Expertly crafted search engine optimized content is the gold standard when it comes to web traffic. Simply put, if you’re showing up on Google’s first page, and especially within the top-5 results, then your site is doing extremely well and new, unique visitors will generously flow in your direction.
With Google (and Facebook) changing their algorithms on almost a daily basis, however, the SEO tactics we once employed are becoming useless. In fact, sites that used heavy keyword densities and other older SEO methods are quickly getting Google’s cold shoulder.
The Web World Is Changing
Search engines are becoming smarter these days, which means that pure SEO isn’t going to get you anywhere. The overarching rule of thumb is simple: you need solid, well-written, relevant content. While this doesn’t necessarily negate your need to use keywords in a smart way, the emphasis is quickly shifting to the relevance and the quality of content that you put on your site. This is why finding great ideas for content on your website is critical, and yet it can also be one of the most difficult tasks you may face.
This is why I’ve come up with this list of seven essential tools to help you determine the most relevant content, while finding the right keywords to attract Google’s golden attention. Keep in mind, you don’t necessarily have to use these tools this order, but my suggested workflow may help if you’re stuck in that black hole of confusion.
Now let’s get crackin’.
One of the most difficult parts about creating compelling content that gets SEO results is staying organized and keeping track of tasks and ideas. This is why I usually recommend using Trello, which is one of the most useful online task managers I’ve found. It may be a little difficult to learn at first, but after a few YouTube tutorials and an informational how-to article, you’ll be a Trello wiz within 30 minutes.
#2: Google News
If you were trying to figure out what people are currently searching and what Google already finds relevant, then why not head straight to the source? Google News will allow you to do exactly that.
In fact, this is already a practice known as ‘newsjacking.’ Hubspot defines this as, “…capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.” What does this mean for you? The clever application of ‘newsjacking’ through acquiring ideas from Google News could be extremely valuable for traffic.
Another fact you should keep in mind is that search engines will also pick up social media traffic, which means that you should certainly have your hand in that cookie jar as well. For this, I recommend using tools like Topsy.
Almost everyone who is noticeably active on social media will have their networks linked to Twitter… and Topsy tracks Twitter. There are several excellent features on here that will allow you to gauge whether or not the idea you found on Google News is gaining any traction in the social media universe.
In addition to filtering your ideas (and coming up with new ones) from Topsy, you should also take advantage of Quora. Essentially, it is a tool that will show you what relevant questions people are asking. If your content provides relevant content, which addresses these questions, then people will be searching for your site.
In ways that simple traffic tracker tools cannot, Reddit can provide you with the most up-to-date, relevant information on what people are talking about. You can harness Reddit to your advantage, talking about everything from creating a proper handle (username) to just how well Reddit has worked for other sites in the past.
Once you’ve figured out the best general ideas for coming up with solid content and topics, you should research what keywords you should insert into the page. Ubersuggest’s advantage is that it will give you access to several services that monitor actual user keyword queries.
Bear in mind, while it is important to note that keywords aren’t everything. Good SEO requires a delicate harmony between proper usage of keywords and the crafting of well-written content.
#7: Google Keyword Planner
Last, we arrive at Google Keyword Planner, which will enable you to research keywords and learn more about how traffic for that keyword has changed over time. This is your most accurate, comprehensive tool that is tailored specifically to work directly with Google. Although this tool shows up as #7 on the list, I would say that it is probably your most essential option for coming up with the best keywords and knowing how well they will do.
I simply use it as a last check to determine my keywords, confirm their validity and figure out how to fit them into my content strategy… after utilizing the other tools to research what people are already talking about, of course.
Easier Than You Thought?
Again, half the battle isn’t writing the content. The problem is figuring out what to write and how to write it before you even begin. This is why these tools should offer a fantastic guide to come up with content that will be picked up by Google, and most importantly, will offer the best value to your readers. Your content will be what they were looking for all along.