Appy Pie’s Content Marketing Strategy – All Revealed
Table of Content
- SEO Evolution – 2020
- Find the Right Topics
- On Page SEO
- Overall Content Optimization
- Blog Content Optimization
- Webpage Optimization
- Content Monetization
- Run Brand Campaigns
- Content Promotion
- Repurpose Content
- Guest posting
- Quora answering
- Give ‘no follow’ links to High Authority domains
- Feature top influencers in your content
In the past few years, content has proven itself to be the game changer. However, content by itself is powerless without an effective content marketing strategy in place. Every business, big or small that has an aspiration of a strong digital presence in their niche has had their own struggle.
Did you know that there are more than 2 million posts published every day, just from the WordPress platform? Imagine where this number stands when you include other platforms!
How do you think your content is going to perform in all that noise that surrounds it?
This is where content marketing comes into prominence.
SEO Evolution – 2020
The rules of SEO or Search Engine Optimization evolve continuously which is why some common pain points emerge for marketers. Whether it is about measuring the ROI of the content being churned out, struggle with ranking on targeted keywords or using the keywords in the correct fashion, SEO is the perfect solution.
The key thing here is to evolve your strategy with the changing paradigm of the SEO panorama.
Find the Right Topics
What you write about is of prime importance when it comes to the success of any content piece. You may have written a brilliant piece but if it is on a topic no one cares about, your efforts are going to go to waste. At Appy Pie, we make sure that the topic list is curated with utmost attention to the reading trends across industries, particularly in the target customer group that we cater to.
- Cluster for topics
- Understanding Pillar-Cluster Content Strategy
- How does the pillar-cluster strategy help with ranking?
- Why did we decide to use the Pillar-Cluster approach?
At Appy Pie, our intent is to create our presence all across any given topic. This is why, apart from looking for topics that are trending among our targeted readers, we structure our topics into clusters with a pillar post to tie them all together. This has given us a better result than creating a bunch of disconnected posts, even if they are great pieces on their own. This approach to creating topic clusters helps us grow the pool of keywords in an organic, relevant fashion. Additionally, this also lets Appy Pie be associated with certain desirable topics central to our offerings. The pillar-cluster approach to content creation has brought about a coherent structure.
For example, let us talk about app monetization. One of the biggest target groups for us are those who want to create an app for their business or other services. Now, one of their primary concerns is about making money from their app. Naturally “app monetization” is something we have been writing a lot about.
When you type in the term app monetization on Google you would see a list of suggestions in their autocomplete section like app monetization strategies, app monetization platforms, and app monetization models and for these top three suggestions, we have comprehensive blog posts that are doing pretty well!
The underlying idea behind this strategy is to make sure that you have deep and wide coverage for a number of relevant ideas thus creating a valuable coherent source of information in the form of interesting, interactive content.
Let us see how it actually happens. Your pillar post or page would include an overview or an outline of the topic at hand. We have created pillar pages for every topic that we want to focus on. Each of the cluster post is focused on a subtopic or a specific aspect of the pillar content and links back to the pillar page. The cluster posts are created in a manner that it focuses on a particular long-tail keyword related to the main topic we created the pillar page for. The most important thing to remember is that the pillar must link to each cluster post and each cluster post or page must link back to the pillar using the same word to hyperlink.
The one distinct advantage of following this strategy is that if even one of the cluster posts or pages performs well, it can, by extension improve the search rankings and performance of all the related pages that are linked to the same pillar page.
In order to get a good ranking in organic search for any broad topic, it is critically important that we build a robust information architecture and this strategy helped us achieve it. When we are creating cluster content pieces that have a razor-sharp focus on a specific topic, we are not only working towards improving our organic search ranking but are also consciously creating material that our target audience actually values.
Let’s say your core topic is “dessert recipes”. Naturally, you would be creating a pillar page with an overview on desserts and give a summarized information on the topic, but you would also create multiple cluster posts or pages with more focused subjects like “dessert recipes for diabetics” etc.
The pillar pages and its content are created with the intent of driving higher conversions. And when we build a cluster around the pillar, we let the search engine know that we are a rich information resource, thus lending higher level of authority to the pillar page and higher ranks in search results.
In this approach, we can divide our time between optimizing the pillar content for optimization and the cluster content for traffic. The advantage here is that we do not need to waste a lot of time and energy in optimizing each individual post like we did earlier.
The added advantage, of course is a more evolved user experience that sends out all the positive indications to the search engines through the beautifully structured site architecture.
Earlier, our blog architecture looked like the image below where there were unintended overlaps and repetitions.
