Content velocity is simply defined as the amount of content you produce over a given period of time.
The more content you create in a given day, week, month or year–the greater your content velocity.
The ideal strategy for content velocity will shift, depending on your overall ranking goals and your existing website authority.
And while it might not be something that most traditional SEOs and search marketers discuss, it’s arguably one of the most important factors in whether or not you experience results in a timely manner.
In this article, we’re going to discuss:
- what content velocity is, including calculating content velocity?
- why it matters for new websites with little to no authority.
- how old, vested authoritative websites should treat content velocity.
- how focusing on content velocity to the exclusion of other ranking factors can be detrimental to your SEO.
- how to publish more content at a more efficient rate, so that you can generate better results and achieve the right content velocity that will help you rank higher in search engines.
If you’re ready, we can dive in!
Table of Contents
What is Content Velocity?
Content velocity is best described as the measure of the amount of content a brand creates during a particular period of time. Content velocity is often measured in terms of months, quarters, or years. For example, if you wanted to measure your content velocity over a period of time (say 30 days), you would calculate how much content was produced over this period of time.
The question of how to measure content production is one of preference. You could measure it in terms of pages, URLs, word count, or any number of other metrics. For SEO purposes, it’s usually measured in terms of new content pages.
There is no content velocity benchmark or threshold for success. It’s highly dependent on factors like how much existing quality content you have, what your current SEO foundation looks like, how competitive your space is, the average competitor’s content velocity, etc.
Why Content Velocity Matters
In the world of SEO and digital marketing, there’s always been a debate over quality vs. quantity.
And if you’ve ever spent any time on our blog or reading any of our content, you know that we’re big believers in a quality-first approach.
In our decade-plus of experience in this industry (and our team’s hundreds of years of combined marketing experience), we’re convicted by the fact that customers equate content quality with brand quality.
If you can create and deliver real value to the marketplace, it translates into customers.
“Thin” content – which is a term we use to describe low-quality content that adds no real value to a customer at any stage of the marketing funnel – rarely translates into dollars earned.
Having said all of this, we’re also firm believers in the idea of content velocity.
At first, this might seem contradictory, but avoid jumping to conclusions so quickly.
While quality and quantity are often juxtaposed against one another, they don’t have to be opposites.
Typically, when a brand chooses a quality-first approach, it means slower and more intentional content creation. (In other words, output/quantity is low.)
And, in most cases, when a brand chooses a quantity-first approach, quality suffers as a result. But it is possible to enjoy both quantity and quality at the same time.
In doing so, you can benefit from the power of content velocity.
Here are some of the reasons why content velocity matters:
- Competition. In terms of figuring out the proper velocity with which to create content and get it published, your competition is one of the defining factors. Everything is relative based on what other brands and websites in your space are doing. If you have three competitors and they’re posting new content 10, 15, and 20 times per month, respectively, this means you need to be posting at least 20 times per month in order to have a healthy velocity. But if you only have two competitors and they post three and four times per month, you could post just 10 times per month and gain ground. Either way, whether you have lots of competitors or just a few, a focus on content velocity forces you to research your competitors and understand their strategies. This gives you better insights into the competitive landscape.
- SEO. An obvious benefit of content velocity is the way in which search engines rely on content for crawling, indexing, and ranking. The more content you have on your site, the more these crawlers have to engage with. Over time, your commitment to more content and individual on page SEO will help improve your search engine rankings. Content velocity also ties tightly with link velocity, which is another critical element of promoting new websites with SEO.
- Value creation. Velocity extends beyond basic SEO benefits. It’s also a matter of value creation. Quality content communicates very specific value to a very specific group of people. The more of it you have, the more your customers will come to trust you as a valuable source of knowledge and information.
- User experience. Your customers are living in a world where content and knowledge is ubiquitous and where they can get personalized content when and where they need it. If your brand is silent and refuses to publish content, customers start to wonder why. Content creation and transparency are seen as going hand-in-hand. The more you publish content, the more transparent you appear. This elevates the overall user experience with your brand.
- Resource maximization. As with anything, it’s a lot less expensive to execute something at scale than it is to create a “one-off.” In other words, it’s less resource-intensive to create five pieces of content per week than it is to generate one piece per month.
