Content Velocity: What It Is, How to Calculate It, And Why You Should Care
It's quality over quantity these days, right?
While it is 100% true that you should always be creating the highest quality content for your users and the various search engines, there is also power in knowing where you stand against your competitors.
It's good to know the amount of quality content being created on both sides.
Think of it this way:
- If you're creating 1 piece of very high-quality content per week
- A competitor is creating 2 pieces per week
- While another is creating 5x even that amount...
The one creating 5x high-quality content — of course.
Marketers are notorious for slamming anyone who does anything at scale. Personally, I feel as though it's because of their own insecurities. Instead of learning from and with the folks ahead of them, they'll hop on Twitter and shame anyone in proximity.
Our goal is always to build an authoritative website — not make it look pretty. It's not even our goal to make it the most Technically-SEO-sound website. Our only goal is to become authoritative.
We at Nurturely like to move fast. Speed always, always wins. Especially if it's calculated.
Content Velocity Definition
Simply put, content velocity is the measure of how much content a brand puts out over a particular period. If you want to know how you are performing against your competitors, you would choose a period (month, quarter, etc.) and measure your content (posts and word count) against what they produced.
Programmatic SEO Is Content At Scale — Publishing Thousands of Value-Rich Pages With 1 Click
For instance, I've recently launched a Programmatic SEO project and have been able to publish hundreds (even thousands of pages) with a single click. Granted, there's a lot of front-loaded effort that goes into this, but still. Our publishing velocity has increase more than 13x just because of our Programmatic SEO approach. I know most marketers will be turned off by this approach so we're keeping this pretty quiet and in-house (minus my personal YouTube channel).
The Faster You Publish, The Faster You Get SEO Results
This just makes sense.
The faster you publish... the more pages you'll have on your website... and the more assets you'll have, floating around on the Internet.
These aren't just blog posts or articles.
If you view them that way, they'll pay you that way.
If you view them as valueless, simple documents published into the online abyss, they'll pay you exactly $0.
The faster you publish, the faster you see results. If you let your content sit on your content calendar for 11 months before publishing, you're going to stave off the revenue/profits for another 11 months.
Content needs to get noticed by Google and then sit there to mature for about 6-9 months before determining a more solidified search engine ranking.
So How Often Should You Publish Blog Posts?
Daily content creation can be overwhelming for some
The whole publishing every day/multiple times a day thing can be quite intimidating to some.
Silicon Valley SEO Experts will suggest a range of 11-16 blog posts per month is a good publishing pace
Most companies struggle to hit 4
We publish 30 per month per client
This is really going to totally depend on how many pages you need + how quickly you want to reach your goal. To become authoritative though, you'll likely need hundreds (if not thousands) of value-rich pages published on your website. Your publishing velocity doesn't matter as much until you know how many pages you need to become authoritative. Only then can you determine how long it'll take the finish the project and then figure out how many pages you'd like to publish each month to get there.
Try to aim for 1,100+ words per article/blog post and you should be golden (for now). But writing + publishing a thousand words per day is a full-time job in itself.
And if you're wanting to outsource, content creation will be your largest expense, by far. High-quality content costs north of $800+ per piece. If you decide to reach out to us for content creation, please know that we understand our value.
We will make you a lot of money.
And we're going to get out fair share for doing it.
How to Calculate Content Velocity
Calculating content velocity can range from pretty simple to very complicated. In its simplest form, you can do it using a couple of standard tools that most SEOs have access to like SEMrush and Screaming Frog.
The first step is to get the blog/article pages that exist on a site.
(It's as simple as going into SEMrush, filtering down to those pages using the URL filter function, and exporting the final list.)
Next, you want to take those URLs and put the list into Screaming Frog and set up a custom extraction. This will pull in the publish date that will allow you to analyze how often content is being created for a site during a certain period of time.
The most typical type of extractions for publish date through XPath and RegEx are:
- Article schema
- Blogposting schema
While this won't address every site you can easily investigate to see how publish dates are handled and set up the custom extraction from there. Once the crawl is run through the URLs you will then have a list that pulls out the publish dates. That will allow you to pivot the data and see the amount of content that is being created for a given site during a certain period of time.
Pro Tip: If available you should also pull the author of the article during this process for a separate use case which we will get to later in this article.
You can repeat this process for all of your competitors and get the basic velocity metric to compare who is winning and losing. To go deeper and provide additional layers of insight, you can also look at metrics such as word count.
That not only allows you to see how long each piece of content is for a site on average but also estimate the cost a competitor is spending on each page. And that gives you an idea of how much you may have to spend to compete.
For example, most freelance writers or writing services charge .25c -.30c per word to create a piece of content. If you have a competitor site that has an average of 1,000 words per page, you can calculate that it cost them anywhere from $250-$300 to create that content on average. Like I mentioned earlier though, the best, highest-quality content will be north of $800+ per piece.
Then you can use that amount to calculate what the total cost would be to create the same amount of content during the time period you're looking at. Using this data, you can then create a nice-looking slide that you can show the powers-that-be how you are doing versus your competitors.
And ballpark how much it will cost to compete, therefore making the case for budget, resources, etc.
This is a great way to show where you stand against your competitors from a content perspective, but also plan out how your content program needs to shape up to beat and compete.
Successful SEO Outcomes Require Ferocious Publishing
The time it takes to work through your content calendar, and the time it takes for content mature are your two biggest bottlenecks to seeing the business impact from your organic content distribution investment.
