The role of content is arguably one of the most misunderstood aspects of SEO. Ever since Google began talking about the importance of content, supposed “SEO experts” have misinterpreted this as a meaning that they need to pump out content for content’s sake.
This misunderstanding has wasted countless hours and resources, with 90% of internet pages not getting any traffic at all.
What they don’t understand is that a website is even less likely to rank if it has hundreds of low-quality posts than if it were to have no posts at all. Simply pumping out content does not help a website’s SEO.
Instead of churning out volumes of content on topics that have already been adequately covered, or worse, that barely cover the topic and offers little value to readers, your business will see better rankings if you know how to select content topics and cover them thoroughly in blog posts.
This post will help you to find content ideas and plan your posts, allowing you to save time that would have been otherwise wasted chasing keywords you’ll never rank for or topics that will never impact your bottom line.
You will learn to identify topics that have not already been covered 10 million times if your content meets at least one of the following criteria:
- It answers a question that falls somewhere on your client’s customer journey
- It provides unique information of value to other website owners
- It helps to establish topic relevance for your website
By knowing how to find topics that align with your practice and provide unique value to potential customers, the time and effort you put into your blog will pay dividends.
Writing Tons Of Content Will Not Increase Search Rank
There is a pervasive misconception in SEO that site owners need to pump out tons of new posts regularly in order to rank well. This is not true.
Let’s take a step back and look at search from Google’s perspective.
Google wants to deliver the best possible results it can. It wants to deliver comprehensive answers from trusted websites. If your company’s site is chock-full of low-quality blog posts, that is not a signal of trust that indicates that a searcher is likely to find a correct answer on your site.
As a matter of fact, cranking out tons of blog posts that no one reads could potentially send the signal that the entire website is of mediocre to low-quality.
On the other hand, spending time researching, planning, and creating a blog that really covers a topic thoroughly is far more useful than writing a number of posts that graze the surface of the topic.
Google Wants Engaging, Thorough Content
Google pays attention to user signals.
Without getting into the weeds about how it determines whether or not people seem to like a website, it is safe to say that it does track whether people seem to like a specific result or not. There is also evidence that it uses this user information in ranking, including testimony to Congress that affirms that it does use user signals such as click-through rate (CTR) in ranking:
(image courtesy of Wall Street Journal)
In other words, if you do manage to rank well for a term but people do not seem to engage with your result, your high-ranking could be short-lived.
Additionally, Google is getting very good at distinguishing between high-quality and mediocre content. The potential reach of your low-to-medium quality content drops with every update.
Ultimately, pumping out 10 short, unengaging posts with little value takes just as much effort as planning, researching, and writing one really good post. That one really good post is also much more likely to show up in the search results and will be more likely to prod a visitor to take some sort of action (subscribe, email, call, etc.)
Engaging Content Is More Likely To Turn A Visitor Into A Client
A visitor will likely land on your business’s content for one of the following reasons:
- He has a specific problem he wants to address
- There’s something he wants to better understand
If the visitor has a question or need that your website can address, then that visit to your website becomes an opportunity to convert that visitor into a client
Providing a thorough answer on a topic demonstrates your deep knowledge and expertise. You will be much more likely to convince the visitor that you’re the business that best suits their needs.
In addition to being less likely to rank, a shallow post is a lot less likely to convince anyone that you possess any specialized knowledge. By diving deeply into the topic, you’ll be able to show your depth of expertise and potentially turn that visitor into a client.
How To Identify Topics You Should Write About
In order to produce content that helps your site’s SEO, the topic has to check these five boxes:
- The topic has enough search volume that it is worth your time to address
- The search demonstrates an implied need for your services
- It has mot already been thoroughly covered by authoritative sites
- You have the expertise to discuss the topic deeply
- You are able to cover the topic thoroughly
An Example Of A Post Topic That Could Drive Leads
Your business should aim to create content that could result in a lead; for this reason, it is important to select topics that indicate a need for your services.
Let’s say, for example, someone performs the search “can you move a child from NJ to PA if you have joint custody?”
This is a common question posed to family law attorneys. Since the searcher is not likely to be researching the topic for fun, he or she could likely use the services of someone that practices family law. By writing a thorough post that gives the likely answer but expresses that the conditions of each case can vary, a business should be able to get this click quite easily and potentially convert the visit into a lead.
