There is a mind-boggling amount of content consumed every minute, with millions of it produced daily. However, its surge and widespread popularity doesn’t diminish the meaning and purpose it carries. On the contrary, content marketing keeps gaining more and more power in the digital marketing world.

As it grows, it’s easy to fall into the traps of the same mistakes. These make the difference between traffic-driving work and forgotten entries that no one ever finds. Let’s take a look at the most prominent content marketing mistakes too many marketers tend to make.

1. Running a blog because everyone does it

This widespread mistake still thrives. The fact that your main competitor has a blog doesn’t mean you have to jump on the bandwagon. Can you guess why? Because their blog could be utterly ineffective. So how do you know if your competitor’s blog is sinking?

Check SpyFu’s Domain Overview report in which you can find the current number of organic traffic your competitor receives. If you see something like the graph below, then the answer is quite obvious.

Although, even if there’s a decent number of estimated monthly SEO clicks, it’s not an indicator of their stellar content marketing efforts.

To figure out what has been driving traffic to their blog, whether it was blog posts or something else, you can check their traffic trend from Google for the last six months.

The descending green line demonstrates regress. If that’s something you find out about your competitor’s blog, it’s not doing that great.

It often happens that while adding new pages with insufficient volume of domains linking back to them, **existing pages begin to lose their rankings in the SERPs. **This often stems from a very typical content marketing mistake that deserves a lot more attention.

2. Posting content without promoting it

That’s precisely the case of the domains we reviewed above. Apparently, their content has been created for the sake of content creation, leaving its distribution in the rear view. This mistake happens a lot nowadays because content production is cheaper than its promotion. Some people assume that posting shout-outs on social media is a breeze so that they either do it wrong or don’t do it at all.

If you’re willing to promote your content on multiple social media channels, then you have to roll up your sleeves and come up with some unique content for each channel. With Twitter, there should be an image supporting your post, videos are a must for Facebook and LinkedIn because other content types don’t show up in users’ feed unless it becomes remarkably viral.

With that being said, earning a backlink is the most costly process when time and money are concerned. So if link building will bust your budget, think twice before you publish any piece of content online. It may turn into deadweight dragging your overall rankings deep down.

3. Ignoring SEO legwork

Another content marketing mistake is disregarding SEO details. For example, if you link build well but don’t target proper keywords, your site will come up at the top of the SERPs for keywords that just a handful of users search a month. Yes, you’ll get all the traffic that comes that way, but there will be no room for growth.

On a flip side, there could be another reason for zero traffic. An un-optimized title and meta description will keep Google from giving your page much love.

Finally, some content marketing mistakes are really just untapped opportunity. Internal linking does magic, and you should never underestimate its effects. Not only will it help your pages rank higher in Google, but your readers will also have a smooth transition from one post to another while they’re browsing around your site.

How to overcome these and many other problems

Going forward, you can erase these mistakes with some easy-to-implement updates. Proper preparation prevents poor performance.  Follow these tips to properly invest in your content marketing:

1. Check your current competition in SERPs

Make note of which domains and URLs show up for the keywords that you value the most. Also, find the link volume for those domains and URLs.

When analyzing your competitors in Google, keep your eyes on the following metrics.

The first one— ranking difficulty—gives an estimate of how tough it will be to compete for this keyword. The higher the number, the tougher the competition on a scale of 1-100. Ranking difficulty also considers the domains’ strength, on-page signals such as “keyword in title,” and the number of .gov and .edu websites.

If you look at the far right column in the report (see screenshot above), you’ll see the estimated traffic you’ll be receiving if you end up ranking in the top 3 positions.

Let’s not forget about backlinks. To find the number of links each URL has, click through to the Backlinks report. It includes monthly organic clicks, domain strength, ranked keywords, and the number of outbound links. The number of backlinks allows you to estimate how many of them you need to earn if you want your website to climb to the top of the SERPs for the given queries.

And lastly, I highly recommend checking movements in the SERPs to see whether there are any changes in the organic ranking history for a certain period:

Forewarned is forearmed. This graph is very helpful as it alerts you of any changes in the SERPs and if these changes are stable. If things are more or less predictable, then you can quickly act to research domains that suddenly came out of the woodwork.

2. Evaluate your budget and resources

Can you handle link building on our own? Can you afford to purchase outreach tools to speed up this process? The stakes are high; without having the right people on your team, you risk failing big. This may not only result in spamming your prospects but could also lead to reputational damages.

If you decide to seek help in link building, you can reach out to companies that offer link building services, such as TheHoth or FatJoe. These companies will offer you different packages for different prices, of course. The higher the domain authority, the more you’ll have to shell out.

Personally, I wouldn’t spend any money on links coming from domains with authority lower than 40, because you won’t get any tangible results. On average, the price per link ranges between $300-500, according to our price analysis of the aforementioned companies.

chart of domain authority link costs

For those of you who are looking for something a bit more exclusive, go with a PR agency. Keep in mind, though, that their prices start at $5,000 as a monthly retainer.

3. Invest in keyword research and on-site SEO

There are different approaches to keyword research, depending on whether you already have traffic or not. There are specific nuances to doing keyword research for new websites vs. existing ones, with the former requiring more thorough competitor research. If you already have a website, look at what’s working well for it and find relevant keywords in Google Keyword Planner.

If your website hasn’t seen the light yet, then add one more element to your conventional keyword research process. Check which keywords your competitors are using in their ads. This may uncover additional value to you. In one of his articles, Nick Eubanks elaborates further on expanding keywords lists and lots of other fun stuff.

With that being said, we recommend you rely on two critical metrics— keyword difficulty and estimated traffic. Your goal is to find such search queries that will shower you with traffic, yet their keyword difficulty will be decreasing.

As the most significant ranking factor in SEO, PageRank often times overshadows internal link building. Referred to as a needle mover, internal linking can yield impressive results. According to Kevin Indig, to efficiently optimize internal linking, one has to understand “how PageRank flows through a site and then skewing it towards pages on which the user converts.”

On a more general note, it’s worthwhile adding relevant anchors to your internal links, as well as adding the most important pages of your website into your site’s navigation.

Conclusion

Content marketing has gotten more challenging over the past couple of years, but it remains a highly effective investment. The competition keeps growing, along with the bar that only gets higher. Blindly following your competitor’s tactics or spitting out a certain number of posts a month are among other recipes for disaster. No one said that finding the time to create best-in-class content is easy, but it’s definitely worth it.

The good news is if you can continually aim to understand your current resources, spend more time on content promotion that involves acquiring links, you can avoid facing many content marketing mistakes that would tank your rankings.