Product
March 19th 2020

MarketMuse FAQs

8 min read

Whether you’re new to MarketMuse or a seasoned pro, if you have questions, we have answers. Here are some frequently asked questions about the MarketMuse platform.

Why is MarketMuse search volume different than “X”?

Each company builds its search volume estimation differently. MarketMuse pulls from commodity data sources and overlays that with several other sources to fill any gaps. We also use our own estimation methodology to improve accuracy.

Other companies also rely on commodity data sources and other sources as well. They frequently employ formulas to estimate volume where it’s unavailable because commodity data sources do not communicate all volume.

Which is better? Neither.

Which one is the most accurate? Both and neither.

Search Volume is a very lightweight indicator because all the data isn’t available, broad match terms aren’t broken out and the data just isn’t made to be very useful. Therefore, each company has to bake in their own methodology to show volume.

So, if that’s the case, then why would you only focus on volume? It’s an incomplete metric that everyone has to massage and build estimations; really just a best guess. While volume data can be useful for very broad terms, once you start getting into long-tail topics, you are pretty much out of luck in finding anything very “accurate” from any source.

Use our Opportunity Score, which bakes in several factors – not just volume – to give you a powerful prioritization mechanism. Spend your time building semantically related clusters around topics that are valuable to your domain and just execute the cluster

What’s the difference between a topic and a keyword?

Keywords are words and phrases that searchers enter into a search engine. They are used to tag content, categorize and identify what a page is about.

A focus topic describes what the topic is about, the reason it exists, and what needs it is trying to fulfill for a user. Often focus topics have qualifiers and superlatives, such as:

  • Guide
  • Review
  • Comparison
  • Top/Best
  • Where/How

A good proxy for the user intent is the title because this often tells the reader what they’ll be getting when they read the piece. Focus topics are made up of keywords:

  • Easy Brownie Recipe
  • Easy No-Flour Brownie Recipe
  • Decadent Brownie Recipe
  • How to Make the Gooiest Brownies

Sometimes keywords and focus topics are the same things when the keywords match the user’s intent (ex: cheap flights).

Why do I have to type a focus topic into the platform rather than a keyword?

The problem with using keywords is that most of the time, keywords only get at a fraction of the user’s intent. If you optimize to a single or a few, nonspecific keyword(s), you may be creating a piece that addresses a smattering of user intents rather than honing in on one. It’s likely that you’ll treat each one shallowly. In doing so, it’s unlikely that you’ll treat any of those individual intentions comprehensively enough to be the best thing for Google to serve up to a user with a specific goal.

When you build or optimize a piece of content, you want to align it as closely as possible to the user’s intent. The MarketMuse platform helps you do this, but only if you are specific about what the user’s intent is.

How do I optimize one piece of content for multiple keywords?

It’s best to optimize for a topic as opposed to a keyword. Read the answer to the previous question if you’re not sure why.

There is a way to optimize a page for more than one topic. Order a MarketMuse Content Brief where each section has its own focus topic and list of topics to mention. If you’re on our Premium plan, you can run Optimize multiple times and export the output, once for each topic. Then you just have to assemble those Excel files into one master worksheet. But that’s a lot more complicated!

Where are topic variants, where do they come from, and how are they sorted?

Variant topics are the different ways a keyword can be expressed as a search query through a reordering of the words and adding modifiers for specificity.

MarketMuse uses its proprietary technology to identify the most relevant variants and presents them in an ordered list, the most relevant first.

What is the best workflow for content optimization?

For an existing piece of content, enter the focus topic and URL in Optimize, and it will fetch the content on that page, calculate its Content Score, and show what related topics are missing. Update the content within Optimize, and you’ll see your content score increase as you modify the content.

Screenshot of MarketMuse Optimize showing focus topic and URL fields.

Once satisfied, copy and paste the text into your favorite word processor to check spelling, grammar, and add links. Finally, copy and paste into your CMS for pre-publication.

