In 2017 there is one thing I'm doing a lot differently to how I used to do things even last year.
It's called Content Revenue Scaling (CRS) and it's a simple way of focusing on minimizing the amount of time it takes to reach profitability on my affiliate sites.
When I first started looking at optimizing the other way around, I realized that I could quickly and efficiently increase my organic traffic. By simply looking for keywords I was already ranking for, I could then add more content to improve my relevancy or cannibalize that piece of content for that keyword, by adding a new piece of content on that specific keyword.
How that has evolved a year on...
I've learned loads from taking this approach, there's a lot of things I was doing before that didn't make a whole lot of sense when I started to look at things differently by optimizing for impressions first.
The issue is with optimizing for traffic, is that you'll end up hyper-focused on a keyword, or just a few keywords. When you start optimizing for impressions it helps you focus on topics instead.
When you focus on topics, you quickly realize that the quickest way to unlocking huge amounts of traffic is to create a resource on that subject, that offers the most value to potential visitors.
So in order to do that you need to be comprehensive.
The main challenge for me was doing this in a way that didn't take years of work, while also not neglecting the fact that I needed an editorial calendar that had some 'content balance', so that I wasn't just creating content about this particular topic or a certain type of content.
This meant undertaking the challenging, anxiety inducing task of figuring out whether a group of keywords should be optimized for in one huge piece of content, or split into separate more monotopic pieces of content.
It was a headache, so I realized in the end that I just needed to go ahead with what I believed would work, have faith in that and measure the results, optimize based off of that data and keep going.
It was common before that I'd look at a competitor, or a bunch of competitors to see what they'd done. However, they're rarely as comprehensive. The scatter brain approach of most sites means that they usually don't cover a subject thoroughly since they're hyper-focused on traffic and therefore keywords over topics.
That approach wastes resources, creates far-reaching issues that keep me busy doing audits for new clients and generally inhibits growth.
What I'm doing differently today means I don't need to go and fix problems on my site, I don't waste resources and growth is exponential. All of this means scaling is easy, and that's why I learned that focusing on topics makes more sense.
You're focused on ranking a few key pages or posts, not dozens of keywords across your site and that focus pays off.
Content Revenue Scaling Principles:
1. Base Keyword Research
There are three tools I use for keyword research, and none of those are complicated to use, involve any complicated wizardry or take me a lot of time to get what I need from.
- Keywords Everywhere
I typically build authority sites, so for example on my beauty site I have a sub-category of skincare. Then a sub-category about Acne. This sub-cat is a topic I'll research thoroughly for my first iteration of Content Revenue Scaling.
I'll find 3-5 big sites on the subject of acne, usually these are niche sites or competing authority sites.
I'll run these through Ahrefs...
Navigate to 'Top Pages' under Organic Search.
Keyword Difficulty: 5 (Max)
Search Volume: 100 (Minimum)
Search in results: I filter by common prefixes like 'Best', 'Top' etc.
Export & repeat.
Quite quickly I'm able to find hundreds of keywords that are easily monetized, easy to rank and offer me a good foundation to build off of.
I'll then repeat this with a higher keyword difficulty, and put these in a separate spreadsheet. But I already know at this point that I'm going to be able to monetize some of my content quickly, which is why being ROI focused helps with keyword research.
2. Content Type Outline
Not all of the pieces of content I create are going to be comparison posts, so I'll have taken in the landscape as I was going - this is something that I've learned to do over time without thinking.
I'll quickly know whether a topic is going to have searches for 'How-To' posts, for 'Is' informational posts and the like. So I'll make sure I create a few templates for writers based on what I'm expecting to create content for.
3. Good Macro Level Architecture
I want my site to have a logical, easy to use structure from the top-down. So I'll make sure that I'm keeping everything a few levels deep, that I've got everything planned out so that it doesn't break when I scale.
It might look something like this:
Level 0: Root
Level 0: Root
Level 1: mysite.com/category/
Level 2: mysite.com/category/sub-category/
Level 1: mysite.com/post/
This seems counter-intuitive, but really when you're using sub-categories you don't want your actual content pieces sitting 3 levels deep in a URL Structure. This is because Google prefers to rank pages with shorter URLs.
