Neil Patel says the biggest traffic gains this year will come through making what’s old new again

Neil Patel Digital B2B
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Once a week — usually on Saturdays, with his wife complaining in the background that this is supposed to be family time — Neil Patel writes the kind of blog posts that get noticed by marketers from almost every sector.

Behind the scenes, however, his team at Neil Patel Digital is busily updating an average of 90 pre-existing blog posts every month, attracting search engines like Google to give them a second look and, consequently, more traffic to some of his oldest content.

The emphasis on repurposing content rather than simply create more is one of the most overlooked opportunities for brands in 2019, Patel told Uberflip’s Conex event on Wednesday. That’s because, despite making more than 3,200 changes to its algorithms over the past year, Google hasn’t been doing as good a job of indexing older content, he said, contributing to a decline in traffic to what were once viral blog posts.

“Everyone look at your analytics and believe me, you will see that,” Patel told the Conex crowd. “Do you understand why I get five million visitors (a month) now?”

Besides simply adding new details or facts to posts, however, Patel suggested there were other ways to repurpose that many brands fail to recognize. This includes translations, which he said accounted for close to a 30 per cent jump in traffic among some firms, transcribing content from podcasts or simply re-publishing content from a blog to sources like LinkedIn and Medium.

Of course, determining the return on investment (ROI) for any kind of content marketing has always been difficult, but charts in Patel’s presentation suggested blogs continue to be where close to 25 per cent of customers discover a brand, and more than 56 per cent find companies land on blog posts versus product pages or landing pages.

Even the best blog posts need to be distributed, of course, and Patel suggested some ideas the went beyond the traditional newsletter. These included creating paid ads that drove to a blog post instead of a product or landing page, and push notifications, which alert his audience the most his team hits “publish.” The latter tactic has been growing faster than e-mail conversions.

“It will overtake it this year,” he predicted, adding later that more firms need to make use of “lead magnets” such as free ebooks and quizzes to reach their targets. “Conventional CRO isn’t going to work anymore.”

Given his stature in the marketing community, it might relieve some people to know that Patel faces the same struggles in terms of keeping up with the rules of various platforms. While he said comments were a key way to drive traffic on things like videos, for example, services like YouTube eventually began making it difficult to get them simply by asking viewers to comment once they’d finished watching. Patel said he eventually tried asking “Yes/No” questions until that didn’t work either, then became even more subtle.

“Now I’ll say something like, ‘Let me know,’” he said. “It’s asking without really seeming like you’re asking.”

If more brands repurpose their content, Patel said they’ll likely save money while continuing to grow traffic, and he encouraged the Conex audience to share the outcome of their efforts with him. Working in marketing means recognizing that best practices are not proprietary, he said.

“I”ll have people (in marketing) outrank me now using my own tips,” he said. “The best is when people ask to build links using my exact same template. And they’re like, ‘But Neil, if you don’t link to me, how do I know it will actually work?’ Um, no comment.”

Conex wraps up Thursday.

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Shane Schick
Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.