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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Why I Spend $16,302 Each Month Producing Content That Google Won’t Rank

Why I Spend $16,302 Each Month Producing Content That Google Won’t Rank

neil patel content strategy
When you do a Google search, what do you see?
Lists of websites, maybe an answer to your question, some images, some ads that you usually ignore, and even some products that you can buy.
There are tons of different types of content you see when you do a Google search.
But what’s one form of content that you barely see on Google?
Well, technically two forms of content.
It’s video and audio content.
Whenever you perform a Google search, it’s rare to see videos or audio files that rank high on page 1.
So the question I get all the time: Why would I spend $16,302 a month on audio and video content that Google won’t rank?
But before I answer that, let’s first run through all of the numbers.
You’ll probably think I am crazy at first, but hopefully, it will all make sense in the end. 😉

How much do I spend on content?

Let’s do a quick run-down of my content expenses.
I spent $2,144 last month on my podcast, Marketing School (studio time, editing, hosting, and I ran a few podcast advertising experiments).
And I spent $14,158 last month on my video series, Neil Knowledge, to produce educational marketing content for you (studio time, editing, optimization services, and video ad experiments).
As for text-based content, I spent $0 last month. Technically, the content is free because I’m writing it.
Now let’s look at how much content I create each month…

How much content do I create?

My podcast is daily.
Every single day… even on holidays.
That means I am releasing roughly 30 episodes per month. Each episode is about 5 minutes long, which means 180 minutes worth of audio content per month on average.
As for my videos, I try to keep them around 6 minutes long and I release videos every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
I’m producing 12 videos per month, about 72 minutes of video-based content.
And as for blog posts, I write once per week. I try to keep each blog post to around 2,000 words (the average blog post that ranks on page 1 of Google is 1,890 words), and it takes around 4 minutes to read my posts.
This means I produce roughly 16 minutes of text-based content per month.
Now let’s look at how much time I spend to create each type of content.

How much time do I spend on content marketing?

I record my podcast in batches.
Typically, we record 20 episodes at a time.
It takes me about 30 minutes to get to the recording studio and 50 minutes to get back home. I have no idea why, but it always takes longer to get back home…
And even though each episode is 5 minutes long, it takes roughly an hour to come up with a list of 20 topic ideas and 3 hours to record them all (including setup time).
In general, to produce my 30 monthly episodes, it takes roughly 465 minutes or 7.75 hours.
As for videos, it takes 45 minutes to get to the studio and 45 minutes to get back home. I can typically record a whole month’s worth of videos in 1 session (12 videos).
It takes me an hour to come up with video topics and ideas.
And as for studio time, I can finish shooting in 2.5 hours (I don’t script anything, and I typically just do everything in 1 take).
So, to create 12 videos a month it takes me roughly 5 hours.
Last but not least, it takes me no more than 2 hours to write a blog post.
From coming up with the idea to writing it all down to then adding it to WordPress (I blog in Microsoft Word). This means I spend 8 hours a month blogging, considering that I blog once a week.
Now as a quick recap, here’s how much time it takes to produce each form of content:
  • Podcasts – 7.75 hours per month
  • Videos – 5 hours per month
  • Blog posts – 8 hours per month
And here’s how much traffic each form of content gets from Google:

What content does Google prefer?

If you look at the image below, you’ll see that I got 785,991 visitors from organic Google search last month.
neil patel search traffic
Can you guess what portion of that search traffic came from the audio or video content?
A big… fat… ZERO
Well, technically I’ve blocked Google from crawling my audio and video files. But it wasn’t always that way. I used to have a page dedicated to my podcast on NeilPatel.com and it used to generate 32,670 pageviews per month.
podcast traffic
But out of those pageviews, only 5,386 came from Google.
podcast search
I tried everything.
From adding transcription text to each podcast episode to generating social shares to even writing a unique synopsis for each episode. I even built links to some of my episodes.
No matter what I did, I couldn’t get my podcast episodes to rank well.
And the content wasn’t the issue either!
Marketing School has raving reviews on iTunes and the average time on site for a Google visitor who found the podcast was 2 minutes and 26 seconds, which you can see in the screenshot above.
Even my bounce rate was only 18.44%. This just shows that people didn’t have issues with the content.
Now, let’s look at the stats from my old video page that no longer exists:
video traffic
As you can see, my videos were generating 66,910 pageviews a month. That’s with an average time on page of 3 minutes and 17 seconds and a bounce rate of only 15.47%.
Now if you look at the video traffic I generated from Google, the numbers weren’t as bad as the podcast.
video search traffic
I generated 12,261 pageviews from Google to my videos and those users had an average time on page of 2 minutes and 32 seconds. The bounce rate was 20.91%, which wasn’t too bad either.
Now with the videos, I did something a bit different compared to the podcast.
I allowed users to add comments. That helps create more unique content.
The videos were also easier to generate social shares by 72 extra shares on average over the audio content.
Now don’t get me wrong. I know an extra 5,386 and 12,261 pageviews per month aren’t too bad.
But considering that my blog generated 2,916,724 pageviews last month, the numbers were insignificant.
For that reason, I blocked Google from indexing those pages, and now I get 0 search visitors for my audio and video content.
If you’re curious about why I wouldn’t want the extra traffic, my approach to SEO is to allow the content Google really enjoys being indexed.
And the content Google doesn’t care for I block because I don’t want my site to be diluted in the eyes of Google.
Now that you can see how podcast and videos generate less search traffic, you’re probably wondering why I spend so much time creating those forms of content.

