Resources for Buying and Selling Online Businesses

How to Create an Effective Content Development Plan

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Jeff Coyle

Jeff Coyle is the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at MarketMuse, an AI content planning and optimization platform. Jeff is a cross-disciplined, data-driven inbound marketing executive with over 20 years of experience managing products and website networks. Through MarketMuse, he’s helping companies grow by improving content quality and strategy.

In addition to this, Jeff is the Co-founder of Silver Bluff Brewing Co., an advisor for SelectHub, and a consultant and advisor for Overlay Gaming Corporation.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [2:35] Jeff Coyle discusses how MarketMuse helps companies build out their content strategies
  • [13:27] How does intent affect your digital content?
  • [17:29] Jeff’s guidelines for internal and external linking and SEO term density
  • [25:06] Jeff breaks down the cost of content development and talks about competitive analysis
  • [34:05] Should you front-load content or space it out?
  • [40:12] MarketMuse’s site review and traffic analysis services

In this episode…

How do you create quality content that is relevant and accessible to a wide audience? What goes into a brand-building content strategy?

Jeff Coyle founded a software to help companies put together content plans, understand their competitive advantage, and use data to boost their performance. According to Jeff, you want to make sure every content page represents your brand’s expertise. This means updating old content to add value, optimizing internal and external links, and building a repeatable model for maximum efficiency.

In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Joe Valley is joined by Jeff Coyle, the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of MarketMuse, to talk about creating a powerful content strategy. Jeff discusses the common mistakes many content creators make, the tools needed to build a successful (and cost-effective) content model, and MarketMuse’s process for differentiating your brand and drawing traffic to your site.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Quiet Light, a brokerage firm that wants to help you successfully sell your online business.

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If you’re new to the prospect of buying and selling, Quiet Light is here to support you. Their plethora of top-notch resources will provide everything you need to know about when and how to buy or sell an online business. Quiet Light offers high-quality videos, articles, podcasts, and guides to help you make the best decision for your online business.

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:07

Hi folks. It’s the Quiet Light Podcast where we share relentlessly honest insights, actionable tips, and entrepreneurial stories that will help founders identify and reach their goals.

Joe Valley  0:29

Hey folks, Joe here from Quiet Light. Thanks again for joining us for another episode of the quiet life podcast. Today’s episode is one of my favorite topics, which is content site’s content development, and so on and so forth. And you will think it wouldn’t be because I owned an e-commerce business, probably 70% of the businesses that I sold, when I was in the trenches, brokering as much as possible, where were e-commerce, SaaS other sites of that nature, but my favorites were actually content sites. And we recently had Ewen Finser on talking about his process for developing content sites, he does them 30 or 40 at a time and writes 120 articles at a time and so on and so forth. Today, we’ve got Jeff Coyle, from MarketMuse on to talk about developing content effectively with real strategy for authority and, and and he can kind of lean on the cost of content development as well. And we bring Jeff on because he’s known in the industry is very good at what he does. And he happens to be Quiet Light’s, content team or contractors that right, Jeff,

Jeff Coyle  1:41

we do. We are a SaaS provider for Quiet Light, we provide insights, our technology provides insights as to what we should be creating what we should be updating, and then takes that all the way down as far as you want to go. So it can go all the way down

Joe Valley  1:55

to create the roadmap I you know, Chris, Chris Moore, our CMO is constantly talking about you guys. And we need writing content is not easy. We’ve got a new team that’s doing it and building that out constantly. So if you’re in a great content writers that are out there that think they can help us with developing content over time, reach out to Chris Moore at [email protected] And Jeff and his team will help us sort of clear the path in terms of what we want to and what we need to write about and help us get our rankings back up or up even further. Jeff, why don’t you give a summary of what you guys do at MarketMuse? And then we’ll jump into what we’re going to discuss today.

Jeff Coyle  2:34

Yeah, sure. So like you mentioned, we’re a content intelligence platform and really sets the standard for content quality. So at the site level, or the collection of sites, I know a lot of your listeners are likely portfolio owners even it’s where do we have strengths? Where do we have weaknesses, so that we can identify how much content we need to build on a particular topic to make an impact, or to continue to grow our current and maintain our current momentum. We take that we build comprehensive content briefs with our technology. So that delivers an outline and a single source of truth for the writer. So if you commonly find yourself in a situation, where you’re writing, you know, quick proposals and short paragraphs, and then handing that to a writer. And then what you get, you never really know, we can build out detailed, comprehensive outlines, tell the story of what questions to include what intents to target, internal and external links. And then we have some kind of do it yourself applications for competitive analysis for page level optimization, as well as some with questions analysis and topic modeling. So overall, wherever in your funnel, the content is, we can provide some insights that speed along, I’m thinking more greatly produce outcomes. My favorite component though, and I know something we’ll probably get into is knowing how much content we need, in order to move the needle on a topic. That’s where most people go into problems. And the earlier in your process, you start to get predictive and use data that can make for a lot less wasted effort. A lot less pain.

