SEO Articles

We have big news: Yoast SEO is coming to Shopify!

For over 10 years, Yoast SEO has helped WordPress users all around the world with their SEO. And we’re quite proud to say that with more than 12 million active users, it’s one of the most popular SEO plugins in the WordPress community. We’re not going anywhere, our WordPress plugins will remain one of our main focuses. But we are bringing Yoast SEO to another platform: Shopify! Just like our Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin, this Shopify app will help users work on their own SEO and create pages that both people and search engines will love. And to properly launch our newest product, we’re hosting a Shopify event!

The Yoast SEO app will soon be on Shopify

In two weeks, on the 18th of January, we’ll release our new Yoast SEO on Shopify app and we’re super excited! We can’t wait to bring our product to a whole new platform and help its users with their SEO. At the moment, we’re still dotting the last few i’s, but it’s almost ready to go. So if you have a Shopify store, or know someone who does, make sure to keep an eye on our website or the app store in Shopify. Yoast SEO will be joining Shopify very soon! If you want to read more about why we’re introducing this new product, make sure to read the blog post in which our CEO Thijs de Valk explains why we’ve brought Yoast SEO to Shopify.

But what can this new Shopify app do for me?

Now you might be wondering what you can expect from this new app on Shopify. Similar to our WordPress plugin, it helps you optimize your pages by giving you feedback on the findability and readability of your pages. This feedback helps you improve your pages to get them higher in the search results and improve your sales. In addition to this feedback, the Yoast SEO for Shopify app also gives you control over how your pages are shown on Google and social media. And last but certainly not least, it actually outputs all the needed SEO meta data and a complete Schema graph for your site, which search engines can use to understand your pages even better. There are a few other functionalities that come with this new app. If you want to dive into that, make sure to check out our Yoast SEO for Shopify product page.

Join our free online Shopify event

To celebrate and kick off our new product, we’re hosting a very special YoastCon this year. An online YoastCon – Shopify edition on the 20th of January that will be chockfull of lots of interesting SEO talks by experts in this field. You can expect to learn more about how to improve the SEO of your online store and how Yoast SEO in Shopify works. And if you’ve ever been to a Yoast event, you’ll know that we also like to have fun. So you can also expect some sort of entertainment!

Speakers from Shopify and renowned SEO companies

We want to make sure that everyone takes something away from this event. That’s why we’ve invited guests from different companies that will talk about SEO for online stores. We’ll kick off the event with a welcome and product demo by our CEO Thijs de Valk and CPO Joost de Valk. After that, Aleyda Solis will talk us through the worst SEO issues of online stores in 2022 and how to fix them. Another topic that will be discussed is how to make a perfect ecommerce website, a talk by our own Jono Alderson.

But that’s not all. We’ll also have talks by Shopify’s Kevin Indig & Jackson Lo and Mike King. More information on these talks and the schedule will follow soon! Just keep an eye on our event page.

Practical information

This event, the online YoastCon – Shopify edition, will take place on Thursday, the 20th of January 2022. It starts at 4:30 pm CET / 1:30 pm EST and will be a few hours long. But you can tune in whenever you like! And if you can’t make it that day, don’t worry, it’s also possible to watch the event at a different time.

Register for the Shopify event now!

The post We have big news: Yoast SEO is coming to Shopify! appeared first on Yoast.

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The not-so-SEO checklist for 2022

The not-so-SEO checklist for 2022

30-second summary:

With several Google algorithm updates in 2021 its easy to fall into a dangerous trap of misconceptions
One factor that still remains constant is the value Google places on great content
Core Web Vitals aren’t the end-all of ranking factors but a tiebreaker
Read this before you create your SEO strategy for 2022!

The year 2021 was a relatively busy one for Google and SEOs across the world. The search engine behemoth is improving itself all the time, but in this past year, we saw a number of pretty significant updates that gave digital marketers cause for paying attention. From rewarding more detailed product reviews to nullifying link spam, Google keeps thinking of ways to improve the user experience on its platform.

Speaking of user experience: the biggest talking point of the year was June’s Page Experience update, which took place over a few months and notably included the Core Web Vitals.

