Content Strategy Glossary

Content strategy like any other professional endeavour has its own list of abbreviations and terminology. Here’s a list of terms that will help your journey in becoming a better content strategist.

A | B | C | D | E | G | H | I | L | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W


Absolute Gap

MarketMuse Insight: If Topic has 0 related pages.


Authority is based on our ability to assess how well you’ve covered a topic, how successful you’ve been in the past, and how well you’re doing with current production/publishing efforts.

MarketMuse calculates two types of authority: Page Authority and Topic Authority.


Build Web Content

MarketMuse Insight: If a page is ranking better than 30 but is not a .html or .htm page.


Content Cluster

See Topic Cluster.

Cluster Needed

MarketMuse Insight: If the best-associated page is ranking worse than 31 (and Volume is greater than 100) a content cluster is needed. Pro tip: If a cluster is needed and the page is tagged as High Authority (greater than 20 Auth. score) run the root topic to research to use related topics to form the cluster.

Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantage reflects the impact your topical authority has on the personalized difficulty score. The greater your authority on a particular topic, the less difficult it is to rank.

Content Score

MarketMuse Content Score is a proprietary measure of content comprehensiveness. The technology aims to identify an ideal set of concepts and topics that a subject matter expert would include in a comprehensive content for a particular topic. Then we take that and build a standardized scoring methodology. Read the post What is Content Score? for more detail.

Cornerstone Content

See Pillar Page.


MarketMuse technology tech looks at your entire content inventory and we build out a universe of concepts and topics that are most important based on your existing inventory – things that it should be about to fill in the gaps – and competitive inventories. When we cross-reference those topics against your inventory we are able to evaluate how well you cover that topic. It shows the breadth of your content inventory against this particular topic, how often you cover that topic and its related topics.



Difficulty is a score out of 100. It measures how difficult it is for any domain to rank for a topic. This is a fairly standard metric, used by many to assess the likelihood of ranking well in the search engine results pages.


Expand Coverage | Create New

MarketMuse Insight: If a topic has less than 5 related pages and all have a content score greater than or equal to the average.


When referring to a page, it means adding more content to the specific page. When speaking about clusters, it means adding more pages to the cluster.

Expansion Opportunity

MarketMuse Insight: If the word count is less than 350 and the page is ranking for a topic.

Expert Content

MarketMuse Insight: If a page has a Content Score greater than 15 and its ratio of Content Score over Word Count is greater than the Top 20 Average of Content Score over Word Count (in instances where Content score is over 15) then you have expert content on that topic.



MarketMuse Insight: If a page is ranking between 8 and 20 for a topic and has a Coverage Score of less than 20 it is a gap.


High Authority Page

MarketMuse Insight: A page with an Authority score greater than 20.



Insights offer a better understanding of pages and topics with respect to certain metrics. There are three types of Insights; Superlative (very good pages), Action (something one should do), and Informative (provides additional information).


Longest Pages

MarketMuse Insight: If the page is in the top 10% of word counts in this inventory.

Low Quality SEO Content

MarketMuse Insight: If a page mentions an important topic two or more times but the Content Score is less than Average.


New Content

MarketMuse Insight: New content is any page that didn’t exist last inventory was generated.



Opportunity is a MarketMuse composite score that evaluates the urgency and overall likelihood of success in creating and optimizing content on a particular topic.

This score is meant to reflect the standard process that most content strategists go through to prioritize opportunities.

MarketMuse Insight: If a page’s content score is less than average but the rank is still greater than 20.

Optimize – Within Range

MarketMuse Topic Insight: If the best page for this topic ranks 8-30 then Optimize for the root topic. Pro tip:continue this process with related topics and variants for greater effect.


Page Authority

Page Authority is calculated out of 100. The closer the number is to 100, the higher quality that page is in comparison to competitive pages in SERP.

How is Page Authority Used? Do not use page authority in isolation when conducting an analysis. If a page/topic has a high authority and a low opportunity score, that means that you’ve covered the topic well. If your rank for the top related topic is low, then that means that your topical breadth is good, but you are not fully targeting your content correctly.

So, what should I do?

