Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Search Marketing Advice

The Science and Results of Real-Time Content Optimization

I’ve been writing Convince & Convert for more than three years, and I continue to be grateful and delighted that you choose to spend time here, when faced with a tsunami of blog options.

I continue to find it fascinating, however, that even though this blog is probably considered successful within its very small niche, approximately 70% of the visitors here are first-timers (according to Google Analytics). And approximately 35% of you came from a search engine.

You know what drives magazine subscriptions? Newsstand sales. Readers don’t start loyal. They sample the product first, and decide they want consistent consumption. Blogs work the exact same way, except Search is our newsstand.

I’ve read several posts from other bloggers eschewing the need to pay attention to the principles of search optimization, arguing that the “community” and “engagement” and “sharing” will supersede the impact of search.

They are wrong, and a new research project I just finished proves it.

Real-Time Content Optimization

For a seven week period, I worked with InboundWriter – an easy-to-use tool that helps optimize your writing. During that period, I created seven new posts here using InboundWriter, and rewrote five classic posts to make them more search friendly.

The results were significant and immediate.

  • Traffic from search for the posts I rewrote using InboundWriter increased by an average of 33%
  • Four of the five rewritten posts achieved top 10 Google rankings for key phrases I targeted
  • Six of the seven newly written posts achieved top 10 Google rankings for key phrases within 48 hours of publication

And these results weren’t unique to Convince & Convert. Our research also included content from toy e-tailer and blog network In each instance, we found increases in search traffic – and in some cases significant bumps in time spent on site.

Specificity Creates Satisfaction

Whether they can precisely articulate it or not, the reality is that readers are looking for something when they come to your blog. If you can give them content that is focused and uses the words and phrases that they use, you have a better chance of attracting and keeping those visitors.

As conversion optimization guru Bryan Eisenberg (and co-author with me and Pelin Thorogood of the study) says:

“More and more marketers are realizing the benefits of content strategy and optimization as a way to drive online results. This study shows for the first time the value of leveraging real-time search intelligence during the content creation process, as opposed to in separate steps or not at all.”

There are several ways to make your content more search-friendly, but InboundWriter (in public beta) is perhaps the easiest to implement – especially for writers without SEO background. The InboundWriter website (or WordPress plug-in) recommends appropriate keywords based on your sample copy and an examination of other (even competitor) websites you select. Then, the system gives you a live, real-time SEO score (1-100 scale) that changes as you write and edit. It’s intuitive for all, and is completely free for the first batch of documents you create each month. The full-blown plan is $19.95/month.

To read the complete research paper, including methodology and metrics for each participating site, please visit

(Disclosure: I was paid to help draft this research, but began using InboundWriter – and seeing results – before beginning a consulting relationship with them)

Facebook Comments


  1. says

    Hmmm, first time I’ve heard of InboundWriter. I think I’ll have a look at that one and see if it can help me achieve some immediate plans I got.

    Thanks for writing about this. Cheers. :)

  2. carmenhill says

    I heard about and downloaded InboundWriter a while back, but haven’t done anything with it yet. Interesting to read about your successful results. Maybe time to dig it back up and give it a try.

  3. AlbertMaruggi says

    How do you interpret 70% new readers stat? Does that mean 30% of readers return? Also does the search stat of 35% lead you to conclude that links from other sources such as twitter or someone’s Facebook page generate the majority of traffic?

  4. wearethewords says

    Hi Jay, this is an amazing tool. Am I wrong or it only works if you write in English? What about if I want to use it to run my blog in French? I’m totally fond of this project. It is exciting, relevant and so useful. Thanks a lot?

    • says

      @jonbuscall it looks like a difference between IW and Scribe is that WI is more of a real-time compare to competition and like sites for your content rather than a pure SEO and writing score.

      • says

        @RobertDempsey@jonbuscall We use Scribe and it’s great for those who write only a couple of times a month. It sounds like (Jay, correct me if I’m wrong) IW is more sophisticated and advanced.

  5. says

    Anyone that isn’t optimizing at all for search is fooling themselves. That’s not to say to write purely for search engines and that’s not what you’re saying in the post. However it’s more than possible to strike a balance between writing for spiders and people.

    I’m definitely going to check out the study. Are there any examples where the content was not shared via social networks?

  6. OnlineBusinesVA says

    There is no doubt that the internet has forever changed the world in which we live. So it can only be expected that it would change the way we sell and marketing our businesses globally. So SEO should be considered for any business….

  7. says

    You know, you piss me off. I think I do a really good job of staying up on the trends, using the best technology for the job, and then you throw something like this at me. Jerk.

    P.S. Going to go check out InboundWriter now.

  8. AJamesEditing says

    Hi Jay,

    What an incredible resource! Do you have any experience with the similar tool from Copyblogger called Scribe?

  9. AJamesEditing says

    Hi Jay,

    What an incredible resource! Do you have any experience with the similar tool from Copyblogger called Scribe?


    Amber James

  10. says

    I’ve never looked at search results as a being a digital newsstand shelf before.This is very cool.
    I like the comparison to a book shelf at the book store better. People know in general what a certain magazine brings to the table month in month out unless they’re venturing into a new hobby/interest and they’re in full info acquisition and exploration mode.
    But when you’re looking at a book shelf, all you see are thousands of titles on the spines and you grab (click) and pull one off the shelf based on the title having some combination of words that grabbed your attention. But then a lot of blog posts are written shorter like articles in a magazine so I guess they both work equally as awesome.
    This comparison puts content optimization in a whole new light and I appreciate you letting us in on your insights. :)

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