Joe Valley  4:09

Yeah, I remember back in the day, all I did was write, you know, one good quality piece of content a month for five years, and Google eventually rewarded me but I didn’t have any other plan than that. I was building out a digestive Wellness Center, and you could see an article on every topic from the mouth to the exit. And everything in between, right. So you know, we just went where the research took us, in a sense, but you use the word predictive outcome. You know, I would love to know how many articles I need to write on a particular subject to get onto page one or the top of page one. Is that something you guys actually provide? And how does it work?

Jeff Coyle  4:51

directionally? Absolutely. And And before that, I’ll mention that for b2b Tech, so our biggest target markets are agencies certainly, but also e-commerce, some of the largest e-commerce brands in the world, publishers of all kinds, and b2b technology, our sweet spots. So we’re able to identify situations where maybe even an e-commerce site who hasn’t focused on putting together content that fills the buyer journey. I mean, they can be selling something completely basic like a sock. And we can put together content plans, all the way up to some of the largest e-commerce brands in the world who have massive massive content collections that tell the story for anyone who’s you know, early stage awareness, unbranded all the way to branded and making the final transaction. But how do we get to predictions, you know, really focused on how much value we have. So a big problem in the market, certainly for SEO market, is that you’ve got a couple of different solutions out there, one’s just a database of words, right. And the data that that provides none of its customized and none of its personalized. So you can’t take into account what you’ve already done. And, you know, example, I typically will use as you can go write the best, are you joking, go write the best review, you can ever write in a million years on the brand new iPhone and go put it on Joe’s blog. com, good luck is not going to do well. It’s just you know, you’ve never done anything like that you’ve never done reviews of phones, you’ve never done, you know, walkthrough of Apple products, you’ve never done reviews like that, and you go through that exact same review on CNET. And it’s going to crush, right, because it’s the best one that’s ever been written. And the difference between that isn’t just links, right? It’s because you have a breadth of coverage on your site, you have a depth of coverage, you have history of writing, high quality, subject matter expert driven content. So that was like your blog, you talked about for five years, you wrote a blog a week or blog a month, about digestive nutrition, and all that all that stuff. And over time, you built up the standard of quality, it was coming from the lens of expertise. And so what MarketMuse is aiming to do is read your content that you exist, your existing content that you have, and understand how to personalize recommendations that give us a better predictive nature, a predictive metric for understanding our current authority as well as the competitive landscape. So if I can tell you, here’s how hard it would be for anyone to perform, and I’m looking at their content, how much they have, how in depth it is. And then I can tell you your competitive advantage. So here’s what you’ve done, here’s your existing momentum, you’ve done well on these adjacent topics, you, you know, and then I can offset the difficulty by that competitive advantage and give a really, really predictive metric for how much is needed. And this can be anywhere from just update a page, and I’m extremely predictive on this, like, I’m very confident, or you haven’t done anything here, you have no advantage, or you’ve done stuff on things that might give you a disadvantage. And it can diagnose all of those situations. And it’s very instructive. I was just speaking with Paul rights are from the marketing artificial intelligence Institute site today. And I was explaining to him that he wrote an amazing piece on artificial intelligence and sales, right. And it opened up his ability to own content about different roles on a sales team. For AI, it opened up conversational intelligence, it opened up a using AI for predictive analytics, like it opened up the lane, or gave him a almost an invite to the party for so many of these other concepts. So a lot of times we’ll write an article, it has a direct impact, but it also has the impact of allowing us to, you know, even show up at the party for some of these other concepts. So we like to provide all those different insights to get to a it’s something that seems simple. Yep. Go write three, three articles about it, and make sure they’re really good. Go. And that can make a big, big difference versus just hitting and hoping, you know,

Joe Valley  9:11

and is the is the it, you know, including keywords and keyword phrases that you recommend, as well. Yeah,

Jeff Coyle  9:17

absolutely. So comprehensively, you know, the brief that we will generate, where the recommendations will be certainly the main topic, but also what are the related concepts that an expert would include, if they were covering this topic comprehensively. And that’s the very meaning

Joe Valley  9:33

links that would go out to another site, courses and things of this nature. Well, that’s

