Content Ideation: 12 Awesome Tools to Use - Search Engine Journal

Content Ideation: 12 Awesome Tools to Use - Search Engine Journal


Content Ideation: 12 Awesome Tools to Use - Search Engine Journal

Posted: 24 Sep 2019 05:20 AM PDT

As a content marketer, sometimes coming up with new content ideas is extremely challenging. Never mind great content ideas that are going to move the needle for your website.

We've all been there. Everything is great when you first start writing for a website – there are a ton of untapped opportunities and brilliant ideas flowing.

However, after you've been writing for a website for a couple of years, things may begin to feel more challenging.

Leveraging the many content ideation tools available will not only help you address this challenge, but it will also ensure your topic ideas are backed by data.

12 Awesome Tools for Data-Backed Content Ideas

In this post, you'll discover a variety of content ideation tools to use when brainstorming new content ideas and building an editorial calendar set up for success.

1. SEMrush

There are many ways to spike content ideas using SEMrush; however, one of my favorites is by using the new Topic Research tool. You can plug in a topic area or domain to generate related information and ideas.

By analyzing the most popular subtopics, headlines that are earning the most links, interesting/related questions being asked and more, you'll be able to craft a post that truly resonates with your target audience.

This will also give you a solid idea of what sites and assets you'll be going up against.

SEMrush Content Ideas

Use the filters to sort by:

  • Volume (for the most popular searches)
  • Difficulty (for quick-win opportunities)
  • Efficiency (for both volume and difficulty)

Additionally, you can save ideas to "Favorite Ideas" to go back to them later.

2. FAQ Fox

This content ideation tool displays the questions that people are asking around the keyword target at hand.

You can enter specific sites to scrape, or pick from suggested categories of sites to search from.

Essentially, the tool asks search engines to find what, why, how, and where in the titles and meta data that incorporates the keyword.

This tool is especially powerful for a few key reasons. It helps figure out:

  • How users are typing in questions and the language they are using
  • Questions that users aren't finding answers to in search results
  • Answers to the questions with supporting information that can be leveraged to create the asset
faq fox content ideas

In addition to searching across relevant forum sites and social media platforms, search your competitors' sites to see what questions they are answering around a particular topic.

3. Quora

Quora is a fantastic community, especially to determine what type of information people are looking for around a particular subject.

The platform allows you to search by topic, and displays the most popular questions (or threads) around each topic.

Quora content ideas

Questions being asked on Quora can lead to some really great content ideas.

Additionally, once you've created the asset inspired by a particular thread, go back and share your article with high quality and valuable response.

This will help generate brand awareness, strengthen thought leadership, drive visibility to the new asset, and provide users with the information they are looking for.

Pro tip: To take a more targeted approach, run Quora.com in SEMrush to see the threads that are organically ranking in search results for your keywords. Threads ranking in the top 10 results on Google for your priority terms present an immediate opportunity for content creation, as well as distribution after the post is live.

4. Google Search Console

Consider the queries that are already driving people to your website.

Look at the top queries, impressions, clicks, and click-through rate (CTR) in Google Search Console to identify terms that are underperforming.

Queries with low click-through rates likely indicate that you need new pieces of content to better address the topics, or that the existing assets are lacking something.

For example, if there is a query driving thousands of impressions to your site each month but the CTR is less than 10%, there is clearly a lot of visibility to gain.

Start with these keywords, and you will likely see some quick-wins.

5. Google Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner is essential to discover new phrases that are being searched for, which can be used to generate new content ideas.

You can enter products and/or services closely related to your business, or a specific domain to uncover new keyword opportunities.

Keyword Planner Content Ideas

I'd highly suggest running your own domain, as well as competitors' domains to uncover potential keyword gaps and areas where your site needs the most improvements.

From there, start digging into the keyword suggestions.

Keyword Planner Ideas

Remember, don't ignore keywords with little or no search volume.

Zero search volume does not equal zero traffic. This has been proven time and time again.

In fact, low volume terms can lead to huge traffic wins!