Now that we are using the pillar-cluster approach, it looks like the image below. The cluster posts for each main topic is linked back to the pillar page, thus simplifying the overall architecture and the overall user experience.
On Page SEO
- Meta Titles & Meta Description
- Header Tags (H1 and H2)
- Alt Text
- Optimize content for Featured Snippets
- How to get your content on featured snippets?
- For the definition featured snippet, we keep it between 40-60 words and try to keep the question “What is…?” at the top, just before the definition.
- To optimize for the ordered list featured snippet, we structure the steps or listed items in a way that can easily be understood by Google. We wrap each step in H2 or H3 tag so that it is presented as a sub-header.
- For ordered lists, it is important to maintain consistency in the numbering. So, we take care that if we are numbering the first step as “1.” The next is not “#1” or vice versa. Consistency is key.
- Schema Markup
- Logo Schema
- Review/Rating Schema
- Video Schema
- FAQs Schema
- Add Engaging Infographics
- Mobile/AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages
- TTFB (Time To First Byte) or Performance
Once you know the topic that you are going to write on, the next step in the process is to find the right keywords that must be used organically all through the content on the page, so that people who are looking for content on search engines can find their way through to your content without trouble.
However, if you have been doing this for some time, you must know that stuffing keywords without any reason or purely with the intent of getting ranked higher can only result in penalties from the search engine itself. Also, even if you do manage to rank high, how do you think the readers are going to feel once they land on your page if all they see is meaningless string of keywords put together without much value in the content! Disappointed, right?
To look for the right keywords for any topic, we, at Appy Pie use ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner. These tools, when used intelligently can give you an overview of what kind of information people are looking for. Not only can keywords help your content rank better but can even help you shape your content so that it answers just the questions that your target audience is asking.
The meta titles and meta description help the search engines understand the content on the page. The title tag and the meta description show up with the page when it appears in the search results. The screenshot below shows our title tag and our meta description. The point is to include the right keywords in these sections so that the search engine can understand what the page contains and when someone is searching for those keywords, Appy Pie’s page pops up.
Header tags extend from H1 up to H6, but we find H1 and H2 tags are the most important ones. Following is an example of how we use H1 and H2 tags on our pages.
As you can see the H1 tag includes our targeted keywords that are not only relevant to the title but also to the rest of the content on the page. The H2 tag or the subheading contains keywords that are similar to our H1 tag.
H1 tag – App builder to make your app without coding
H2 tag – No code app maker that lets anyone build Android &iPhone apps in 3 easy steps.
The H1 tag on the page is indicative of the larger theme of the entire page and has the broader keywords. The H2 tag is used as a subheading which further zooms in on the finer details and covers more specific keywords that we target. These header tags are critical in gaining higher search rankings and must be crafted only after multiple tests.
Alternative text is known by many names – Alt Text, Alt Attributes, Alt Descriptions, or even Alt Tags (I know the techies would cringe at this, as it isn’t technically correct). Adding alternative text to your photos takes care of web accessibility, helping the visually impaired understand what your image is. Apart from that, alt text is handy in case your image doesn’t load, and most importantly (from an SEO point of view) offers better image context to the search engine crawlers thus letting them index your images accurately. Here is an example of how we add Alt Text on our website.
When you search for some specific keywords, you must have seen a certain amount of text or numbered lists or bullet points come up at the top of the search in a box. This is what we call featured snippets. These are offered by Google as answers to the queries put forth by a searcher.
There are two big benefits that we get from our featured snippets from the SEO perspective. One, as the snippet appears above the rest of the search results, we definitely enjoy more clicks even if we don’t rank particularly high for that particular keyword. Two, our no click searches have skyrocketed due to featured snippets. This is particularly true when we get a definition or paragraph featured snippet.
Here’s an example of Appy Pie’s featured snippet in the definition box.
Ordered list featured snippets are those that typically show a list of items in a particular order, for example a set of steps. Here’s an example of our ordered list featured snippet on How to create a Church App:
Unordered list featured snippets show a list of things that need not be in any particular order. For example, here is Appy Pie’s list of mobile ad networks for app monetization which is not in any particular order. It is simply a list.
First, we begin by looking for a search results page that has an existing featured snippet because that means, Google prefers showing a featured snippet for the search term. Once we know there is a featured snippet opportunity, we then study the type of snippet Google is showing.
While it can be done manually, we use Ahrefs to find the keywords that have a featured snippet opportunity.
Points to remember while optimizing for featured snippets:
Schema Markup is/are code piece(s) that you can add to your website in order to help the search engines come up with more informative and accurate results for the users. There are multiple types of schemas that can help you show up on relevant search results. Let’s take a look at the different types of Schema we employ at Appy Pie.