Step 1: Order an optimize brief for the top related topic. Fill in targeted gaps identified in the brief.

Step 2: Run the refreshed content through Optimize App for the top related topic and fine tune the content using the recommendations to best target that topic.

Personalized Difficulty

Personalized difficulty is a score out of 100. It measures how hard it is for your domain to rank for a specific topic.

Pillar Page

The most important page (topic-wise) of all pages within a topic cluster.

Power Page

MarketMuse Insight: If a page has an Authority score greater than 30 and more than 100 Ranking topics.



MarketMuse Metric: Quality at the page level is the comprehensiveness of your best performing content item on a topic. MarketMuse Content Score – a representation of the comprehensiveness of the top performing content for this topic.


MarketMuse topic modeling tech identifies the most important concepts that a subject matter expert would include in comprehensive content about a topic. See Topic Modeling for SEO Explained for more details.


This is when MarketMuse technology builds out a universe of topics or a topic model. It’s trying to understand a concept in the manner that a subject matter expert would cover the topic. The degree of relevance indicates the importance of including these concepts in a piece of comprehensive content on that subject. It’s a quantitative measure of how important it is for those concepts to be included in such content.


Search Intent

See User Intent.

Search Volume

Search volume is the number of monthly searches for a topic in the Google search engine. We use data from Google and a number of other sources to build the most accurate representation of search volume. This figure is updated monthly. Find Search Volume in the Topic section of your inventory, embedded within the table and in the topic cards. Pair search volume with MarketMuse’s Opportunity Score, Authority Score, Difficulty Scores and Topical Variants (topical breadth) to further build and refine your strategy. 


Seasonality shows how a topic’s popularity changes during the course of a year. Search volumes are not the same every month. We are able to show the volume’s peaks and valleys to help you understand content needs related to the topic.


Thin Content

MarketMuse Insight: If a topic has 1 related Page or Less and the content score is less than average on that page.

Title Gap

MarketMuse Insight: If a ranking page does not have the related term in title.


Topics are facts: they are the main ideas in a concept. They are components that describe a concept. In terms of how topics are used in content writing, they are the facts and ideas that underlie a concept.

Topic Authority

To determine Topic Authority we take your amount of coverage on the topic, how comprehensive it is, whether you have stand-out expert-level content on the topic, how well it performs, the potential traffic one could receive if they are an authority on the topic, and the relative competition to you. We use all that to predict the likelihood of success if you create, optimize, expand and grow clusters of content on that topic and/or use that page as part of that strategy.

Topic Cluster

A group of pages on a common topic linked together, usually in the form of a pillar page and supporting pages. See How to Build a Content Plan (With Topic Cluster Examples)

Topic Universe

During the onboarding process you provide us with seed topics and named competitors. We go out and look at all the content that is covered and create a universe of the contained concepts. Then we cross-reference that against your inventory to build out the prioritization.


User Intent

The intention or what a user wants to accomplish by performing a specific search. Read What Is User Intent and Building Content Plans Around User Intent.



Variants are topics that represent ideas for integrating concepts into content. They use the topic as a substring of the variant. So by adding – prefixes, suffixes, and or preceding or trailing words variants are developed.

The topic and keyword variants that MarketMuse displays with this technology align the most important user intent profiles to common variant terms. The list of variants shown by MarketMuse communicates the breadth of coverage the number of user intents; the most important user intent profiles and queries.

First, we give you the topics that give you the depth of coverage that show you how to cover it comprehensively –

The variants indicate different types of users and intents. What is the breadth of coverage that is needed to cover the topic for the entire breadth of users that are researching that topic?

It covers their various intents uses and tasks for which they are searching. The goal of working with a list of variants is to figure out the connection between the topic and the search term.

For example, a variant containing:

  • “what is” shows they are looking for awareness phase content.
  • “compared” indicates they are looking to evaluate
  • “pricing” or “prices” suggests they are looking to purchase
  • “Columbus” or “Atlanta” reveals local intent
  • a brand like Microsoft or Nalgene demonstrates they are researching brands.

So it gives you the connection between the topic and the variant. They tell the story of what user is looking for.


Word Count

The total number of words in your content item.