Content marketing benchmark report

Animalz recently published their content marketing benchmark report: internal links matter, backlinks come from 'linkable' content, thinking about searcher intent matters for high performing content

I love the content that Animalz put out. I think it's really strong, authoritative stuff. They just released their Content Marketing Benchmark Report for 2020. And it makes for great reading.

Here are three big takeaways for me:

  1. Internal links matter
  2. Backlinks come from 'linkable' content
  3. Thinking about searcher intent matters for high performing content

Internal links matter

A little while ago, someone showed me a copy of Kevin Indig's Microsites 2.0 presentation.

What really struck me about that presentation is the concept of creating massive numbers of relevant internal links between articles and resources on a site.

And when you think about how that looks in reality, you're actually creating topical depth.

It's not about just generating links for the sake of it: the idea is to keep people on the same page for as long as possible.

It's nice to have some data to back up those assumptions. And because I've just spent a bunch of time rebuilding our site to accommodate this more effectively, I found this paragraph from the Content Marketing Benchmark Report particularl compelling:

This is what a hub-and-spoke looks like in graph form. The giant circle is their Guide to Mobile Analytics. It has 86 links from other blog posts. And guess what—Amplitude is #1 for “mobile analytics.” It is regrettable to see that most articles in our dataset have zero links because internal linking works. If you want to rank well for a specific short-tail keyword, better internal linking is an easy step you can take to tell Google what you are all about.

Backlinks come from 'linkable' content

Does it seem obvious that backlinks come from linkable content? Yes.

Do people live that way? No. And it's why I get a million emails a day requesting backlinks to things that are totally unoriginal.

Instead, creating content that actually matters and is original, useful and insightful is the best strategy.

Here's an example from Animalz:

In fact, we have our own example to share. When BLUF: The Military Standard That Can Make Your Writing More Powerful went viral on Hacker News, the ensuing deluge of 120 referring domains triggered a permanent step change in our website traffic. The blog grew by 30,000 pageviews that month—growth that we’ve sustained and built on every month since.

I can also attest to this.

In May this year, we had a major growth in backlinks – all earned legitimately obvs. Caused by this rare event – in case you were wondering.

We went from 198 backlinks to 313 within one month.

And it had a huge impact on our search performance.

Here's the graph showing the impact of May's boom in backlinks:

Backlink impact on organic search

Takeaway here is that creating linkable content serves a purpose: generating links. Duh.

For some finesse here though, I really enjoyed seeing Animalz' break down of the different kinds of content they're seeing vs. their purposes:

Animalz' chart on purposes of content

Thinking about searcher intent matters for high performing content

Echoing the above, the importance of internal linking shouldn't be understated.

Keeping people on your site for as long as you can is important. But it's keeping them on your site for as long is useful for them that actually matters.

Here's Animalz:

The median bounce rate across the dataset was 80.33%. Put another way, four out of five readers left after just one article.

That bounce rate doesn't exactly surprise, but it is surprising more people don't do something to attempt to keep people on the site.

What could you do?

  • Add relevant links to internal content that goes deeper into a topic
  • Add 'Read this next' style CTAs in the post body or footer
  • Offer genuine 'to-do' tasks on your article that encourage visitors to interact with your product in some way – we provide survey templates in the body of articles at doopoll. This has a good impact on account signups.
Here's another link to the original thing. Check it out.

Key Takeaways

October 21, 2020

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