6. Google Search Results

When evaluating the keyword opportunities that you've determined, go directly on Google and see what is currently ranking in search results. This will help ensure that your content ideas are set up for success.

Ask yourself:

  • What types of assets are ranking?
  • What sites are ranking in the top results?
  • Are there certainly commonalities in titles?
  • If so, what kinds? Are they mostly lists, how-to type articles, "what is" content?
  • What do the page tagging elements consist of?
  • How extensive are the assets?
  • What subtopics do they cover?

This type of analysis will help you come up with topic ideas that are aligned with the assets that Google has already deemed related, quality and worthy of ranking.

Google SERPs

Search results that are made up of mostly education and informational content likely present an opportunity to create blog posts, while results that display product and services are better geared toward your main site landing pages.

Be sure to look at the People Also Ask, Searches Related to, and Google's "Try searching for" suggestions, as these will also lead to some really great content ideas.

This goes back to my point about not ignoring keywords that show zero search volume. Often times if you run these suggestions (from People Also Ask, Searches Related to, etc.) in Keyword Planner, it will display zero average monthly searches.

However, Google suggests them for a reason. People are looking for this information.

7. Keyword.io

This is one of my all-time favorite tools to use for new content ideas. Simply plug in a seed keyword, and the tool will provide hundreds of longer tail keyword suggestions.

The best part? You can pull platform-specific research for Google, YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Wikipedia, and many more.

keyword.io ideas

When digging through the longer tail keyword suggestions, pick the ideas that make the most sense for you and your content objectives. Then, export this for a complete list of priority ideas.

keyword.io content ideas

8. BuzzSumo

Use BuzzSumo to analyzing top-performing articles across the web and trigger new content ideas. Similarly to other tools mentioned above, you can search by a specific keyword or domain.

buzzsumo content ideas

It's important to think beyond your own domain and search competitor sites as well.

With this tool, you can get a better understanding of what content assets (and topics) are generating the most shares and backlinks for your competitors.

This will help you realize content gaps on your own site, and the types of new assets you will need to compete.

9. Google Trends

In today's search landscape, it's important to craft content that addresses subtopics that Google associates with a keyword.

Google Trends helps understand searches that are closely related to the topic at hand, as well as the user intent behind these searches.

One of the best parts about this tool is that you can use it to determine the timeliness of a topic.

  • Is it a newer subject that is just heating up?
  • Did popularity around the topic spike a couple of months back and dwindle off since?
  • Is it a seasonal or annual topic? If so, when do people start searching around it?
Google Trends content ideas

For example, in the screenshot shown above, you can see that the average interest over time around Patriots' games is greater than for Steelers' games. This further proves that the Patriots are better than the Steelers. (Kidding! Sortofnotreally. 😂)

But, it does show that when these terms are being searched for is fairly consistent. You can clearly see when off-season is and when the season starts to pick up.

Looking at the trends over time will help you decide if the topic is worth addressing, and the best time to publish a new asset around the subject.

10. Answer the Public

Answer the Public is another valuable tool to find the questions that people are searching for around a particular keyword or phrase.

Type in a keyword, and you'll be greeted with an awesome visualization of how people are searching around the topic.

Answer the Public Content Ideas

This tool applies question-based modifiers (such as which, who, what, when, why, how, are, and where) to the beginning of the keyword and displays Google's search suggestions.

It also searches with preposition-based modifiers (including for, with, to, on and many more), as well as comparisons like versus, or, and, like, etc.

The comparison data is especially useful if you are writing about a particular product or software. Versus style content can be extremely valuable to reach people who are deeper in the sales funnel, and already comparing potential solutions.

11. Social Media Platforms

Don't forget to leverage social media as part of your content ideation process. While this type of analysis can be done across platforms, I find Twitter to be the most purposeful for content ideas.

With Advanced Search on Twitter, you can see tweets that include specific words, phrases, hashtags, mentions, and more to get a feel for the types of conversations people are having online.