After that happened, tens of thousands of words were published around the web instructing people on how to modify their websites to meet the new standards.

Mobile-friendliness became even more important than before. Some more inexperienced SEOs out there might have started looking to the Core Web Vitals as the new be-all ranking factor for web pages.

With all this new information on our hands since last year, it’s possible that some misconceptions have sprung up around what is good and bad for SEO in 2022.

In this post, I want to bring up and then dispel some of the myths surrounding Google’s bigger and more mainstream 2021 updates.

So, here it is – the not-so-SEO checklist for your 2022. Here are three of the things you shouldn’t do.

1. Don’t prioritize Core Web Vitals (CWV) above quality content

It’s no secret that Google’s Core Web Vitals are among the elements you’ll want to optimize your website for in 2022 if you haven’t done so already.

As a quick reminder, the Core Web Vitals are at the crossroads between SEO and web dev, and they are the measurements of your website’s largest contentful paint, first input display, and cumulative layout shift.

Those are the parts of your website that load first and allow users to start interacting with the site in the first few milliseconds. Logic tells us that the slower your load times are, the worse your site’s user experience will be.

First of all, this isn’t exactly new information. We all know about page speed and how it affects SEO. We also know how vital it is that your Core Web Vitals perform well on mobile, which is where around 60 percent of Google searches come from.

Google takes its Core Web Vitals so seriously as ranking factors that you can now find a CWV report in Google Search Console and get CWV metrics in PageSpeed Insights results (mobile-only until February of 2022, when the metrics roll out for desktop).

Given that, why am I calling it a misconception that Core Web Vitals should be at the top of your SEO-optimization checklist for 2022?

It’s because Google itself has explicitly stated that having a top-shelf page experience does not trump publishing killer content. Content is still king in SEO. Being useful and answering user questions is one of the most crucial ranking factors.

So, it’s a misconception that Google will not rank you well unless your Core Web Vitals are all in solid, healthy places.

However, having it all is the ideal situation. If you have great web content and optimized Core Web Vitals, you’ll probably perform better in organic search than would a page without strong Core Web Vitals.

In 2022, therefore, work on your Core Web Vitals for sure, but develop a detailed content marketing plan first.

2. Don’t assume your affiliate product-review site is in trouble

Another misconception that might have followed from a 2021 Google update is that affiliate sites, specifically product-review sites, were in some hot water after the Product Reviews update from April.

Google meant for the update to prioritize in-depth and useful product reviews over reviews that are spammy and light on details. In other words, just as in organic search, higher-quality content is going to win here.

If there was ever a point when someone actually made money by running a shady, low-quality affiliate site that featured nonsense product reviews that were then essentially spammed out to thousands of people, Google’s April 2021 product reviews update started to kill that.

The search engine now prioritizes long-form, detailed reviews, the kind that generates trust from users. Those are the types of affiliate content that stand to benefit from Google’s update, while the spammy sites will continue to vanish from top rankings.

Therefore, we can forget about the misconception that good, honest, hard-working affiliate product reviewers would somehow be hurt by the update.

As long as you are presenting something relevant and legitimately useful to users, you may have even seen your rankings rise since the April of 2021.

3. Don’t assume Google will rewrite all your titles

The last misconception I want to address here is the idea that you don’t need to put effort into your pages’ title tags because Google is going to rewrite them all anyway following its August of 2021 title tag-rewrite initiative.

First, some explanation. Back in August, many of you know that SEOs across the industry started noticing their page titles being rewritten, as in, not as they had originally created them.

Google soon owned up to rewriting page titles, but only those it believed were truly sub-par for user experience. In Google’s view, those junky title tags included ones that were stuffed with keywords, overly long, boilerplate across a given website, or just plain missing.

But SEOs still noticed that seemingly SEO-optimized title tags were still being rewritten, and the new titles didn’t always come directly from the original title. Sometimes, as Google has been doing since 2012, the search engine would use semantics to rewrite a title to be more descriptive or just simply better.

In other cases, Google’s new titles came from H1 text, body text, or backlink anchor text.

Google saw these efforts and still does, as one great way to improve user experience during the search.