Jeff Coyle  9:38

going to be certainly an element of it, too. So we’re the detailed outline that we would build would have the subset like the sub header, so we’d recommend considering for the for the structure of the article, and then within each one of those, what concepts need to be covered, what questions need to be answered, and the way that we build those as we go out, and we read as much content as we can on This specific intent and topic that you’re talking about a keyword that you’re talking about your software does that not software does, that kind of builds a model. And that model says, it might say something like, if you were an expert in content marketing strategy, you would naturally talk about things like buyer personas, and target markets. Whereas if you were just doing keyword research, it wouldn’t come up with those kind of related concepts, it would only look for content content marketing, content marketing strategy providers, like it might come up with variants we call them, which is just like a permutation. But building out a model that talks about what it means to be an expert. It gives you an unfair advantage, because then when you overlay that against your competitors, it tells you the stuff they have included, and it tells you the stuff that no one has. So you can say, Wow, this is a way for me to not only write as if I was an expert, but also to differentiate my content, which is the thing that the content marketers, most are most jonesing for. Because all the tools that exist, all they do is look at maybe the top ranking page, or few. And it like smashes together what those do and read your readout of, of their keyword densities, what we’re doing is building a model that says, if you did, you know, years of analysis of this manually, these are the natural structures that you would build with your content. Now look at that against a competitor. And it might tell you Well, yeah, everyone that wrote about this forgot this marketing easel say, make sure you include it. And that’s going to make you stand out and have more success in organic search. So you can have the impact of always building stuff, that is the table stakes is covered, as well as stuff that’s really, really unique for you. And when you do that, you know, magical stuff happens because you’re you’re writing as if you had done the work, right. And then if you put that type of information in the hands of someone who really knows their stuff, like a real expert, or a beautiful writer, they can craft narratives that are engaging, or that already have that lens of expertise on top, it enables a subject matter expert to never have a blind spot. And that’s a really beautiful thing.

Joe Valley  12:10

And the predicted outcome part is if you do this, with you know your competitors, not changing things dramatically, because they also hired you. But if you do this, the result will be, you know, rankings within this range type of thing. Yeah,

Jeff Coyle  12:29

it’ll it’ll give a range of upside, we can also look at a suite and typically look at a search result and tell you whether you couldn’t get to a particular metric. And we’ll cap it out if we don’t feel like it’s reasonable for you based on who you are.

Joe Valley  12:43

Because because the competitors have such a big lead,

Jeff Coyle  12:47

a big lead, but also their situations that are going to be extremely difficult to overcome. We’re just trying to give the amount that would start to move the needle and build momentum, then you can learn from it. But if you’re in a situation where it’s a branded term, or you’re analyzing a branded term, or it’s a brand term, which will be an exact match, those are going to be ones you’re probably not going to overcome for somebody else. But you can get to a certain point, if you’re writing articles that are on one intent. And the Google’s favorite intent doesn’t include people of your type or shape or size, you don’t have as much of an advantage, you have to do a lot more

Joe Valley  13:26

Google’s intent. I’ve never heard that what what Yeah, does

Jeff Coyle  13:29

that mean, we can get into that? So So it’s true intent is looking at a topic or something that’s being researched. And it’s saying, if I needed to cover this topic comprehensively, like really cover it, would I need to how many different goals of users would need to be covered? And I like to think about it like a buy cycle, early stage awareness, consideration, purchase, troubleshooting, and post purchase the champion development or continued advocacy development with content. So if I asked a specific question, really explicit intent, how do I get bees out of my garage? Right? That’s super specific. There’s not much ambiguity about what I’m looking for the type of query it is or the type of answer that I want. But if I’m looking at something like let’s say I type in CRM, right, well, very Ambit re ambiguous meaning but also fractured intent. So I could be looking for what is CRM, I could be looking for CRM software types, could be looking for a guide comparison, it could be looking to just, you know, buy something cheap. And I could be looking for a problem with my CRM system. Who knows. So those two problems are very difficult for Google to solve. The first one I’ll mention has nothing to do with intent. Its meaning disambiguation. So you could have meant, you know, some other acronym for CRM, right? Gonna be at I know a club for remote mothers right, who knows whether that but but the so the popular meanings for the favored meanings are x y&z. So Google has to first decide what’s the most popular prevailing, meaning they have to do the same thing with intense. So they may say most of the people who are searching for just CRM, I’m acknowledging the true intent is I need to build a lot. And I’ll get into that. But I have to show you my favorite intent. When I’m looking at the top 10, top 20 in Google. So they’re showing us over time, through understanding of this term understanding of what people like that most people who are just typing in CRM, maybe in the early stage awareness space, they want the brand stalwarts, like Salesforce, they want to what is and they want a basic guide. Right, so then they’re creating this favorite intent model. And we are able to show you that that’s a fractured intent scenario, you have to be thinking about these pages. But it’s so fractured, that you’re going to have to write content on that entire funnel in order to have a chance to perform for the definition.

Joe Valley  16:15

And you will at that point, say, Look, that’s an uphill battle battle, you don’t want to fight. Yeah, I know your budget, you’re not going to you’re not going to get there.

