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How To Create An Editorial Calendar For Traffic Using SEO

calendar with pinsIn today’s blog post, we are going to take a look at an editorial calendar. This is a little different than your standard editorial calendar, which is used with content marketing or other types of media publishing.

Specifically, what we are going to do is look at a product or service centric editorial calendar that is backed up with data from web site visitor analytics and the search engine optimization (SEO) research that you do.

There are a few steps involved with this, but before you get started there are a couple of things you are going to want to have in place already. First of all, you are going to want to have a template for your editorial calendar that you can fill out. Content Marketing Institute put together a really good template that you can find here.

I recommend downloading that and using it as you go through this exercise.

The other thing you want is to have a really good buyer persona, which you will be using throughout this process. You want to get inside the mind of the buyer or the person that is going to be purchasing your product or service so you can think like they do.

You want to get into their head and figure out what they are going to be searching for online. You can find a really good outline of a buyer persona from the Buyer Persona Institute.

Lastly, one of the biggest things I do online whenever I build a page is I build it for traffic first and then SEO second. I want to make sure my pages can be found when somebody searches online, but that is not the primary reason. I want to make sure they are going to be getting traffic regardless of if they get rankings in the search engines at all.

I do this by creating buyer persona centric blog posts that resonate with my visitors to the website so they will share the content with their friends and colleagues.

EDITOR’S NOTE – This post is a bit technical. If you feel the need to skip towards the end, there is a quick recap and brief summary.

List Your Products Or Services For Inclusion In Your Editorial Calendar

Now that we have everything we need together, the first thing we are going to do is start listing out all of the products and services you have in your company. If you are in a service industry and only have one service, that is fine, just list that one thing out. However, most people have multiple products or multiple services that they offer.

After you have listed out your products and services, what you want to do is separate them into what I consider an active or passive product or service selection. What I mean by that is, many times you have a primary product or service you are going to be pitching and then everything else is going to be an upsell or is later in your sales cycle.

You will want to keep the ones you have listed as your active products or services. For example, if you have a service you offer and the only way for the buyer to purchase this other service is to buy the primary service first, then that secondary service becomes a passive offering that you are not going to include in this example. Go ahead and separate your products and services into active and passive products and services.

Now that you have your products all listed out, what you want to start doing is creating bullet points with every benefit that you can think of. You want to try and get at least 4 or 5 different benefits, but list out every advantage you can think of. You want to list these in short phrases and not necessarily sentences. Once again, list out every single benefit you can think of for your product or service and do it in a short little phrase.

Google Keyword Trends

Now you have bullet-point phrases for your products. Armed with that information, head on over to Google Trends. With Google Trends you are going to search for all those phrases you just have listed out, one at a time, in the search bar at the top. What this is going to do is show you a graph over time of the volume for how that phrase is being searched.

Google Trends Graph

The other thing Google Trends is going to do is show you a map located below the trend graph. Click on the map of the country you are in or your primary target for your product or service. If your market is global or worldwide, then you can go ahead and leave the results at the worldwide setting, but most of the time I recommend you select a specific country.

Google Trends Map

When you click on the map to select a country, you are better able to target the keyword offerings and the related terms you are going to be using. The related terms that show up for your phrase are just that, terms that Google feels are related to the phrase or term that you searched for.

There are a couple of things you want to check out. First of all, you will notice that the related terms have Top Terms and Rising Terms. You want to look at the Top Terms, because those have been searched the most in the particular time period you have selected in the settings. The other part is the Rising Terms, because something might be coming through right now that you might not be thinking about.

Check the Rising Terms to see if you can start targeting traffic that is currently increasing and that gives you the possibility of higher search volume and traffic down the road. Those Rising Terms tend to be a little easier to get a ranking for than the top related terms, which have been searched for a longer period of time.

Google Trends Related-rising

Another thing you want to look at over this particular period is if there are any peaks and valleys or seasonality to your terms. Some terms, for example the holiday terms, are going to be seasonal in nature and they are going to come around certain times of the year, but some trends might surprise you.

