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It seems that the more posts you make to your blog, the more traffic you will receive. The more content you provide to your blog, the more likely readers will discover it through various channels like search engines, social media, and word-of-mouth.
Not every time, though.
It’s easy for your finest articles to get stale as you crank out new content. There’s always the chance that some articles will just “get buried.” When there are hundreds of updates to browse, even the greatest and most interesting ones may get lost in the shuffle.
An SEO content audit is designed to help you straighten things out and keep your blog and its content in tip-top form.
While “SEO content audit” may sound ominous, there’s nothing to worry about. The procedure entails performing a comprehensive blog audit, during which you will inventory your blog’s material, conduct optimization work, and, if necessary, repurpose that content.
Don’t worry if that’s too cryptic for you. As a result, we’re going to dissect the entire procedure. Your education toward (blog) auditing certification will be complete by the time you finish reading this article.A Content Audit: What Is It?
A content audit thoroughly examines all of your site’s written materials. The goal is to improve your content plan by adjusting your content strategy and content generation workflow to meet your current marketing objectives. Companies of all sizes, from startups to multinationals, can benefit.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you the five most important ways to examine your material for errors −
To begin, you must establish what success looks like.
Second, you’ll need to conduct a content audit.
Third, you’ll need to gather and analyze data.
Fourth, you’ll need to create a strategy for moving forward.
Lastly, Modify Your Content Promotion ApproachStep 1: Establish Your Objectives
Given the effort required for a content audit, it’s crucial first to establish what it is you hope to achieve.
You need to choose one overarching objective to serve as the audit’s linchpin before settling on the metrics by which its success will be judged. It’s possible that these things could include −
Boosting search engine optimization (SEO) for one page or site.
boosting activity and/or sales.
Getting rid of old or unnecessary material.
Raising the quality of previously published works.
Establishing a brand-new site hierarchy.Step 2: Collect & Categorize
The next step is to list everything you plan on reviewing before you start compiling a list of URLs and metrics. Blog articles, news, educational materials, product descriptions, and landing pages are all examples of internal content that can be audited, as can external publications. Video, PDFs, and interactive content like quizzes, tests, and games can also be evaluated.
Here, we’ll look at how to audit your website’s written content.
Who created it? The Content Team, Social Media Team, Search Engine Optimization Group, etc.
How long did it take to create the full piece?
Is it an infographic, a case study, a blog piece, or something else entirely?
Why did you make this piece of content? Were you hoping to get more backlinks, visitors, customers, or anything else?
Consider the word count.
Provide a breakdown of the share count in social media platforms and overall terms.Step 3: Analyze the Data from Your Blog
Perhaps you’re wondering, “What exactly are analytics?” Search engine optimization analytics software lets you monitor and analyze the number of visitors to your site. Many tools provide different levels of insight, so your chosen one should be based on your goals.
Now is the time to see what your analytics system tells you based on the data you’ve been collecting. The following are some of the things we’d like to double-check during an SEO content audit −
Has there been any unexpected movement in traffic during the past few weeks or months?
Ranking drops relative to the previous content audit
How have conversion rates changed over the previous few months?
Substantial shifts in user engagement metrics since the last content audit
An SEO content audit can help you compile all this data into a cohesive whole from which you may draw more precise conclusions. Articles that aren’t doing well, pages that require more SEO work, and more may all be easily identified.Step 4: Draw An Action Plan
Now that you know what constitutes quality, you can stop taking a bird’s-eye view of your blog and start evaluating each post on its merits.
We’ll suggest each post using the information we’ve gathered and processed. It is also suggested that you provide a brief justification for each recommendation if you need a client’s or boss’s permission to implement the suggested alterations. In this step, you must decide which content to keep, update or delete.Step 5: Tweak Your Content Promotion Techniques
Keep your website’s long-term marketing goals in mind when you conduct a content audit. If you keep tabs on what works and what doesn’t, you can alter your content strategy to reach your audience better, boost your organic traffic, and increase your conversion rates.
Learn from success and build upon it. Look at your least successful material, and evaluate your competitors’ equivalent successful content to discover where and how you could enhance yours.
At the very least, you should evaluate how well your content marketing approach achieves your stated objectives annually. It’s important to schedule regular reviews, such as once a month or every quarter, but more frequent intervals may be necessary if your industry is dynamic. You must adapt to these shifts and use creative approaches to maintain your audience’s attention and participation.
What works now may not work tomorrow, so it’s important to make adjustments regularly. At least twice a year, you should conduct a content audit to assess the efficacy of your changes and overall strategy.Conclusion
Indeed, content audits are not the most exciting aspect of marketing, but they are crucial. Remember that even the most successful of your articles may become obsolete in a matter of days. Auditing Regularly is necessary to ensure your efforts pay off. It’s the most thorough method for monitoring your site’s performance. It will also help you recognize fresh chances and attain your goals.
