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Every SEO needs a fully stocked arsenal of tools to support day-to-day workflows.
Just as technical SEO tools help us to identify critical areas for technical optimizations, content tools help to identify key areas for content optimizations.
Choosing the right tool to add to your workflow largely depends on how you intend to use the data.
With content optimization, we all know that the first step is identifying the opportunity, but there is a second crucial step needed before executing against the opportunity: understanding the context.
In this article you will learn how to answer the question, “What type of data do I need?” and the best tools to source that data.
These tools provide data to evaluate the level of opportunity:
BrightEdge Data Cube: SERP features, keyword research, and competitor analysis.
Advanced Web Rankings (AWR): Share of voice and SERP visibility.
SEMrush: Quick, comprehensive organic overview.
Keyword Planner: Keyword research.
Ahrefs: Competitive content gap.
And these resources provide supporting evidence to strengthen insights:
Google Trends: Search trends and identifying search behavior shifts.
BuzzSumo: Trending social topics, questions, and related content.
Mintel: Consumer and industry insights.
eMarketer: Trends in media that may impact organic search or explain fluctuations in performance caused by non-organic factors.
Think with Google: Market research insights and data points.What Type of Data Do You Need?
You might be thinking this is a rudimentary question but knowing what your data needs are can be tricky at times.
If you don’t evaluate the reason you are looking for data in the first place, you could potentially spend hours in the weeds without even realizing it.
So, think about your needs before spending hours going down a rabbit hole in a tool you didn’t actually need.
Start by asking yourself:Do I Need Discovery Data?
Discovery data helps to evaluate areas of opportunity in a landscape through keyword research, site performance indicators, and competitive analyses.Do I Need Supporting Data?
Supporting data strengthens insights found in discovery data by providing additional context and evidence in the landscape or target audience.
If you are trying to understand dynamics like the reasons why performance metrics dipped at odd times, the use of unexpected or unusual search terms or topics, evidence of shifts in traffic patterns, or other environmental factors that may have contributed to website performance, start here.
Once you understand the type of data you need, it’s easy to source it if you know where to look.
Let’s jump in and identify the 10 content resources we can’t live without in the new age of content SEO.Tools for Discovery
Discovery is probably ingrained in everything you do, and you likely have a solid toolset that you use daily.
Before developing a content strategy, you need to use discovery data to help you understand the competitive landscape and available opportunities.
Here are our top five content tools and what we believe is the best use for each during the discovery process.1. BrightEdge Data Cube
Key tool value: SERP feature analysis, bulk keyword research, and competitor analysis
If you are not sure what aspect of content you want to delve into, BrightEdge Data Cube may be the solution you need.
BrightEdge is one of our favorite comprehensive tools for keyword research, competitor analysis, and search engine results page (SERP) feature evaluation.
All you need to begin your discovery process is a relevant URL (we recommend yours or a close competitor’s).
Once you plug in your selected domain, you can view keyword rankings over time, page-level performance data, content opportunities, and SERP feature prevalence.
With an ever-changing SERP, it is important to keep a pulse on your site’s (and your competitors’) rankings in various locations in the SERP.
A useful feature that Data Cube offers is the Content Strategies tab.
The Content Strategies tab reports the historic performance of keywords for different types of organic SERP features, including images, quick answers, and People Also Ask.
You can also explore competitive opportunities by analyzing your competitors’ universal performance.2. Advanced Web Ranking (AWR)
Key tool value: Share of voice and SERP visibility
Advanced Web Ranking (AWR) brings a new meaning to share of voice through its capabilities to schedule crawls of the SERP for different search engines, from different locations, and for different devices!
AWR makes it easy to measure the impacts of content changes over time.
Through AWR, you can set up keyword groups and schedule regular crawls of the SERP to monitor ranking changes for your set list of terms.
This automated monitoring provides you with the convenience to focus on other projects while measuring share of voice changes for your keyword groups.
AWR does not limit you to just measuring ranking changes for your website.
