Have you ever found yourself scrabbling for fresh content ideas relevant to your main topic of interest?
Perhaps you want to provide some insight into common issues facing your audience to build helpful resource articles?
Or maybe you’ve started working with a new client and need to generate a list of potential ideas for marketable content that will drive brand awareness? Right now?
Whatever content you’re looking to create, it’s common to find ourselves seeking fresh inspiration. Well, why not let Google do some of the heavy lifting for you? With a starting list of topic terms and a nice dash of automation thanks to some clever tools, I like to let Google’s Suggest feature help me dig up a list of highly relevant, targeted long-tail variations, including terms that are either regularly searched for or that are being used right now.
Officially known as Autocomplete, Google Suggest helps by displaying “search predictions that might be similar to the search terms you’re typing”. For example, if I start typing in content marketing, Google thinks ‘here’s what other people have been searching for when they type this in’
The results you get from Autocomplete are not purely based on volume of searches, but are “a reflection of the search activity of users and the content of web pages”. In other words, they are partly based on volume, but also on searches that Google thinks it has strong answers for.
Despite this, Autocomplete is a powerful research resource, as how often past searchers have used a term is an important consideration, as well as factors such as your personal search history, location, topicality and more. Of course, finding search topics based on what’s popular right now is no bad thing either. Whether you need blog post ideas, new supporting content for your main offering or are generating ideas for marketable content to bring your site to new eyeballs, Google Suggest can help to reveal a host of potential opportunities through long-tail, semantically related, key phrases.
Now, to manually check Google Suggest for your main topic and all the possible variations is possible, but it would take time, and no doubt you’re in a hurry. Fortunately, the online marketing community is highly inventive. So, here are three easy-to-use tools to quickly mine for great content ideas, all based on real insights into the needs of your potential readers.
I love these tools. They’ve given me many an idea, and helped kick-start a variety of content projects. Hopefully they can do the same for you!
One of the first Google Suggest tools around, Ubersuggest is one of the best long-tail keyword finding tools available. It calls itself Suggest on steroids, and that’s pretty apt. By entering your main topic and selecting your country location, you can mine Google Suggest for tens of great variations that can lead to content ideas. What’s more, it’s really quick to do. Let’s run through how to use the tool, keeping our content marketing topic.
So, I load up ubersuggest.org and enter my key phrase, content marketing, choose my country and which vertical I’m interested in (web, images, news etc.) and fill out the reCAPTCHA field.
A quick note, using different verticals might not seem obvious, but can be useful for certain topics to find truly helpful keyphrases. For example, using the News vertical can help you find what news angles are of interest to your potential audience right now – perfect for blog posts when you want to be seen as commenting on the latest events.
Ubersuggest works by scraping the Autocomplete results for your term, and the Autocomplete that occurs when you add another character. It does this for the entire alphabet, each numeric character and even for just adding a space. So, having completed my search, Ubersuggest has found XXX suggestions for me to browse. Now, if you click on one of the keywords it adds more suggestions based on that keyphrase (1) – yep, more choices! Click on the green plus symbol to add that keyword to your bucket (2).
Once done, scroll back to the top and you’ll find your bucket on the right-hand side. Click Get and you’re presented with a plain-text version for you to copy and add to your seed list.
As you can see, if you add a broad topic you can quickly generate hundreds of variations on your topic. Sadly, Ubersuggest can sometimes be a little unreliable; occasionally it is unavailable, and it can be a little slow to load. However, generally it works very well, and the keywords it brings you, and the functionality to select individual terms and find further suggestions, means it can help you create a big bucket of potential ideas.
SEOChat’s Suggestion Keyword Finder
One of the limitations of Ubersuggest is that you have to manually select each important keyword variation to find the suggestions for that term. The Suggestion Keyword Finder from SEOChat neatly solves this problem by approaching finding Google Suggest results in a different way.
You can start by entering your topic keyword and hitting the submit button to get the top suggestions based on your term, much like the first level Ubersuggest gives you. However, the real fun comes when you select Level 2 as an option before submitting.
Now the tool gives you the initial list of suggestions, and then the top suggestions for each of the initial options presented. So, for content marketing the top suggestion was content marketing institute, so the first level 2 list is the suggestions for that keyphrase.