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At its core, SEO is a multi-faceted keyword, content, and competitive analysis exercise.
Local SEO, by extension, includes several specific tasks geared to establishing the relevance and authority of a business within a targeted geographic area.
Even before you can convince a local consumer your search result is the best answer, you must it prove to the search engines and earn a high enough ranking to get in the running.
Search engines like Google reference many different data points to determine who gets top billing in organic search engine results, featured snippets, maps, local packs, image, video, or other SERP features.
How can you identify and prioritize optimizations with the greatest potential to deliver converting traffic to your website and your door?
In this column, we’ll walk through an evaluation of each key facet of your local search presence and uncover your best opportunities to improve search rankings.
What does a comprehensive local SEO audit checklist entail?
Google Business Profile.
Local business listings and citations.
Google Search Console.
These tasks are listed in typical order of completion during a full audit, but some can be accomplished concurrently.1. Keyword/SERP Audit
The natural place to start a local SEO audit is in SERPs for the keywords and phrases you are hoping your business will be found for, in order to identify where you stand relative to your competitors and other websites/content.
This research can help you quickly identify where you have established some level of authority/momentum to build on, as well as keywords upon which you should not waste your time and effort.
SEO is a long-term strategy so no keyword should be summarily dismissed. Even so, it’s generally best to focus on those keywords you realistically have a chance to rank and drive traffic for.
You may determine some keywords are better pursued in the short term via a paid Google Ads strategy until you are able to build up your local organic authority.
There are several excellent SEO and keyword research tools available to automate the process of gathering search results for specific or topical groups of keywords and assigning value to keywords based on metrics such as search volume or keyword difficulty.
Ideally, you’ll choose a tool that will break down the different types of search features, so you can understand whether you or a competitor has secured any of this search real estate and then devise strategies or tactics to proceed accordingly.
Alternatively, you can conduct your own searches manually. In that case, do so in an Incognito Window in Google Chrome or Private Window in Safari to remove potential bias/personalization tied to your Google login, location, or personal search history.
Most automation tools have processes in place to do the same.
For those businesses also running PPC campaigns, close attention should be paid to the keywords and search terms working there.
It’s likely that top-performing PPC keywords will also be top performers from an SEO perspective.
SEO and PPC should complement each other for optimal results.
Different people search in different ways and it’s important to not limit your research to single keywords, but rather account for the various ways and phrases your audience may use to try to find you or your offerings.
Your keyword analysis and the resulting content you create should address the intent of searchers, which will vary depending on where they are in the buying cycle.
Some are just beginning their search for a product or service and are simply looking for information e.g. “Where can I find x?”, while others are ready to buy now e.g. “Order x near me.”
A broader keyword view will provide a better picture of the overall strength of your presence and where to best focus your attention.2. Website Audit
With your focused keyword data in hand, you can now conduct a full keyword and technical website audit to ensure your site is optimized for maximum crawlability, indexability, and visibility.
A typical audit is designed to analyze the underlying structure, content, and overall site experience.
Here again, there are many site auditing tools that will crawl a website and then identify issues and prioritize actions to be taken based on SEO best practices.
A website audit and optimization can be broken down into several buckets.Page Optimization
Web page optimization is all about ensuring pages are well structured, focused around topical keywords and provide a positive user experience.
As a search engine crawls a web page it looks for signals to determine what the page is about and what questions it can answer.
These crawlers analyze the entire page to determine its focus but specifically focus on Page Titles and Headings as primary descriptors.
Ideally, pages are keyword-focused and unique.
As such, keyword variations should be used consistently in Titles, URLs, Headings, and meta descriptions.
Google, and the other search engines, appreciate well-structured pages and will grab or create the components they need to construct a search engine result similar to the one below for “breakfast in Barrie.”
Note how the keyword “breakfast” is highlighted in the meta description.
Missing Title tags, or those that are too long (60 characters max) or duplicated.
Headings (particularly H1s) that are missing or duplicated.
Meta descriptions that are missing, too long (160 characters max), or duplicated.
Specifically, an audit will highlight issues related to:
Another important potential tag issue raised in an audit, depending on the nature of your local business, is image alt text.
As a best practice, all images should include relevant descriptive filenames and alt text, which may include pertinent keywords.
This becomes particularly important when images (e.g. product or service photos) are central to your business, as image carousels can and will show up in Web search results.
In every case, attention should be paid to the images appearing on your primary ranking pages.Internal Link Audit
Over time, the various links within a website can become stale or outdated as content is moved or deleted.