Many SEOs, however, did not see it that way, especially given that Google’s rewrites were sometimes responsible for drops in traffic.

To put it mildly, there was uproar in the SEO community over the change, so much so that Google explained itself a second time just a month later, in September 2021.

In that blog post, Google said that it uses marketers’ own title tags 87 percent of the time (up from just 80 percent in August). The other 13 percent would be rewrites done to improve:

too-short titles,
outdated titles,
boilerplate titles,
and inaccurate titles.

And now to bring things back to the crux of this: it is a misconception that you’re wasting your time writing title tags after August of 2021.

Google does not actually want to rewrite your title tags. It clearly stated this in its September blog post.

What Google wants is for you to write high-quality page titles on your own, ones that are descriptive, truthful, and useful. Give users what they need, and Google will leave your titles alone.

However, throw a bunch of keywords in there, or use boilerplate titles all over your site, and you can expect Google to do some cleaning up on your behalf. The trouble is, you may not personally like the results.

Title tags matter in SEO, big time. Don’t think that your efforts are futile just because of the 2021 change. Focus on creating title tags that matter for users, and you should be just fine.

Going forward

The three misconceptions I have covered here can be dangerous to fall into in 2022.

Now, are Core Web Vitals, quality affiliate links, and title tags important to Google? You can bet they are. But SEOs also just have to be smart when approaching these matters. Everything Google Search Central does has the user in mind.

Optimize for Core Web Vitals, but still, put quality content creation first.

Run your affiliate marketing site, but ensure the reviews are useful.

And write amazing SEO title tags so that Google won’t want to rewrite them.

Following these guidelines can only help you in the year to come.

Kris Jones is the founder and former CEO of digital marketing and affiliate network Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay Enterprises in 2009. Most recently Kris founded SEO services and software company LSEO.com and has previously invested in numerous successful technology companies. Kris is an experienced public speaker and is the author of one of the best-selling SEO books of all time called, ‘Search-Engine Optimization – Your Visual Blueprint to Effective Internet Marketing’, which has sold nearly 100,000 copies.

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The post The not-so-SEO checklist for 2022 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Yoast SEO for Shopify! Whaaaaaat? 

Yoast SEO for Shopify! Whaaaaaat? 

By the end of this month, we’ll launch a Yoast SEO app for Shopify! That’s huge news! In this post, we’ll explain why we chose to build an app for Shopify. We thought long and hard about it. And it took some time and effort to build it as well. I’ll discuss some business reasons and some, equally important, reasons around our core values

SEO for everyone 

Our mission is SEO for everyone. We want everyone to have a fair chance in the search engines. Shopify is a large ecommerce platform and it’s growing fast. Extending our services to Shopify will help us to get closer to our mission. We’re currently also working on a desktop app that can be used by everyone, regardless of their CMS of choice. Next to our WordPress plugin, we also already offer an SEO solution for Typo3 and a WooCommerce SEO plugin too.

Business reasons 

Let me be clear and blunt about this. An app on the Shopify platform is a huge business opportunity. Shopify is growing fast. It makes sense to build an app and profit from the growth of that specific platform. The price points in Shopify are very different from the prices in WordPress (and maybe a tad bit more reasonable as well). That makes the Shopify market attractive to extend to. We have big dreams to grow our company further (in and outside of WordPress) and success in Shopify would make that a lot easier. 

The growth of Yoast (up until now) has been highly dependent on WordPress. That makes us a bit vulnerable. When deciding to build the Shopify app, we were not acquired by Newfold Digital yet. The decision to build that app was also one of risk-diversification. Having an app or plugin on multiple platforms just makes sure that our company can grow sustainably. 

Why Shopify? 

We’re breaking with our tradition to only release Yoast SEO software to open-source platforms. Shopify is closed source. We had a lot of conversations about that because at Yoast we’re open-source fanboys and girls. At the same time, making the web better is also something very dear to our heart. And we think that Shopify is making the web better. We strongly believe in Shopify’s mission to bring small businesses online. We feel that it is important for the internet that people have their own website and not sell their products via a third party. With our Yoast SEO for Shopify app, we want to help people rank with their own online store. 