An Example Of A Post Topic That Is A Waste Of Time
A post like “why You Should Hire a Divorce Lawyer” will not accomplish anything. The topic does not solve a specific problem that someone is researching and as a result, probably won’t show up in the search results. It also comes across as a self-serving sales pitch that doesn’t even pretend to actually help the reader. This sort of content is a waste of time.
Through your interactions with your customers you will identify topics that they consistently ask questions about. You need to start writing about these topics and answer these questions.
Increase The Odds That Google Feels You’ve Covered The Topic Thoroughly
Tools to ensure your content covers a topic thoroughly.
So, here’s the thing: people think that their content is much better than it actually is.
In most cases, we miss out on aspects of the topic that we haven’t considered. Luckily, there are a number of tools and techniques available to help us identify subtopics related to the content we’re writing.
Twinword Ideas Keyword Research Tool
Using a keyword research tool such as Twinword Ideas will help you to identify subtopics related to your post topic. While it is important to brainstorm before writing, keyword tools such as this can be extremely helpful when aiming to cover a topic thoroughly.
By entering a seed term such as “sepsis diagnosis” we can discover keywords related to this topic:
Generating this list will give you ideas of topics and keywords that you should include in your post. Go through it and copy over any keywords/topics that seem appropriate to include in your post.
Twinword’s LSI graph will also generate a graph of semantically-related keywords you should consider including:
What is interesting about this tool is that it is powered by the same machine learning used by Google to determine the relevance of content; otherwise known as Natural Language Processing (NLP). Using it before writing a piece can allow you to glean insights into how the search engine may determine the relevance and thoroughness of your content.
Google Autosuggest is arguably the most underused asset in a content writer’s toolkit. Here is how you use it.
You begin by having a seed keyword that is central to a topic within your post. For example, let’s say that you are writing a post on medical malpractice and have identified undiagnosed sepsis as the topic of the post.
To start, you know that there is possible purchase intent behind this search. Sepsis is not a topic that people are looking up for its entertainment value. A search like this is most likely to be something that someone is researching after having lost a loved one after a hospital stay– a prime target audience for a medical malpractice attorney.
First, you enter the main keyword into Google and hit the space bar. Take a look at the results that auto populate and enter them into a spreadsheet.
Next, enter the same keyword and go to the front of the word and hit space a few times; now you’ll see the terms that are most likely to precede this keyword.
Finally, scroll down the page and see if there is a “people also ask” graph in the results.
Start clicking on them and you’ll see that it starts populating more and more questions that people search for.
At this point, you know that Google has determined that people are searching for all of these topics related to the keywords that you entered. Mark them all down in the same spreadsheet and do what you can to answer these questions in the post that you were going to write.
By following these steps, you’ll greatly increase the likelihood of Google determining that your post is informative and adequately covers the topic. Additionally, you’ll have some data to back up why you covered a specific aspect of the topic while ignoring others. Since the auto suggest and “people also asked” features are data-driven, you can rest assured that people are indeed interested in the answers to these questions and topics.
Let’s say you decided to cover the topic “how to stop a sheriff sale in nj” You’ve already used Google Autosuggested and “people also ask” to see what topics Google has determined are related to this search.
Now we’re going to see what other keywords the top results rank for. We’ll enter it into Site Explorer and see what other keywords the post ranks for:
As we go through the keywords, we will register them in a spreadsheet that we will use to inform our writing later on.
By this point, you will have leveraged your own personal knowledge and experience. You’re likely to have found a few subtopics that other blogs have written about that you never thought to cover within your post.
Most of the content produced by business websites provides little to no value to internet users. Through Google’s use of natural language processing and tracking of user behavior, it has become quite adept at identifying content that people find valuable.
By producing thorough content, your company’s post will be more likely to show up in the search results during the research phase of a client’s purchase path.
Additionally, producing thorough content that demonstrates your expertise will serve to further convince the prospective client to reach out to you about the particularities of their issue, giving you an opportunity to obtain a new customer.
If you would like to know more about Content Marketing, check out these related articles:
- Easy Ways to Reach Your Content Marketing Goals
- Best Keyword Tools for Content Marketing
- What is Keyword Stuffing and How To Avoid it
- Content SEO Mistakes you Can’t Afford To Make