You can also set up competitors in the platform and measure SERP visibility for a keyword group across a variety of competing sites to see how you are performing against others in the space.3. SEMrush
Key tool value: Quick, comprehensive organic overview for competition, keyword research, and performance
SEMrush is a one-stop-shop for analyzing your performance and comparing it against your competitors.
If you’re looking for a quick competitor comparison or high-level view of a site’s competitive positioning, your first stop is putting the domain into SEMrush.
First, the Domain Overview toolkit provides a summary tab with an Organic Search section that is useful in getting a quick, high-level view of your site’s performance in the overarching landscape.
Each one of the sections included in the summary tab has its own dedicated tab in the API. This allows you to dig deeper into those high-level insights quickly and easily.
Our second favorite go-to in SEMrush is the Keyword Gap toolkit. This feature is perfect for quickly reviewing opportunity keywords in a competitive landscape.
At a glance you can identify:
Weakest keyword areas.
Terms to include/exclude.
Finally, there’s the Keyword Magic toolkit.
There aren’t enough good things to say about this tool.
As we’ve mentioned, SEMrush is the place to go when you need insights fast, and the Keyword Magic tool proves our point.
The biggest time saver we find in the SEMrush Keyword Magic tool is the Keyword by Number/Volume table.
This allows you to easily identify the terms used most frequently and with the most variations in a specific, targeted landscape to help you home in on those high-value opportunities.
Another useful feature of the Keyword Magic tool is the Keyword Difficulty metric, which gives an easy, quick gauge on how hard or easy it will be to improve performance for that query.4. Keyword Planner
Key tool value: Keyword research
If you have access to an active Google Ads account, Keyword Planner can be a game-changer when it comes to keyword research.
Using the API can be like drinking from a water hose of opportunity right from the Google fire hydrant, and that’s why we love it.
The API is easy to use and takes care of a lot of the cleanup work normally associated with keyword research.
For example, the API takes into consideration similar terms and groups them for a single average monthly volume that encompasses all similar terms (e.g., plurals).
We see other tools keeping keywords verbatim (not grouped), which usually inflates total search volume metrics and is a headache to clean up post-export.
The API allows for broadening or narrowing of topical keyword research and can even account for branded terms.
Another useful feature for supporting content workflows is that the exported data gives a full 12 months of search volume, in addition to average monthly search volume, which is great for understanding seasonality for content planning.
We suggest diving into Keyword Planner if you haven’t already. It’s more than just an ad planning tool for paid teams; it’s an SEO’s dream.5. Ahrefs
Key tool value: Competitive content gap
Ahrefs is traditionally known for its backlink audit capabilities, but it also holds the secret to a quick competitive content gap analysis. Using Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool, you can analyze keywords for which your competitors are ranking but you are not, which will help you gain a better understand where there may be gaps in content on your site.
One of our favorite things about this tool is that you can perform content gaps that are as broad or as specific as you want, based on your competitor selection.
If you want a more specialized content gap, you can choose to analyze a competitor subfolder, rather than an entire domain.
Additionally, you can leverage Ahrefs’ Content Gap filters to find more specialized and longer-tailed keywords that your site could be targeting by adjusting the search volume and word count ranges for competitive keywords.Tools for Supporting Insights
There is a big, ever-changing world out there that influences how our searchers decide to use their search bar, and supporting evidence brings SEO outside of its usual search silo.
To understand what content will resonate most, you must leverage insights that speak to what potentially influences the actions of your searchers outside of the SERP.6. Google Trends
Key tool insight: Search trends and identifying search behavior shifts
Number 1 on our list of industry resources that support discovery insights is Google Trends.
It’s by far our favorite quick check and deep dive platform for understanding fluctuations in users’ search interests and identifying landscape trends.
And, bonus – it’s completely free.
The Google Trends API can seem surface level at first.
But, if used to the fullest extent, you can really uncover some hidden gems of opportunity.
For example, if you’ve used some of the aforementioned tools to identify opportunities to rank in video search, gathering supporting trend data from YouTube Search is easy, just by modifying the search type in the Google Trends API.
