Assessing the Profitability of Top, Middle and Bottom of the Funnel Content

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Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is John-Henry Scherck – Enjoy!

Image Credit: M Glasglow

Create engaging content! That’s what we tell every client. In the past few years, SEOs have fallen in love with top of the funnel content because it can help generate natural links and is less competitive/easier to rank for – but few SEOs analyze how profitable (or unprofitable) the content they recommend is for one of their clients.

A few weeks ago I met with my client, BodyLogicMD. It was a great meeting, we talked about how their brand is positioned against competitors, where the brand is going, current and future SEO initiatives… and then we started discussing next year’s content calendar.

It was at this point in the conversation that my client raised a very interesting point My agency advised our client to create a lot of content. There’s a page for each and every symptom, diet recommendation, and general questions patients may have (here’s an example).

BodyLogicMD was concerned that although this content might have pulled users into their lead funnel, they were driving low quality leads that didn’t convert to sales and tied up their call center’s time.

Image Credit: ginnerobot

Basically, the leads were weak.

I’ve been agency-side my whole career. When I look at Google Analytics in the morning and I see a year-over-year increase in conversions, I think my team and I are doing our jobs. However, if I’m not looking at my client’s close rate for all the leads that are being generated due to our efforts – I have no idea if the work I am doing is actually growing their business.

That’s why it is essential to check in with your clients about lead quality.

I asked BodyLogicMD’s in house search marketing team for a huge data-dump:

1) Close rates for just the landing pages that had form fields.

2) Cost of converting a lead to a close

3) Average time a call that doesn’t result in a sale takes. T

4) Average pay of a call center employee.

5) Average value of a new patient.

We then categorized all of their content into three categories:

bio hormone therapy1) Bottom of the Funnel – These pages drive high converting organic visits. These pages mainly consist of physician bio pages (example) and geographic pages (example). This content is all geo-targeted, conversion focused and is sometimes served to search engine users in nearby areas when search for head terms.

2) Middle of the Funnel – This type of content fulfills information search queries. The content is not nearly as conversion oriented as the bottom of the funnel content. The users who land on these pages via a search engine are usually coming in via head terms.

Image Credit: photofarmer

3) Top of the Funnel – These are the pages that we, as SEOs, beg our clients to create. They are tangentially related to BodyLogicMD’s business and are mainly educational pages with the goal of pushing a user to convert through a very long funnel.

We analyzed the profit and loss of each of these three categories to make sure that:

1) Top of the funnel content was profitable

2) Figure out just how profitable each type of content is for BodyLogicMD.

Here are the results for leads that converted on a form field of a landing page:

Top of the Funnel Content

9.8% of leads, 6.7% of new business with a 6.7% close rate

Middle of the Funnel Content

73.1% of new leads and 56.6% of new business with a 4.8% close rate

Bottom of the Funnel

17% of leads and 36.6% of new business with a 16.3% close rate.

Using the information that the client provided us with and some basic math, we were able to figure out that every bottom of the funnel lead is worth twice as much as a top of the funnel lead and almost three times as much as a middle of the funnel lead.

With this information in hand, we’ve augmented our strategy to make the bottom of the funnel pages our #1 ranking priority. We know these pages are highly effective at converting prospects into sales, so we are going to focus a large chunk of our efforts here.

Although it would be great to just focus on bottom of the funnel terms, we know there isn’t nearly as much search volume for geo-modified bioidentical terms, so we are still going to pay attention to the middle of the funnel as well, but now that we know where the real money is being generated – we are going after those keywords with full force.

A large chunk of BodyLogicMD’s visits come through top of the funnel, but few of their sales do. This content still drives leads, so we aren’t going to kill off top of the funnel content. However, we are no longer going to do any intentional link building to top of the funnel pages because we know they are not nearly as valuable as middle or bottom of the funnel pages.

In order to compete on a local level, we have decided to charge up our marketing strategy to focus on community events and event marketing, local citations that provide links, and getting doctors who are not as prominent in the press. In the past we focused on BodyLogicMD as a whole, but with this new data in hand, we are going with a more granular process that will allow for success on a local level.

Analyzing the effectiveness and profitability of your content is a must for every SEO, especially when it comes to focusing raising rankings for certain pages, because if you don’t know how profitable that type of content is, you have no idea how it will impact a business.

JHTScherck PicJohn-Henry Scherck is an SEO Consultant at SEER Interactive. When he’s not building links or assessing the profitability of client content, he can be found cooking up a storm in the kitchen, abusing and over-using his Netflix subscription and blogging about scalable marketing strategies on his blog,


John-Henry Scherck

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