What the Movie Industry Can Teach Us About Content Optimization

What the Movie Industry Can Teach Us About Content Optimization

For better or worse, the golden years of Siskel and Ebert are far behind us – buying a movie ticket in 2016 is often the result of an intensive online search process. Whether it’s a quick Google search or browsing lists, user reviews and movie databases, the digital space plays an incredibly important role in guiding people through the journey of first being aware that a film exists, to purchasing a ticket come opening weekend.

Similar to an SEO, Hollywood movie producers invest a great deal of time and energy determining which content will drive the most people to the theater – or in the case of an SEO, which content will drive the most qualified traffic and increase conversions. But at the expense of Hollywood suits and digital marketers everywhere, there’s no way to predict with certainty how a film or landing page is going to perform and resonate with an audience.

After taking a closer look at some of the trends among last summer’s top-grossing box office hits, however, there are a few common threads that SEOs can apply to keyword research and content strategy.

Rank Title Gross Ticket Sales
1 Finding Dory $485 Million
2 Captain America: Civil War $408 Million
3 The Secret Life of Pets $366 Million
4 Suicide Squad $324 Million
5 Jason Bourne $162 Million

Summer season box office results according to Box Office Mojo

Capitalizing on past successes

This tactic is already very common in the film industry, but it’s not always something that digital marketers think about when identifying new optimization opportunities for search. Out of last summer’s top 5 grossing films, 4 out of the 5 were sequels or in some way tied to past blockbuster successes. The Secret Life of Pets is the only movie that doesn’t fall into this category, but you can still make the case that the content of this film is greatly inspired by past triumphs in its genre.

Know your audience

It’s important for SEOs to regularly analyze historical content performance and explore new ways to optimize existing pages in their niche. You can start by investigating top-performing blog posts and landing pages that have stood the test of time. Just as movie franchises gain publicity and popularity over time, your existing high-traffic pages can gain frequent, long-lasting value.

Maybe there’s a particular blog post that is generating impressive month-over-month traffic numbers but not converting as well as it should and vice versa. Whether it’s hitting new long-tail keywords or optimizing a page’s call-to-action, revisiting these high-performing existing pages will not only help you improve on any prevalent weaknesses, but also add richer content to the pages your audience is already familiar with.

Keep it fresh

Just because your site has a large pool of existing pages that continue to drive traffic, that doesn’t mean you should only focus on optimizing those pages and stray away from adding fresh content or creating new blog posts. The concept of fresh content has become a bit of an old adage in the SEO world, but it’s something that we know Google still rewards.

Going back to the movie analogy, Suicide Squad is a prime example of this – it takes something that already has an audience, but provides a fresh, original twist. As a longtime Batman fan myself, I can tell you that the movie immediately sparked my interest upon being first exposed to it. Which led to me actively searching online for more information and before I know it, I’m sitting in the theater watching it. The movie uses the relevant topics of Batman and DC Comics, two topics that already have an engaged fan base, and offers content that focuses on more obscure characters within the universe to create something fresh and different than the many Batman movies that have come before it.

What’s the takeaway for SEO? Sometimes it’s the obscure, long-tail keywords that end up providing the most purchase intent and end up making great starting points for fresh content ideas when you feel like you’ve gone through every blog topic idea imaginable.

That’s a wrap

By keeping tabs on content that’s performed well in the past, optimizing it with your audience in mind and pinpointing fresh, long-tail topic ideas for future blog posts, search marketers will be able to provide content that sticks and endures.

Sam Savaglio

Sam is a veteran SEO analyst with several years of experience in helping improve the search appearance of B2B and B2C websites. His analytical skills are matched only by his copywriting abilities. And his copywriting abilities are matched only by his pizza cravings.