Jeff Coyle  16:23

Exactly, no. And that happens to us a lot. I have a great anecdote from a technology company, they had two product lines. One was I won’t say exactly what they were, but let’s just say one of them was in product monitoring, and one of them was in product files, right? We told them that for the monitoring aspect. To grow, the entire goal was growing leads by 30%. In the first year, of working with us, we said, well, to grow this, you’re gonna have to put out 120 articles new and update these 40. And this other wing, though, a lot easier, not as much noise, you can put out about 40 articles on these topics and update about 10. And you’d have the same impact. You know what they did? Okay, I guess, me easily. They said, if this goes? Well, we’ll find the other one. That’s yeah. So we can do that level of granularity

Joe Valley  17:15

is, is there any basic guidelines when it comes to length of Article, keyword density these days or anything like that, or links, internal links to other articles that are, you know, connected to it? As well,

Jeff Coyle  17:28

internal linking is a very, very specific component of that. But absolutely, and so I’ll break that one down first. So yeah, um, internal and external linking are a very controversial topic in content development. And in search engine optimization. I’ve done exhaustive analysis of this at scales that will be scary to most internal linking is a most common mistake for writing teams, they are the most common mistake. And please don’t do this, this is worth the waiting goal. This is where the price of the podcast right is you write new content. And in that content, you link internally to old stuff. And you don’t go back to your old stuff, and update it regularly. So what happens is you create this weird, structured, where your end node goes back, but your old ones don’t ever get updated to point out with annotations. So going back to old content, and adding value and enhancing it, and pointing it elegantly to your new stuff, can create a really beautiful situation for you.

Joe Valley  18:37

Let me just let me just touch on that for a minute. Decorating the yield, adding annotations and adding value. How simple can it be?

Jeff Coyle  18:44

Oh, it can be as simple or as wonderful as possible, as expansive as possible. But it can be very simple. Going in looking for an elegant way to point to the new article. It can be a few paragraph, a paragraph, a few sentences, or even simpler, the best way to do it is to evaluate the current state for those target topics. And understand is are there any gaps when you wrote that, and then actually optimizing enhance or expand or make it current for today’s intent? Like, for example, if I wrote articles about natural language generation 18 months ago, they’re all out of date. market changes.

Joe Valley  19:24

Every six months, everybody knows I have no idea what I’m talking about right now. So there.

Jeff Coyle  19:29

So that’s the kind of thing so that’s with linking that’s key. And, but also for the you know, the other side of the question, which got into the details on you said density, we’re not thinking about things in form of target density, but we are looking

Joe Valley  19:47

at the. So I just want to say in terms of in terms of linking to an older article, update that article by having it more relevant to today and what’s happening today versus six or 18 months ago, but then also update it so that it links to the new article as well. So that

Jeff Coyle  20:04

it’s pointing to everything you have to offer that’s relevant to the journey of someone who lands on that old page. Okay? They need they need thinking about every old landing page, every page is a potential, it’s a showcase of your expertise. So they land on that old page, you want to make sure that it represents your brand the best they can, and that you can point them appropriately if you have rounded out that cluster of content. So you you have the ability to show them that you’ve done more done more, whether it’s in the current or past when you have that opportunity in that landing page. And that that page was your landing page to thinking about every page as if it’s a landing page is one way to get yourself in that frame. That frame set.

Joe Valley  20:53

Okay. Continue with what you were just talking about? Sure.

Jeff Coyle  20:57

So but on external links, this is where there’s even more controversy here on external links. My rule of thumb is, make sure that you have external references where they’re appropriate, do try not to link to content that is explicitly competitive with yours. And you think that would be obvious? Yeah, well, it’s the world of search, a lot of times people will try to come up with things that they think are going to work, right, or they’re tricking or gaming a system. So they’ll link to articles that are from powerful sites, or on similar topics, which it’s very counterintuitive and counterproductive. Blinking to great references are great sources on like, adjacent things that you’re not going to cover is natural for a journalist to do. So you want to exhibit those natural signals, you want to like, if you’re talking about sales enablement, but you’re not a site that covers, you know, a particular industry, maybe the automotive industry, right, but you make a reference to how sales enablement is done in the automotive industry, you might want to point to somebody who can provide a great resource for selling in the automotive industry, right? It’s not competitive with you. And it’s a natural thing for a journalist to do. And when we find a lot of times with SEOs who don’t quite understand externals, they’ll be writing an article about what is CRM and they’ll link to Wikipedia is CRM, you’re like, No, okay,

Joe Valley  22:36

what’s you’re trying to do? Right? You’re trying to become the expert, not give it back to Wikipedia. Okay, that makes total sense.

