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In the content marketing world there is a common misconception that creating content that converts should be the sole strategy of any business. However, there are more opportunities.

There’s more value to top-funnel content than previously thought. In this video, I break down why top-funnel content, for SEO in particular, can be beneficial long-term and how it can often out-pace a traditional bottom-funnel only strategy.

Video Transcription

Hey all, welcome to a very quarantined edition of Content & Links, and today I’m going to talk to you about why the top-funnel is often more valuable than bottom.

A common misconception that you hear people talk about is that they only create content that converts and that’s really their focus. Otherwise sometimes top-funnel can be superfluous and not really useful for business. And although, both of those things can be very true, the reality is with SEO in particular, there’s extra value that comes from links, specifically with the top-funnel that actually can make it more valuable than the bottom-funnel.

The reason for that is links have their own weight and true monetary attachment that we can give top-funnel and also, it is that top-funnel kind of content that is more likely to generate links, because they’re further from the actual conversion event. Because they’re further from the conversion event, they’re more likely to achieve links. People are more willing to link to something that’s not selling them something.

So, you can see that the connection of a valuable thing in terms of link acquisition actually creates a value that otherwise, if not attached to search, would not be true. In scenarios where top-funnel isn’t attached to search, it is very true that you’d rather do middle and bottom-funnel content, but in this context, top-funnel almost has its own cyclical effect of impacting the bottom-funnel that in a way makes it equivalent, as long as the bottom-funnel pages exist.

I’ll explain how this is in practice. Let’s take a look at the site Credible.com, they’re in student loans specifically, and also personal loans. They’re doing pretty well, they have pretty upward trajectory, a little volatile there, but overall probably doing pretty solidly, and at least feeling good about how they’re performing as a business.

If we dig in specifically to their pages, you can see a variety here, and if you were a student loan competitor and you’re thinking about starting, you’d be obvious to look at competitors like Credible to see how you should prioritize content creation strategy to think about the value of that content.

So, if you look at the service, you’d probably go to the obvious players like personal loans or financing loans, student loans. Those things all factor into the equation of thinking about how to generate links, or about values that are obvious to build out.

But from there, the equation isn’t as simple. You can see some pages are $10,000, $20,000, and then you do have outliers that generate links as well, but really the traffic value equation is looking at what people are willing to bid on that same traffic. When we think about it in context of Credible, why we need to think a little bit deeper is actually the value of a link specifically to them.

If you’re looking at Credible, the way I suggest looking at this is to divide the number of linking root domains they have by the traffic value of that site. This actually creates an equation of value per link per month for them. So, in their situation, we’d get approximately a value of $525 per link per month.

So if we believe that links are a strong ranking component, this actually puts an equivalent value because links hold up that traffic value that they’ve established. And it is a bit of a stretch in terms of the total, but if we also assume these are more quality on average, Ahrefs has some scraped links and low quality stuff in there, it’s probably reasonable to say a link that is quality that you generate is worth around $500 to this business.

If we think about that in practice we can now put an equation behind what content that generates links would be worth. And if we compare that to their current traffic value, we can see that sometimes assets that on the surface might seem less valuable actually have an equatable much more significant value.

In their instance, they have this piece on student loan debt statistics, and it just has a traffic value of 4,000, and in reality they probably can’t monetize to that degree, but it has around 100 links.

So this is valuable specifically if we know this is going to power that personal loan page, the student loan refinance page, the student loan page, it actually has a value much more significant than the 4,000.

So in this scenario, we can actually apply that multiplier to say, of 100 links, and if we assume it’s only gonna stay static, which it’s probably gonna grow, 100 links x $500, equivalently it’s around $52,000 just per month for that asset in particular.

This equation swings and this top-funnel asset actually equivalently is one of the things they should prioritize first in their queue because of the pure value of that asset. And this swings in lots of different ways, if you know something can generate 10 links, 20 links, 30 links, maybe it has some top-funnel potential that is passive, this variable changes how you think about things as a company, and how you think about top-funnel period for your market, especially if it has additional value of actually leading them through the value additionally.

That’s not to say all top-funnel content is just amazing in SEO, as specific to us, we have this piece on the most popular Google keywords. It kinda, sorta seems like it’s about SEO, it doesn’t have a ton of links specifically, and it’s pretty useless for us, to be honest.

This is an example of content that drives a ton of views, and have gotten some links to it, so I wouldn’t say it’s nothing, but in our sector and in terms of acquiring clients, it’s not actually that useful for us as a business.

So the pure traffic, even though it’s one of our most popular pages, means this actually is that good example of top-funnel content that’s absolutely pointless for you, and probably is not worth doing. That said, this wasn’t high effort, but you kinda get what I’m putting down in that context.

Compare that to our version of this exact same concept, actually has been quite successful for us, has hundreds of links to it, actually probably does get us in front of the right person, it has decent top-funnel awareness, and it’s gonna generate links that can power our other rankings, should we appropriately apply that concept.

Overall, hopefully this got you thinking a little bit smarter about top funnel content specific to SEO, and specific to link building in particular. You do have to understand the value of your link in your market. In some areas this can be actually quite small, in other areas the number can be quite large, and actually significantly larger than we see here in the Credible example.

So think about this for your own business and do that math, and you can start understanding why top-funnel in the SEO equation actually has appropriate value and almost equivalent value, if not often larger, than the bottom-funnel, as long as those bottom-funnel pages exist and are ripe to rank. So thanks for watching this, I’d love to hear what you thought in the comments. If you like us, please give us a thumbs-up, subscribe, and thanks for watching.

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