Next to that, the values of Shopify really resonate with us. They are focused on small businesses and helping them to grow their businesses online. They want to make commerce better for everyone. They build for the long term; they believe in sustainability and are excited about social impact initiatives. So Shopify is the kind of company that we would like to be friends with. 

What about WordPress? 

Yoast has a specific, unconditional love for WordPress. We take our responsibility for the WordPress ecosystem very seriously. The five for the future initiative is something that we are certainly passionate about. We’ll continue to support at least five for the future! We’ll keep investing in WordCamps and in our WordPress Core team. We will also continue to add awesome features in our WordPress plugin, including two amazing new releases this month.

Five for the web 

As we love the five for the future initiative in WordPress, we want to make it into a bigger thing. With the money we make in Shopify, we want to give back as well. We’re going to give that money back to initiatives that make the entire web better. We’re already doing some things there. Yoast is a member of the W3C, and our very own Jono Alderson is in the AMP advisory board. We’re planning to grow our efforts and initiatives to make the web better and give 5% of our Shopify revenue back to the web. 

Excited for the launch! 

I’m really excited about the upcoming Yoast SEO for Shopify launch. We had a wonderful time building the app and we can’t wait for people to optimize their shops with Yoast SEO! To celebrate, we are having an online YoastCon (- I know it’s not the same as a live one) on January 20th. We’ll have some amazing speakers talking about all things ecommerce SEO. Interesting for Shopify-ers and WordPressers alike! 

Join us at Online Yoastcon – Shopify Edition

Don’t miss it and register today!

Register for Online YoastCon – Shopify edition now!

The post Yoast SEO for Shopify! Whaaaaaat?  appeared first on Yoast.

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Local SEO Software: All You Need To Know To Rank Higher

Local SEO Software:  All You Need To Know To Rank Higher

Maintaining an online presence is essential for every business. Local SEO is something that companies have to work on. Businesses will have more customers when they rank higher. Local SEO software is an advantage for people who want to show up on the top of the SERPs.

What will you learn?

Understand more about local SEO and its importanceKnow more about a local SEO software: What it is, why you need it, and what features it has Get to know more about our favorite tool: Grid My Business

Businesses with a physical location always try to stand out and make sure that their stores are easy to find for customers. The issue is when owners don’t know where they rank on Google.

One of the best ways to know this is by using local search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. Doing local SEO means businesses need to adapt to the trends, especially when it comes to marketing strategies and customer interactions quickly.

However, a business owner and a marketer also have a lot of things to work on besides local SEO. Thanks to the development of technology and the invention of local SEO software. Owners can now remove the guesswork and develop a systemized way to improve their search visibility.

Using the best local SEO software will ensure that you can do everything you need to guarantee that your business will rank (highly) on the local search engine result page.

In this blog, you can understand more about local SEO and what you need to focus more on when doing local SEO and how to use local SEO tools to optimize the results.

Keep reading to discover the complete list of benefits of Local SEO and its software. Shall we begin? 

What is Local SEO, and why do you need it?

Local SEO is essential for your online business.

Local SEO is the process of increasing your business’s presence in the local search to attract more customers. This marketing strategy is booming more than ever, and Google Maps are the new gold standard for your rankings.

Local SEO has proved to be a game-changer in the digital marketing industry. As a business owner, you need to find local SEO software to increase your online visibility and help grow your business. 

Local SEO activities include citation building, listings management, and reputation management.

Why do you need Local SEO?

Local SEO is like a game-changer in the digital marketing industry. 

Here are some other benefits of adopting local SEO services and why local SEO is essential:

#1. Local SEO helps your business stand out online.

The higher your business rank, the more accessible customers can find you.

A key benefit of SEO that many companies overlook is improving your credibility among consumers. Ranking on the first page of search results signals to users that Google trusts your website. Customers can also find you easier.

92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of the local search results. So, not having your business listed online is akin to almost not even existing.

Local SEO increases your online visibility on the SERP. Local SEO emphasizes optimizing your Google My Business listing. This listing, which appears in local searches and specific searches for your business, provides users with details about your company.

