Keyword research is the cornerstone of content marketing: It’s where content creation should start every time.
I know it is not easy to remember to do keyword research: I used to often miss that step too until I made keyword research part of my content creation routine. Here’s how:
1. Come up with Content Ideas
This is the most straightforward goal of keyword research: To expand your core term to hopefully find lots of ideas to create content around.
The point is, keyword research is based on the searching behavior of the search engine user: They type in the search box what they are most interested in. Hence, their searching behavior reflects the demand for content in your industry. And the keyword competition reflects the offer.
I have described the quick, yet effective keyword research exercise here. In short, using the tool like Serpstat, you need to find keyword phrases with high search volume (= high demand) and low competition (= low offer) – there’s your sweet spot and a chance to create content that resonates due to a popular demand and ranks high due to a low competition.Keyword research is the cornerstone of content marketing: It's where content creation should start every time.
Let’s say chocolate is what you are thinking to write about, so here would be your lower-competition phrases that offer pretty exciting content ideas:
You can use Google Keyword Planner to perform a similar task. This one goes back to the scope of adwords. You’ll need an active Adwords account to access the data though.
You can carefully research different keywords and find the highest rate of success likely for your site, and the results of others that you have to compete against. It is a great way to get a solid projection of keyword results before even launching a campaign. And a way to see how you are already doing, so you can constantly monitor. Here are more tools to use for keyword research and brainstorming.
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2. Come up with the Follow-up Ideas for Your Old Content
Digging further into the keyword suggestions, you’ll find more and more phrases which you may have partially covered. In this case, writing a follow-up article to bring up your old content by linking to it may be a good option.
You can also come up with content ideas by seeing what other keyword opportunities your current content is missing. For example, take your page about coffee calories and click to “Missing keywords“: This will bring up the list of phrases that your page competitors rank high but your page is nowhere to be found. Now look at how high competition is and whether some of the keywords warrant a follow-up:
3. Create Content Outlines
After the above two steps, you are likely to have a few content ideas to work on in the future. Don’t stop there. Keyword research can help structure each of your articles giving you an idea of what sections to break each article into.
Research questions containing your chosen keyword phrase, those questions people tend to type into Google search box. Serpstat can help there:
There’s another tool called Answer the Public that can help with question research.
Research questions containing your chosen keyword phrase to create blog post outlines.
Here’s the partial close-up for you to get a better idea:
The two tools generate different results, so you should probably use both. Good news is, the two features are free. You can also export results to Excel to keep playing.
So if you were to write about calories in coffee, these questions may make up the sections of your article:
- where do calories in coffee come from
- how many calories are in coffee beans
- are there calories in decaf coffee
- how many calories are in coffee with milk and sugar
- are there calories in instant coffee
- are there calories in flavored coffee
As you can see, it’s going to be a pretty in-depth read! Don’t just create content, create cornerstone content.
Tip: You can actually rank for these terms in Google: Create a table of contents for each section of your article to have a separate “Jump to” link down to each section. This will also make your article easier to navigate between the sections and will drive more people in. Use this plugin to generate a clickable table of contents for each of your articles.
You can also organize your clickable “Jump-to” link in tabs. Here’s a good example of how that’s implemented:
4. Pile up Content Ideas for the Future
A thorough keyword research may take a few hours but it doesn’t mean you are supposed to come out with one solid article idea. You’ll actually get plenty. You may come up with a year-worth editorial calendar.
In order not to waste that huge effort, make sure you are organizing your content ideas properly.
Trello is a great tool for that. I’ve been using it successfully to manage content ideas spread among multiple authors:
Simply create a new card for every article idea and put the card into the “Idea” column. Once you start working on it, move it to production and once it’s ready, move it to “To be posted”. You can keep your outline for each article inside each card.
You can use it similarly to store and organize your own ideas if you own a single-author blog. You can even assign dates for Trello to remind you that you were going to write an article. Here’s another way to store content ideas for better writing productivity, especially if you want contributors to help you write content.
How do you use keyword research ideas for content inspiration? Please share in the comments.