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Content Inventory Analysis: 3 Decision-Making Metrics

5 min read

This post looks at how three MarketMuse metrics can help make better decisions when conducting a content inventory analysis. If you’re faced with lots of things to write about or pages to update, but find it a challenge to prioritize, then read on. You’ll learn how these metrics can be used to further refine your list of potential candidates, decide what  to prioritize and whether you should even pull the trigger.

Best of all, you’ll have a content strategy that has demonstrable value with the confidence that it will succeed.

Unrealized Value

This metric helps decide whether a content opportunity is worth pursuing. In other words, is there enough upside to spending time improving a content asset? It’s determined by subtracting the Current Value from the Potential Value.

It’s based on an estimation of the traffic and its value. In MarketMuse, you can define the value of a visit, but I prefer to stick with the default, which is cost-per-click (CPC). In our case, CPC is a good representation of value, since bottom-of-the-funnel terms (high-intent) are more expensive than broader terms at the top.

MarketMuse list of topics, along with their unrealized value, personalized difficulty, topic authority, competitive advantage, top rank, and top-ranking URL.
Click to expand.

Like all other metrics, it can be filtered, and sorted. In this example, the list has been sorted by Unrealized Value in descending order, so that the most valuable topics appear at the top. Other metrics have been used to filter the list of over 5,000 topics. There are still 647 topics remaining in the list, so I may want to add Unrealized Value as a filter to create a more manageable short list.

Personalized Difficulty

Now that I know whether a content opportunity is worth my time, I want to know how much effort is required. Not that I’m lazy. It’s just that there’s a big difference in effort between updating a page versus creating a whole cluster.

That’s where Personalized Difficulty shines.

As its name suggests, Personalized Difficulty is personalized to your site: it’s contents, and its performance. While others have made strides in improving their Keyword Difficulty, in the end it’s still a generalized metric that applies to everyone, regardless of their site.

But Personalized Difficulty is all about you.

Personalized Difficulty is based on Topical Authority and there’s an inverse relationship between the two. The higher your Topic Authority the lower your Personalized Difficulty.

Low is good when it comes to Personalized Difficulty. Your topical authority will make it easier for you to do well in Search.

But the best way to look at it is in terms of the ranges or bands.

  • Below 10 – should only have to update one page if you have one that is appropriate for that intent.
  • 10 to 20 – write one page, update semantically related pages.
  • 20 to 30 – write a couple of pages, update semantically related pages.
  • 30 to 50 – write a cluster, update semantically related pages.
  • 50 plus – multiple clusters to create a foundation, update semantically related pages.

Those ranges give you a reasonable expectation of what’s required to achieve success. Plus, it adds perspective to the Unrealized Value metric. For example, pursuing a high unrealized value opportunity may not be in your best interest if it requires a significant investment in content.

Just like Unrealized Value, consider using this metric as a filter to refine your list of candidates even further.

Competitive Advantage

So far, we’ve used these metrics to identify high-value opportunities that are easy to execute. Which is great, in theory. Now the question is how likely am I to achieve a positive outcome?

Sure, it may be worth my while and not require a lot of effort to execute. But I still want everything to be stacked in my favor. That’s where Competitive Advantage comes into play. This MarketMuse metric expresses the difference between Difficulty (which applies to everyone) and Personalized Difficulty (which applies to your site).

Competitive Advantage Comparison

If you have a strong Competitive Advantage, then you are likely to succeed. So this metric works very well as a probability indicator. When there’s no Competitive Advantage, you’re just as likely as anyone to find success.

But when you have a strong Competitive advantage, you’re working from a position of strength. And that’s always an enviable position to be in. When using this metric, look for large green bars that are skewed to the left. That gives you the easiest opportunities that are likely to come to fruition.

Although Competitive Advantage is expressed as a Japanese candlestick, you can filter or sort by this metric numerically.

The Perfect Trifecta

Combining all three metrics gives you a content plan with a defined value in dollars: the amount of effort involved, and the likelihood of success. Finally, you can tackle content opportunities confidently, with a reasonable expectation of success.

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