Google now supports schema.org markup language for company logos. This means that you can add a piece of code to your website which tells Google which image on your website is the logo. So, when anyone searches for Appy Pie the search results automatically return the company logo in the results.
As you can see in the screenshot below, by applying the Review/Rating Schema, we showcase our overall ratings given by our users and the number of reviews we have received. This not only tells a prospect about the kind of experience our users have had with us, but also how popular we are with them.
By applying video schema we are able to showcase our videos right next to our search result. This definitely helps us with out rankings. Also, it is a universal fact that videos get more clicks and better conversions, so we are definitely enjoying greater CTRs as well.
Ours is a do-it-yourself tech product that lets everyone build their own applications, irrespective of their technical knowledge or experience. It is natural that there are multiple questions surrounding the product! This is why we apply FAQ Schema like you can see in the example below.
As a technology product, it is natural that the content we are putting out may sometimes get a little heavy to consume. This is where infographics come into play. Not only do they attract the reader’s attention, but even hold it for a long time. Here is an example of an infographic we implemented on our Android App Builder page.
AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages help speed up your web pages by serving your content out of Google cache. As the link is already available to Google, the users enjoy faster loading which elevates their overall experience.
Time To First Byte is a measure of responsiveness of a webserver or any other network resource. Simply put, TTFB is the time duration between the user making an HTTP request and the first byte being received by their browser. We use WEBPAGETEST to check our TTFB.
Overall Content Optimization
Not only is it important to create great quality content, but it is equally (if not more) important to optimize it for higher searchability. Let’s take a look at the points we keep in mind while optimizing our content.
- Image Optimization
- Embed Videos
- Relevant FAQs
- Make it mobile friendly
- Thin & templated content
- No 404 and 301 URLs in XML sitemaps
- Crawl Budget/Log File Analysis
- Orphan Links
- Clean all redirect chains
- Remove Unnecessary Redirects
- Broken Links
CTAs or Call to Actions are very important. Most of the time, when we want our site visitors to take an action, all we have to do is tell them to do so. Whether it is a web page or one of our blog posts, we have seen that including a CTA in our content brings us greater conversions.
Check out these examples of some our most effective CTAs!
Images form an important part of our content and the quality and attributes of the image play an equally important in how the page performs. Not only do we have to make sure that the image is designed well and is relevant to the subject in question, but also think about the size of the image and its impact on the page load speeds, searchability etc.
While placing this image on our blog post about best graphic design software, we not only made sure that the screenshot was of the perfect resolution, but also took care that we resized it without affecting the image quality.
Any type of visual content, particularly videos get rapt attention from site visitors. Not only are they a great way to engage the visitors, but also very effective when it comes to putting across information in a consumable format.
At Appy Pie we make sure that our visitors get a quick peek at what the content on the page is all about. Check out a few examples here.
FAQs or frequently asked questions that are related to the main topic or content on any page, add value for the visitor. Our customers or prospects who end up on any particular page get clear answers to all the questions around the subject.
Apart from elevating the overall user experience, it also sends out indication to the search engine that the page comprehensively covers the topic and has great value for a visitor.
Most of the world today, is consuming information on their smartphones. It is one of our top priorities to ensure that our content is optimized for mobile devices. This, not only increases user engagement by offering a great user experience, but also indicates to the search engines that the website is a quality website. This is how our website looks like on a desktop and on a mobile screen.
At Appy Pie we make sure that our website is optimized for mobile devices, this is how our website looks on mobile devices.
One of the worst things to happen to any web page is for it to have too little content or content that is templated. These pages are a source of disappointment to any reader who may end up on the page and do not find much of value.
This is why the search engines also penalize such pages.
Upon a detailed audit, we realized that the site had more than 55% templated content. This is when we started working on our thin content pages, either deleting thousands of them or making them robust. We also blocked several of these pages from robots. After several months of work on this now we have brought it down to about 32%.
When it comes to technical SEO, one of the most important aspects here is the XML sitemap. Some of the SEOs have been known to ignore its importance and simply upload sitemaps generated by a tool. This can prove to be quite problematic eventually.
Upon analyzing our sitemaps, we discovered more than 7,800 redirected and broken links on our website. Once we had this concerning picture in front of us, we updated our sitemaps and removed the 301 and 404 URLs from all the sitemaps.
This is the most important file for crawlers as it tells the search engine crawlers which pages from your site can or can’t be requested for crawling. It is critically important to keep this file updated. To optimize our crawl budget, we blocked numerous unwanted pages from robots by blocking /w, /game-arcade/,JP, CN, RU, NL, /html5.
