Recent survey results from SEMrush reveal that 91% of marketers in 2020 are utilizing content strategies as part of their marketing efforts. The breakdown of the types of content that marketers prioritize shows blog posts continue to top the list with 86% of content strategies leveraging blogs. (source)
To date, over 4 billion websites exist. Combine this with constantly changing search algorithms, and it’s understandable why it’s challenging for blog content to rank in search. However, it’s important to remember your website isn’t competing against all 4 billion sites.
First, we can reduce the number of websites to rank against from 4 billion to the ones within the same niche as your company. By narrowing the scope of goals to focus on a company’s KPI’s, you create consistent, measurable analytics you can track monthly. This will help ensure that your website is ranking for the right search queries.
Implementing SEO best practices, which includes incorporating targeted keywords, is a crucial part of an analytics-backed content strategy. Each blog post is an opportunity for a web page to appear in a search query. By tracking how web pages rank in search for impressions, clicks, time on page, and conversion, companies can gain a clearer idea of how potential and current clients are engaging with content. Some KPIs to consider are measuring the number of conversions on specific landing pages, how many people followed up and called to learn more about your services, or emailed and scheduled an appointment for a demonstration.
Another critical aspect of a strategic content marketing plan is creating unique content that adds helpful information and contributes to the conversations within your industry. If you answer the same question that your competitors have already explained, why would someone click your blog post link? When you take the time to extend the conversation, you can help people generate additional ideas, encourage more in-depth discussions, and position yourself as a thought leader within your industry.
In order to leverage the right content at the right time, SEO best practices include conducting keyword research. When you know which industry keywords have the highest search volume, you can begin to create a content calendar that focuses on specific content topics you know your clients and potential clients are already reading.
There is a difference between identifying a broad topic by the search volume and narrowing the subject matter further by researching specific phrases, otherwise known as a long-tail keywords. When you pair search volume with a keyword difficulty range, you will identify the best topics to feature that fit what your buyer persona is searching for, and that also highlight your company’s services and products.
For example, let’s say your broad keyword term is “commercial property.” Depending on the real estate market, the long-tail keyword phrase could either be “short sale commercial property” or “best investment commercial property.” Writing the wrong blog post could make you seem out of touch with current events and cause your clients to question whether you understand the commercial real estate market.
There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a keyword research tool. Many of them offer a free trial period or give you minimal information unless you pay a fee. The thing to know about these tools is that most of them are gathering information from the same source - Google. So, you could end up paying multiple sources for the same data sorted in different ways. That’s why it’s great to have a variety of free sources that look at keywords from different angles.
First, it’s important to make sure that you connect your website to Google Analytics and Search Console. Take time to review data such as Behavior Analytics and see which content is most popular with the people who already know about your company or follow you on social media.
Additionally, you should use a tool such as SEMrush, Serpstat, or Google AdWords to pull a list of broad keywords by volume. This will help you confirm you are on the right track for your buyer persona. Now it’s time to dig into finding those long-tail keyword phrases and also figure out which questions are trending when it comes to your industry keywords.
AlsoAsked.com takes a search term and maps what other questions “people also ask.” The algorithm presents a visual map grouping how each sub-question topically stems from the overarching topic. AlsoAsked.com allows you to sort by Term, Language, and Region.
Here’s a map of the term SEO:
As you can see, SEO > What is the SEO in marketing? > Why is SEO so expensive? > 1) Can you pay Google for SEO, 2) How much is SEO per month, and 3) Are SEO companies worth it?
One way you may consider using this map is to have the second or third question be the article title and the last three questions as H2 or H3 Headers within an article.
The keyword research tool QuestionsDB.io asks you to start by adding one broad keyword phrase of 1-3 words. For this example, I added the term content marketing into the tool. The free version of the tool pulled 219 long-tail keyword phrases around the term content marketing.
Forty of these terms appear on the website, but you also have the choice to dig deeper. Once the initial query pulls the terms, you have the option to download the full list of words or to sort by Relevance, Keyword, or New terms.
Additionally, QuestionsDB.io allows you to select a source box. When you do, links appear and you can then see exactly where each phrase appears online. You can further narrow your results by selecting the strict search box.
Here is an image once the source link box is selected:
To pull a full list of terms, select download. A CSV report will appear immediately with four columns. The sheet shows the exact question asked, the internet link, where you can find the original question on Reddit, the total number of comments, and the topic. Knowing which questions have the most engagement is a helpful place to start as you choose your content subjects.
To search multiple search engines at the same time, use soovle.com and enter a keyword into the search bar.
Soovle.com pulls the current questions on Wikipedia, Google, Amazon, Answers.com, YouTube, Bing, and Yahoo. Here is an example of what the screen looks like when you type a broad keyword into the search bar. When you click on the link, you will go directly to the search query where the term ranks. Using this keyword research tool is helpful to give you a broad overview of how people are searching across multiple digital platforms.
The Keyword Dominator Tool keywordtooldominator.com is a free keyword tool you can use to find long-tail keywords directly from a search engine providing real-time access to searches. With a free account, you’re limited to two searches a day. However, there are multiple options you can select.
Similar to the other tools, keywordtooldominator.com pulls real-time search engine results into different types of spreadsheets so you can sort data quickly and determine which long-tail keyword to explore further. Spreadsheet divisions are Keyword, Rank, Top 10 Source, and Country. Here are a few other ways you can sort data:
By using these keyword research tools, you can take broad terms and explore the questions and long-tail phrases currently trending around each word or phrase. These insights will help you create content strategies that include accurate trending content that speaks directly to your company’s ideal reader.
Do you need help developing a content strategy for your business? We’ve created a guide with all of our best content marketing advice. Download The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for Business Growth.
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