So, you wanna win with content, huh? Great! So many orgs push their budget into paid advertising – SEM or social. Don’t get me wrong, they are telling great stories and sharing great content on these channels. But they are missing out on optimising they’re wonderful content through something that converts better quality, and they don’t even have to pay for – SEO.
Shanelle banged on about this in our SEO: Winning with Content Seminar back in March. You can re-watch the presentation if you couldn’t attend (thanks, Covid-19). But the general gist was:
We gave you an overview of some amazing work some orgs are doing in the Content space. But I wanted to take you deeper into one of my fave charity case study – the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre (ASRC).
Getting It Right: ASRC’s SEO Success Story
ASRC are one of Parachute’s FAVOURITE charities, and they have the Midas touch when it comes to digital. They are the Charity:Water of Australia. (Charity:Water being the standard most Aus charities I’ve worked with hold themselves to.) Having worked with ASRC personally, I would say I think they’re better. But, this isn’t about playing favourites, this is about showing results from investing in a Content & SEO Strategy.
There were 2 big campaigns that ASRC worked hard to drive organic traffic to their site:
- The Medevac Bill Repeal – to get people informed about what “Medevac” is, make ASRC the authority on it, and ask people to donate
- Their Story Beside You Pledge – to get people reading and watching stories and eventually signing the pledge
ASRC did this all through an SEO strategy, and the results spoke for themselves:
- For the term “medevac” they went from being on page 6 to being ranked to the 1st on Google. And of all the people that found ASRC from a Google search during the campaign period – 33% of them landed on the Medevac FAQ page.
- Their “Stories Beside You” was the 3rd most visited page on the website during the campaign period, and 24% of people that came from Organic search to the STORIES page signed the Welcome Pledge
I’m proud to say we helped them with their SEO strategy, including these 2 campaigns. I can NOT take credit for the success – that is completely the diligent and hard work of the incredible team at ASRC. But, I can share some insights on how we helped them, and give you actionable insights in how you can create one for yourself.
Step 1: Do Your Research
No good strategy ever started without good research. To start thinking about your Content & SEO Strategy, the first place to look is at your current results.
Kick off with a deep dive into your Google Analytics and look at the search term queries that people are coming in from, as well as the most popular content pages and pathways. You can then follow this up by plugging in key search terms in the keyword planner tool, which will give you suggestions and search volumes for those key terms (i.e. how many people are searching for that term monthly), as well as how competitive it is (i.e. how many other people are trying to rank for the same keyword).
There are also tools available online that already do this comprehensively (and automatically) for you. We used SEMRush for ASRC’s strategy. The tool does a full site audit and shows you technical issues (site speed, defunct URLs, duplicate meta tags), compiles keywords relevant to your site and what your current rankings are, as well as that of your competitors.
Usually, it’s a combination of all 3. A tool gets you a comprehensive report across the board. You always have to refer to your Google Analytics to understand the behaviour of your website visitors, and what the next logical step should be. The keyword planning tool allows you to get really nuanced with your content strategy and themes.
Whichever way you do it, once the research is done, you’ll get clearer insight on what to do next.
Step 2: Make Simple Changes
SEO sounds really complicated, but there are actually some really quick, simple changes you can do ASAP to vastly improve your digital content. Before we even began work on a wider SEO strategy for ASRC, we focused on things they could do to get quick wins for their upcoming campaign – the Medevac Bill Repeal (and donate call-to-action).
With the keyword research done, we could see:
- What keywords people were searching for
- How ASRC was currently ranking for them
For the “medevac” keyword, for example, ASRC was ranking on page 6. For their upcoming appeal, we needed them closer to page 2 or, ideally, 1. Once we looked at ASRC’s existing Medevac pages, there were some easy changes they implemented to improve their current ranking, simply by updating & optimising existing pages with keywords already ranking. This included:
- Adding keyword into body copy & headings
- Updating meta tags/descriptions with relevant keyword
- Using keyword in Image Alt Copy
- Restructuring URL with keyword
- Improving internal links between Medevac pages – i.e. from getting people to “read FAQs” to logical next step to donate
As I mentioned, these simple changes worked, and ASRC improved their “medevac” ranking to page and position 1 in Google, and also drove 33% organic traffic to the site for the campaign.
It is more effective to improve the position of a page that is already ranked than ranking for a new page. So, in the first instance, updating your existing content and pages for search terms that (through your initial research) people are already looking for, will get you quick SEO & Content wins on the board.
Step 3: Build Out A Bigger Strategy
Once you’ve got some quick runs on the board, it’s vital to consider creating a long-term sustainable SEO & Content Strategy. When thinking about your long-term strategy, first identify your strategic content areas:
- What is your core mission?
- What do you want to be known/ found for?
Sometimes the link between what people are searching for and your orgs strategic content areas isn’t always clear. But that’s why you need to spend some time sitting with the keyword research to inform how it fits into your content & themes, and how you can best use them to drive action.
With ASRC, we spent a lot of time brainstorming content themes based on key issues that inform their wider organisational mission and goals. We managed to group the issues into key themes that would form our content pillars, then allocate SEO keywords that would fit under those themes.
The Story Beside You was a new campaign to drive acquisition via signing a pledge. While the premise was new, the campaign fell under the theme of “Refugee” stories, so we focused on the keyword “Refugees and people seeking asylum” and tried also to start to rank for “refugee stories” (which wasn’t a high volume search term at the time). It became their 3rd most visited page during the campaign period in 2019.
The wider SEO Content Strategy should focus on driving qualified traffic by updating existing content (in the first instance), but also creating new content around certain themes and popular keywords. The strategy should also inform how to structure the website & navigation based on themes & keywords.
We recommend coming up with an action plan for immediate campaigns and easily optimisable content, and then a longer rollout strategy to guide content and improve SEO ranking which:
- Has year-round value to drive organic traffic
- Has logical actions/next steps on the page (including internal, external & inbound linking)
- Factors in other channels
Don’t Forget: Tracking
All of your epic Content & SEO strategising and implementing will be for nothing if you don’t have tracking in place. Please invest time and effort into getting your tracking…. on track… and actually report on it. This includes:
- eCommerce tracking
- UTM tracking for your channels/ source activity
- Separate out PAID activity so it’s clear what is Facebook and affiliates and Paid Search or remarketing etc
- Get GOALS and Events measures in place
A solid SEO & Content strategy might seem like a slow, scary, audacious undertaking, but when you break it down, it’s really not so hard. More of our clients are investing in it, and, as with ASRC’s results, it’s definitely worth the effort.
If you want to spitball some SEO strategy ideas, feel free to drop us a line.