You want to make sure you search every single one and check them out to make sure you are going to be posting these in the right time frame. We will get back to that in a minute. Take note of the months that these terms tend to peak because you will use those later on when filling out your editorial calendar.

Google Keyword Tool

Now that you have got all of these trends covered, and you have got possibly a bigger list than you had before, you want to head over to the Google Keyword tool located inside your AdWords account.

If you don’t have Google AdWords, then you can use the external keyword tool that Google has and you can go through this exercise in almost the same way; however, you will not be able to get the CPC data.

Once you go to the keyword tool for Google, you are going to type in your phrases one at a time. I don’t recommend typing in multiple phrases because then what happens is they will take a combination of those and you will not get a full picture of what is going on for that particular phrase.

The first thing you want to do after you type in your word or phrase is to go down to the advanced filter options and choose once again the location, which will be the country, and the language you are going to be searching in. You can do this with either desktops and laptops or you can do mobile devices. Depending on what you are trying to target you can do this both ways.

Right now, the desktop and laptop devices tend to get a lot more traffic than all the mobile devices, so generally as a default I will use that.

keyword tool advanced options

keyword matched typesOnce you have done that, on the left hand side before you hit search there is going to be a phase that says “match types.” There are 3 in there; broad, exact, and phrase. By default, the broad match is the one that is selected. You want to deselect that one and select the phrase match, which is going to give you better results on what you are looking for.

After you have completed selecting the different options, go ahead and click search and it will show you a couple of different things by default. It will show you the competition and it will show you the global searches. If you need to, click on the columns button and show the approximate CPC for the search, which is the Cost Per Click.

Those are actually the 3 terms that you are going to need, unless you are working in the global market, in which case the results will also show the global scale, but you still only need 3 columns in there. You need the competition, the local monthly searches, and the approximate Cost Per Click, the CPC.

One little caveat here. The local monthly searches are not for your city. They are actually for the country that you selected. This is why it is important to select a country, so you can get the better results in your search. Generally, what I do after I complete the search is I sort by the local monthly searches.

I look for terms that are specific for what I am doing that will have anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 local monthly searches on that broad match. Those generally will give me the type of traffic I will be looking for, but it is specific enough that it is not going to be something that my future client or a prospective customer will not be looking for.

Once you sort through your results, look through the keyword ideas that Google puts in there. If you are logged into the Google AdWords tool, you are going to have anywhere from 100 to 800 words and 800 keyword ideas is generally the maximum Google is going to give you. The other thing I am going to look for is the approximate CPC.

This is a good indicator on the value of that term within your niche. If people are willing to pay higher for a keyword, then chances are this is a term that is driving revenue for those companies.

If you are just getting started, these are good terms to look at because companies will take the time to advertise for them, but not a lot of them will take the time to do the SEO for keyword phrases. That is not always the case depending on what your niche is, but it is a good indicator.

These terms also tend to be very, very competitive on the SEO landscape, but when done properly and optimized properly, this could be a long-term solution for ongoing traffic and conversions for you. It is best to start early on if you are wanting to target these types of terms.

You have now looked at the local monthly searches and you have looked for terms that are going to give you at least 1,000 searches a day. This is the rule of thumb that I look for. In your niche it might be something less.

For example, on the higher CPC terms you might have a lot less searches, but they are a lot more qualified, so you can target those and not necessarily worry about the thousand searches a day that you are looking for.

However, if you are trying to get some general terms in there, a good starting point is something that is 1,000 searches a day or 30,000 searches a month or higher.

At this point, you have now found words from your keyword trends and have gotten some additional ideas from those short phrases you listed out as the benefits of your products. You have also looked at those keyword ideas and checked out the search volume as well as the trends.

Going back to the trends for a moment, you have also noticed that they peak at certain times or certain months of the year if they are seasonal in nature. Some of them may not be, but if they are you want to use those.

Google Analytics

Analytics all pagesIf you have Google Analytics installed, or some type of analytics, you now want to go over to the analytics dashboard for your website.

If you are a brand new website you can skip this part, but if you are an established website this can help you get some additional data to find out what is going on inside the mind of your buyers.

