Keyword Research: Theming, Targeting, and Creating a Content Plan

This is part two in a series on keyword research for SEO.
Part two is about theming, grouping, and planning out content based upon your keyword analysis findings.

In this video I show you what to do with the all of the keyword data you’ve collected to form a prioritised content plan. With this in hand you can start producing (or outsourcing) new content for your website that will improve your search engine rankings and drive visitors to your website.

The next consideration, optimising the content for action.

Stay tuned!

Welcome back to the keyword research done quickly series. If you haven’t seen video one in the series, I recommend you go check that out now. When we left off last time, we had collected and collated our data from Google Keyword Planner and Answer the Public properly into a spreadsheet and filtered them by estimated impressions and clicks, and we were left with a comprehensive list of search terms.

Now, since then, I’ve done a bit of filtering and theming. The first thing I did was filter out any irrelevant, unnecessary keywords. The first one I filtered out was “sourdough bakery,” obviously that’s relevant because the website is not a bakery, and somebody searching for a bakery is probably looking for a local bakery to visit. In that case, we filter that guy out; we can delete him. I just hid it so I’d have a good example to show you.

The other thing we have done since is starting to look at theming, typing, and targeting. By theming the keywords, we create thematic buckets of similar keywords based on intent or relevance, based on types of product versus informational search terms. In this example, we have a number of themes. So, “core keywords” are a critical base search term keyword that is going to always pretty much point at the home page. We have ingredient-based keywords; a couple of examples of those are “sourdough starters.” Another ingredient we can see here is the yeast.

Next, we have equipment, so this is equipment people will need to be able to make their own sourdough. The “sourdough machine” is obviously equipment; a “sourdough Dutch oven,” haha, yes, is equipment. Next, we have an artisan versus a generic type of bread, so people looking specifically for artisan sourdough. Then we have a really good differentiator in making versus buying. So, the “making” keyword is pretty obvious: making sourdough bread versus buying sourdough. Now, the reason why we might want to target both make and buy is because we could put together a content piece that makes a case for making it yourself rather than buying or buying the equipment you need to make it yourself.

So once we have a good five or six top-level categories that each of the keywords kind of fit into, we want to think about what type of content that theme and that keyword relate to. It can relate directly to an existing product page on the site, and that’s where this target comes in. So, the target column relates to, on the existing website, where are we going to target this keyword. Now, if there’s nowhere on the existing website where we can target, then we put “new,” and we might have an example of a new page, but we want to link to an existing page on the website.

So let’s walk through a couple of examples. “Sourdough starters,” we’ve put down as an ingredient theme. We think it’s going to be a product page, and there’s already a product page that fits this keyword to a T. Now, what we might want to do separately is optimise a content page and then link through to the product page as well. Another example is “sourdough machine.” Now, she doesn’t sell sourdough machines on the website, but what we could do is review sourdough machines and link to either selling them on your own site or affiliate linking to another site. So, there’s an example of a suggestion we could make.

The exercise is to make your way through each keyword, fit the keyword into one of the core keyword themes that you see popping up again and again, suggest a content type, and then review the website to see if there’s an existing page that fits well that could be optimised, or suggest creating a new page that may or may not link through to an existing page. Once we’ve got this information, it’s going to help us put together a bit of a content plan. We’ve got our keyword planner data that we’ve revised, themed, and created targets for. We have our Answer the Public data that gives us question-based content that we can write content for, and when we combine the two, we’ve got the makings of a content plan.

We’ve got our main content topics, which are made up of the keywords that we see appearing again and again for similar keywords. We’re not going to make a unique page for something like making sourdough bread as well as making sourdough; we’re going to take the key themes that we’re seeing and create new pages that target multiple keywords on one page, so we don’t need hundreds and hundreds of pages. We may need dozens that are highly optimised to relevant and related keywords.

Here’s an example: taking all of the Google Keyword Planner data, Answer the Public questions, we’ve put together a prioritised set of content topics, and to start with, we’ve got that down to 15, so it’s not crazy overwhelming. It’s something that the client can work towards or outsource and get done quite quickly. So, we take each of our content topics, and we start to put together a brief. The first one, for example, I’ll fill out so you can follow along. Can sourdough starter go bad? Our brief for this is going to be around writing a piece of content around how do we detect when it’s gone bad, what does it look like when it’s bad, can we salvage it, the way we find out how we structure this piece of content is by looking at the existing content that’s ranking. So, there are competitor sites and looking at how we can outdo them, how we can create better content.

Okay, so we only really need a really brief brief. I’ve got here a new content piece discussing if sourdough starter can go bad, how to know, and what to do, etc. Now, the next thing we want to look at is what content types would this content topic be suitable for, and in my opinion, it would be a great video and blog post or content piece to start with.

Now, references are where it gets interesting. This is where we find out what’s ranking already. I will go to Google and do a Google search for that exact phrase and look at the top three to five results, kind of compare them, and get a feel for what’s ranking already. Now, the first one, in my opinion, is the best, and it’s no wonder why it’s ranking number one. So, you see, this one was written in March 2018, so it’s pretty old. It’s got over a thousand comments, so it’s got a lot of authority and engagement, and it’s got lots of shares on this piece of content, so it is going to be a hard one to outdo or outrank. I can see already that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Now, let’s have a look at the content that Bob, sorry, has provided. She’s got a lot of written content, some really high-quality, high-res images, she’s got some good subheaders, the type of things that will kill it, how to detect if it’s gone bad, troubleshooting. It’s not overly long, but it’s well presented, it’s long enough, it’s got some good images, but what it doesn’t have is video, so that’s where we might be able to get a leg up.

Let’s have a look at the other two pieces of content. So, this one’s on Baking Needs, big old picture, a bit of content, quite a bit of written content on this one. And let’s have a look at ranking number three. This website, in my opinion, doesn’t present as well as the other two. It’s a very short piece of content. My gripe with the last two websites is that they’re highly plastered in ads. I can’t scroll without seeing five or six ads throughout the content. I think a really well-written piece of content with associated images and video would potentially rank quite high. So, let’s provide these three websites as our references because they are the ones that are ranking. Just for clarity, providing a reference just means I want the client to have a look at what’s already ranking and provide a better, more comprehensive piece of content. I don’t want them to copy that content; I don’t want to base their content on it; I just want to purely as a reference to see what they have to outdo.

Now, typically in a content plan, you have a due date, and the last column is our published URL, so when we’ve got that piece done, where does it live on the internet? Is it on your own site, is it a video on YouTube, is it both, is it a guest post on another site? I just want to know where it is because next up, I want to make sure it’s well SEO optimised. That is the process, and you repeat that for each of these core content topics all the way down, and each of them will have a slightly different brief, content types that are relevant, and you go through them one by one, slowly pump them out, and once you’ve completed this process, you’ll have a website that covers the core content that people are actively searching for. And if you do it properly, if it’s well written, if it’s well optimised, if it’s an awesome video, it will start ranking in Google search, and you will start seeing people come through to your website.

Now, it’s up to optimising your website after that to make sure it’s conversion-friendly, conversion-optimised, and that we’ll look at in another video.

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