#2. Local SEO helps to increase your website traffics and lead to sales

One of the most mentioned benefits of SEO is the increased sales, leads, and market share that companies see. As your business appears on the first page of SERP, it means that you have a better level of brand awareness among your most valuable customers. 

If your company continues to appear in their search results, it captures their attention. You’re also a valuable resource for industry information, which increases your value to your audiences.

Do you think that local SEO only affects your online business? It can help you grow your business both online and offline. According to Think with Google, “78% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a physical place within 24 hours and 28% of those searches result in a purchase”.

Firstly, by appearing on the first page of search results for high-value keywords your target audience uses, you’re earning clicks and visits from the consumers that matter most to you.

Secondly, local SEO solutions will also bring more foot traffic to your location, leading to offline sales and more customers to physical stores.

People often search for something nearby to go to the physical location.

For example, many people will search for a “restaurant near me” to visit a restaurant close to them. This allows you to show up in search results and attract them to your physical location.

3 things you must pay attention to in local SEO to rank higher

There are several ways local SEO can help local businesses be discovered and remain relevant online. Optimized local website content and local listings get your business in front of people searching for products or services online, yet it also has some notes to focus on.

3 things you should focus on when optimizing local SEO

#1. Find underperforming keywords

Underperforming keywords are those that you don’t rank for in the first or second positions on the SERPs.. They’re underperforming because most people click on one of the first two results, meaning if you rank in lower positions, you’re missing out on tons of traffic.

Google Search Console is one tool to help you find those keywords.

To find these underperforming keywords in Google Search Console, go to the “Search Results” report and toggle the average CTR and position data. You can find the low-ranking keywords in the queries report and the middle-ranking position.

To read more about using Google Search Console, read: Using Google Search Console: The Definitive Guide.

#2. Pick a keyword to rank higher for

Keywords are so important that they can make or break your entire SEO campaign.

You can start with a list of keywords, identify the keywords on your list that aren’t super competitive. Then you can see how many people search for the keywords in your inventory, or know Google’s estimate of how much an advertiser generally spends for a single click.

BiQ Keyword Intelligence can help you with this. 

#3. Local rank tracking

You need to track your ranking to know whether your efforts are working.

Rank tracking is the process of checking search engine ranking positions for specific keywords over time. A rank tracker is a software or tool that automates this process for you. 

What is local SEO software, and why do we need it? 

Ever feel like you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle of SEO to try and rank for your business? 

It can be highly time-consuming for digital marketers – that’s why there are Local SEO software tools available to help. These tools help streamline and automate critical local SEO activities, making it easier for digital marketers and small businesses to maintain control over their presence online. 

Local SEO software helps streamline and automate critical local SEO activities

Local SEO software works on the principle of local SEO to help businesses promote their offerings to local customers. Local SEO software is excellent for tiny, brick-and-mortar businesses like grocery stores, bars, restaurants, clinics, law offices, and many others.

How can Local SEO software help you?

The software offers businesses a solution to being discovered in local search results by customers. If your business is not already listed online, this software can list your business online for free. 

Let’s not forget that local SEO software helps you with your local business listings online but they also help track your progress. It provides you with a range of statistics to know your business performance.

With this software, you can monitor the performance of your local SEO efforts by tracking the clicks, page visits, and conversions that come from the channels in your local SEO strategy.

Local SEO software can also save a ton of time for you. When using local SEO software, you can easily list your business for free, also automatically receive reports about statistics, 

How to use local SEO software? 

Plenty of guides shows you how to do local SEO from start to finish. But they can be daunting, as it’s a complex subject. The following information will give you simple tips when choosing a local SEO software and introduce you to a simple tool.

What features do you need to pay attention to when choosing a local SEO software? 

Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best local SEO software for you. Remember: It is not vital to find software that satisfies all the below features.

Tracking keywords based on the specific locations:

Specific locations support the process of exploring your rankings on Google Maps. For example: setting your search location from your targeted Zip code, address, neighbor, and city. 

A business’ rank can be seen in different geographic areas to show clients what they’re up against and how well they are doing. It’s also helpful for determining any potential Google Business Profile listing which may have spent money on advertising.