A link audit will help you quickly identify any potential misdirected or broken links, which can create a less than optimal experience for your site visitors.
Links are likewise signals the search engines use to determine the flow of a website and its ability to direct searchers to appropriate, authoritative answers to their questions.
Part of this audit should include the identification of opportunities to crosslink prominent pages.
For example, if a page within your site has keywords that reference content on another page a link may be created.
This can have the effect of boosting both pages, provided the link logically guides users to more relevant content or an appropriate conversion point.
External links should also be considered, especially when there is an opportunity to link to an authoritative source of information.
From a local business perspective, this may include linking to relevant local organizations or events.
Pro tip: These links should ideally be opened in new browser windows, so your site visitors are able to continue on your site after they have explored any external links.Schema Review
Featured snippets are increasingly superseding traditional organic search results in Google, as the search engine aims to provide the answers to questions directly within its SERPs.
Local businesses have an opportunity to have their content highlighted as featured snippets if they:
Publish highly authoritative and relevant content.
Use structured schema markup to tag content such as their local business details, products, events, FAQs.
An effective local SEO audit should include the identification of content within a website to which schema can be applied.Mobile Audit
As more consumers begin searching via their mobile devices – especially for local services – it naturally becomes important for local businesses to provide a positive mobile web experience.
It will, in turn, affect how they are viewed and ranked by the search engines.
In short, websites need to load quickly, be easily navigated, and enable seamless user interaction.
Google offers a range of free mobile testing and three mobile-specific monitoring tools (Page Experience, Core Web Vitals, Mobile Usability) in Google Search Console.
More on this toolset below.
More in-depth user experience and SEO analysis can be done via Google Lighthouse, though a local business owner will likely want to enlist the help of a web developer to action any of the recommendations this tool provides.Duplicate Content
High-quality, authoritative content is, by definition, original content.
As such, it’s important to let Google know if your website contains any content/pages which you did not create, by adding a canonical tag to the HTML header of the page.
Not doing so can have a detrimental effect on your authority and, by extension, your ability to rank.
Most site auditing tools will flag content that requires or has malformed canonical tags.3. Google Business Profile Audit
A Google Business Profile (GBP) effectively represents a secondary website and highly visible point of presence for most local businesses.
An accurate, comprehensive GBP is critical to establishing visibility in Google Maps and organic search results.
A Google Business Profile audit should focus on the accuracy and completeness of the various components within the profile including:
Business information and location details.
Correct primary business category.
Hours of operation.
Correct pin location in Google Maps.
Proper categorization as a physical location or service area business.
The more complete the profile is, the more likely it will be viewed as a reliable local resource and be given appropriate billing in the search results.
Assuming you have claimed and are authorized to manage your GBP, you can access and edit your info directly within the search results.4. Review Management
Another very important aspect of a GBP is reviews.
Local business customers have an opportunity and are increasingly willing to write reviews, which appear on the GBP for other customers to view and play a significant role in determining visibility in the local map pack.
Google will notify business owners as soon as reviews are submitted and they should be responded to ASAP. This goes for negative reviews just as much as positive ones.
However, we all get busy and so a complete audit should include an analysis of your reviews to ensure none have fallen through the cracks. This will also help determine whether there are recurring customer service and satisfaction issues or themes that need to be addressed.
Of course, there are also several other places for consumers to submit reviews including Facebook, local review sites like Yelp, and industry-specific sites such as TripAdvisor and Houzz.
A full audit should take inventory of reviews left on any of these services as they can show up in search results.
The search engines and savvy modern consumers will most certainly find them.
A quick way to discover what reviews you may have on lesser-known properties is to simply search “‘your business name’ reviews.”
Alternatively, here too there are several good software platforms designed to help business owners ask for and manage their reviews on GBP and other review sites.
Pro tip: Request positive reviews from all customers and politely suggest they reference the product or service they are reviewing, as this can have a positive effect from a keyword ranking perspective.5. Local Business Listing/Citation Audit
Local business listings and citations provide search engines with a way of confirming a business are both local and reputable within a specific geographic region.
It is important to have a presence in reputable local directories, review sites, business directories (e.g. Chamber of Commerce), or local partner sites.
Depending on the size and scope of your local business an audit of your listings and citations can be done in an automated or manual fashion.
Business listings and citation management tools can be used to find, monitor and update all primary citations with your proper Name, Address, Phone Number (aka NAP), and other pertinent business details found in broader listings (e.g. website address, business description.)
If you manage a limited number of locations and have the time, one quick method of identifying where your current listings can be found is to simply conduct a search on your business name.
The first 3-4 pages of search results should reveal the same.
If the goal is to understand where you are missing listing and citation opportunities, you can conduct a search on the list of keywords you have researched and want to be found for.