Crawl budget is the number of pages Google crawls on your site on any given day. Now, upon analysis of our log files using Botify, we observed that more than 250,000 pages were eating into our crawl budget. So, we blocked our marketplace and html5 URLs from robots.txt file in order to optimize our crawl budgets.
An orphan link is a hyperlink that points to a webpage that has either been deleted or removed. We found numerous orphan links on our website and to take care of them, creates a weekly activity plan to create internal links for all the pages.
Redirect chains that form over a period of time on websites can sometimes have 2, 3, or 4 redirects in them. Even our site was afflicted with multiple redirects and chains of redirects in it. In fact, we found more than 5,100 pages that had 2, 3, or 4 redirect loops. Once we cleaned up all these redirect loops and it helped with the optimization of our crawl budget.
Apart from the redirect chains, it is important to keep an eye on unnecessary redirects. When we ran an audit on the number of redirects, the number was more than 2500. From this alarming number we have removed more than 1500 redirects that were unnecessary and have deleted those pages. This helped us bring down the number of non-compliant URLs.
We talked about the importance of internal linking in our pillar-cluster strategy, however this can backfire if these internal links are broken. While auditing our site, we found more than 82,000 broken links on the website. We removed and replaced all these broken links.
Blog Content Optimization
Blogs form a critical component in any robust content marketing strategy. This is why everyone, big or small, is coming up with a blog to support their content marketing efforts. Did you know that there are over 600 million blogs in the world today? How many of them, do you think are doing as well as they would like to?
Simply creating great content is not enough, it is important to optimize all that content to increase the likelihood of it ranking higher and getting all the visibility you want. Here are a few things that we make sure to include
- Create evergreen content
- Analyze competitor articles and create something of greater value
- Encourage interaction using questions
- Update old posts to avoid Content Decay
Evergreen content is that which doesn’t lose relevance with the passage of time. A piece of content can only be evergreen if it is written on a topic that is always of relevance to the readers. On Appy Pie we have created multiple such pieces. Let’s take a quick look.
App monetization or “How to make money from apps” is one such topic that will always intrigue our clients and prospects alike, irrespective of what’s trending!
Now content on this blog must also be written in a way that it stays relevant. The ways to make money from an app, have stayed the same which means that over a period of time, we have had to make minimal changes to the content. This saves us a lot of time, and since Google offers only relevant answers to people’s search queries, the evergreen content has higher chances of ranking better.
This is a general rule of thumb. When you are creating content, it pays to do a quick competitor research and see what they are doing with their content. This is where tools like Buzzsumo come in handy. However, the idea here is to make sure that you find the gaps in their strategy and content. One of the techniques we adapt here is the skyscraper technique. This technique applies best to the listicle format where we showcase a numbered list of products, tools, or tips. Here’s what we did for one of our posts.
After research about tips and ways to promote an app, we discovered that the highest number that any post had was 65. So, we did a little bit of research, dug into the experience of our marketing team, and came up with 70 ways to promote an app.
Engagement and interaction through your content is important, not only because it gets your visitors to hang around and even come back later to add their opinions in the form of comments or while sharing it on social media. Here’s an example.
It is critical that you keep creating new content with great value and it is equally important to pay attention to the older content on your website, particularly blog posts. Blog posts, even the ones that are traffic pullers, tend to lose relevance and sometimes go down in terms of the traffic they are getting. Hence, it is important that you keep going back to such posts and refresh their content, add value to them and make it more relevant.
This is one strategy that has paid off for us in a big way, as you can see in the screenshot above.
- Multilingual Pages
- Canonical tags
- Webpage Optimization
- Pages should load fast
As a business with a global presence, Appy Pie needs to ensure that there is ample content that is localized according to the geography of the clientele. Let’s say, if we want to sell to people in Brazil, and all our content is in English, what do you think will happen? Naturally, the Portuguese speaking population will not be able to make sense of it, and simply leave.
To prevent that from happening, we ensure that all our pages, including blogs, informative FAQs and even video tutorials are translated into the local language as per geography.
A canonical tag tells the search engine that a certain URL is the master copy of a page. When we use the canonical tag accurately, it eliminates the occurrence of issues that may crop up due to identical or duplicate content on multiple URLs.
This code above indicates that whichever page this tag appears on must be treated as a duplicate of the specified URL.
During our audit, it came to our notice that we were facing multi canonical and wrong canonical issues on multiple pages. It is because of wrong canonical tags that many of our pages were non-indexable. We thus removed or corrected the canonicals wherever appropriate so that our pages could be indexed properly, and it worked!