Twitter Advanced Search

Aim to better understand the language they are using, questions they are asking, challenges they are having, and the tweets that are getting the most engagement.

12. CoSchedule

CoSchedule has a variety of offerings that can help take your writing to the next level; however, for the sake of this article, let's focus on the free Headline Analyzer tool.

This tool is especially helpful once you've established some new content ideas, and are looking for ways to tweak them in order to maximize visibility.

CoSchedule Headlines

You can enter text and get immediate feedback on how to tailor your headline to drive traffic, shares, and search visibility.

Get recommendations to:

  • Identify the type of headlines that convert (lists, how-tos, questions, etc.)
  • Find the right word balance to catch your audiences' eye (uncommon, common, emotional and powerful words)
  • Optimize the character length for engagement

Final Thoughts

In this extremely flooded online marketing landscape, it's becoming more important for content marketers to focus on quality over quantity. And, this means identifying the right content topics.

Craft new content that is highly targeted toward your audiences, keyword objectives, and broader business goals.

How?

Take advantage of the many content ideation tools available to you.

You will come up with amazing content ideas that are backed by data.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, September 2019

A Guide to On-Page SEO for Ecommerce Websites - Search Engine Journal

Posted: 22 Sep 2019 05:00 AM PDT

On-page SEO can help your ecommerce website rank higher, engage users, drive more traffic, and convert more leads.

People typically start their product research with a search (usually on Google).

To make an informed buying decision, they usually:

  • Compare prices and features.
  • Read reviews.
  • Search for tips and advice.

If your website isn't visible when people are searching for the products you sell, you're losing out on potential customers and profits.

Let's examine some of the most significant concepts for improving on-page SEO and winning valuable organic traffic.

Keyword Research & Optimization

If you want people to find you, you have to use the right words.

If you want greater visibility in search engines, you have to use the right words.

Notice a pattern there?

You must optimize for both people and search engines.

You can choose from many useful keyword research tools.

For example, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer provides keyword suggestions for any business niche or search engine. You can monitor and manage the metrics that reflect how efficiently your keywords match user queries.

Some other free keyword research tools include Google Trends, Keyword Shitter, Google Correlate, Wordtracker Scout, and Google Search Console.

Here are a few tips on how to use the keywords you find:

  • Place the most important keywords in page titles, headers, subheaders, paragraph copy, product descriptions, image file names and alt text, meta title and description, and URLs. Use different variations.
  • Put all details (shipping costs, user reviews, return policy) on the product page. If the customer has to leave the page to look for extra information, they are more likely to leave the website altogether.
A Guide to On-Page SEO for Ecommerce Websites
  • Provide users with real value by writing a helpful copy. Avoid unnecessary keyword stuffing, which can appear suspicious to Google.
  • Update your seasonal sales in a timely manner. Don't disappoint your customers.

Content

Product Pages

Remember that people, not Google, buy your services and products, so it is vital to optimizing your ecommerce pages to satisfy users' intentions.

Start by evaluating your competitors' websites. Your analysis can shed some light on which factors are worthy of attention. Look for:

  • Multilingual websites.
  • Specific colors used in product page designs.
  • Characteristics of services/products.
  • The number and the appearance of calls to action, or CTAs.

To improve your on-page SEO, consider removing unavailable products from your index. When left in indexing for an extended period of time, these pages can eventually hurt your ranking.

You can arrange your work in the following manner:

  • Compare the number of indexed pages in Google Search Console with the number of indexed pages from your Sitemap, as well as the number of pages from Google organic.
  • Make sure that only pages from your Sitemap are open for Google indexing.

Category Pages

Ecommerce website owners often pay the most attention to product pages, landing pages, and the homepage of their websites, forgetting that category pages in their catalog should also look great because they directly influence conversions and search rankings.

If web users do not like the appearance of a category page, they will not even open product pages, and all your SEO efforts will be in vain.