Jeff Coyle  22:42

It happens all the time. And then on the content side, density is not a target for what you’re looking to do is understand what it means to be an expert. What questions need to be naturally answered? What concepts need to be covered for you to exhibit expertise? It is valuable, though, to understand what that natural distribution would be, so that you have guardrails. The two guardrails that I would set for myself is over optimization, on a particular word per keyword can always be a big problem. But also a maybe a related topic that’s not direct you maybe you’ve really gotten into that. What that can do is it can make your article about something else. It’s just I mean, this is so common sense when you hear it. But let’s say you were writing an article about artificial intelligence in sales, and you covered the topic of conversational intelligence. Like you, you wrote it 50 times. Well, that article is actually more about conversational AI, than it is about generally, AI and sales. So you getting by getting some points of reference of what natural usage would be, it can coach you to not make errors, but crafting an article that hits a particular set of distributions, without any consideration for whether it reads well. It has high quality narrative, it the outcome will not be what you expect it to be. And I’ve seen it happen so many times painful, where people just try to pepper in words, they don’t care about the quality. You know, it’s the old joke, the SEO walks in the bar, pub drinking drinking club. It’s like a bunch of relevant things all in commas. I’ve seen people cheat, try to cheat the system. You may get a small bump early, and then you’ll just crash. It’s why all those Term Frequency density solutions don’t work over time

Joe Valley  24:52

to know you know, I mean, it just you know, common sense seems to not prevail and it In a lot of SEO advice, which is, which is fascinating? Well, let’s jump to the, you know, the cost of such, you know, things, right. So you one has one approach, which I was fascinated with, and it works very well for him. I’ve always thought, you know, good quality content over time, and you’ll be rewarded. If you become the expert on that subject. The problem is that it takes a lot of time, and you and seems to have a system for, you know, shortening that time, but it takes money and expertise and writers and all of these things, you know, when you’ve got someone that’s, you know, selling grilling aprons, you know, on their own website, and on Amazon, for instance, and they want to become, you know, better, you know, at the organic side that will eventually send, you know, traffic maybe to their Amazon store, is there. I know, this is so hard. People are wondering how much this cost? How long does it take? They want to know the answers to that be honest with you, Jeff, and I know, your answer is probably going to be well, it depends. But let’s just jump into cost associated with this type of thing, whether that’s cost of time taught cost of lost sales or cost of actually doing doing more content development?

Jeff Coyle  26:12

No, I mean, that’s a great question. And it’s also replacement costs for other possible campaigns, because a lot of times, you know, your shortest path to seeing if your business works, your e-commerce site is going to do well, is to find partner channels or buy traffic, right. And just to get that immediate gratification. Yeah. For somebody who hasn’t done anything, any content on their site, and has no traffic or organic traffic, your path is what I referenced as a competitive analysis or competitive cohort analysis, what you’re trying to figure out is, can you see any models out there? Where there is a collection of content? How fast was it created? Um, what was that trajectory? is, are there any things that you can do to understand what was covered? So that you can set expectations for yourself? Hey, I’m these five other apron sellers. Here’s the angles they took, here’s the amount of content they created. And here’s where each of them is, if you do a basic analysis like that just high level or, you know, hire somebody to do that analysis, they can give you a sense of

Joe Valley  27:23

that’s what your software does, right? That’s not too clear about rocky we discuss that,

Jeff Coyle  27:26

yeah, we have ways for you to inject competitive analyses and understand that and then apply it to your site. For sure. We can, you can also layer on that as if you want a specific data set, right? You can bring your own words, hey, I want to own these topics, bring them in. But really the, the how much then needs to be created is going to be dependent on the competitive cohort, and how much existing authority you have. If you had an existing site, and you had some power, the brand had power, but you just never got into this content thing. That’s okay. It might give you a faster time to ramp. If it’s a brand new domain, those those timeframes are predictable, with some ever, and you can get a sense, hey, if you go invest in this much content, it’s going to yield this much time, but you got to give yourself five, six months in that timeframe. Start by and start doing some other CRO stuffs or doing some automation, CRO conversion rate optimization. But the cost of content gets into all the tools that you’re using all the solutions that you’re using. But it also is the writing resources and the research resources making sure you have documented all your time. But the biggest thing is everybody always has their preconceived notion for how much content costs. And so you’ll say how much did they cost? I don’t know $300 $500 A page. And then you’ll ask them, Well, what’s your expectation for that page to perform? And they have no answer. The average efficiency or for content efficiency is about 10%. which blows people’s hairs back most of the time. What does that mean? What does he write 10 articles? One of them performs? Well. That’s about the industry average. And so when I’m saying what is performs me, well, it does what you thought it was going to do. Maybe you thought it was going to generate traffic recurring traffic, maybe you thought it was going to be highly converting or otherwise, just didn’t do what it was supposed to do. Um, so imagine what that means to the real cost or effective cost of content. You know, 10x, is it right? So if you can swing 40% or 50% a year, you know, back, you know, double your batting efficiency double you’re going to triple it, you start to change the possible outcomes, and that’s where

Joe Valley  29:52

from 10 to 20 or 10 to 30%.