Why Neil, why?

The reason I spend so much time and money creating podcasts and videos is because the text-based content doesn’t create a strong emotional connection between website visitors and you (or your brand).
Even though Google doesn’t care to rank audio and video files as high, those two content types will help build a connection with your audience.
Just to give you an idea, video content increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%.
That’s huge!
Plus, even though Google doesn’t like audio and video content, it doesn’t mean you can’t generate traffic in other ways.
Here are my podcast stats from last month.
libsyn stats
I know Libsyn is showing 681,972 listens, but it is off. I doubt the real number is that high and Libsyn doesn’t report how engaged each listener is.
Plus, I don’t know how many unique listens I’m generating as I bet many of you listen to multiple episodes each month.
As for my videos, the stats are even better.
First of all, I dominate YouTube when it comes to search rankings.
I rank number 1 for terms like “SEO”.
youtube rankings
I also generated over 1,804,705 minutes of watch time and 958,274 views for the month of May.
youtube stats
And those stats are just from YouTube.
When you drill into the stats, you’ll see that I am generating anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 visits a day just from YouTube search.
youtube search
And I’m not just doing well with my videos on YouTube.
Facebook does pretty well for me, and I’m crushing it on LinkedIn.
facebook stats
linkedin stats
Facebook and LinkedIn count video views differently than YouTube. They autoplay videos so the count is inflated, while YouTube won’t count someone as a view if they watch a video for only 1 second.
Either way, I’m building tons of brand awareness and trust that I wouldn’t be able to build if I just stuck with text-based content.

Conclusion

When I started my career in marketing, you could build a business off of just Google traffic.
Heck, it was the main way to generate traffic, leads, and sales because sites like Facebook and YouTube didn’t exist.
Today, not only do those sites exist, but it’s become easier to create businesses online. That means there is more competition for you, which will make it harder to market your business.
But here is what they don’t tell you… although marketing is becoming more competitive, it’s also becoming easier at the same time.
Yes, there are more people who now use the Internet, but that’s not what I am talking about…
Sites like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn are competing for your eyeballs, which means marketers benefit.
Here’s what I mean… Facebook and LinkedIn both want a piece of YouTube’s market share.
So, in order to get you to upload more videos to their platform, they have to incentivize you as the content creator.
So, what do they do?
They tweak their algorithms to give more preference (or views) to videos so it encourages content creators to upload their content.
This won’t last forever, but you should leverage it as long as it will last.
As a marketer, you need to look for which companies are fighting for your attention. Right now, most of the social networks are because they are all heavily competing with each other.
Keep looking for who’s competing for your attention because that’s where you can get the biggest wins.
Plus, we all know it’s easier to create text-based content than it is to create video or audio content.
This means you are going to have more competition on Google than you will on platforms that prefer audio and video.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have an excuse for not starting a podcast or creating videos… you have a smartphone, so pull it out, start filming, and upload it online.
Once you create audio and video content, you need to keep in mind that making these strategies popular isn’t the same as it is with text-based content.
This post here breaks down how to leverage YouTube, and this article breaks down how to make your podcast popular.
Lastly, if I still haven’t convinced you to create more videos and audio files, here are 3 last pieces of data for you:
  1. It takes roughly 90 days to reach the top of page 2 on Google. YouTube on the other hand mainly ranks videos based on their performance within the first 24 hours of it being live. In other words, you rank at the top of YouTube within days instead of months.
  2. There are roughly 525,000 active podcasts, while there are over 1.8 billion websites. In other words, you’ll have less competition getting listens to your podcast than you would getting views to your website.
  3. There are more mobile devices in the world than there are people. People are using these mobile devices more than their computer, hence 60% of Google seaesourcerches take place on a mobile device. And we all know that it’s easier to watch a video or listen to audio on your mobile device than it is to read text on a tiny screen.
So are you going to start a podcast and upload more videos to the social web?

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