The most common reason brands can't meet publishing velocity goals are:
- Senior management inserts themselves in the content review process. (SEO will always fall at the bottom of their priority list because they can't attribute every penny of their marketing).
- Too many revisions are requested by too many people at the pay rate provided.
- The person responsible for reviewing and editing the content doesn't report to a campaign stakeholder, AKA the metrics your editor is evaluated on aren't largely influenced by the success of your campaign.
- Budget. Although the rate comes out to less than the salary of a content writer whose words won't rank.
So... how much content are we talking here?
There are at least hundreds, but probably thousands, and often tens of thousands of keywords that can send your business qualified traffic.
But you won't rank for every keyword by writing one page of content.
Or two pages of content.
Or ten pages of content.
To capture all of the qualified searches across your funnel and truly be everywhere your target audience is searching, you probably need to publish hundreds of pages of content.
You're losing money every single day — unless you're EVERYWHERE.
Determining Your Competitors' Resources
To help plan your SEO strategy and give you a definite target
On the opposite side of making the case for more resources for your business, you can use content velocity to determine how many folks are working in your competitor's content program as well. This gives you a data-driven way to determine how many folks competitors have on staff. Whether it is full-time resources, freelance writers, or a mix of both, knowing this information allows you to plan your approach accordingly.
Estimating the Cost of Content
Budget is the largest factor in all of this. You've already decided that content is the best route to take, now you just gotta figure out how much this is all gonna cost.
While it's an estimation, it gives a clearer picture of how much cost is potentially involved in making the content program you want to launch a reality.
The business can get their arms around the program using a data-driven approach and make it work within your budget.
Most freelance writers or writing services charge .25c -.30c per word to create a piece of content. If you have a competitor site that has an average of 1,000 words per page, you can calculate that it cost them anywhere from $250-$300 to create that content on average. Like I mentioned earlier though, the best, highest-quality content will be north of $800+ per piece.
Making a Case for More Resources
One of the best ways to utilize this data is to make the case to get more resources to create content, especially if you're behind. Executives hate losing to and love beating and staying ahead of their competitors. Looking at competitive content velocity and comparing it to your own is a great way to prove to your executives that you need more resources. Regardless of whether it's to catch up and overtake, or to stay ahead and continue to bury them.
The number of pages you need to publish
ClusterAi is keyword grouping tool that turns large lists of keywords into unique content topics. Most grouping tools do this by grouping semantically similar words. But ClusterAi crawls Google for each keyword and groups keywords that have 3 or more URLs in common into unique pages. When three or more URLs or pages rank for a pair of keywords, that means we can probably rank for both keywords with one page also. But if there are two or fewer pages that rank for both keywords, we probably can't rank for both keywords with one page and will need to create separate content topics to rank for both keywords. Import thousands of keywords into ClusterAi and get back groupings based on actual search data. The groupings include the main keyword, variations, and the number of monthly searches across all keywords in a group.
What's the ROI?
Below is a snippet from ContentDistribution.com's SEO ROI Calculator
The formula to understanding different SEO ROI outcomes is:
Total Monthly Searches * Click Through Rate * Conversion Rate * Average Order Value = SEO ROI.
We've reviewed hundreds of projects and built a handy calculator in Google Sheets to help us understand how driving large volumes of qualified traffic will translate into business success.
Content velocity isn't talked about enough in general. Everyone just wants to create a bunch of quality content and just keep doing that. Very few organizations take time to not only look at what types of content their competitors are producing but how much they're producing over a specific period of time. Figuring out content velocity is time-consuming. But it yields a plethora of valuable information that you can include in many different use cases. You have to take in a lot of different data points, some may require some serious engineering muscle depending on how deep you want to go.
It isn't just about creating great content — it's about creating the same amount of great content as your competitors who are winning to take away market share and stay ahead in the long term.
Create a Content Roadmap
Nothing meaningful happens without a plan. For content personalization to work, you need to think ahead to create topic clusters. For example, you should have pillar pages that address a broader topic, like mortgages, and then topic clusters that are more narrowly focused pages, such as fixed-rate mortgages, VA mortgages, etc. All of this information needs to go onto a central Content Calendar to keep your team on track.
It's going to take more time to produce each piece of content if your team is reinventing the wheel each time. Create a central repository for digital assets.
Everyone - marketers, IT admins, designers, and even outside agencies - can find the latest logo items, video, and images to use in your content for consistency. For example, Hyatt has roughly 70,000 images stored in a central repository, where content creators can create a branded look on the fly.
There's nothing wrong with re-using some content to get more fuel from resources you already have. Some consumers hate video, and others love it. The same holds true for blog posts, presentations, and podcasts. You can repurpose existing content, increase your velocity, and broaden the audience you reach at the same time. Creating more and specific types of content can be challenging for any business, but it's something you should consider as part of your inbound marketing strategy going forward.
Take a long-form blog post and break it up into a few different social media posts! Publish it on Facebook and LinkedIn — even as a thread on Twitter. Your audience is on every single one of those platforms. You must be there.
Content Distribution Systems + Automation
It's quite simple to set up automation that allows you to be on every single one of those platforms (but only require the effort of 1)... you just gotta know what you're trying to accomplish and then build out a robotic process automation to do the work for you later.
If you're a personal injury lawyer
And you'd like to publish fast — extremely fast. Book a call here. We'd love to speak with you.