The most valuable directories and listing sites will be those which appear in the search results for these keywords.
It’s also important that you find and resolve any duplicate listings to prevent confusing customers and search engines alike with outdated, inaccurate information.6. Local Content Audit
As noted, people search differently and require different types of information depending on where they are in their buying journey.
A well-structured local web presence will include content tailored and distributed for consumption during each stage of this journey, to bolster visibility and awareness.
You want to be found throughout your customer’s search experience.
A content audit can be used to make sure you have content for each of the journey buckets your audience members may find themselves in.
Informational content may be distributed via social or other external channels or published on your website to help educate your consumers on the products, services, and differentiators you offer at the beginning of their path to purchase.
This content ideally answers your prospects’ why, how, and what type questions.
Transactional content is designed to address those consumers who already know what they want, but are in the process of deciding where or who to purchase from.
This type of content may include reviews, testimonials, or competitive comparisons.
This page should also include a clear call to action with the assumption they have arrived with a specific goal in mind.
Commercial content addresses those consumers who have signaled a strong intent to buy.
Effective local business sites and social pages must include offers, coupons, discounts, and clear paths to purchase.
Quality content is content your audience wants to consume, like, and share. In 2023, for many businesses, this means considering and experimenting with content beyond text and images.
Video content shared via platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and others is easier to consume and generally more engaging.
YouTube videos, in particular, can be optimized and do appear within organic search results.
Keep in mind, each social network includes a search function and any content distributed here should incorporate targeted keywords and hashtags to enhance visibility.
Pro tip: Make it easy for your readers to like and share your content by including visible share buttons; a simple best practice missed by far too many website owners.
While social signals are not a search ranking factor, shared content has a higher chance of being linked to, which in turn can positively affect authority and organic visibility.7. Google Search Console Review
Google Search Console is an invaluable free resource for data related to keyword and content performance, indexing, schema/rich results validation, mobile/desktop experience monitoring, and security/manual actions.
A complete local SEO audit must include a review and analysis of this data to identify and react to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats outlined in each section.
Website owners and managers will want to pay particular attention to any issues related to pages not being crawled/indexed or manual actions having been taken based on questionable practices, as both can have a detrimental effect on search engine visibility.
Google Search Console does send notifications for these types of issues as well as regular performance updates, but an audit will ensure nothing has been overlooked.8. Analytics Review
Whether you are using Google Analytics or another site/visitor tracking solution, the data available here is useful during an audit to validate top and lesser-performing content, traffic sources, audience profiles, and paths to purchase.
Findings in analytics will be key to your content audit.
As you review your site analytics you may ask the following questions:
Are my top-visited pages also my top ranking pages in search engines?
Which pages/content are not receiving the level of traffic or engagement desired?
What is the typical path to purchase on my site and can it be condensed or otherwise optimized?
Which domains are my top referrers and are there opportunities to further leverage these sites for backlinks? (see Backlink Audit below).
Use Google Analytics (or another tool of your choice) to find the answers to these questions so you can focus and prioritize your content and keyword optimization efforts.9. Backlink Audit
Backlinks or inbound links are similar to citations but are effectively any links to your website pages from other third-party websites.
Links remain an important factor in determining the authority of a website as they lend validity if they come from relevant, reputable sources.
However, links from non-relevant or non-reputable sites can do more harm than good from an SEO perspective, and sometimes these links can be created without your knowledge.
It is therefore wise to conduct a backlink audit every six to twelve months depending on the size and scope of your website.
As with other components of an audit, there are several good free and paid backlink tools available, including a link monitoring service in Google Search Console, which is a great place to start.
In terms of auditing linking domains, you should quickly determine if there are any you don’t recognize or those which appear non-reputable or irrelevant to your local business.
Depending on the source, nature of the link, and the content it links to, it may be necessary to inquire about having the link removed.
An effective backlink audit has the dual purpose of identifying and building links via potentially valuable backlink sources, which can positively affect your ranking and visibility.
For local businesses, reputable local sources of links are naturally beneficial in validating location.
Potential backlink sources can be researched in a variety of locations:
Free and paid backlink research tools such as Ahrefs, Semrush, or Majestic. Identify any domains where your primary competition has acquired backlinks, but you have not.
Referral sources in Google Analytics may reveal domains where you already have links and may be able to acquire more.10. Competitor Analysis
A comprehensive local SEO audit would not be complete without identifying and reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.
You may already have a good sense of who your competition is, but to begin it’s always a good idea to confirm who specifically shows up in the search results when you enter your target keywords.
These businesses/domains are your true competitors and the sites you can learn the most from.
A recent Google algorithm update appears to signal more emphasis is being placed on results tied to the immediate proximity of a business, which means the most attention should be paid to your closest high-ranking competitors.