- Greater vision. Brands that produce just one piece of content here and there typically don’t have much of an overarching strategy. They have not likely mapped out their customer journey. They’re just sort of stringing things together whenever they see an opportunity. But with high content velocity, you’re forced to develop a strategy. This strategy is supported by a vision, which brings clarity to everything you do on the marketing side of things.
Content velocity is especially important for new websites.
When you’re just starting out, you don’t have the sort of SEO “bedrock” that most websites have naturally built up over time.
This means you have less to stand on. And the fastest way to make your website known (both by the search engines and by human users) is to quickly create quality content.
And since you have lots of ground to gain, you must do it at scale over a period of several months (if not years).
When Content Velocity Can Hurt Your SEO: A Case Study
Within the last 18 months a few prolific industry experts touted success over their quality + quantity content velocity strategy by showcasing the results of a few of their client sites. Here was their poster child:
The premise of the strategy was this: produce quality content at a massive scale.
They boasted about their rankings gains with statements like,
we scaled our client’s rankings and traffic without building a single link, just scaling their content…
But this was a doomed strategy from the outset for several critical reasons:
Too Much Content Velocity Dilutes Website Authority
First, a website with little to no authority will continue to spread its limited domain authority over a greater number of pages.
Even with the proper internal link building strategy, subsequent pages will have a lower and more diluted authority.
New websites should certainly write content regularly, but at least 50% of your work and effort should be focused on content promotion (i.e., PR, link building, social sharing, bookmarking, email promotion, etc.) not just content production!
Even now, this particular site with a massive amount (29,200 pages) of indexed content, has relatively modest Ahrefs domain rating of 71.
And, keep in mind, this content was very good, written and edited by real humans at scale, not AI or ChatGPT (which made it even more expensive).
High Content Velocity Over-Optimizes a Site for a SINGLE Ranking Factor
Some sites are able to ride the wave of a Google honeymoon phase with a huge velocity of content only to see their newly gained rankings come crashing down.
Later Google core updates are likely to adjust the lack of individual URL or page authority across your site, except to those that either have:
- a larger volume of links pointing from internal sources or
- a good number of quality links and authority from external sites pointed at individual pages.
We often refer to this lack of balance as a site’s being “out of tune.”
Webmasters will often find success in a specific vein of SEO (e.g., link building or content velocity or entity keyword insertions, etc.), but when one focuses on one area of SEO to the exclusion of all the other Google ranking factors, a site will get out of balance in the overall ranking weight of the algorithm.
Put differently, too much [insert website SEO strategy] without also [insert website SEO strategy] and [insert website SEO strategy] can result in later traffic and rankings drops.
Balance your off-site link building and promotion with your on-site content production and on-site content updates. It’s that simple.
Too Much Content Velocity Dilutes a Website’s Niche Focus
It is possible to rank in top positions for thousands of keywords in very different industries.
Notable examples of this include Forbes, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other highly authoritative sites.
But, for the most competitive keywords, it’s even difficult for even such authoritative sites to rank as others are more likely to be razor focused on a single group of clustered keywords.
Whenever a site publishes over 29K pieces of content, it is nearly impossible to remain focused on a given niche.
In other words, search engines have a harder time figuring out just what your site is about and are more likely to rank others above you.
Do you remember tag clouds?
If you have exhausted all the relevant topics for your niche in your blog posts, then it may be time to build, tune and promote your existing posts rather than trying just to create content for the sake of content.
The adage for investing also holds true for content.
Focus creates wealth, diversification preserves it.
Focus. When it comes to content, sometimes less is more.
How to Publish More Content… Faster
Okay, now that we’ve explained the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of content velocity, let’s explore the ‘how.’
Here are some helpful tips for how you increase your content velocity and produce more content (without suffering on the quality side of things).
1. Front-Load Your Content Strategy
Let’s say your goal is to publish 100 new pages of content per year.
The simplest way to do this – and the way 99 percent of marketers handle a goal like this – is to divide those 100 pages up evenly throughout the year.
This means creating approximately two pages per week. Makes sense, right?
The only problem with this approach is that content takes time to seed.
It’s not as simple as publishing content and then reaping the harvest.
It can take as much as six to nine months for that content to fully mature into organic search results.
That means by the end of the 12-month period, only 30 to 50 percent of the content you published that year will actually deliver any value at that moment.
The rest will take another three to nine months to mature. In other words, at a typical pace, it takes 18 to 20 months after the start of a content campaign for all of the content to fully mature.
