Perhaps you are a veteran blogger who’s seen it all or maybe you are on the outside looking in. How do you know your content is catering to what your readers are clamouring for? How do you know if a blog story or a feature will have them coming back for more?
Sometimes it’s best to discuss what is hot and on everyone’s mind. This is a tried and true tactic, but often only extends to the obvious topics or major headlines. This guide contains techniques to tap into what your readership and the whole internet are searching. Providing a reply to their questions is a cornerstone of Inbound Marketing.
No blogger is without their toolkit. Below are some of the best resources you can utilize on a shoestring budget. Combining these tools will give you an idea of what visitors are searching. Following these steps, you can leverage your best writing to get some of those happy searchers on your site.
This free tool from Google is a quick and effect way to find out how much a topic is being searched from Google. Very much the leader in search engines, Google serves at least 2 Trillion searches a year. With that many annual searches, we can feel confident we the data we see in Google Trends is reliable.
Google Trends is fantastic for a quick overview but seasonal trends are pronounced in the graph. In the graph above, we can see how the interest (blue line) in “winter boots” climbed during Winter in the US. To further illustrate, the interest in “summer dresses” (red line) are considerably higher throughout the whole year – but is heightened in Summer.
This is the same data as our “winter boots” and “summer dresses” but in a global map. Hovering over the different nations shows the national interest in those countries.
How is this data useful?
In the above example, if we were looking for right season to discuss our winter boots or summer dresses, we could have guessed it. Here’s another example:
In this example, we can see the interest over the 5-year period for “high waisted jeans”:
We can see in March 2014, “high waisted jeans” were at peak interest, but in March 2017, we are approaching that precedent.
If I were debating whether to write about “high waisted jeans”, this data says there is still much interest on the topic.
AdWords Keyword Planner
Another tool from Google, you can easily look up keywords and determine the number of searches in a flash. Unlike Google Trends, the AdWords Keyword Planner is not free.
Many bloggers do not utilize AdWords (Pay-Per-Click) for their blog and to unlock the full potential of the AdWords Keyword Planner, you will need to have an active AdWords Campaign.
Here is an example of the data you will see without an active ad campaign:
Here is the full data, from an AdWords account with an active ad campaign:
In the second graph, we can see the data fully and how many searches were for your topic. With the research from Google Trends, and keyword research AdWords Keyword Planner, you will be much better equipped to get writing!
Our third and final tool from Google, Search Console is a webmaster’s best friend. Search Console is bursting at the seams with awesome tools for checking website health but for keyword research, it allows us to see which keywords are used to find our blog.
Once Google Search Console has been verified, the best thing to do is wait while you collect data. After a few weeks, you will have enough sessions on your site to see your top performing pages in Search Console.
Please note that Google Search Console will only show data from the most recent 90 days, so keeping an eye on the live data is important.
How can you use Search Console’s data to see what previous topics performed the best on your site?
Go to Search Traffic on the left first, Then Search Analytics. You should see a toolbar that looks like this:
If you click pages, you can see what blog posts have gotten the most visits in the period that you’ve selected. By selecting “Queries” Search Console will show a limited amount of keywords that searchers used to land on the blog.
How is this useful?
As a smart digital marketer, you already know how important it is to listen to your audience. Using Search Console, you can see which pages and keywords are performing well and which ones haven’t captured the audience’s attention.
Is your 4-year-old article on “Winter boots” getting many visitors even after all those years- perhaps it’s time to refresh that content for 2017. If your favorite blog post from last month is at the bottom of the list, it may be necessary to optimize the content again or look for a new topic all together.
Although the tactics below are not tools or utilities, sometimes, it’s to take a step back and examine what’s happening in your blog’s industry or niche.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. This adage extends to the digital marketing world. Examining the types of content found on a competitor’s blog can give you an idea of what’s new, so go ahead- Like, Subscribe, RSS or peruse the competition to find out if you’ve missed the scoop.
Listen to your Readers
One of the greatest things about having your own blog is you can directly interact with your readers. Listening to them can yield some of the best content writing opportunities.
Audit your own content
As a digital marketer, you know that there are thousands of blogs in your own niche. This last bit of advice is common sense, but if more bloggers asked themselves this question, content on the internet would be vastly improved.
Stop and ask yourself: “Would I want to read this blog if I were a Visitor?”
Content is often created for a monetary or commercialized angle. If more writers would step back and create content to be read, not as an angle to commoditize traffic, the internet would be a much richer place to share and learn. Don’t be like those digital marketers, make content that provides education, information or just great entertainment!
In this guide, you have seen a few tools that will help you achieve the visibility you’ve always wanted for your blog. Blogging isn’t rocket science but taking time to prepare and position your content as best as possible will make a huge difference to your readership. Using the tools and techniques from this guide, any blogger can start writing better content immediately.