Quality content is king when you’re trying to get found on the internet. While you may be a word nerd who is a master at spinning the most boring of topics into a memorable treatise, it’s not going to matter if it’s not being read; you have to have a plan to get discovered. That said, one of the most important parts of your content strategy should be your content calendar. It helps you define how to get your content to the right people at the right time to get the most out of what you’re publishing. But before you can start planning your calendar, you have to have the right keywords to draw in that audience. In this week’s Memo to the Modern Marketer, we’ll show you how to get there.
Keyword research is a pretty involved process. One method is to use your intuition to come up with killer keywords to bring in a bigger audience, but you’ll attract more visitors with keyword selections that are backed by data. While a lot goes into uncovering keywords that convert, when using the Searchmetrics Content Experience there are only a few steps you have to take to get you on the right path to filling out an effective editorial calendar – without having to use Google.
The Searchmetrics Research Cloud takes a lot of the work out of keyword research. With the Searchmetrics Content Experience, you can investigate specific keywords or you can execute your query based on your domain to find the right keywords with which to build your editorial calendar.
Let’s look at WebMD – a massive health publisher. For our industry report, Health Ranking Factors 2017, Searchmetrics found that content for Google’s top 20 health websites uses 43% more words than the benchmark average, so keywords should be one of the base elements to build a health company’s content calendar. Entering WebMD’s domain into the Research Cloud returns a treasure trove of information that WebMD can use to whittle down a list of powerful keywords: the keywords it already ranks for, its top performing URLs and its key competitors.
To edge out the competition, first you have to look at what they’re doing. Not only can the Research Cloud show you who you’re up against, it also shows you exactly what content they’re creating to rank, and how it’s performing. But the tool really shines when it compares a site to its competition. Let’s pit WebMD against one of its major competitors: Healthline.com.
It can sort keywords that only WebMD ranks for under one tab, the keywords only Healthline ranks for under another tab along with the keywords that both sites rank for under another tab.
Under “Shared Keywords,” you can see the terms, search volume and the rankings for both sites. Looking at this information, WebMD might consider targeting “poop” because it has a monthly search volume of more than 370K and WebMD ranks #40 for it while Healthline ranks #1.
To take the competition a step further, WebMD can target the unique Healthline keywords that WebMD doesn’t rank for at all. Healthline ranks #1 for “OBGYN”, which has a monthly search volume of 224K, so that may be a keyword WebMD would target.
Seek & Destroy
Now that you have your top-level keywords, you can start looking for similar keywords.
Let’s say one of the keywords WebMD wants to focus on is “weight loss.” The Research Cloud displays the similar keywords along with their search volumes. The ones with a high search volume may be ones to add to your keyword list because those are the ones people are looking for the most.
To collect the similar keywords, you can check the boxes in the far right column, then click on the plus sign at the top to export the list into a CSV or XLSX.
Digging a little deeper, if you click on the “Rankings” tab at the top of the page, it shows which sites rank for those similar keywords and what they’re publishing to rank for it.
That may serve WebMD well as inspiration when coming up with content ideas, but if you click on one of the competitors you can see what else they’re ranking for as well as the corresponding links that can be used for inspiration, too.
If You Build It Right, They Will Come
Now that you have your keyword list, you can start to build out the ideas that will go into your editorial calendar using the “Topic Explorer.”
The Topic Explorer helps you structure your editorial calendar strategy. There are several tabs, but for this, we’ll only look at a couple. For “Semantic Associations,” it returns a list or cluster of topics associated with the keyword you’re targeting to create content around. From the list, you can check the boxes for the semantic associations you want to use for that keyword to be included in the content you want to create – this will be stored in your “Content Brief” that will later guide you as you write.
The “Seasonality” tab gives you the times of year those topics are popular in searches. For “weight loss” most of the related topics pop up in January. You can intuit that people are trying to keep up with New Year’s resolutions. To optimize its content for search engines, WebMD might want to plug in a blog post about “Quick Tips for a New Year’s Weight Loss Plan” in January.
When you’re putting together your editorial calendar, make sure to include major events in your industry, but also include events that might be valuable to your audience. While WebMD might be planning a special article for the American Medical Association’s “Joy in Medicine” conference, it might also consider planning a blog post on choosing the right health insurance during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period. It can then select keywords to help search engines put those posts in front of the right people.
Cover All Your Bases
As you look at the seasonality of keywords, you see when people search the most for each of the words, but make note of the smaller spikes in search throughout the year. While people search for “weight loss” the most in January, searches increase in July as well. It will help Google make your content visible at the best times. While putting together the content calendar, WebMD could schedule a blog post about losing weight for Fourth of July weekend to maximize use of that keyword in the summer as well as the winter.
Hindsight Is 20/20
While you’re looking at the year ahead, take a look back at the content you’ve already published. There may be a blog post loosely related to a keyword you want to optimize for. In that case, take the opportunity to tweak the old content so it comes up in more valuable searches. The Content Experience makes that easy: when creating a brief, you have the option to optimize for a URL that already exists. This also gives you the chance to see what content can be repurposed. A blog post might have good information to turn into an infographic and information from an old infographic might have good points to put in a new video.
Though content marketing and social media exist on two different planes, they can work together to amplify its brand awareness. What works on social media might not work on a landing page or in a blog post and vice versa, but aligning the two calendars provides a brand consistency to pad your reach.
Keyword research and content calendars keep your content strategy in motion at the right cadence, but it’s the time and tracking that help you analyze what’s being done so you can keep improving for the future. Read more to find out how the Searchmetrics Suite and Content Experience can help you improve your SEO value and extend your reach.
This article was originally posted on Creating A Content Marketing Calendar with the Ultimate SEO Keywords List