Other modifiable elements include region, time frame, and “category” (or industry).
Google Trends gives you flexibility in understanding different periods of high interest and periods of low interest relative to the specific time period.
It’s important to note that interest is trended relative to the highest point on the chart for a given region and time.
Another use case for Google Trends is understanding brand awareness and measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns in sparking user interest and raising awareness.
Evaluating the initiative time period by identifying peaks that correlate to the campaign push dates can help gauge how effective or ineffective an initiative may have been.
Two other useful features in the Google Trends API are “related topics” and “related queries.”
These modules allow you to get insights into other areas of interest within a given topic, besides the specific source search term.
We’ve just scratched the surface on the value Google Trends brings to supporting data-driven insights, and we encourage you to explore Trends data and see what creative ways you discover to leverage the tool.
You may be surprised just how far down the rabbit hole it takes you.
Good luck staying out of the weeds on this one!7. BuzzSumo
Key tool insight: Trending social topics, questions, and related content
We know SEO doesn’t live in a silo, and understanding trending topics or viral events can go a long way in interpreting quantitative search data and shaping content strategies.
That’s why we like to diversify our research by homing in on the most trend-worthy medium: social.
BuzzSumo allows you to navigate your selected topic areas of interest from a different perspective.
This enables you to better identify what messaging, content types, and relevant sub-topics might resonate most with your users.
The Discover feature is a quick way to source ideas in a given topic area and even provides questions associated with the search term.8. Mintel
Key tool insight: Consumer and industry insights
Mintel is a market research company that publishes industry reports, trends, and insights that can be leveraged to help you better understand the landscape and your target audience as you develop a content marketing strategy.
We like to use Mintel’s reports to layer additional data into landscape analyses to create a more comprehensive understanding of the industry and search environment.
In addition to providing data points and charts about the market, Mintel does a lot of the heavy lifting in its reports by analyzing the data to create tangible consumer and industry insights.
Mintel offers a broad range of report types that break down data to highlight the market, the consumer, and key trends.
Mintel’s platform even lets you filter for reports based on consumer demographics and “trend drivers,” or core influences on consumer behavior.
These report filters make it easy to find consumer insights that are aligned to your target audience to provide additional context for developing integrated content strategies that help you cover your bases and take a more holistic approach to marketing.9. eMarketer
Key tool insight: Trends in media that may impact organic search or explain fluctuations in performance caused by non-organic factors
eMarketer is an industry research publisher that provides insights to help brands do business in the digital world.
Being in the organic search industry, it is critical to understand the digital world and the various factors that can affect performance, even outside of the organic channel, in order to make sense of fluctuations in performance and even predict future trends.
One of the most prominent uses of eMarketer is for insights around the holiday season.
Search is crazy during the holidays.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring some of the most stressful times for brands – and probably even more stressful for agencies.
During this extended weekend of buying frenzy, eMarketer publishes industry predictions in media and search behaviors and follows these up with a look back at how the landscape performed against those predictions.
This is always an easy reference to help support recommendations or understand performance during these times of increased attention on media channels.10. Think with Google
Key tool insight: Market research insights and data points
Think with Google is one of our favorite market research tools.
New reports are consistently published, so you always have fresh insights to review.
However, our favorite part about Think with Google is that the reports come from a variety of industries and marketing channels, so its data can make it easier to develop an integrated strategy.
There is no shortage of insights in Think with Google’s repository, so we highly recommend checking it out.
If you are not sure how to get started, we suggest using its search feature to find research that is relevant to your project.
From there, you can filter the results to find the ones that best fit your needs and support your discovery data.
Additionally, its search functionality provides full reports and individual data points, so it easily caters to in-depth research and quick, high-level data needs.In Summary
Just as it would be ineffective to rely on only one tool or approach for crawling, site latency, or mobile usability insights, turning to only one or two content research tools will limit the effectiveness of your content strategy.
