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Using Keyword Resources to Identify and Prioritize Content Opportunities

3 min read

In this 60-minute webinar, Ewen Finser, Partner / Content Strategy and Operations at Owl Mountain Capital, and Jeff Coyle, Chief Product Officer and co-founder MarketMuse, discuss ways of identifying and prioritizing content opportunities using keyword research.

Many Standard Keyword Practices Are out of Date

You’re leaving a lot on the table if you rely primarily on free keyword research tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner. One problem with this approach is lack of access to the right kind of competition metrics. As a result, you may end up wasting a lot of money and time in creating the wrong content. The second issue is that it’s hard to look at the topic as a whole, when you’re focused so much on keywords. By only looking at the individual phrase, you miss out on what the ecosystem looks like. It’s like not seeing the forest for the trees.

Google Has Been Challenging Keyword-Driven Content for Years

The 2010 Google Panda updated target low-quality sites. The Hummingbird update in 2013 enabled the search engine to better match content to search intent. In 2015, RankBrain made relevance and context that much more important. We’re no in the age of continuous updates. Targeting long-tail keywords, without having supporting informational pillar content, is not a sustainable strategy. You’re going to need content that spans the entire user intent profile landscape.

A Comprehensive Content Strategy Will Help You Rank and Build Authority

It’s critical that you evaluate all competitors in that landscape of content. Identify if they’re good at covering the topic and related topics. Figure out if they offer great breadth and depth of coverage. Determine if the content they produce is of high quality. Combine this with off-page factors like total links, link authority and link velocity to get a leg up over anyone just doing link-based competitive analysis.

Identify Low-Competition Topics and Niche Topics

Beyond what any keyword tool can tell you, some SERP features can signal low competition. Forum and PDF files in the search engine results pages, along with any page that has an unsavory link profile are three indicators to watch. Other factors to consider in evaluating a niche include cost per click, affiliate conversion, and trend analysis to see where the niche is going.

Reverse Engineer Competitors and Find Content Gaps

A keyword with a few hundred monthly searches that isn’t being adequately addressed by the competition could be an opportunity waiting. Most keyword tools were built during the era where everyone was building exact-match domains. Consequently, opportunities found using these tools frequently turn into a needle in a haystack as opposed to something that’s a serious competitive advantage. Competitive cohort profiling allows for deeper competitive analysis to better understand how the competition operates and where the weaknesses reside in their approach.

Content Should Map to User Intent

There are many ways to look at user intent; informational, commercial, transactional, and navigational. These in turn relate to different phases of the buy cycle; awareness, interest, decision, and action. Group your content into buckets based on user intent and make sure to interlink the pieces. Content is query dependant; it’s about understanding your audience and the types of content they want to consume.

Question and Answer

What goes into a site assessment?

What factors do you consider when evaluating a content site?

What are the impacts of structured data and voice search?

Resources Mentioned in this Webinar

Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines


Stephen leads the content strategy blog for MarketMuse, an AI-powered Content Intelligence and Strategy Platform. You can connect with him on social or his personal blog.