In short, ranking in SEO can take a long time.
This isn’t the end of the world.
But if you’re trying to get quick results, you’re better off front-loading your content marketing strategy.
In other words, increase your content velocity so that you’re creating all 100 pages of content in the first three to six months and then use the remaining time to let the content mature.
This is what we mean when we talk about true content velocity.
2. Have a Detailed Roadmap
It’s not enough to say you want to publish a certain amount of content.
You need a detailed roadmap that helps you get there.
So, for example, if you’re going to create 100 pages of content in six months, you have to do the math and create a roadmap.
In order to produce 100 pages of content in six months, that’s a pace of roughly 17 pages per month (and four pieces of content per week).
But that’s just the frequency side of things. You also have to think about factors like keywords, topics, word count, publish dates etc.
The more detailed your roadmap, the more likely it is that you’ll actually follow through.
3. Create Specific Workflows
One of the things that really holds businesses back from producing content at scale is lots of friction. (In most cases, these speed bumps are unintentional. But they’re still there – slowing down the process and preventing progress.)
Producing content at scale requires a great deal of efficiency. And the only way to guarantee efficiency at this scale is by creating very specific workflows.
Here are some keys to architecting successful content workflows:
- Focus on hand-offs. If you study inefficient processes, you’ll notice that most of the inefficiencies can be tied to hand-offs. In other words, the actual writing, editing, and publishing might be super-fast. However, if the hand-off from the writing team to the editing team isn’t properly optimized, the whole process slows down. If you want workflows to be fast and predictable, streamline the hand-offs and eliminate dead time.
- Limit seats at the table. Too many cooks in the kitchen kills efficiency. Having five different people review a piece of content before it goes live will lead to five different sets of revision requests (and five different opinions on the overall direction the content should take). Save the hassle and limit the number of seats at the table.
- Document workflows. It’s not enough to have workflows – they need to be documented in the form of standard operating procedures (SOPs). This ensures your workflows remain intact even when there’s turnover on your team.
As you develop efficient workflows, you’ll see your content velocity improve.
And while it might require a little additional work on the front end, the streamlined predictability will yield positive dividends for years to come.
4. Hire Good Writers
Hiring good writers is key to high-level content velocity.
And when we say “good” writers, there are a few factors to think about:
- Quality. It all starts with quality. Can they produce quality content that makes your brand look and sound good? This is the bare minimum. If the quality isn’t there, don’t even bother.
- Availability. The next factor in the equation is availability. Remember, you’re trying to produce lots of content in a concentrated period of time. It doesn’t do you much good if you have to wait four weeks to get a single piece of content from a writer. Their availability should align with your content needs.
- Reliability. Finally, can you trust that the writer will do what they say they’ll do? If you assign a project with a specific deadline, you need to have 100 percent confidence that they’ll meet this deadline.
If you can find SEO content writers who produce quality copy, are available to work on your projects, and do what they say they’re going to do, you have a team that’s capable of producing content at scale.
5. Focus on Progress Over Perfection
When producing one blog post or online resource per month, you have time on your side.
In other words, you have the luxury to be very meticulous with editing and revising.
You can pretty much dial things in however much you’d like.
But when high velocity is the goal with up to multiple blog pages per day, we recommend focusing on progress over perfection.
The progress over perfection mentality is all about doing.
It’s better to publish 100 pages that are 85 percent “perfect” than to publish 10 pages that are perfect.
In the world of content, progress gets rewarded much more than perfection.
6. Be More Resourceful (Splinter Content)
Content takes time, money, and plenty of creative energy to produce.
Make sure you’re maximizing the marketing potential of every piece of content you create by leveraging splintering principles.
What is content splintering?
To put it simply, content splintering is a strategy by which you turn each primary piece of content (e.g. a blog post on your website) into multiple pieces of content using different mediums and platforms.
For example, a single 2,000-page blog post could be published on multiple channels including a podcast episode, YouTube video, lead magnet, 10 social media posts, and an email.
Your content length for SEO matters, but the average word count of your articles is even more helpful if you seek to engage in a content splintering strategy.
Accelerate Your Content Velocity With SEO.co
If you’re serious about increasing your content velocity and generating better results from your investment in SEO and content, we can help.
At SEO.co, we’re more than a basic SEO firm. We help companies – including new websites – launch powerful content strategies that help them stand out amongst the competition.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your search presence!
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