Suddenly, I’m able to see the top suggestions for each of the most popular or relevant variations of my main topic – very nice! What’s better than this list? Even more data, that’s what, and this tool delivers. If you select the option of Level 3 you get the next layer of granularity, the top suggestions for each variation of the most popular options (phew!). The Related Keywords Tool handily puts each suggestion and its breakdown together so you can see the whole topic niche.
What’s fantastic about this arrangement is that the tool immediately drills down into each niche for you. This means that whether you find a topic to create content on at level 1 or level 2, you’ve got a breakdown of elements your content should touch on. Perhaps use them for sub-headings or even to create a series of related posts.
As this method of keyphrase mining is different to Ubersuggest’s, you can use both in conjunction to build a list of potential content ideas in only a few minutes. Once you’ve found a set of helpful data, you can export it to a handy Excel format spreadsheet for further analysis and manipulation. One disadvantage of this tool is the lack of international support (US only results from what I can tell), so you have to bear this in mind when considering both the data gained, and entering topics with different spellings internationally and so on.
A third option for you to try is the new kid on the block – KeywordTool.io. This little beauty is an excellent addition to any content marketer’s/SEO’s toolkit. It again scrapes Google’s Autocomplete function to deliver impressive numbers of long-tail keyword variations, all in only a few moments.
This simple tool makes it easy to find hordes of keywords (up to 750 a time) based on Google Suggest’s data. To get going, you enter your keyword, we’ll be sticking with content marketing of course, and choose the Google domain and language you would like results for. This is not small detail – Keyword Tool has 194 domains and 83 languages to choose from.
Keyword Tool then appends your keyphrase with the entire alphabet and all numeric characters, much like Ubersuggest. However, it also prepends all characters as well, offering potential further insight, which is extremely helpful. Remember, not everyone uses your topic at the beginning of their search.
As you can see here, by prepending a to content marketing, Keyword Tool has given me a range of potential topics such as creating a content marketing plan, developing a content marketing strategy and example of a content marketing plan. Long-tail keywords like this will no doubt start your mind racing with possible content. When you’re ready, simply click on the copy all button at the top of the page to grab all the keywords. These can then be pasted into a spreadsheet.
Keyword Tool is a very nice option, and one I’m sure many will love using. It doesn’t give you the same deep dive into one variation as SEO Chat’s Suggestion Keyword Finder, but can offer a more broad spectrum of possibilities, the strongest of which could then be re-put through of course. It is reliable, but does conflict sometimes Chrome, perhaps conflicting with another of my (many) extensions
No matter, I heartily recommend you give it a whirl next time you need some fresh content or keyword ideas.
After you have your words
Once you have your potential topic long-tail variations, you can pull data from some other popular tools to filter for the finest opportunities. Putting your options through the Google Keyword Planner will give you the search volumes each keyphrase currently projects and can be a great way to find the most popular.
Also beneficial is to run the phrases through SEMRush to uncover phrase-match and related keywords. It may be that the search volume for your first choice isn’t fantastic, but there’s another slight variation or a synonym that is much more popular. You can then rinse and repeat; take those further keyword variations and re-run through your suggest tool of choice, then the Keyword Planner to find volume and SEMRush to find further variations.
On a similar note, we’ve already touched upon the notion that much marketable content should be built with the intention of appearing as a resource for a whole variety of search-phrase variations on a topic. By finding all the related terms on the topic we’ve been suggested via Google, we can compile a much larger potential search volume and reach for our content, rather than focusing on just one keyword or phrase.
The final piece of the puzzle is to take a look at the competition. Within SEMRush’s overview dashboard for each term is a handy interface that shows what’s ranking for those phrases, making it easy to see which phrases either have results that can be improved upon with your expertise or are simply lacking relevant, helpful answers.
Now we can take a look at the difficulty of the keyword to see how hard it would be to rank. SEMRush comes with a keyword difficulty option, which is handy, and for a more detailed look Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool and serpIQ both offer excellent analysis.
Between search volume, available keyphrase variations plus synonyms, and relative difficulty, we can quickly turn our Google Suggest options into a list of relevant content ideas that we know people are searching for. Not bad for a relatively quick and painless piece of work, and without having to struggle for new topics. Now there’s just the simple matter of devising the content to blow the competition away!
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