Here are some key metrics to monitor in order to keep your category pages optimized:

  • Conversion rate: The ratio comparing the number of sales to the number of site visitors.
  • Engagement: The time visitors spend on the website's pages. The longer people spend viewing your content, the more likely they are to buy something.
  • Click-through rate: Transitions from category pages to product pages.
  • Revenue per visitor: The ratio between your revenue and the number of visitors. This metric is even more important than the conversion rate. It is better to have fewer clients buying expensive items than many customers buying inexpensive products.

Blog

A decade ago, blogging was mainly perceived as an entertaining add-on, but today, this powerful tool is actively used by ecommerce companies.

A blog can help your ecommerce site deliver valuable information to customers, gain their loyalty, and build strong relationships. Also, by incorporating popular keywords into blog articles, you will attract more visits from search engines.

Here are some criteria for high-quality SEO optimized content:

  • It should include strong queries that bring your pages to the top of search rankings.
  • Your posts should answer questions that are frequently asked by your clients: how to use some products, how to choose among several similar services, how to extend the lifespan of items purchased, etc.
  • Apart from text, your articles should include vivid and captivating visuals to break up text segments and keep readers engaged.
  • Your articles should contain links to product and category pages in your catalog.
  • You should thoroughly proofread and edit your content for grammatical errors, as well as misleading or obsolete information.

Meta Title & Description

The meta title and description are short but meaningful elements. They give you favorable exposure in search engines because web users see them when choosing from among a number of similar sources.

Your meta title and description should briefly summarize the subject of the page in a way that makes people want to visit and further explore it.

H tags

Header tags (H1, H2, H3, and so on) are extremely important, since they make up the structure of your articles. When visiting blogs and product pages, web users first look at headers and, within a few seconds, decide whether the material is worthy of their attention.

Also, headers are valuable from an SEO standpoint. Google pays more attention to these tags than to the body text.

Keeping in mind these two nuances, compile H tags reflecting an idea of each textual segment and including relevant keywords.

Reviews

You may run a top-notch advertising campaign and sing the praises of your company through all available information channels, but prospective clients will still approach your brand with a bit of skepticism, suspecting you are emphasizing your products' advantages just to hit high sales.

It is another story when web users read unbiased testimonials on independent review platforms.

People tend to trust other consumers, and 91% of all consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.

Posting a lot of positive reviews on your product pages can pay off big. Negative comments won't have as much of an impact, as long as they are in the minority.

Let's be honest, every product has some drawbacks, and the absence of dissatisfied buyers may seem suspicious.

A Guide to On-Page SEO for Ecommerce Websites

Customer opinions are more helpful for on-page SEO than you may think.

Reviews provide original, fresh and consistent content that is helpful for both search engines and potential customers. Not to mention that reviews often contain relevant keywords, which come as an added bonus.

Encouraging users to leave reviews is more or less a marketing goal. As an SEO specialist, your task is to analyze existing comments and point out their quality and quantity.

The best way to gain more reviews is through well-thought-out email marketing and by making it easy and convenient for shoppers to leave reviews on your website.

Content Audit

Remember that content does not exist to simply fill empty spaces in your blog and catalog.

Content is your weapon for conquering the market. So make it powerful and striking.

You will never know if your content is truly effective if you don't evaluate it.

Regular analysis and updating outdated information will help you achieve excellence.

Choose a specific point in time to revise all your published content. That could be once per month or once per year.

Monitor the behavior of your target audience in terms of comments, clicks, average reading time, and other metrics.

Analyze questions that customers frequently ask of your customer support team, and use them as topics for your blog articles.

Also, if you notice some interesting content solutions on your competitors' websites, be sure to leverage them.

Images

Image optimization is a smart investment of your time, as it has the potential to improve your page speed tremendously.

Here are the most crucial points to keep in mind when working with images:

  • Perfect format: PNG and GIF for large areas of solid colors, JPG for photos.
  • Compression: There is a variety of free or paid tools and online services to compress your images.
  • Aesthetics: Product images should be appealing, awaken positive emotions, and stimulate web users to place an order. It is best to enlist the support of a professional photographer to showcase your products from the best possible perspective.
  • SEO: Incorporate keywords into alt text, especially text surrounding images.