I prefer to have the sub-category as a child of it's broader parent category, rather than have the sub-category 'acne' as another Level 1 parent category. I think the relevancy pays off more here, since my category and sub-cat pages are custom built, and are targeted at the broader keywords.
That's just what's working for me, and a lot of people do it differently, but it's my preference, probably due to working on so many eCommerce sites for clients.
4. Editorial Calendar
I need to know what pieces of content are being published and when, this helps me keep my internal linking healthy and efficient.
Typically I want to publish pieces of content that are harder to rank first to let them age. I'll then publish the less difficult pieces of content, but in general I'll do my very best to ensure that I get as much commercially targeted content published as soon as possible.
I'll then start publishing more smaller, supporting pieces of content that just help me be comprehensive about the entire topic in general, or support these more difficult to rank pieces.
I'll publish a mix as I go, since I don't really want to look like all I publish is self-serving content that I can make money out of.
A lot of people will just publish that content as pages so it doesn't show up on the blogroll, but I need them as posts so that my custom category pages I build work properly.
5. More Value
Most writers don't listen to the instructions you give them, ultimately your business isn't as important to anyone as it is to you. So this means that whatever you get back, it needs editing.
I always end up needing to edit for value, and this means I ask 'What is missing from this?' or 'What can I add to improve on this?' Something writers just don't do.
This is where Keywords Everywhere comes in handy, because I'll head over to Google and search the keyword, head to the bottom of the page and start opening the related searches, and generating new ideas based off of those.
I might repeat this a few times, but it'll usually give me 2 or 3 additional keywords that are related to the post that I can add in. As Keywords Everywhere gives me a search volume for those, it's easy to figure out what to focus on.
On the whole, more value means more Organic Keywords per post. Which is a Proxy Metric that I'm very fond of... It also makes link building easier, social shares more likely. It's just an all round good thing to be doing.
I see too many pieces of content that have huge word counts that contain basically no value and have very few organic keywords.
6. Additional Keyword Research
Once I've got the important commercially targeted pieces of content published and supported by a few pieces of content via internal links, a category page and a sub-category page that's designed to pass relevancy I move on to the next stage.
This stage involves the additional keyword research, where I start to look to really get comprehensive on my site about the chosen topic.
I'll use Autosuggest to uncover hundreds of keywords, that I can then analyze against my current content (decide whether to add to existing, or create new) provided they pass my initial checks for search volume.
This isn't where you stop, it's just another step toward being truly comprehensive about the subject.
7. Link Building
Here's where it becomes truly great, I've spent a month researching, producing & publishing content. What do I do now? Try to rank everything on the site, or try to rank as much as possible?
Hell to the no. That's one of the pitfalls a lot of people come up against.
Instead what I do is build links to my homepage slowly, but mainly to the few pieces of commercially targeted content that I created at the start. The ones I uncovered that would rank very easily.
Instead of spreading my budget and time across the entire site, I focus everything on 1 or 2 pieces of content. These start ranking, I start making money and I can then start to re-invest that back into more content, more links & that's how each piece of content begins to become worth more $ to you.
The thing is, most sites you own probably make the majority of their income from a select few pieces of content. So that's where you should be focused.
8. Data & Optimization
After a couple of months, it's time to dig into the data and start to look at the KPIs and Proxy Metrics that you're tracking.
This will help you figure out things like, whether a specific piece of content could be improved by adding more content, more links, improving the CTAs or formatting.
This allows you to constantly optimize the content on your site, to keep improving revenue and your ROI.
It's not uncommon that I'll just eliminate a piece of content from my plans in order to focus on something else, if I see one piece of content is generating me more revenue. I'm going to focus on improving the rankings of that.
Additionally I might analyze my own site on Ahrefs, find pieces of content that are low-hanging fruit and spend a bit of time on those.
It's all about making smart, data-driven choices.
Begin As You Mean To Go On
I focus on doing this over 3 months, and then after the first 3 months I'll move on to the next topic.
It allows me to quickly grow my sites to the quality & scale (or bigger) than my up to this point dominant competitors, and grow profitable enough that I can justify spending more on the next topic I want to tackle.
After a year of doing this, you can have comprehensively covered 4 topics. Which doesn't sound like a lot, but in terms of actual Organic Traffic, Revenue and Potential it's huge.
- Article by Daniel Cuttridge