The secret to optimizing your SEO content is selecting the right tools to help you identify, access, and use the data required to both evaluate your opportunities and understand the context within which your content strategy will be carried out.
Each of the tools featured in our top picks has its own strengths in driving optimization, and your own circumstances will help you identify the right combination.
This article was co-authored by my fellow Merkleite Angela Petulla. She is a Sr. Specialist at Merkle and has been in the search industry for two years.
All screenshots taken by author, June 2023
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Enterprise SEO is search engine optimization for large, enterprise businesses. It is the practice of applying SEO techniques to thousands or even millions of pages to improve a site’s overall organic presence.
The size, scope, and impact of enterprise SEO require new skills and more resources. The larger the site, the more valuable those new skills are.
Search Engine Journal’s Ebook, Enterprise SEO Guide: Strategies, Tools, & More, is made for key stakeholders; be they seasoned SEO veterans, digital marketers, or executive stakeholders who need a quick summary of what enterprise SEO means. This ebook tackles strategies, tools, and valuable information to better optimize large sites for search.
Implementing SEO enterprise-wide can be challenging. Large companies have their own problems, and it can be hard to ensure you get end-to-end SEO right.
There are complex technical challenges, people challenges, business prioritizations, and budgeting issues. And after you’ve implemented those SEO changes, you need to be able to track the effectiveness of those changes.
Some of the major issues that enterprise SEOs must tackle are:
Duplicate and thin content,
New products coming in or going out of stock frequently, and
Bulk user-generated content.
This ebook will also introduce you to interesting enterprise SEO tools and types of tools that are important when doing large scale SEO. Tools like crawlers, log file analyzers, and speed testers allow you to check your site for problems at scale.
The four pillars of enterprise SEO are:
Error management and technical SEO
Analysis and reporting
This guide will help you tackle all four pillars of enterprise SEO, and it also includes detailed instructions you can use to improve your audits.
Enterprise SEO is not just “SEO for big sites”– it’s search, marketing, and technology at a much larger scale, with larger-scale problems, and larger-scale solutions.
Some subjects covered include:
What exactly is enterprise SEO? Not just that it’s large scale SEO, but the fundamentals behind it.
Why do marketers need an enterprise SEO platform? What kinds of platforms should marketers use? How should marketers use enterprise SEO? This includes reviews of the top 4 enterprise platform tools, and how to partner with an enterprise SEO agency.
The top challenges of enterprise SEO, and how to overcome them
The pillars of enterprise SEO success, the strategies behind those pillars, and strategies & tactics that work
Local SEO for enterprise sites: how to perform for local SEO at scale
Steps for ensuring your enterprise gets end-to-end SEO right– how to include SEO in all parts of the process and build relationships with stakeholders to ensure your organic performance is successful.
EXPERT AUTHORS INCLUDE: Benj Arriola, Aleh Barysevich, Andy Betts, Clark Boyd, Rachel Costello, Anna Crowe, Stoney G deGeyter, Sergey Grybniak, Jenny Halasz, Brian Harnish, Natalie Hoben, Jeremy Knauff, Roger Montti, Vahan Petrosyan, Chuck Price, Jes Scholz, and Amelia Willson.
