Stories about Software


Keyword Research Case Studies: Tool-User Campaigns

Hola amigos.  It’s been a long time since I last rapped at ya‘.  (If you know what that’s from, we’re buddies for life)

Today I’ve got another installment of the addendum to my “SEO for Non-Scumbags” series.  In this series-within-a-series, I’m walking in detail through applied keyword research tactics.  This may pickup steam, too, because we’re starting to teach clients to do this, instead of just our staff.

At any rate, today I’m going to talk about tool-user campaigns.  Like the last type of campaign, “ownership,” tool-user campaigns are pretty straightforward to execute.

Tool-User Campaigns: A Quick Definition

In a sense, this content ideation tactic is as simple as “if it’s about {tool}, let’s create a post about it.”  You’re essentially looking for winnable keywords with volume that contain a specific term, where that term is a tool.

From a segmentation perspective, you’re reasoning that there’s a pretty good chance anyone googling that tool would make a good user or customer.  Or, at the very least, someone you want to reach.

For instance, Architect makes a continuous delivery platform, aimed to make life easier for developers doing devops-y things.  So if they create a piece of content about using the Terraform K8s provider, they’re basically saying “we’re assuming that if someone is using and Googling Terraform (or K8s), it’s probably someone we want on our site.”

A tool-user campaign is when a site works a steady diet of content like that (targeting users of a tool, generally with tutorials).

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Keyword Research Case Studies: Ownership Campaigns

I’d wrapped the core part of the SEO for Non-Scumbags series by poisoning the idea of content-creation-as-art with art’s natural, mortal enemy: ROI.  For this reason, I thought folks might not take me up on my tepid call to action of “I may do more stuff, if anyone wants.”

Turns out, against all odds, some of you do want.

So I’m going to make that happen, both to give the people what they want and also to opportunistically teach some of our staff to do keyword research.  Toward that latter end, I’ll structure this as an appendix to the original content, with shorter vignettes corresponding to specific keyword research tactics.

Today, I’ll do the most straightforward one: ownership campaigns.

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Reasoning About and Projecting SEO Content ROI

Hello folks.  And thanks for sticking with me as I continue my relentless assault on any remaining soul I have yet to suck out of content creation.  I’ll try to finish it off today.

And there’s no better way to do that than to start talking about return on investment (ROI).  Return on investment is amount that you wind up reaping (or losing) from a given investment of money or labor.

There are two main ways to think of ROI for SEO-minded content:

  • Comparing the ROI (or cost) of SEO campaigns to that of other lead acquisition tactics, measuring relative ROI.
  • Reasoning directly about the revenue (well, profit, really) generated by your SEO-minded content efforts.

I’m going to dive into both extensively.  But first, let’s take a detour through some business terms and some extremely opinionated takes on digital marketing metrics.

How Should We Measure a Content Program? (Hint: There is a Right Answer)

For my money, one of the most surreal questions that I see when DevRels or content marketers get together and talk shop is a simple one.

What’s a good metric for the success of a content program?

This seems both innocuous and like a good question.  But here’s what I hear when someone asks that:

What’s a good cardinal direction to drive in?  I’m a south kind of guy, but I’ve been hearing a lot of good things lately about northeast.

Both questions are kind of absurd, because both beg the contextual question of “what are you trying to do / where are you going?”  Metrics and tactics both are meaningless absent articulated goals.

If DevRels and content marketing managers are asking this question as a matter of shop, someone in the org chart above them has faceplanted in setting them up for success.  Nobody should need to flail around aimlessly for a success metric or a driving direction.

Luckily, however, unlike “which direction should I drive,” there is a universally right answer about how to measure the success of a commercial content program.  You measure that with the relationship between customer acquisition cost (CAC) and customer profitability.  This is your return on investment in the purest form: how much profit do you realize from spending money or time on content?

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The Phases of an Organic Campaign

Don’t look now, but it seems like I’m in real danger of finishing this series of posts.  One day, I might even become a blogger again.

In the last few posts, I went into a good bit of detail about how to do keyword research.  This culminated in a post about assembling your research into campaigns and even fully-formed marketing funnels.

But today I want to switch gears.  Instead of talking taxonomies and hierarchies, let’s look at timelines.

What are the phases of organic traffic campaigns?  Or, perhaps more precisely, what are the phases of your site’s relationship with the search engine?

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Keywords 301: Campaigns, Roadmaps, and Funnels

Alright, once more unto the breach, dear non-scumbags.  I’m continuing this series, and with slightly better cadence than once every 9 months.  We’ll get ‘er dun yet.

Here’s a recap of the three most recent posts:

  1. I introduced the idea of “keywords” as searcher questions.
  2. Then I introduced the granular mechanics of evaluating individual keywords.
  3. And, finally, I talked about how keywords relate to one another.

All of that is valuable groundwork, but it leaves an important, dangling question:

How do you turn all of that into an actual, editorial plan for content?

That’s what I plan to talk about today.  And to nudge the conversation along, I want to start by defining three concepts: campaigns, roadmaps, and funnels.

(As a slight caveat emptor here, I am defining and using these terms in the way that Hit Subscribe defines and uses them, in applied client situations.  Digital marketing textbooks, assuming that’s a thing, might use them differently).

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