You can follow the same checklist of steps you would conduct for your own audit to identify how they may be optimizing their keywords, content, Google Business Profile, reviews, local business listings, or backlinks.
In general, the best way to outperform your competition is to provide a better overall experience online and off, which includes generating more relevant, high-quality content to address the questions your mutual customers have.Prioritizing Your Action Items
A complete local SEO audit is going to produce a fairly significant list of action items.
Many of the aforementioned keyword, site, content, and backlink auditing tools do a good job of prioritizing tasks; however, the list can still be daunting.
One of the best places to start with an audit action plan is around the keywords and content you have already established some but not enough authority for.
These are your keywords, webpages, and content assets sitting on the cusp of prominence in the local organic search results and Map Packs.
Determine how to best address deficiencies or opportunities to optimize this content first before moving onto more competitive keywords or those you have less or no visibility for, as we all know, SEO is a long-term game.
These audit items should be reviewed every 6-12 months, depending on the size and scale of your web presence, for the best chance at being found by your local target audience.
Featured Image: Ribkhan/Shutterstock
Regarding search engine optimization, technical SEO is paramount until it isn’t. Crawlability and indexability are essential for ranking, but most other factors will be negligible outside of content and links.
This blog is to help you get a handle on the fundamentals and prioritize your efforts for maximum return.What Is Technical SEO?
Website architecture, mobile optimization, and page performance are technical SEO factors contributing to your overall organic growth. These aren’t the flashiest parts of SEO, but they’re crucial nonetheless.
Knowing your current SEO standing through a site audit is the first step in improving your technical SEO. The next thing to do is design a strategy to improve your weaknesses. Below, we’ll go over each of these measures in detail.Understanding On-page-Off-Page & Technical SEO
These three main categories describe search engine optimization (SEO).On-Page SEO
Image alt text, keyword usage, meta descriptions, H1 tags, URL naming, and internal linking are all examples of on-page SEO tactics that help convey your page’s topic to search engines and readers alike. Since everything relates to your site, you may exert the most influence over on-page SEO.Off-Page SEO
Off-page Backlinks, or links from other sites to yours, are the most important vote of confidence that SEO uses to convey to search engines how popular and beneficial your page is. PageRank improves when a page has both more and better backlinks. A page with 100 relevant links from trustworthy sources will almost always outrank a page with 50 (or 100 irrelevant links from credible sites.)Technical SEO
While you have some say in technical SEO, getting good at it can be challenging because it lacks obviousness.Why Is Technical SEO So Vital?
This aspect of SEO is often overlooked, yet it significantly impacts your site’s organic traffic and should not be disregarded. Even if it’s the most comprehensive, helpful, and well-written information globally, very few people will ever see it if a search engine can’t index it.
A tree falls in the forest, but no one can hear it… Can you hear it? Your content won’t be heard by search engines if it lacks a solid technical SEO base.Simplified Technical SEO: How To Improve Your Site’s Search Engine Rankings For Beginners
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to any digital marketing plan because 90% of all online experiences start with a search engine.
Th=echnical SEO is the backbone of every effective SEO strategy. The success of your other SEO activities, including content production and link building, depends on the quality of your technical optimization. With proper technical SEO, search engines will have no trouble finding, indexing, and displaying your site in relevant search results.
Speed, mobile friendliness, and UX are important ranking considerations, and they can all be improved with technical SEO work. In this article, we’ll go into the foundations of technical SEO and provide some helpful pointers for getting started.It’s Important To Audit Your Website To Spot Any Bugs Or Weak Spots.
Launch Google PageSpeed Insights, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to conduct regular audits of your website. You may improve your website’s performance and search engine optimization (SEO) using the tools provided here. Common issues include duplication, broken links, crawl errors, and missing alt tags.Optimizing Pictures And Decreasing Page Load Times Can Greatly Increase a Website’s Speed And Performance Understanding Your Audienence
You don’t write for search engines! Instead, you want to target your audience. Search engine optimization relies heavily on research into user behavior and language patterns to rank websites higher in search results. To rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs), it is necessary to follow certain guidelines.
Some of these norms have to do with the way we write, while others pertain to the structure of our website. One example is making sure your website is compatible with mobile devices.Use Structured Data To Make Content Easier To Crawl For Search Engines
To improve search engine readability, you can structure the data on your website. So, it can assist you in getting rich snippets in search results and raise your website’s rankings. There are numerous formats for structured data, such as JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa.SSL Certificate & HTTPS Protocol
When a user sends information to your website, it is encrypted using a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate. This information is delivered thanks to HTTPS, a secure technology safely. Using SSL and HTTPS, you can make your website more secure and attract more customers.
