work in any article about golf then it shouldn’t be there. Every article on a site about golf could end up with a “History Of Golf” section that no one wants to read.
It’s classic filler content and if it’s general it’s just adding junk to your word count.
How can I maintain the quality of content in terms of accuracy, relevance and value?
There are many ways to enhance your content but my go-to strategy, and the one I’m using for this ride-along, is to use actual niche experts.
This can be a lot easier than you might think and there are plenty of folks with experience, professional history, and credentials who would be willing to write or even just review content.
Yes, this can cost more but you will save money fact-checking and you’ll generally know that you have good content. Then there are the E-E-A-T benefits as well.
These writers will also be familiar with the best and most authoritative sources to add external links to deepen your content and show even more authority.
You don’t have to do this with every article, but you should be using some kind of expert to create better content for at least some of your content.
What about images, videos or other multimedia elements?
We’ll be adding (and eventually creating) videos for every post. There’s almost always a YouTube video that can enhance or improve your content.
This can help with tons of engagement signals and encourages deeper scrolling which can help with display ad RPMs.
What are the key performance indicators we should monitor?
For this project, traffic is the most important KPI.
RPMs are good to know too and if a certain topic consistently earns a great RPM and plenty of traffic, we’ll follow that lead. But at the end of the day, traffic is what we’re looking for.