You are probably sick of hearing that you need to create fresh content for your website to improve your SEO ranking. Content generation can be challenging but with Google’s, and the other search engines, focus on providing the “best answer” to a query it is very important that the content that you create for your website is unique, shareable, engaging and, most of all, authoritative about the content topic.
So, the question for all marketing departments becomes: How can I effectively create unique, shareable content consistently?
Well today I’m going to break down one of the best executions of content generation, that I have seen, focused on leveraging User Engagement and, at the same time, providing search engines the text content required for them to index and rank the page. And, of course, it is from the master of the SEO universe and Wizard of Moz, Rand Fishkin.
Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday is a Vlog/Blog post that he does every Friday to provide insights and strategies to the mere SEO mortals of the world. And, while we in the SEO world are eternally grateful from these nuggets cast from on high, what I find truly impressive is the amount of different content types generated and presented to a visitor in an effort to capture as many users as possible. Ready to take a look behind the Wizard’s curtain? Let’s go!
For this deep dive into the magical world of Rand’s Whiteboard Friday, I have selected the following Whiteboard Friday post:
Yes, I did select this post because it talks about creative ways to boost your content efforts because content development can be a challenge to do well consistently but for the best Organic website performance it is simply required. However, I digress, so let’s jump into what I wanted to talk about.
The first thing that you find when you visit Rand’s Whiteboard Friday is a solid headline that easily entices a visitor to keep reading. I mean, do you know a content creator that wouldn’t want to learn “3 Creative Ways to Give Your Content Efforts a Boost” even if they have no idea who Rand is? Additionally, the title is geared to answer a question which gives it the opportunity to potentially capture a Position 0 result which, according to Moz’s own Dr. Pete, approximately 70% of voice search results are returned from the Featured Snippet result.
The introduction into this page is an entire two whole sentences but that is enough to enhance and support the headline and provide the visitor some more enticement to watch the video or, at the very least, keep reading. Additionally, it provides the search engines with some brief context about the content of the page in a text format which is important as the search engines are not able to “watch” the embedded video that is the core of the Whiteboard Friday presentation.
The next piece of content that is presented on the page is the embedded video that is, in my opinion, the primary piece of content that the page provides specifically for the user. Again, the search engines are not able to “watch” the video even though they are able to see the code for the video in the page so this piece of content is definitely focused on providing the user with a fun and informative experience.
The video is just over 6 minutes long so it is not going to suck a whole bunch of users time and, if they don’t have the time to watch the video, Rand also provides a transcription of the video so the content of the video can be read quickly and efficiently, but we will talk more about this in a moment.
The next piece of content that we find on the page is an image of the actual whiteboard. This image cannot be read due to the fact that it is a whiteboard with a bunch of hand-written words and diagrams, however, if you click on the image you are provided with a very high resolution of the image which allows you to see the whiteboard in all its magical, whiteboard-y glory. Rand also provides a small line of text under the image that instructs visitors to click on the image so they can see the high-res version which easily highlights the focus on writing/developing a page of content that is focused on the visitor’s experience. In other words, he tries his best to make it easy to navigate the page and engage with the content.
Does anyone just listen to audio when they have video these days? I don’t know, but in a world of almost 7.6 billion people it is safe to assume that there are probably some people who would rather listen to the content that is being presented on this page. Again, this focuses on the potential user experience and casts the net just that much wider to capture those folks who prefer to listen versus read or watch the video. Since this audio is an embedded SoundCloud file, it does not have a lot of “SEO weight,’ however, it is another way that you can take raw video content, extract the audio track, and create another piece of content that can be used in a blog post or shared on social media to engage with visitors or potential visitors to your website.
In my opinion, using a video transcription should be a standard procedure, from a SEO point of view, for two reasons:
It presents the content to the user in another unique format that is well formatted and easy to read, as well as, using proper HTML structure to effectively communicate the content to the search engines.
Additionally, Rand has inserted some very specific images to support the unique sections of the video transcription which keeps a visitor engaged with the text content.
Search Engine Experience
Wait? Search engines need an experience? Yes, they do. Consider this, if this page only contained the headline, intro paragraph, video, image, and audio – how much content would the search engine be able to index that would make this page “authoritative” about the topic?
The answer: Not much.
The video transcription provides the text content for the page so the search engines can more effectively understand what is being communicated to the user in the video, image, and audio files which allows the page to more effectively rank for the keyword phrases that are applicable to the topic of the page. Without the transcription, ranking the page would be a far greater challenge.
So how would you create the content needed for a post like Whiteboard Friday? Well, some things are pretty obvious such as you need a topic, a video camera, the ability to edit the video and, in this case, a whiteboard.
However, in my personal opinion, there are a couple of things to consider before you even get to the video recording stage from a SEO point of view.
I can hear people saying to themselves, “Oh my, a SEO saying keywords need to be a part of the plan for content generation. Please tell me something I don’t know.”
However, if you are trying to produce content like the Whiteboard Friday, you are going to be generating a video transcription which means that the text content of the page is, probably, going to be generated from the audio track of the video so you need to make sure that the keywords that are important to the topic of the page content are worked into the actual video presentation. Therefore, identifying the keywords that specifically and holistically support the topic prior to creating the video and transcription is imperative so they get worked into the actual text content of the page.
Or at least a very solid outline. This will help make sure that the video content that you produce does have the specific content, as well as keywords, that you want to cover which will help you be concise and keep the video length from growing to large which could potentially result in users not watching the whole thing.
Remember, User Experience is important to the search engines as their goal is to return the best result based on a user’s query and if visitors to your page leave quickly or do not move further into your website, it could be construed as the page was not relevant to the query which could potentially affect how that page ranks for that specific query.
So, the list of things that we would need to produce a page of content like this ends up being:
- Video Recording
- Images (extract screenshots from video, take pictures, create graphics)
- Audio (extract audio track from video)
- Video transcription
Additionally, as you begin to create raw content, you will find that there are many ways to re-purpose the content for use in other marketing channels such as:
- Video clips – clip video down to short segments that can be shared on social platforms to engage visitors and bring them to your site to see the full video
- Audio clips – clip audio down to short segments that can be shared on social platforms to engage visitors and bring them to the site to listen to the full audio
- GIFs – clip videos to make gifs that can be shared on social platforms to engage visitors
In closing, no matter what your business or industry, content creation for your website needs to be part of your SEO game plan and if you effectively plan this content development, you can provide multiple channels of content that can appeal to potential visitors and provide them with a way to engage with your content in the way that fits their lifestyle and browsing habits.
If you need help with your content generation strategy or any other digital marketing needs, contact Anvil today!
Author’s Note: I want to thank Rand Fishkin of Moz for being my muse today. If it wasn’t for Rand, the Moz team and the SEO knowledge they freely share, I would not be writing this blog post for you today. Thanks Rand!