We’ve established before that blogging has transformed from a great idea to critical for SEO. Recently, we talked about how to get free content for SEO, and in that post showed the image below. This shows how our search traffic went up at the end of 2012 when we started blogging more seriously, and again at the end of 2013 when we upped our number of blogs per week to 4-5 posts of 800+ words. There was a direct correlation in our search traffic, and it’s still on the rise.
The more you blog, the bigger the chance you eventually find yourself asking, “What should I write about?” When you answer this question strategically, it can have a much bigger impact on your website’s performance. At Points, here are things that we found helpful when looking for blog topics for both our clients and ourselves.
Use Tools to Find Blog Topics
There are a lot of tools out there to help you find blog topics. Yes, we use paid services like Moz and SEM Rush to help us out. Matt Rasmusson just wrote a great post about websites to know for SEO that included a great tools section as well. Specifically, here are three great Google tools to use for some blog topics.
- Webmaster Tools – Google’s Webmaster Tools actually has data that shows not only what users clicked in Google search results, but also what you just showed up for. The data isn’t all-inclusive, but gives you an amazing start. Alongside this this data is the average ranking your website held for each keyword you showed up for. The blog topics you want to pick are ones for keywords that see a high number of impressions and for which you believe extra content will help you increase your rank.
So, for example, you can see that our sample site (below) ranks an average of 7.1 for the keyword “videos for business” and comes up 306 times in search over a given period. However, it only has a 2% CTR. Increasing the position just by a little bit, even 2-3 places, can significantly raise the CTR and bring more traffic. That’s probably a good blog post to write about. SEO Reputation Management – that topic can probably be put on hold for a little bit, as a big jump would be need to bring it up from 46 to page 1.
- Google Trends – Google Trends allows you to compare keywords for search queries over time. This means you can see what people are actually searching for. Use this to refine the data you come up with in Webmaster Tools or Google Analytics. You can also target by location to make sure you’re getting the right traffic for your region. For example, nobody searches for “pop” in NJ, they search for “soda.”
- Google Analytics – You can see what’s already driving traffic to your site, but more importantly, you can see the quality of that traffic. Are users viewing multiple pages? Leaving quickly? Use this info to see the topics that are already driving traffic that matters – and which ones you want to avoid.
Use Your Own Expertise
Your own mind is a wealth of information on whatever topic you are an authority. Get that information out there. Just remember these two things:
- Focus your content around a few topics instead of many. Depth is greater than breadth. Take what you know and really give a deep dive that provides value. It can be many posts, but you only want to target a few topics.
- Keep your content broad enough that you can still write 800+ words about it. We really like to shoot for 1,000 words, but 800 works. If you only have enough information to write 300 words, your topic is too narrow and you need to make it a sub-point of a larger topic. Look at it this way, how many times have you done a Google search for something and landed on a post with only 300 words?
Answering questions is actually a great way to build up your blog. You can even make it a separate feature or develop an FAQ. With Google’s Hummingbird update late last year, one of the major changes that we noticed was that Google is liking posts that answer questions more and more. So what questions are out there?
- Ask your clients. Are there questions that you repeatedly get from clients or prospects? Is there something you find that people don’t understand? Those are great starts. Then, just ask clients/patients if there is anything that they’d really like to know. Is there something that would be helpful for them? Most likely, whatever questions they have are questions that other people are asking too – and searching for.
- Search Twitter. Do a quick search on Twitter for a topic that you would want to post on. See if people are asking questions around it. If people are asking others on Twitter, they’re Googling it too. Blog about it.
- What do people talk about? Pay attention in your conversations. You’ll pick up on things as you talk with people and general frustrations come up and conversations continue. This blog post is actually a great example – it’s a result of a co-worker asking for ideas for what they should blog about.
Now, you should have plenty of ideas. It’s time to stop reading and get blogging! But first, let us know if you have any ideas that you use to generate blog topics in the comment section below.