Managing and updating local business listings and citations:

This feature provides customers with information about your business. Such as a Button to the website, a button for directions, photos of the inside and outside of the location, physical address, hours of operation, website, etc. 

In some tools, you can even see how complete your business profile is on major search engines and determine what areas you need to improve.

6 commons feature that you can find in Local SEO Software

Monitoring online reputation and online reviews: 

You can track the ratings and reviews of your business in real-time and receive alerts for when a new one comes in the tools. Sometimes, you can also respond to all Google business reviews.

Analyze website traffic and content performance:

Track how well your local listings show up for searches conducted in the area surrounding your retail locations

Create SEO reports to track local SEO progress: 

There are dozens of businesses in your geographical area who want to be number one on the local 3 pack. Monitoring and reporting are a must! Generate unlimited reports with trackable results for clients!

Tools for auditing and analyzing competitor

This feature can show you comparisons, like the visitor traffic comparison between your site and your competitors for monitored keywords.

Our favorite Local SEO Software: Grid My Business

There are many popular local SEO softwares on the market; some are specialized, niche tools, while others are more complete software platforms.

Depending on the local search, your needs may require more than one local SEO tool. So you will have to choose the most suitable tool for your work.

In this part, we want to introduce you to one of our favorite Local SEO software that can bring you many benefits during the SEO process – Grid My Business.

Grid My Business – Our favorite Local SEO software

The best thing about Grid My Business is that it supports all locations that can be found on Google Maps.

With 5 main features in Grid My Business, you can track and monitor the business’ and competitors’ local search rankings. 

#1. Monitor ranking:

You can monitor your local rankings on a grid. This grid will be placed on top of your business location. 

You can see your local ranking position, as well as the top 20 business listings at every point. The numbers on the point represent your position. 

The number on every point means your rank 

#2. Bulk Scan

The bulk scanning feature allows you to scan more than one search query at a time. So this saves you a lot of time.

The maximum number of queries you can scan is five. You can only select the 9×9 or 11×11 grid size for this feature

#3. Report

Each scan result that you run will automatically be saved; then, you can find the local SEO report by heading to “My Reports.” 

There are details of every scan you have generated previously on this page, including Place, Search query, Search settings (grid size and radius), Time and date of your last scan, Number of reports generated with similar backgrounds, and Monitoring Status.

#4. Monitor 

On the “My Reports” page, you will see some of your reports being classified as either active or inactive.

Reports with an active status mean that the tool will monitor and update your local rankings every three days.

#5. Location

You can view all locations you have previously added in Grid My Busines when performing scans. You can also see how many scans have been completed and are currently being monitored.

Grid My Business is one of the best free SEO tools to give you statistics and information to optimize your local SEO with various features. Grid My Business will introduce the managing and updating of business listings in 2022.

TL;DR 

Local SEO software is essential to help you know how your business ranks in local and organic search results.

All the information in this blog has helped you to understand the impact of your on-page SEO work and making data-driven decisions through this trending marketing strategy, thus learning more about local SEO tools.

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Ultimate Formula: Tips To Create Click-Worthy Headlines

Now that you know the list of most effective words to create a headline, it’s time to plug them into a fool proof formula and start generating clicks.
We’re giving you all the tips you need to master creating a powerful headline that can gain you traction, don’t miss this!

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20220104 SEL Brief

The post 20220104 SEL Brief appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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4 ways data analysis can help you generate new ideas and optimize your content

4 ways data analysis can help you generate new ideas and optimize your content

Generating new content ideas can become quite difficult as a brand blog or publication matures. While many search marketers already use keyword tools to identify what kind of content their audience is looking for, taking that process a step further by using tools to analyze what users are asking, along with your competitors’ content, can help you unlock fresh topics.

At SMX Next, Ashley Segura, co-founder of TopHatContent, shared how she uses data analysis to generate content topics, uncover ways to improve existing content and identify the factors behind why your competitors may be outranking you so that you can close the gap.

Perform a content gap analysis

“This is going to show you where your current content is really missing the mark and you do this through looking at a competitor,” Segura said. While there are many ways to perform this, with various tools, Segura used Semrush’s keyword gap tool in her examples.