There are certain factors that influence the searchability and ranking of the webpage. It is for this reason that each of the page be optimized for better results.
This is a no brainer. Every action taken on the page must be taken, while keeping in mind the impact it may have over the page speed. Not only does the speed of the page have an impact on the searchability and search rankings, but also on user retention. A page that loads slow will only disappoint a visitor, who will simply abandon the page, to never come back.
Content monetization is the other end of the spectrum, still closely related to content marketing. As you are making all the buzz you can with marketing, monetization brings in the money. Simply put, content marketing is done with the intent to bring in customers and content monetization aims at making money from them. The thread that connects the two is – content.
At Appy Pie we have a bouquet of no-code business solutions and we ensure that the blog that we put out is drafted in a manner that leads them to at least one (if not more) of the products we offer.
For example in the screenshot below, you can see that while talking about our knowledge base software, we are giving the reader information and an opportunity to check out a relevant product – Appy Pie AppMakr.
Similarly, we make sure that as we close or conclude the blog, we are adding a Call To Action or CTA to nudge the readers into taking an action and trying out our products.
Run Brand Campaigns
Brand campaigns or branded campaigns are online ad campaigns that work by coming up as ads whenever a consumer searches for your brand.
Though this may seem a little futile to run campaigns for people who already know your brand name, there are some definite plus sides to it. The biggest advantage of running brand campaigns is an impressive improvement in brand query volume.
Though users may be aware of our brand, it doesn’t mean they will always remember to look for us when they need our products. Running a brand campaign ensures a stronger brand recollection. Hence, it is Appy Pie they remember when they finally make their purchase decision.
Appy Pie has an active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest. Once we have a piece of amazing content on our hands, we make sure that everyone gets to read it! At Appy Pie we rely on tools like zest.is, Taboola, and Outbrain for our content promotion endeavors.
In the screenshot below, you can see how we created a social media post around a blog we wrote about helpdesk ticketing software.
Any long form content that we create whether it is in the form of a blog post or video, is then repurposed and then put up on multiple platforms. To make it easier to understand, let’s talk about our learning platform – Academy.
Academy wouldn’t have gotten so popular just by creating courses one after the other and keeping them tucked neatly on just the one platform. Instead we put up individual lessons from the courses on pages where it was relevant.
Apart from this, we also create social media posts using the videos or tutorials we make for our customers. This helps us leverage the content to its full potential and put it in front of a bigger audience. This one is a lesson from one of the most popular courses on Appy Pie Academy – How to become an Amazon Affiliate?
Guest posting both ways is effective in the larger scheme of things when it comes to content marketing. As an effort to put more of our content out there and gain greater exposure, we often create guest posts that are published on other platforms and invite industry experts to write on our blog.
As Charlene is an expert in the field of market research, she naturally had a lot of value to offer in the blog that she drafted for us. All that remained for us was to tweak it a little and make it a little more relvant for our audience.
Similarly, our expertise lies in mobile app development, small business solutions, no code applications and digital trends. This is the field where we have a lot of content to offer, and we do! We have contributed to multiple reputable websites like Hackernoon, Cointelgraph, and CCBill among others.
Quora has become the leading question-and-answer globally where anyone who has internet can ask a question, answer a question, follow a thread of Q&A, and even edit the answers.
Armed with a business account on Quora, our team scouts for questions on relevant topics where we hold expertise and offer answers of great value not only to those who ask the question, but to any reader who may be interested.
Give ‘no follow’ links to High Authority domains
While writing content, there will always be peripheral things that your readers must know about. However, you cannot accommodate all that information on your own page. This is where no follow links to high authority pages can come in handy. For example, we would love you to go through this brilliant Wikipedia page on nofollow to understand what we are talking about.
Here’s an example of how we have used it on one of our pages.
Feature top influencers in your content
Influencers help boost the velocity & volume of the content consumption organically. Involve influencers in your awesome content’s journey by featuring a few thought-leaders on the topic. Mention these guys in your content or reach out to them on social media and let them know about the awesomeness of your content that their followers would really love.
Here’s how we did it!
And this encouraged retweets from the influencers like this
The most important thing to remember while designing your content strategy is that it is people who are searching for your content, not search engines. Hence, it is important that you create content and market it while keeping in mind the readers, what they are looking for, what they want to know, and what they want to see.
Writing great content that everyone wants to read is only half the job. It is only with a robust content marketing strategy that you would be able to place your content where it belongs – in front of your customers and prospects.