If you’re using a MarketMuse Optimize Brief for additional guidance on updating the content, the workflow is similar. One advantage, in this case, is that the content brief can be shared with anyone without requiring access to the MarketMuse platform.

Attached to the brief is the Optimize application set up specifically for the desired focus topic. Writers can access the attached Optimize app and either create their content directly within or paste it from their word processor to verify the target content score is met. Editors can verify submission in the same manner.

Screenshot of MarketMuse Optimize inside a Content Brief showing related metrics.

Currently, the Optimize editor experience doesn’t support links, but it will soon. For now, to add links while creating the content, place them as text beside the phrase to be linked. Wrap them in a unique identifier like square brackets [] or braces {}.

That way, you can quickly identify them during the pre-publication phase. Just use your browser’s find and replace feature or the equivalent in your CMS, if it’s not browser-based.

What is Opportunity Score, and how do I use it? 

Opportunity Score is a personalized metric that ranks your pages in order of opportunity available. Use Opportunity Score as a prioritization method. It answers the question, ‘Which of my pages and topics should I work on now?’

This ultimate power metric takes your entire set of live pages and topics and runs then against all evaluation metrics. It classifies each page or topic’s potential growth against each other. Some of the parameters taken into account include:

  • Content quality
  • Search volume
  • Topical authority
  • Site authority
  • Personalized difficulty
  • Competition
  • Variants
  • Relevance
  • Current coverage.

A page or topic with a high Opportunity Score means, all things considered, it has the best chance of success compared to all the other items currently in your inventory. Items with a low Opportunity Score are the opposite.

How should I use Insights and Filters?

MarketMuse offers eighteen different insights organized into three categories, Superlatives, Action, and Informative. Some insights are for pages only while others are for topics. 

Insights offer a quick way of filtering for complex conditions in a simple manner. For example, creating a filter for the page insight ‘Expansion Opportunity’ identifies all pages containing less than 350 words AND ranking for any topic within your topic inventory. Filtering for this particular insight offers an easy way of identifying pages with ‘thin content’ that also have potential.

In addition to insights, there are ten other metrics available for which you can create filters. One filter can consist of many different parameters and can be saved for repeated use. 

As an example, an eCommerce site could filter for pages with the ‘Category’ classification and ‘Low Quality SEO Content’ insights. This is a great way of finding category pages that mention an essential topic but have a less than average Content Score.

For more details, read ‘How to Use MarketMuse Filters and Insights.’

How do I include or exclude multiple topics?

Although filters can incorporate more than one metric, only one value is available for each metric. That means you can only exclude/include one single specific term.

I have a well-optimized page – now what?

You’ve optimized your content so that it meets the target content score, yet it’s not performing as well as expected in terms of SEO. In this case, there are most likely other directional items on the page that need to be addressed. 

The body content evaluation, as shown in the Optimize application, is a gut check. If the piece of content checks out for compliance and your page is not ranking well, then you likely have other SEO factors that need to be resolved. 

These issues can vary; it could be a technical SEO situation or something content-related. Some other possibilities are internal linking, external links, title optimization, and subheading usage. 

We offer MarketMuse Content Briefs outlining the direction for these content items. These briefs are available for either creating new content or optimizing an existing page. It’s a good idea to order a brief for the topic, optimize, publish, and wait.

Ranking a page of content often depends on whether or not you have built and connected all the needed supporting materials to fill a ‘topic cluster’. Most times, one piece of content cannot function alone. The rank of a page is actually also dependent on other pages that are related to it and complete the story/user journey.

If your content score meets its target in Optimize, you have dived deeply into the topic using our briefs to fill all relevant content direction, and you have filled in the cluster appropriately, then you will find ranking success. 

In a case where you don’t, it’s likely to be something technical. That’s why you should always check technical health at the forefront.

How are the top related topics determined on a Page Card?

We first look at all the related topics for which a page ranks. For each one we determine its current traffic; that’s a function of monthly keyword search volume and the position of the page in the SERP. From that, we take the top 10 and display them sorted by content score in descending order.