Jeff Coyle  29:55

Pick a pick out the picking out what to build and having reasonable expectations. That’s the that’s the step that really changes teams, it makes them you know, more confident, makes their hit rate dramatic. So that’s you you had mentioned you and you know, just point out you and very happy long term customer of mine and great guy all great one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. My my son’s middle name is Ewen, but spelled differently, but it is, he will he gave me some, some ammo one of my two sons, um, for that one of the. But yeah, his techniques, really, really hone in on picking the right niches and understanding the competitive dynamics right there and then building something that’s a repeatable model. If you’re in a situation where you’re representing a brand, however, you don’t get the picket, right, maybe at that point, but you do get to analyze many different models that may not have, like, you may not desire to even stamp them out 100 times, but you can look and see, maybe you’ve got a sight who you’d be competing with, who stopped writing. That’s right, those are the easiest to analyze. I call them zombies. So those are zombie sites, they just run on their own. Those are beautiful, easy ones to put references against. Maybe you got ones where they’ve changed riders. And they’re only writing about cookies. And they used to write about arts and crafts too. So you got to learn from those dynamics about what you can build and what you can’t. But the proof is in the situation where just as long as you promise to only write stuff that’s equal to or better than all your competitors every time, right, using the technology that’s available, you have the best possible chance of beating your predictions. So if you go write crap, sometimes, and you’re like good stuff, sometimes the only the predictions can’t do any, you got to take some variables off the table. And what’s possible now is to take the variables of bad, don’t put bad content out there to offset the good. And if you see competitors, putting out bad content, or putting out low quality at scale, they might think they’re at scale, you can set your watch to their degradation. And that’s a wonderful thing. And you can just plug along, do the right thing. And scale that as you’re able to fund it. Um, that’s what I see working time and time again, I love when people are writing low quality content that I’m competing with,

Joe Valley  32:26

with MarketMuse. How often do you update predictions and advice and things that you should? Because if the competitors aren’t standing still, or just doing the same old thing, right? How do we do updates and you know, pivot as needed?

Jeff Coyle  32:40

Right. So the, at the site level analysis, most clients are on a monthly update for their sites. So that’s giving them the deltas and their authority metrics and their competitive edge. But if you’re diving in, you can update any of the, you can get moment in time data for any of the workflows. So I want, I looked at this, I made this, but it was, you know, last month, I want to see what this competitive landscape looks like, I can quickly get a live data set for that. So you can always go live, but from a site level, kind of a strategic view, that would be something that would be updated. Most of the time, it’s not like, we have been in pinches where someone’s like, I’m about to, you know, certify this 100 Page plan. Can you run a quick update today? And oh, yeah, well, we’ll typically do that. But that’s really where the that’s really where we see the efficiencies as being able to look at that, as that roughly that frequently. For fast moving teams, we have a news offering that specifically looks at looks at Google News. and compares it to normal search results and can give advice for news teams. That’s, that’s, that’s a real time only solution.

Joe Valley  34:00

Gotcha. Let’s see in the in the few minutes that we’ve got less left I want to I want to touch on one subject, which is front loading content with 100 articles, and then just go good and not doing anything else as the plan or maybe just dripping it out one good quality, you know, content piece a week for a year. And and then and then continuing with that plan. If you had your druthers, as my brother would say, I don’t even know what it means to draw either. What is it rather, but you understand my point? Which one which one would you do?

Jeff Coyle  34:39

Funnily enough, I say that word a lot. And at one point someone challenged me to the etymology of it. I will not bore everyone for it, but let’s just say go look it up. It’s a funny one. Um, so the in the majority so I I hate this use the answer, but it’s it’s both But if I had to choose, and I could only choose from publishing a page a week, for a year, were publishing the whole front load, I would always choose to publish the whole front load over time, the, all the error is out of that. So if you’re doing something that has to be a repeatable investment model of sorts, or has to have a, you have to do it and stop, that’s going to be that’s going to be a better situation. Because it’s a, it’s a concept called, oh, my gosh, it’s a it’s a classification of uncertainty. I’m my brain is failing as a dynamic uncertainty. It’s called Yes. So what, when you’re making choices in line after the fact, you’re looking at how it is today, and then you’re making the best decision for what to write today or for this week, on a shorter timeframe, you can make more correct decisions. If you’re making them moment in time, then you can as a starter, however, because we would have that to start with, we would have more data over time to then make decisions with later. And I hope that wasn’t too esoteric.

