Even the best content will struggle to perform if the website it's sitting on isn't optimised.
Here's the scenario: You have a nice looking website, a content strategy that you're implementing week by week, documented info on your buyer personas and a content calendar to support everything. After several weeks of researching, writing, editing, and design work, you've just made your firstpremium content download available. You're all set to go.
But your next ranking report shows no movement. Your articles are struggling to rank for your chosen keywords. 'Never work from one set of results', you all reassure yourselves.
You wait a little longer.
The second week’s ranking report shows no movement. As a result, no one new has downloaded your guide yet. 'This is taking longer than we expected', you say.
The third week is the same. Then the fourth week, then the fifth week… Eventually, you're called into one of those meetings.
There's something very wrong here.
Lifting the bonnet
To cut a long story short (and to protect some of those mysterious ways in which agencies discover things), Google and the other search engines do not like your site. It may look presentable enough on the exterior, but under the bonnet there are some worrying grumbles and knocks.
Since Google’s ‘mobilegeddon’ release, your site's Google popularity rating has only gone in one direction: down
Terrible backlinks with high spam scores have been added as part of an expensive SEO service delivered by a previous (now out of business) agency
You've been hacked from Russia with loads of sexy URL links (you know the sort) hidden in the database
Something's preventing all the posts from being indexed (a theme update sorted that one)
Some basic 'best practice' has been ignored when technically optimising the website, making it unnecessarily slow
Any one of these could have been rendering your new content at best 'unwanted' by Google. Put all four together and you aren’t going anywhere with your new content — no matter how good it is.
You’ll be relieved to know that this tale of woe does have a happy ending. In it, there's a lesson for anyone about to implement a content marketing or inbound marketing campaign.
Everything you put on now gets indexed almost immediately
The site is now mobile responsive and quick
It's clean of bad backlinks and spam links
As a result, some keywords have jumped up 20, 30, even 40 places. It's a real incentive for you to redouble your efforts to show how you can make content marketing work for your business.
The key takeaway for marketers launching a new campaign
The motto of this article is not to overlook website health checks!
Do them at the very start
Do them regularly
Just because your website might look fabulous, it doesn't mean that everything's ticking over under the hood. And if the search engines don’t like it, then the quality of your design and content won’t make a blind bit of difference.