Content Development SEO Case Study: A Shoe Mystery


Why is my post so popular? And why don’t visitors stick around?

Content development SEO turns the average writer or editor into something like a modern Sherlock Holmes. But instead of sleuthing from 221B Baker Street, most of us use Google Analytics. And instead of murders, our mysteries uncover missed opportunities for building traffic, helping visitors, and converting leads. Our content development team solved an SEO whodunit recently, and we thought we’d share it as a case study to support your own search engine optimization efforts.

The Mystery

Many of our most popular posts are about technical topics like SCORM and AICC elearning standards, writing in Chicago and AP style, and developing training using Blooms taxonomy. But this post was different.

What Should Women Wear to an Interview? is not a technical topic, but there it was near the top of our list of landing pages. Why was it so popular? And why was the bounce rate so high?

Most importantly, how could we capitalize on the page’s successes and fix its problems?

The Investigation

According to our Google Analytics Search Console, the article in question routinely earned thousands of impressions in organic Google search results. It also earned a statistically significant percentage of our total clicks. Unfortunately, the article also had one of the highest bounce rates on our site. Basically, visitors were checking out the page, but leaving almost immediately. That spelled missed opportunities.

Our first instinct, of course, was to look at the page itself. Why were people leaving? Several clues were obvious:

  • Our staffing team said that the content was out of date. The post was written a few years ago, and the original author’s traditional style of dress was no longer considered fashionable.
  • The page was boring. There were zero graphics, and the text didn’t have much visual variation.
  • There were no links to other pages on our site. Visitors could only navigate to more content using the sidebar or the top level menu.

Our team immediately got to work. A female subject matter expert on our staffing team provided unbiased, updated notes on what sort of look inspires respect during an interview. One of our editors—another woman—turned the notes into a fresh article. We created a new Pinterest board with interview clothing ideas. Finally, just before going live, we decided to do one more deep dive into the analytics to make sure we’d chosen the right keywords. That’s when the real breakthrough came.

About 93% of our impressions, and 99% of clicks, came on search terms with some variation of the word “shoe.” Visitors were finding our webpage because they were looking for the right shoes to wear to an interview! Armed with this new clue, we went to work again to improve our content development SEO.

The Content Development SEO

The shoe insight was a significant lead. Our content development team drew up a new plan of action in five parts.

1. Metadata

We integrated the keyword “interview shoes” into our meta description. The meta description typically becomes the page summary that shows up in search results. This would make our site more appealing to the many searchers evidently looking for interview footwear. We also simplified the page title to draw more attention to the most important words. The critical metric is click through rate (CTR), or how many of our impressions become clicks.

Content Development SEO Example - Meta Description in Google Search Results
Adding keywords to the meta description may entice Google searchers to click your link.

2. Keywords

Content development SEO experts say that, nowadays, verbatim keywords are not as important as they used to be. The focus is on providing quality content. While we did incorporate the keyword “interview shoes” a few times, we didn’t stop there. We gave shoes a prominent place on the page with its own heading and an interview shoes Pinterest board. This isn’t keyword stuffing; it’s providing the content that our audience demands. The critical metrics are average search position ranking and bounce rate.

3. Content

Visitors wanted to learn what shoes to wear to an interview. The original post only made passing reference to shoes. We rewrote that section with an entire paragraph of dedicated shoe content. We also made it easier for visitors to find the content by adding a header containing the focus keyword. We placed an anchor link in the first paragraph to help visitors find their way down to the shoe content. Finally, we embedded the Interview Shoes pin board to supply relevant photos, which are the easiest way to catch a visitor’s eye. The critical metric is average time on page, one of the best ways to measure engagement.

4. Links

Our company mission is to put people to work. We share job hunting tips to help qualified people get great jobs. Visitors to an article about dressing for an interview may also benefit from articles about interview questions and job search mistakes. We added links to this other content right into the text of our post. The critical metric is pages per session as a measure of engagement.

5. Calls to Action

We also added links to our job list as a main call to action at the end of the post. We can track visitors who create new job profiles on our job board. This supports our tactical business objective of gathering qualified candidates for our staffing services. We also invited visitors to follow our blog and our Pinterest boards. The critical metrics are goal completion conversions, social follows, and blog subscriptions.

Body links connect visitors to helpful content, and calls to action support tactical business goals.

Case Closed

After our writers finished implementing these changes, we immediately began to see signs that our content development SEO was paying off. Our critical metrics began to improve. Our visitor engagement increased because we listened to our fans and gave them the information they wanted. Creating online messaging requires two skills: writing for the web and content development SEO. When you’re good at both, you can solve all kinds of analytics mysteries. Deduction and implementation take practice, but in the end, web content development is elementary.

Do you have a web mystery to solve?

Leave a Reply