The magic tool to help you ace blogging
You might have heard that content marketing and blogging is a great way to grow your business. When I undertake freelance marketing support projects, I suggest just that to each and every business. After all, people turn to search engines looking for answers to an array of questions. From what that dodgy rash could be, to how to groom their Doberman, people are looking for you, they just don’t know it yet. So, let’s say you don’t have someone to manage your marketing. Instead, you’ve decided to write a blog post yourself. You think of a topic – let’s say, 5 Ways To Groom a Doberman – and you spend time thinking about decent information to share. You hit publish – and then you wait. And wait some more. Tumbleweed goes by. You start to grow a beard. No one seems to be looking for you, or finding you. Why is that?
Sadly, competition is rife. 2018 stats say there are 172 million websites active, and around 75,000,000 websites are built using WordPress – a platform designed to make blogging easy. So easy that plenty of people who have more time than you can really get in depth on a topic. There could be plenty of Doberman pros out there and you are all jostling for that top spot to be top dog.
The volumes of websites alone means, with the greatest respect, any topic you can think from the top of your head will likely have been done to death, resurrected, made into an infographic, reheated in a microwave and rehashed once more before being finally lowered into the ground in a casket.
People often ask how I come up with topics as a freelance marketing manager that atrract long-term traffic when I have never been in that sector, or not for very long. So, let me tell you all my secrets. I have a hero tool that can help me (and now you) leapfrog your competition.
How to get decent content ideas to ace blogging
I’m talking in theory here, so let’s pretend to be an estate agent (or realtor for my US viewers). Slip into that shiny suit and hang onto your cliches and let’s look at a blog idea you’ve thought of in your bijou shower this morning – tips to sell your home.
Any estate agent would love to get themselves seen with this content. You’d be seen as trustworthy, intelligent and therefore, the perfect person to get their house sold.
The problem is, it’s a bit busy at this station. There are as it stands, 713,000,000 results for this search.
And Page One of Google? The best-ranking sites are authority sites, The Express, Money Supermarket, and Sarah Beeny talking to ideal home.
How can you make your blog compete with big sites?
I could talk about everything in the marketing mix – throwing everything into backlinks, outreach, PR and climbing the ladder to page 1 of google – but I think for many smaller businesses that’s a poor use of time.
I think a better use of time is looking at your competition and going after them – ethically – by taking what they do and one-upping them. It’s a game where everyone benefits, the reader, you, your site traffic and content in general. We don’t really want to see another ‘How To’ guide with the same old content cluttering up our internet, and that’s what Google thinks too. It gives credence and preference to sites that go beyond the same old.
The magic blogging formula
To get to that sweet spot of serving great information you have to come from a stand point of:
Knowing what people search for + ensuring you have a unique take on this topic + delivering an array of content over the topic + optimising your technical SEO.
The free tool you need to see what people are searching for in your industry
The best way to see what people ar ealready doing is to use a free tool that ranks pages in order by keyword. There are a variety of paid-for tools which allow you to see the exact keywords that your competitors are ranking for in organic search results and how much traffic this brings them.
Ahrefs, SEMrush, and my favourite for small businesses and the one I will cover today– SEM Scoop.
Why I love SEM Scoop
SEM Scoop doesn’t cost as much as other platforms which can be around $100 per month. If you do buy the services of a freelance marketing support, you will, of course, be able to receive the wisdom from packages that cost this much, but if you do decide to go it alone, SEM scoop is a great tool.
It all looks a bit technical, but even a novice can use this to pick up insights.
The principle ideas is that this site shows you keyword ideas you may not know existed as well as a bounty of other metrics like search volume, CPC and PPC. Keyword idea/Related keywords are important because they spark the ideas for new content that will do well.
How to use SEMScoop: Chase your tail
The tool has so much in it as you can see in the image above – but the key for anyone looking to get ahead is to simply go in and get going and use a search related to your content and then to start to look for long tail search terms. These are easier to rank for and are the longer phrases people use, ‘why is this rash on my arm’ instead of ‘arm rash’. Ranking for numerous long tail phrases will give you a trickle of traffic from each long tail term and it all adds up in the long run and gives you a fighting chance.
So, just pop in the phrase you want to be seen for. Let’s try ‘selling a home‘ – and then let’s filter the search terms to find the juicy ones. Here’s an example of some ranked by ‘low’ volume. (Searches come in 3 flavours, low, medium and high. As you can see from the PPC and CPC numbers, the more valuable it is to rank higher for a phrase, the more it would cost should you use paid search.)
How to use SEMScoop: Deep dive
What do I do with this information? Good question. You’ll see that one of the top ones to see is
- Should I sell my house
So, let’s see who’s already been a smart cookie and covered this with a click into the top results.
A click on the search reveals that Brexit is the topic that ranks the highest. But it also shows that the top stories are just 1k in length. Is that enough content? What more could you add? The Telegraph posted back in 2016, could there have been any changes in the area? What about interviews, videos, or new research? How can you add some more insights?
Let’s take another long tail keyword – Selling a house by owner. Pretty specific.
As you can see – this site has already got this keyword front and centre and sits at the 5th spot – but there is more to be added here. As you can see from the ‘content-length’ box and the blue links looking at the technical SEO basics – adding links, H1 and H2 titles and more, there is something to be added here. Could you be the person to do just that?
This tactic is just one small way to gain on your competition and to start to understand your customers. It works for any niche and sector and just takes time and imagination. There has been a real change to how Google prioritises content and we aren’t looking at our 500-word easy blog posts anymore. It’s time to try and bring real insights where possible.
This tool can really help and is a very low-cost hive of amazing information. ( I know I said it was free, so just to clarify that the free structure is a package that allows:
- 5 Keyword Searches Per Day
- 10 Keyword Analysis Per Day
- 50 Keyword Results Per Search
But you can pay more and get more, as with anything.
I don’t have time – can you do this all for me?
I thought you would never ask! I can do all the research for you, picking up content ideas for you and monitoring trends and breakout searches. Please get in touch for a chat on how I can help create engaging content that works harder for you. Why not take a look at my pricing packages?