Dark web analytics tools can help cybersecurity practitioners analyze web attacks and thefts
The phenomena of the internet is constantly evolving and these developing circumstances need constant monitoring. We are all familiar with the concept of the dark web and the terrifying practices that are conducted through these platforms. Pretty much everything we do on basic internet platforms is visible, traceable, and is being monitored by government officials and other companies. However, the dark web is beyond our reach. The deep web consists of various areas that carry out malicious activities including hacking major organizations, illicit drug trades, terrorist operations, and others. For years, government institutions and businesses have been trying to develop dark web analytics tools that can help them understand how such operations are being carried out. These tools help network operators and cybersecurity practitioners to perform dark web analysis and find out what data is being stolen by these malpractitioners. Leaked data or information can cause personal and financial damage as well as reputational damage to any organization. Here, we have mentioned the top dark web analytics tools for network operators that can help them monitor and analyze businesses on the dark web and save them from potential attacks.Cobwebs
Cobwebs is an AI-powered dark web monitoring platform that helps companies gain situational awareness with real-time intelligent insights generated by online content monitoring. By using its automated web intelligence platforms, network analysts can identify new targets and groups, hidden data, and complete an entire investigation with ease.DarkOwl
DarkOwl empowers cybersecurity organizations, law enforcement, and government organizations to fully understand the security posture and detect potential breaches and violations of the law to minimize or completely eradicate cyber scams. DarkOwl aims to provide security tools against the dark web to clients across the dark net at ease. Their scam tool Vision can index the content of malicious sites all over the World Wide Web to identify data stolen from its clients.Dashlane
Dashlane believes that dark web monitoring and password health belong together. By using a Levenshtein distance metric, Dashlane users can determine password similarity while keeping an eye on the credentials that might surface on the dark web. The software scans billions of accounts and passwords available in data collections on the dark web and flags victim accounts with a prompt to take action.Lastpass
With over 25 million users, LastPass guarantees protection even if the user is not logged in. The platform monitors accounts and sends alerts if any information has been leaked. It also promises efficient web monitoring as part of its LastPass Security Dashboard.SpyCloud ATP Prevention
SpyCloud offers two types of services for account takeover prevention, one would be to cover the employees of the companies and the other to protect the customers from scamming online services. The tool is basically an identity protection service with a different version that is entirely dedicated to businesses. The system gathers account names and adds them automatically to dark web scanners.
Digital Stakeout offers Scout, a dark web threat intelligence service that includes workflows and machine learning to detect illicit practices on the network. It is basically a network-based intrusion detection system that analyzes malicious behavior and refers to a database filled with suspicious addresses to find out the culprit.Defendify
Defendify is a pioneering multi-purpose dark web analysis tool that aids organizations with growing security needs. The application is backed by experts who offer insights and help businesses with guidance and support to emerge out of a situation. With the help of Defendify, organizations can streamline cybersecurity assessments, testing policies, training, detection, and response through compact and affordable cybersecurity solutionsFlashpoint Intelligence Platform
The Flashpoint Intelligence Platform offers access to its archive of finished intelligence reports, including data from illicit communities and chat services, along with pertinent technical data. The platform delivers prominent intelligence that empowers organizational teams to make more informed decisions and mitigate risks across their entire organization.Recorded Future
Recorded Future combines automated analytics with human expertise to the various open-source, dark web, technical sources, and original research. The platform provides security teams to companies with all the required information to amplify their security programs. Its machine learning and NLP integrations instantly create links from sites on the dark web to other threat sources.ACID Cyber Intelligence
Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta is testing a designated place on Instagram where creators can get discovered and paid-for content.
Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has announced that the company is rolling out tools to help select creators to make money on Facebook and Instagram. In a Facebook post dated June 21, Zuckerberg stated that Meta is rolling out updates on both Facebook and Instagram to “help creators build for the metaverse” as well as grow the economy of the content creators. In a Facebook post, the CEO shared six new updates, the first one being more revenue to content creators, with the social media platforms holding off any form of revenue sharing like paid online events, Bulletin, Badges, and Subscriptions until 2024.
Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta is testing a designated place on Instagram where creators can get discovered and paid-for content. Meta notes that the creator marketplace allows brands to share new partnership opportunities. Once a brand finds a creator that they want to partner with, they can send a project with the details to them, including information about deliverables and payment. Meta notes that there will be a partnership messaging folder within Instagram DMs where creators and brands will be able to filter through their offers and projects.
According to the previous commitment which has now been extended, more revenue to creators was to go up to 2023. Zuckerberg earlier on had claimed that the firm will take “less than the 30% that Apple and others take.”