To start, marketers should put three to five different competitors into the keyword/content gap tool of their choice to see what their competitors are ranking for that they could also potentially be ranking for as well, or to identify content that they’re currently missing out on.

Image: Ashley Segura.

Exporting this data into a Google Sheet can enable you to filter out the data you don’t need (such as branded keywords) and zoom in on more relevant details, like search volume.

“We’re really looking for keywords that the competitors are ranking for within the top two to five pages of SERPs [search engine results pages],” she said, “Those are the ones that have opportunity to where you can come in with a new piece of content and outrank them.”

When identifying content opportunities this way, marketers should keep in mind that the “The perfect mix is high [search] volume with a low keyword density score,” Segura said.

Explore your content topics based on what users are asking

“It’s one thing to use the data to come up with topic ideas,” Segura said, “That’s a great place to start, but then you need to use the data to make sure you’re covering everything there is to know about that topic.”

Using a topic research tool (Segura used Semrush’s tool for her examples), marketers can identify angles they can use to approach the content.

Image: Ashley Segura.

The topic research tool will populate cards with similar keywords that have to do with your topic. In the case of Semrush’s tool, the “Questions” section of the card shows what users are asking with regard to the keyword in question.

Image: Ashley Segura.

 “This [information] is great when you’re trying to figure out what information you need to include in this new piece of content,” Segura said, adding that these questions may also give you more content ideas as well.

The next step is to see what has already been published. If you’re using Semrush’s tool, the Headlines section can show you the top 10 articles that are ranking for that keyword. You can also perform a search (on Google or Bing, for example) and analyze the results pages as well.

Analyzing the headlines can reveal patterns you might want to follow with your own content. “If three out of ten of the headlines have this word, ‘juicy,’ added to it, there’s a reason it’s ranking well,” she provided as an example, “So by adding this specific adjective, people are going to be more likely to click on your piece of content and it’s safe to assume that because it worked for these top-ten pieces.”

In addition to looking at competitors’ headlines, it’s wise to evaluate their formatting, use of imagery and videos and structure as well. What you observe can then be used to inform your own content and optimizations.

Perform a competitor content analysis

A competitor content analysis can help you go beyond what’s on their pages to explain their content success.

Image: Ashley Segura.

Using the tool of your choice, Segura recommends pulling the data from your competitors’ top 10 to 15 pieces of content and then adding them to a dedicated spreadsheet to consolidate the relevant information.

“You’re looking at the competitor URL [and] the page title. What’s the focused keyword? What’s the keywords volume? How long was the piece of content? What kind of backlinks did they get?” she said, recommending that marketers add dedicated columns in their spreadsheet for that information.

“One of the most important things is whether there’s a similar URL,” she added, “Basically, is there a similar piece of content published on our client or brand site already? Is there something to where we’re literally competing with them on this topic?”

Using the information you’ve compiled, create a recommendations column in your spreadsheet and then add actionable insights to it so that you and your stakeholders have an idea of how to move forward with that particular piece of content. Doing this across your competitors’ content can help you fill out your editorial calendar.

Use data to structure your content

Keyword analysis tools can also be used to bolster your content by helping you identify topics that your audience may be asking about. Sometimes these topics can be their own standalone article, but when they’re not quite dense enough, you can create headings within your related content to address them, Segura recommended.

Image: Ashley Segura.

“You also want to identify top keywords and commonly used words that are relevant to [your topic],” she said, noting that marketers should only do this when the secondary keywords support the main keyword. Jump links can also be used to improve your UX by allowing users to navigate directly to the sections that are most relevant for them, she added.

Your competitors’ strengths can also be your strengths

“Because your competitors are outranking you, because they’re getting great traffic for [their content], there’s a reason behind that and it could be because you’re missing valuable pieces of information,” Segura said. Evaluating their content to identify what those missing pieces are can help you close the gap and repeating these audits on a regular basis can help to ensure that your content remains relevant.

Watch the full SMX Next presentation here (free registration required).

The post 4 ways data analysis can help you generate new ideas and optimize your content appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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