Joe Valley  36:22

It wasn’t I get it. Yeah, I’ve said 100 articles. But just for clarification purposes, that’s just a number. It could be 10, it could be 200. That are required. Is that correct?

Jeff Coyle  36:36

Yeah, in this scenario, it can be any number, um, the the, what would would you’d have is a situation where you want to be putting out the best user experience. You want to be following up on intent mismatches were. The problem with launching a whole site and then leaving it be is your site is creating intent mismatches. It’s creating a situation where you generate traffic for a word, and the page doesn’t follow through, because you can’t predict all those. So I need to be able to go back in update that page and create new ones based on live data to be able to do my best job if you just publish 100 and then leave it. Well what happens if your page starts performing well, for a term that the page doesn’t deliver on, people land on it, and they’re like, I don’t like this isn’t what I thought I was going to get. If I’m not allowed to change that situation, I’m not providing the best solution for users and my rankings are going to degrade over time. And so I have to, I have to have the ability to adjust on the fly, to create and also to look and see how I’ve done and do I need to adjust based on other uncertainty. And so that’s where the the there’s a flaw if you’re not continuously updating, or creating.

Joe Valley  38:04

So in an ideal world, world, launch them all at once, but continue to update those articles based upon what’s happening. And then maybe produce new articles on a regular basis based upon new needs and changes and dynamics.

Jeff Coyle  38:17

Absolutely the best possible scenario and also push push situations, you know, there’s some weird stuff that can happen in content sites, you can have a page that one day performs well for it’s so powerful that performs well for things that aren’t on the nose for intent. But then your whole site maybe degrades for one reason or another, something out of your control or whatever. Well, now those pages don’t perform except for the things that they are right on the nose for. So you have to be able to pivot and go create content that answers those users questions perfectly. That comes up a lot. Um, so if anyone that’s bought or sold, the site can watch this happen if they go in time, like their historical rankings. Ages go up and down. If you can go to that page and say, Yeah, well, this wasn’t the best page for that query anyway. You’ve, you felt what I’m talking about. Yeah. And that’s really the type of thing that I’m planning can bring is the revelations revelations that I know when when I published a site like that, I know I’m not covering everything. Um, there’s a lot more, I should be able to at least plan on what things might happen. So that I can, you know, move a move to a move to B. And then what the outcome is that your, your hit rates will be much higher. And that’s really the that’s really the best case. And then when you’re looking at historical sites, or you’re looking at sites to buy, I’m seeing how they, their velocity of content has changed. Over time, on what topics, whether they are, they stopped and started, you know, all those things can go into understanding them a lot better,

Joe Valley  40:10

you know, when it comes to, you know, somebody looking at sites to buy is that a service that MarketMuse provides is a review of that site showing the history of content stops and starts and strengths and weaknesses,

Jeff Coyle  40:22

it is something that we would deliver from a professional services side only. And it’s really just respectively, we’ve done them to do forensic audits, to fix problems historically, as well as done kind of evaluations of what does this mean, to me, a lot of times it manifests in competitive analysis, where someone’s got a competitor, they don’t know why it works the way it does, they don’t know. And what they’ll ask us to do is analyze that content site or site, get their entire universe of topics. And usually they want us to put their word list on their site, and say, Okay, well, XYZ site ranks really well, for all of these, you know, types of coffees, my content site doesn’t, you know, like, why, you know, so we’ll get into those types of discussions with typically, that’s a signal of somebody who’s on a more advanced team, when they’re, they’re creating content for themselves by considering competitors. Um, it’s a pretty advanced skill. But yeah, that’s where we would pop in, it’s a little bit more manual configuration. But it’s, it’s definitely a fun one, I annually stuff

Joe Valley  41:41

that sounds like it would help them, you know, understand the site that they’re buying their strengths and weaknesses, and gives them a roadmap to navigate the path that they need to go on to get it up to a certain ranking level. And, obviously, generate more revenue and eventually sell it again, or do it UN does, which is holding for other

