SEMRush | Advanced Keyword Research and Content Marketing Strategy
Post on 16-Jul-2015
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How To Create Data-Driven Content That Drives Millions Of Visitors & Rank A Single Blog Post On Page 1 Of Google For
Hundreds of Keywords By Roland Frasier
Blink blink blink. The cursor blinks back at you mockingly as you stare into the blank white screen of your computer, trying to imagine what content to create that will magically capture your audiences interest and catapult you to the top of the search engines.
How many times have you found yourself staring at your screen trying to think of what to create next? If youre like most people trying to come up with a steady stream of original and interesting content ideas, this probably happens to you more often than youd like to admit.
The fact is that all too often, we drive our complete content marketing strategy based on wild guesses and group brainstorming sessions trying to read the tea leaves to determine what will appeal to our audience and drive traffic to our websites.
Data Driven Content to the Rescue
But, it doesnt have to be that way. In fact, it really shouldnt be that way at all. You can use a few simple, inexpensive tools to access data from millions of websites and user intent actions to let the market tell you exactly what kind of content you should be creating to get the biggest bang from your content marketing efforts.
In this post, were going to explore just exactly how you can do that so you will
1) Never again suffer from writers block,
2) Always know exactly what content to create that will resonate the most with your audience, and
3) Gain more and more organic traffic as you displace your competitors in the SERPs (search engine results pages) and rank for dozens, or even hundreds, of page 1 keywords with each blog post you create.
Youre going to accomplish that by using three specific strategies and a handful of tools that weve used to
1) Build a highly niched B2C lifestyle community site from zero to over 2 million visits per month over the past 19 months,
2) Take a hybrid B2C/B2B crafts site from zero to just under 1 million monthly visits in about 8 months, and
3) Revive a virtually dead B2B niche site from almost zero to about 200,000 visits in about a year.
These strategies work across all niches and industries. As you can see, the three sites mentioned above are in vastly different markets.
First Step: Which Customer Life-Cycle Stage(s) Are You Creating Content For?
Ideally, you know in advance which of the four customer life-cycle stages you will be creating content for. We have found that our most effective content is content that we create to appeal to different target markets based upon our specific customer acquisition goals.
The image below shows the four customer life-cycle stages. They are:
1) Viral (people who have never heard of you, who are likely to click only out of curiosity or very broad interest appeal),
2) Discovery (people who have some issue or brand awareness who may be in the very early exploration stage of searching for a solution),
3) Consideration (people who are actively in the process of making a buying decision), and
4) Existing Customers (people who have already bought and need help consuming and being made aware of your other product and service offerings).
Knowing which of these segments you are trying to appeal to will change the kind of content you are creating. See the graphic below for examples of the differing audiences, goals and keywords applicable to each different customer life-cycle segment.
As you consider the different audiences, goals and keywords for each different customer life-cycle segment, you can see that the types of content you will want to create for them will vary. The image below shows three hypothetical businesses and the different types of content that they would potentially create for each of the four different life-cycle segments.
The first headline in each of the four life-cycle stages is for a financial planning business. In that case, appealing to a very wide audience who has no known or stated interest in financial planning would require broad, non-financial planning focused content that could start them on the path to more in depth information as they progress through the customer life-cycle.
The viral stage content might simply be a quiz designed to appeal to everyones curiosity that asks, Can We Guess Your Real Age? In the Discovery stage we pose the more financially focused question Who Really Gets Your Money If You Die Without A Will? Its still appealing to curiosity, but now weve narrowed our target-market focus a bit and addressed a known issue that we know our target market is facing.
When the prospect moves on to the Consideration stage, we get even more specifically targeted to the specific needs and issues of our prospective customer with Which XYZ Financial Plan Is Right For You? to help them compare our services to the competition or the various financial plans or services offered by our firm.
Last, but not least, for existing customers, we want to create content that promotes stickiness and helps them consume the products or services they already bought from us, or that exposes them to our other products or services that they might be interested in purchasing . So, here we go with a title like How To Get The Most From Your XYZ Financial Advisor.
The second set of headlines in the graphic above applies to a do-it-yourself (DIY) blog, beginning with the viral How To Make Cheese With Your Feet? and ever-narrowing to 23 Cheese Recipes Beginners Can Make At Home, then a live-test review video of a product we offer, and finally an advanced product upsell offer.
The third set of headlines in the graphic applies to a marketing blog, and we progress through the various customer life-cycle stages from the very broad 17 Bad Jokes Only Marketers Will Get to the issue/interest appeal of 10 Random Words That Are Killing Your Marketing Messages, to a how-to article and, finally, a template post.
Strategy #1: Create Curated Data-Driven Content That Ranks For Hundreds Of Keywords
Strategy 1 is to create a list post (or listicle) comprising a list made up of 25 or more items. Each of the items in the list should be something that is already being searched for by your target market. The goal is to combine multiple search queries that are already getting traffic into a single article that will capture traffic around a large number of keywords and, hopefully, rank on page one for all of those keywords.
We pick the number of 25 or more items because our research has shown that longer lists (and longer articles generally) get more traffic and generate more time on page and more shares than shorter lists, but you can create a list of any length that feels right for you.
50% of the content that we create follows this strategy. For this strategy, we use SEMRush to identify the content that our market is searching for. For purposes of this post, Im going to assume that you already know how to use a tool like SEMRush to identify your competitors and do basic keyword research. If you need a refresher on that, check out this excellent webinar on how to use SEMRush for keyword research.
First, lets login to SEMRush and look down the left side of the dashboard under the Keyword Research section and choose Full Search as shown in the image below.
In the search bar (#2 in the image above), type in your keyword phrase and click the Search button. For our DIY site in the example above, Ive entered one of our targeted keyword phrases, DIY Projects and SEMRush returns 483 results (#3 in the image above). Next, lets sort those by search volume by clicking on the Volume column as shown in #4 in the image above.
As you can see, our primary search term, DIY Projects, gets just over 60,000 monthly searches. We want to learn two important things from these results:
1) What voice does our audience respond best to? And, 2) What call-outs should we use to address specific sub-audiences within our main audience?
Use SEMRush To Identify Voice, Appealing Modifiers, Sub-Interests and Sub-Audiences
Lets look more closely at the results and see what we can find out...
As you can see from the image above, the third most searched for keyword phrase is easy DIY projects with 2,900 searches per month. The fifth most searched for phrase is cool DIY projects with 2,400 monthly searches, followed not far behind by fun with 1,600 searches and cute with 880.
Using this data, we now know that there is a significant portion of our audience that is very specifically interested in learning more about things that are easy, cool, fun and cute. Armed with that knowledge, we can start framing our content, and the voice we write to our audience in, around those terms.
Speaking of audience, what else can we learn about our audience from these results? Well, the 4th results shows us that they are interested in projects for the home with 2,900 searches. They also like craft projects (2,400 searches), wood projects (1,900 searches), art (1,800 searches) and so on.
Additionally, we can see that people also want to know about DIY projects for specific sub-groups like men with 880 searches.
Creating Data-Driven Content That Ranks & Drives Traffic
Using this data, we know that we can create content and soak up search results for craft, wood and art projects for the home that are easy, cool, fun and cute and that appeal to men. Get the idea?
Okay, so now that were getting the hang of this, lets use SEMRush to build a high-ranking, search query driven post. Take a look at the image below
Start by finding the Keyword Researc