Keyword performance is difficult to predict. With limited keyword data available it’s often a guess as to which keywords will generate revenue.
But that doesn’t mean B2B marketers have to blindly trust instinct when creating findable content for search engines.
In this post we present a way to measure the value of keywords and content marketing performance in terms of revenue. Revenue information aids the content generation process by helping marketers create better articles and content downloads that resonate with target audiences.
1) Build Your SEO Keyword Strategy Around Revenue
Start with the end goal of revenue front and center. To do this there are a few important technologies to have in place. We define core marketing technologies for pipeline marketers here.
At Bizible we started with core tools such as a CRM to measure revenue generated and a marketing automation platform to publish and distribute content. We kicked off our content marketing program with those base technologies.
Interestingly enough, we are now beginning to use SEO tools to help us fine-tune and improve our ROI from organic search.
While this may seem backwards, it makes sense we are now focused on optimizing our organic search channel. Given that we’ve proven the value of the organic search marketing channel in terms of revenue the correct next step is to understand how to optimize it.
This is so important because if marketers only focus on top-of-funnel metrics they’ll optimize for clicks and miss out on insights gained from revenue data.
As a quick example, we can see in the plot below that clicks and search engine results page rank (SERP) has an exponential relationship. Articles with high click rates, have high rank (high rank meaning closer to 1).
But if you focus only on maintaining the content that ranks well (the top left corner of the graph) you would never know whether that content is satisfying your buyers’ needs or just satisfying the needs of audiences that never convert.
Next, let’s talk about how to approach your keyword strategy after implementing the needed technologies to track revenue.
2) Build A Keyword Strategy Based On User Intent
Marketers need to think about how their content matches their user’s intent to generate revenue from organic search. The best estimate for user intent are search queries and because we can’t see all search queries we have to approximate them by keywords.
Some broad examples of user intent include the following:
Navigational: trying to find a certain website
Information: Looking for certain information
Transactional: Looking for a specific product to purchase
Informational and transactional are both broad categories so we can drill down and categorize them further. Organizing keywords into sub categories can help you better understand user intent around a topic, which in turn will help you create the right content.
Here’s an example, of drilling down into a broad keyword to better understand user intent. The first chart showing the search volume for keywords related to “B2B marketing” and the second chart shows the same for the keyword “marketing operations.”
We can see a stark contrast between the proportion of search queries (or keywords) related to concepts compared to search queries that are related to job searching.
Examples of job search keywords include “marketing operations interview questions” and “marketing operations job description”. On the other hand, conceptual keywords include “b2b marketing plan” and “b2b marketing framework.”
As you can see, user intent can be deciphered by categorizing keywords and answering questions around what people need when they search.
4) Connect Keyword Data To Revenue
What true user intent is, begins as a prediction during the keyword research phase. User intent stops being a prediction when marketers can connect session data to opportunities and revenue.
With Bizible, we push web session data so you can see which URL’s (e.g. blog post pages) and which form URL’s (e.g. downloadable content) are getting the most attribution in terms of pipeline or revenue. We can also measure which content is getting the most engagement.
This is important to look at from an SEO perspective because we now have a better understanding of the search intent of our most valuable audiences.
Prioritizing keywords can now be done based on revenue performance. By merging revenue performance SEO keyword data you can now measure the value of keywords you rank for, and get a better understanding of the content your customers are looking for and prioritize new target keywords.
There are a few caveats to matching SEO data like keyword and page rank. For example, multiple blog articles can rank for the same keyword and this forces us to make a decision regarding which article’s revenue attribution to choose for keyword revenue reporting purpose.
The chart below illustrates.
We can see that multiple keywords are mapped to single URL’s.
We can then see which groups of keywords are most valuable to us in terms of revenue. We can then continue targeting these valuable keyword groups and make sure they are updated (to continue ranking well) and that the on page experience is optimized to improve conversion rates.
5) Improve Conversion Rates With Learnings From Pipeline and Revenue Tracking
We now have full-funnel reporting for our organic channel. Now what?
Remember the topic of user intent? Here is where you can use findings from revenue attribution reporting to improve the target keywords you choose and improve your top-of-funnel conversion rates by creating better content offers that align with user intent.
Start with exploring the types of content your contacts are engaging with when they are in later stages of the sales cycle.
Do target audiences have traits you can aggregate by to learn about? Traits like job titles, buyer persona, region, and industry are grouping factors. And the content these groups engage with can clue you into content preference and intent.
With some mining you can explore whether certain groups prefer certain content. And whether certain groups have a need you can fill with resourceful, valuable content.
Here’s an example of content performance measured by engagement (pageviews, content downloads), aggregated by personas. Within each URL is a clue as to what the content is. Perhaps it’s a template or benchmark report, either way we can see whether a resource created especially for a specific persona group is driving valuable engagement.
This chart uses data from form URL tracking and is for example purposes. Note that job titles have been anonymized from Bizible’s real target personas.
This kind of full funnel insight drives a process of constant improvement in the quality of content.
SEO is more than ranking well in organic search. SEO and content marketing are about understanding your buyers and creating valuable content that helps them achieve their goal. In B2B, the buyer's goal is to succeed in their careers and job responsibilities.
6) Explore Predictive To Improve SEO And Content Marketing
Google’s search algorithm epitomizes the use of artificial intelligence to guess what users are searching for. With predictive technologies B2B marketers will get, essentially, a search algorithm based on what their target audiences are searching for. This will be based on revenue data and keyword/query data.
It’s easy to imagine deep textual analysis of URL’s and web pages to understand the language and word choice that resonates with your buyers. With this information content marketers will have a clear idea of which topics, keywords, and types of content they need to produce to attract and convert.
Implement the core technologies needed for full funnel measurement.
Develop a keyword list and keyword strategy based on estimated user intent.
Connect your keyword data to revenue once your content begins to rank.
Improve your conversion rates for ranking content, taking note of your most profitable keywords and true user intent.
Explore the cutting edge of predictive technologies.
With these steps in mind you’re ready to build a profit center out of your organic search channel.