When search engine crawlers encounter HTTP problems, it prevents them from accessing vital pages on your site. Therefore, fixing these issues as soon and completely as possible is crucial.Make It Easier For Search Engines To Crawl And Index Your Website’s Pages Using An XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap is a file that shows search engines the organization of your website by listing each page. Use an XML sitemap and publish it to search engines to boost your site’s rankings. s. The sitemap serves as a guide for visitors to your site. When satisfied with your sitemap, you’ll upload it to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Always remember to update your sitemap as new pages are added or removed.Conclusion
So if it’s our job to identify content that meets our audience’s demands, and we are living and breathing that every day, why is it so difficult for 63 percent of marketers?
The answer is that the tools we have been using, and the way in which we use them, are imperfect.
For example, using a keyword planner on its own on only tells you one piece of the story. Keyword planners can tell you traffic and competition, but they don’t tell you why someone searched that keyword in the first place or how best to help them find a solution that’s relevant to them.
The characteristics that make up your audience and drive their goals and pain points are hidden in the context of their questions.
At the same time, all of the demographic research in the world won’t tell you the quantitative data on how many people actually sit down and search “forum research” every month (10-100) as opposed to “blog ideas” (1K-10K).
Context and technical search factors together are essential for taking content from ho-hum to spectacularly relevant.Get Content Context Through Forums
Instead of being limited to the confines of a baseline keyword, marketers are given context through full sentence questions, paragraphs of supporting information, and upvoted answers from peers and experts.
Forums are one way to provide a kaleidoscope of color to an otherwise blank coloring book of ideas.
But that can be easier said than done.
If it’s your job to create five, 10, or 100 pieces of content per week, who has time to manually sift through historical questions and answers across hundreds of internet pages?
There’s a tool for that! Several in fact.The Best Tools for Gleaning Blog Ideas from Forums
There quite a few tools that do a great job of collecting disparate contextual information from across the web and condensing it into bite-size chunks of information that marketers can use to supplement their keyword research.
Some are paid, and some are free, and they all offer their own benefits and drawbacks.
Here are a few of my favorite tools:Answer the Public
This was one of the original long-tail research tools, and it’s entirely free!
One of the really cool things about this tool is the data visualization that it produces around your keyword.
The suggested content is broken out into who, what, why, etc. format questions about your keyword.
You can then dig into the data more deeply and dig through an alphabetized list of supplementary keywords.BuzzSumo’s Question Analyzer
BuzzSumo’s aptly named question analyzer tool (originally launched with the name “Bloomberry”) takes this question research process to the next level because it also provides the answers.
It was available for free for a while when it first launched, and then they scaled it back to a limited amount of free searches per month. It now requires a subscription to BuzzSumo, but you can try it out for yourself with a free trial.
As you can see below, Keyword Analyzer provides you with a word cloud of related terms as well as a list of relevant questions by category.SEMRush’s Topic Research
SEMRush is the newest player in the topic research tool space.
True to their SEO roots, SEMrush organizes the content slightly differently. Instead of sorting information by frequency or popularity like the others, the information is displayed in the order of the content that has received the most backlinks.
Another feature that I like on this one is the ability to save a topic to favorites so you can remember your search later when you actually sit down to write. Like BuzzSumo’s tool, this feature is available with a subscription to SEMRush’s tool suite.So We Have Some Tools … Now What?
If you’re a stickler for keywords and optimizing your content for search (which you should be), these tools can only get you through part of the content battle.
It’s important to do the research around keyword competitiveness, distribution strategies, and personas and buyer’s journey.
Forum topic tools, however, offer incredible supplemental information to your content strategy and can easily provide you with a year’s worth of blog posts, video snippets, and social content ideas!
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if you begin with a strong keyword or start with the question and find a keyword to match it. Most content marketing strategic planning periods include an intensive keyword research period. So if you’ve completed that effectively, you’re probably reciting relevant keywords in your sleep.
Once you have a keyword and a question, it’s time to create some epic content that answers that question for your client. As with any good piece of content, write for your persona, solve for their needs, and drive to a relevant call to action.Conclusion
This style of content marketing is going to be all the more important in 2023 as voice search devices become a common household fixture. People naturally ask voice searches in a question format (who, what, why, when, where) when speaking to an AI. So if you do your job right, you just may rank for a featured snippet in the SERPs.
More Content Marketing Resources Here:
Screenshots taken by Katy Katz, December 2023
Integrating blogging with other communication tools – an integrated approach
Although blogging is far from new, I find that relatively few organisations have really started using blogs effectively. Where they have, they have found a tool that delivers on multiple fronts because it’s integrated into all their communications.