In the analytics, you want to sort by the most visited pages on your website. Once you find the most visited pages on your website, you want to find out where they are coming from to get to those pages.

Are they a direct visitor to that site, to that page on the site, by doing a search term? If they got there by a search term, you want to find out what that search term is.

You also want to look at the search term in Google Trends and the keyword tool to find out what the seasonality or peaks and valleys for that term are and also the approximate search volume.

The other thing you want to pay attention to is how do they get to that page from within your site.

  • Do they follow a process?
  • Did they go to a blog post and then to a case study and then end up on the most visited page on your site?

If that is the case, you want to trend that and know people are going through a certain cycle when they are looking for your product or information.

The other thing you want to look at, the important page on your site, is the order page or whatever type of call to action. If you have a call to action where you send somebody over to fill out a form to contact you, then you want to take a look at that page.

Once again, you are going to take a look at how they found you from the keyword searches, but you also want to find out how they navigated to that page internally from one page to the other.

You can then maximize that. What you are doing is you are getting inside the head of the buyer persona you have looked at.

During this whole process you should have been looking for your buyer persona.

  • How would they actually search for this?
  • How would they try and find this solution for this benefit?
  • Is it something that is top of mind or do they visit a few other pages first?

Those are a few of the things you want to look at. The whole goal of going and looking at the analytics on your site is to find out what people are looking for and the navigation process that they take.

Webmaster Tools

Search Queries

Google Webmaster’s Tools

If you are not finding the phrases within Google Analytics, you can also look at the Google Webmaster Tools or the Bing Webmaster Tools for additional search queries.

I use Google because you are going to get a higher volume of searches through there, but use the Bing Webmaster Tool as well because you are going to get different variations of the keyword search terms.

From within the webmaster tools you can go and look at the search queries. Within the search queries themselves you can start ranking the keyword terms that are being searched by volume and then by how many clicks you are going through or by the ranking you have with them.

This way you can figure out what additional keywords you need to use within your copy to get a better ranking.

Quick Recap

These are just a couple of different ways you can use the tools that are available for your website visitor data and search engine optimization research to create a product or service centric editorial calendar.

  1. List out all of the different products or services you have and then list out the benefits in short phrases for each product or service.
  2. Go to the Google Trends Tool and do a search and look for any type of seasonality, noting any months that these particular keyword phrases tend to peak.
  3. Go to the Google Keyword Tool and look for the search volume, targeting terms that specifically have at least 1,000 searches a day and PPC terms with high cost per click.
  4. Go to Google Analytics and check your website data to look for search queries people are using to find your pages. Pay attention to your most visited pages and how people are getting there internally as well as your call to action pages or your order pages. See how people are navigating the site or if they are getting there directly from outside sources.

Always keep in mind your buyer persona every single time and what are the people looking for when they are navigating your site.

Final Steps To Create A Product Or Service Centric Editorial Calendar

Now that you have defined all of the different information, here is what you do with it. You take the keywords you found that are seasonal in nature and you go mark them on your editorial calendar.

Depending on if you want to get the traffic immediately or if you want to try and build up for the SEO value, you are going to schedule it anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month before the keyword terms peak so you can get the maximum value of the peak search volume that comes with those terms.

From there what you will do is start populating your editorial calendar based on your buying cycle and how website visitors navigate your site to find information and purchase your product.

Once you have completed this process, you should have an editorial calendar that is filled out for the entire year, populated with benefit statements that support your product and how your customers would buy.

How I do this is, I dedicate a month or a quarter to a specific product or service offering followed up with weekly blog posts that will showcase the benefit statements based on the search queries seasonality and traffic.

By following this process with the editorial calendar for your content marketing, what you do is laser target your traffic and get inside the head of your buyer persona.

This gives you the things you know your customers are going to be looking for that you can share on social media and within your other types of marketing, but also something that will have the effect of search engine rankings and bring traffic to your site for years to come.

What other ways do you use an editorial calendar to drive business for your company? Leave a comment below because we love hearing from you.

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  • Julie Larson

    Excellent resource, Mical! I’ve bookmarked this one! 🙂

  • I agree with Julie. I’ve bookmarked and printed this; will also share.