Video

When working with video, pay attention to the following practices:

  • Use MP4 format, as it produces the smallest file size.
  • Select the optimal file size with your visitors' screen size in mind.
  • Remember to compress all video files.
  • Reduce the length when possible.
  • Upload the video to YouTube, Vimeo, or other similar resources instead of serving them locally.

User Experience

Checking and improving usability is an essential task for every SEO specialist.

Your job is to perform an accurate analysis, including the following factors:

  • How much time does the average user spend on the page?
  • What is the bounce rate?
  • How well do the CTAs perform?
  • Which pages are most visited?

Bring your results to the table, and get your marketing and development teams involved. Issues that negatively affect usability can be either technical or non-technical.

For instance, too many ads, poor copy, too big or too small fonts, buttons that don't work, and other issues can dramatically affect usability.

Your task is to find those weak points and to delegate relevant tasks to other team members.

Below, we list the most important elements influencing user experience.

Navigation

It should be easy for customers to find the information and products they need. Make sure your menu is convenient, intuitive, and provides the shortest pathways to different sections. When your website is pleasant and easy to use, visitors will stay there longer.

Internal Linking

Internal linking should be well-thought-out for ecommerce sites.

There are three major reasons to use internal linking:

  • Simplify on-site navigation for users and offer them engaging content related to the information they are interested in.
  • Help search engines to crawl your site and identify the themes of your content.
  • Encourage users to stay longer on your site by visiting multiple product pages.

Let's say a customer is not totally delighted with an item they clicked on in Google SERP. Will they leave the website immediately? Not necessarily, if you offer them links to other similar options. This can be your first step toward converting leads.

A Guide to On-Page SEO for Ecommerce Websites

Internal linking also helps establish your own anchor text. This is an excellent way to ensure your top keywords will occupy the first positions in search.

The best takeaways for a proper internal linking strategy:

  • Add links where appropriate only.
  • Don't place too many links with similar anchors.
  • Leverage the power of breadcrumbs to help users understand the site's multi-level hierarchy for better navigation.
  • The most clickable links are those with engaging images. Take this into consideration, to keep users on your website.

Related Products

When someone is ready to take action and buy something on your website, why not offer related products to increase your revenue?

For example, a furniture brand might offer a set of chairs to a customer buying a table. A hotel booking website might offer discounted deals on rental cars.

People appreciate helpful services that satisfy all their needs and make their lives easier.

FAQ / About Us / Contact pages

When optimizing your general pages, think about your FAQ content. People will go elsewhere if you are unable to answer their questions.

No matter how descriptive your products/services pages are, users will still have some questions. Having an informative FAQ page on your site can help fill the gap.

Make sure you cover all the basic information, including the website's security measures, shipping options, and return policies. Providing this information can increase buyer trust and skyrocket your sales.

An engaging About Us section will add stars to your reputation. Tell prospective clients about your history, corporate values, and your company's key merits. This lets visitors know they are dealing with a reputable business and not a fly-by-night website.

On your Contact page, list all the ways users can contact you, including phone and FAX numbers, email addresses, Skype, WhatsApp, social network pages, website contact forms and live chat.

Comparisons

Simplify the decision-making process for your buyers by providing a convenient product comparison tool.

It should collect and compare basic data from product descriptions and suggest the best options, based on customer needs.

Product Videos

Make videos showing how your products can be used. Choose a suitable format for your niche.

If you sell equipment, for example, provide installation and maintenance tips. Or if you sell cosmetics, you could create your own beauty vlog and publish makeup lessons.

Showing visitors how to use your products builds trust and boosts conversions.

Site search

Spare your customers from having to browse through your entire site to find what they need.

A prominently displayed search box helps them quickly find the product they are looking for.

Amazon is a good example. Their search box takes shoppers directly to the desired product category.

Summary

On-page SEO can help your business grow by leaps and bounds, as well as boost your brand image in the webspace.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

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