When used effectively, the blog is a place for you to develop newsletter content, integrate with other social media tools, showcase your expertise, play with ideas, research a topic and discover customer views. Of course, blogs also yield dividends in terms of SEO as other sites pick up your content giving you invaluable back links, and customers will get on with the job of tweeting and liking your work.The Blog Central model
Below is a model I’ve developed to use when explaining the concept to colleagues and on my training courses. To make the point of how blogging must be at the heart of your communications, I’ve called it Blog Central. I think it neatly shows how blogging can drive much of your customer communications activity.
Using the Blog Central model I am able to utilise blogging, e-newsletters and other social media in an integrated manner. For the purpose of this description my business is irrelevant really, but if the context helps you, I sell training DVDs online to church based musicians. I blog most days and every week or so collect the posts together to create a newsletter which is then e-mailed out to my organically grown mailing list.Syndicating content from your blog
Optimised well, platforms such as WordPress enable content to be rapidly indexed certainly most of my posts are indexed within a few hours, often within minutes. And we know that search engines love fresh keyword relevant content so play the game, write your post and optimise it for search (more on this in a future post). This post by Dave Chaffey shows how different tools can be used to integrate your blog with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook using RSS feeds.
In his post, Dave points out its important not to automate everything – personal interactions on the social networks are really important too – don’t miss those.Don’t forget to make time for customer research
My more tech-savvy customers receive the blog posts as they happen via RSS feed or Twitter, but most still prefer a less frequent summary newsletter by email – pretty much the same model employed by Smart Insights. As far as frequency is concerned it’s certainly worth researching. We asked my customers what they thought of the frequency and content using the wonderful free online survey tool Survey Monkey. The results were informative, confirming a lot of our assumptions and gratifyingly showed an extraordinarily high satisfaction rate with our communications.Seeding your content through social media
Having uploaded a new post I tend to manually tweet each to give it a personal flavour and from there my LinkedIn profile picks up the latest tweets. I’ll also pick the link up in our company Facebook page. You can set many of your social network updates to automatically update on others (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook etc) so that updating on one will trigger a cascade of updates on the others. Personally I prefer to do this manually as I adapt the message a little for each platform (demographics can be different and of course you get different character numbers on the different platforms.
All this (as can be seen from the diagram) produces lots of interactions with people. A lot of these are customers – and it’s important to maintain and enhance the relationship with them. It also brings in lots of potential customers many of whom will return again over the weeks learning more about us before considering a purchase.Integrating the blog with your enewsletter
I plan to pull together a few more articles on blogging in future weeks. If you work in B2B, don’t miss Rene Power’s excellent series on B2B Blogging. We’ll look at ideas for content, more reasons to blog as well as maximising the SEO potential of your posts.
With the drop in Facebook news-feed views and the explosive growth of content recommendation solutions, like Ourtbrain, means every nickel spent on conversions better maximize your content assets. It’s nothing new that brands are experiencing social feed collapse and standing out in a noisy environment is getting harder. Most of your content is getting lost in the shuffle. Recycle it! Let the customer’s social activity tell you what they prefer. Engagement in social is good, but not if that’s all you get. Some top brands have made the transition to acting like publishers with dedicated internal and external teams cranking out content.Top tactics used by savvy publishing brands are:
Storytelling – high quality engaging content on an going basis
Infographic Creation – relevant lists and how to’s
Visual Content Marketing – compelling visuals
eBook Creation – great for lead generation
eMailer Personalization – targeting with relevance and being the information / education source
Content Curation within an Industry – keep people coming to you because you find what’s hot and important to your customers, making it easy for them to keep current
Webinars / Pod Casts / Google Hangouts – establishes authority
Slide Share Presos – extends your corporate social graph and thought leadership
Case Studies – SEO value and high share currency
Videos to Motion Infographics — video is growing
Even if you have a lean, mean, content creation machine, you still need to drive amplification to drive sales. Not only promotion, but full on recycling the content in many forms, getting the most out of your content assets. The hard job is creating more content to stay relevant with your customers and educating them as part of a sales process. The “How to’s” and infographics, along with rich storytelling are all being used by the leaders. making it harder for the competition to keep up.Smart Content Routing
Brands have a need for smart content routing and unique displays which enable them to maximize customer engagement and experience at every touch point, increasing site participation, and garnering higher social share just begs to get fracked. Many brands only change their static websites, blogs, and even eCommerce sites when a product update occurs. Brands must embrace customer driven publishing techniques to scale their own engagement and utilize intelligence to drive higher call to action responses. There are several examples of content recommendation and discovery platforms. You may have seen them on bottom or right sides of sites, labeled “Sponsored”, “Content Found for You”, or “You Might Also Like”.Content Recommendation Platforms
Companies like Outbrian, Taboola and Zemanta all provide content fracking techniques over some of the biggest publishing networks. Here is a list of the top platforms, ranked by market share (based on LeadLedger analysis).