Jeff Coyle  42:02

MS for a section to lean dissection to lean it. Yeah, as well. I mean, um, or maybe a false friend. Sometimes, uh, sometimes a pain, sometimes page, will a site will have a page or two, that ranks really well. Um, and it’s 80% of the traffic, or, and those are really big red flags. Yeah, very scary. So come up with how do I get out of that pickle? Or can I get out of that pickle? Um, because you could have an infrastructure of 100 pages, let’s just say, and they all do pretty well. And you got this one huge one out of left field that gets, that can be an okay, situation. It’s scary. But it shouldn’t be, you know, untenable, right? But you could have a situation where 95% of the traffic, I’ll give you a real example, a language management content site. 95% of the traffic went to one page that talks about expletives and other languages. Okay, I need to get yourself out of that pickle, right. Yeah. And so it’s not it’s off topic. It’s fringe. It’s, it’s odd. It’s not their typical alignment? How do you get out of that jam, and, or, you know, you have high performers that are in really high flux areas. So those are the types of things where I kind of love them, because I’m super nerdy, and into this, as you can see, but building infrastructure around those, those scary situations, I call them hands without arms, right? Building the arm around that hand, so that it has a link to your body is a key? And how do we build that infrastructure around it so that it’s not a business risk? And that can be a great thing? Because that can take a site where maybe that all those, those outlier pages were kind of devalued. And I can say, well, I know exactly how to get them into the power and turn them into assets instead of these weird, outlier, weirdos. And so those are the types of strategies that Oregon can say, wow, we really, really need to lean into this topic. And maybe shy away from that we should maybe we shouldn’t write about kitty cats anymore. Let’s focus on knitting, you know. And so those are all those types of situations are legitimate if you’re batting 100, you know, you’re bad and 10 out of 100 on one and 40 out of 100 on another. I mean, that can be a beautiful thing to know. So take away for anyone separate all their posts by topic and look at their efficiency rates. Look at the pages that have traffic by topic. Even just something that basic can get you started going whoa, when I write about Linux, I crush it when I read about Windows It stinks.

Joe Valley  45:01

But then we get easy to do. Right? I mean, is that is that a human labor project? Or is that a software project?

Jeff Coyle  45:09

Well, in our case is software. But I’m saying even if you don’t have software, it’s worth it to do it manually. I mean, in many cases it can be. But yeah, we we do it automatically. But it’s you can do it manually in like, pick a pick a list of them, depending on the amount of pages you have. But yeah, I would recommend if you don’t want to do the manual labour.

Joe Valley  45:30

I know what yet I’m not a super detail guy. That’s my wife’s area, I’m more of let’s get to the finish line as quickly as possible. So I’d have to do it automatically, as you just said, do this the other way.

Jeff Coyle  45:41

I could never do it. I could never go back to pay some matters again, as they say, No, never.

Joe Valley  45:47

This has been great. You know, as as you’ve been talking about this, I’ve just thought of all the conversations that I know, we’ve had a quiet light. And Chris is talking about you Mark talked about you but I’ve never, you know, fully understood. But Muse mind it does. It’s been very helpful. And I think back to my own content development days, think back to as I talked about the sunset, I bought, let’s see if you know the answer to so you’re ready, pop quiz. I bought a content site on March 1 2012. And I had, like, 42 amazing days with it. And then something happened. There was an update. What happened?

Jeff Coyle  46:30

Oh, gosh, that’s, it’s awesome. Yeah, it was either panda Penguin or Panda. Penguin. It was. Yeah, that was a Panda Panda was 2011. February, the original, the secondary rollout. So this was Penguin, penguin, the 2.0. So you got Slammer route for a link? Oh, wait.

Joe Valley  46:51

I got, I sold a great content site. It was an e-commerce business. But it was really built on content on the backs of it. And then I bought a piece of crap that was generating lots of cash flow, and had like six pages on the first page of Google, all with very, very bad link building practices. So I thought I knew everything because I’d had a great content slash e-commerce business. No easy. I got crushed 42 days and lost about $280,000 Within the first 12 months. Yeah, bad investment.

Jeff Coyle  47:27

Those are tough.

Joe Valley  47:28

Back then you weren’t there. You’re here today. So folks that are buying businesses check out MarketMuse minded if you’ve got one. And you want to take your content and your rankings to the next level reach out to Jeff Jeff how to folks connect with you

Jeff Coyle  47:42

anywhere MarketMuse. MarketMuse we have a free offering as well as a an offering that is low priced. If you want the more strategic side reach out to me [email protected] Also, Twitter Jeffrey_Coyle. I’m typically talking about really weird SEO stuff, content stuff, maybe a little beer floats in there every once in a while. And but yeah, I answer everything. We also have a Slack community called the content strategy collective, has 1500 of the world’s leading SEO and content strategist. If you’d like an invite for that, just shoot me a DM on Twitter. And I will send it to you. Thank you so much show. It’s been a pleasure. I know that. You know, all these stories every every one of these sites has one too many stories, and I love to hear them. So if you want to share details with me about your site, why you bought it when you bought it, what do you think you should do? You know, I love that stuff. So shoot in my way.

Joe Valley  48:47

Excellent. I highly recommend folks do that reach out to Jeff, and any of those places that he just had to reach out to and that Slack community sounds great. Thanks for time, Jeff. I

Jeff Coyle  48:57

appreciate it. Thanks, Joe.

Outro  49:00

today’s podcast was produced by Rise25 and the Quiet Light content team. If you have a suggestion for a future podcast, subject or guest, email us at [email protected] Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.

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