Going beyond content recommendation to full site personalization is now possible. Companies like Marketo and Gravity use reader’s interest graph linked with news sites and time sensitive content are showing promising results. This is not new, but technology and big data is starting to create innovative ways to serve content. All these examples are still in their early stages of expanding services to the evergreen publishing space.Data Intelligence and Learning Algorithms
ContentDJ is very useful for finding interesting content to share on Twitter and Facebook. It ranks tweets in any niche (searchable using hashtags and/or keywords) through an algorithm based on what was shared the most.
Trapit is also a great tool for content discovery, using an algorithm that incorporates the same Natural Language Processing technology found in Apple’s Siri. As the text is being processed, it will try to cross match to other content with a human system of vetting content.
A similar service, that is not exactly on the web (it is only available as an iOS Application), is Zite. Much like Trapit, Zite follows topics of your choice and delivers very relevant suggestions. Trapit is similar to My6Sense — it’s sort of like an RSS reader, but it provides a unique way to follow topics. Similar to My6Sense, it learns from your feedback. Unlike My6Sense, it is available on PCs and Macs — My6Sense is available only as an iOS/Android app.
Summly, purchased by Yahoo and later to become Yahoo News Digest, is another content recommendation application. There’s also News360 available on all platforms. For a brand, this same technology needs to be implemented for their own content to learn what their customers engage with and push content recommendation to the points where they are active on their sites.Closing the Social Loop
Closing the social loop on your own content is critical to maximizing site “stickiness” and frack your own content. It’s not new to recommend to people purchasing one item that these other items were purchased or searched on. Amazon and Ebay were among the first to exploit this technique with great success. There are many eCommerce applications doing intelligent recommendation as well so why not do this with your own content? LinkedIn now has the ability to display scoring for searches on your profile and now shows content reach.
Visual curation products are fast becoming a commodity, however, intelligently routing relevant content to strategic places on your site or integrated directly in your e-commerce sites, purchase exit pages, and mailers creates a more meaningful experience. You have a captivated customer so put your best foot forward with your best content. Keep in mind, the majority of people don’t see the majority of content.Fracking Your Content Marketing Understand Traffic:
Use the data, don’t just create reports
If you see a page or post getting traction reorganize your content, re-post on other pages
Create a feature section and show how much engagement the content obtainedSocial Engagement Google Events Flow
Google event flow tracks the path people take on your site. It can identify where they drop off and provide the ideal place to place content recommendation. Bring forth your most trending content in a visual way and see if you can route people back into your site.Recommend Content
Surface content people engage with the most and keep it changing. Don’t just show some side bar on the bottom of your page “Related Content” or sunk in a multi-tab interface, hiding the most engaged. Make it visual with images! The more it stands out the more traffic you will get.
Watch your recommended content performance and promote it on your home page. Make a big deal about it. Show it on your blog, mailers, and purchase exit pages. Even put it in purchase confirmation emails.Cross Promote Position Content
Link your best content where your customers are visiting...recycle!! On each page of your site, not just via a WordPress plugin. Use visuals in strategically placed areas where your customers are dropping off. Create a plan to update this weekly or monthly and integrate it as part of your content calendar process.Email Integration
Email marketing is still effective. Exact Target and many other marketing automation platforms support XML content feeds so use them. Feed in your best trending content to create additional discovery and interaction. This is simple to measure shows what’s working and it can create hyper discovery.eCommerce Integration:
Purchase thank you pages are another key integration point. What is on your thank you page now? Content recommendation brings them back to your site versus just telling them what they ordered.Hyper Discovery
Are you fracking your content by inserting topical trends or your most engaged content on your site? Any curation platform will provide access to other content that’s relevant to your industry, but you need to apply intelligence to make achieve dynamic relevance. If you’re not the source of discovery, your competitors will be — and you will have missed an opportunity to be the content magnet with in your own industry. Your customer is trained to engage with Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumbler so be smart and deploy a Content Hub. These visual content platforms create Hyper Discovery, making it easy to share and engage, bringing new customer to your site. They also present unique opportunities for email capture and other e-commerce integration points.
Incarcerated content is a problem, but new techniques are allowing brands to find ways to liberate their assets. Customers are overloaded and don’t have time to sift through every article on your site. Closing the social loop will increase website engagement, time on the site, and both brand engagement and social engagement while keeping them close to your bottom-line. Brands have a major opportunity to help customers discover great content and maximize site experience while developing a unique data set to show what content is getting referral traffic and higher share due to internal discovery.
What discovery platforms and solutions are you using to make your site more engaging and dynamic?
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