Zuckerberg also announced that Meta is expanding its NFT test on Instagram so more creators around the world can display their NFTs on Instagram. The supported blockchains for showcasing NFTs on Instagram are Ethereum and Polygon, with support for Flow and Solana coming soon. Zuckerberg noted that the company will bring this test to Facebook soon too, starting with a small group of U.S.-based creators. The Facebook test will allow creators to cross-post on Instagram and Facebook. Meta is also going to test NFTs in Instagram Stories with SparkAR soon.Decentralizing talent
According to CoinTelegraph, More than 50 million creators are driving their economy of talent, attracting more than US$800 million in venture capital. Such figures are but a shadow of what they can become later, as new venues are rapidly becoming available.
To start, the blockchain allows you to own digital goods in a virtual world. You won’t just own that NFT in the real world, you’ll own it in the virtual world, too. In addition, the metaverse isn’t being built by any one group or company. The development of blockchain technologies has resulted in a sweeping revolution across financial markets, empowering individuals instead of institutions and channeling ownership of data and funds to their holders. The qualities of the blockchain — immutability, full transparency, and the trustless nature of operations — have permeated many industries, swooning the balance of business orientation from centralized corporate reliance to decentralization. This shift in the basic concepts that govern relations between participants to transactions, facilitated by smart contracts, has not gone unnoticed in the creator economy.Instagram Creator Marketplace
Meanwhile, Instagram Creator Marketplace testing is underway to enable the creators to be discovered and paid as well as enable brands to share new partnership opportunities. In addition, the company is also expanding its digital collectibles creators to use and showcase NFTs on Instagram. The CEO said that the feature will be coming soon to Facebook and it will start with a small group of US creators, however, there will be some specific requirements that the creators will have to meet so that the new upgrade will only be available to eligible creators.
However, Instagram is already using the feature after testing the NFTs through their Digital Collectibles in May, besides that, TikTok has its creator marketplace. This challenges Meta to look for more unique content for its platform despite much scrutiny from whistleblowers.Curbing fake Meta Reviews
More than 200 million businesses connect with their customers through Facebook’s apps and technologies. Community feedback provides businesses with helpful insights from their customers and helps people make trusted purchasing decisions as they discover new products.The firm said:
“Businesses must now comply with our Community Feedback Policy, which specifically prohibits manipulation of reviews, incentivization, irrelevance, graphic content, and spam.”More Trending Stories
Proper keyword research is vital to blogging for good SEO purposes. Solid keyword planning is the foundation of your content strategy and it goes a long way in influencing the success of your blog. A well-thought-out and researched keyword serves as a source of high-quality web traffic to your blog.
Learn WordPress: Check out 500+ free WordPress tutorials.
Therefore, keyword research is the front and center of many good SEO practices. If you are not using proper keywords, it will greatly hinder the success of your blog. This is enough reason to take your time on keyword research and pinpoint your content strategy in the right direction. You can use several keyword tools for your blog but the best version out there is what we have compiled in this list.
You get access to data like search volume, allows you a 7-day trial offer on two of their plans, which are standard and lite. Then you have to subscribe and pay for any plan of your choosing out of four plans.
Keyword Overview SEMrush
Other features that tool possess include global CPC distribution stats, the discovery of long-tail keywords, annual keyword trends among others. There is a 7-day free trial. Then you will need to subscribe to a plan.
Google Keyword Planner
The keyword research tool is not complete if there is no mention of the Google keyword planner. Many regard it as the redefining keyword tool. Although the tool serves you with the most basic features, the accuracy is what makes it a standout. Its data comes straight from Google and the outcome of the keyword research blend well with the monetization of AdSense.
Google Keyword Planner Keyword Research
Even thou, the research tool itself is free; however, you must possess an AdWords account to utilize it. The way Google keyword planner presents your keyword data is neat and clear. You get stats on competition level, the average searches per month, CPC, etc. Additionally, the tool is able to give variations of the keyword you supplied as well as synonyms. Despite this simplicity in functionality, Google’s keyword planner is still a choice keyword tool for businesses.
Related: 11 reasons to use keyword rank tracking tools.
This is a different ballplayer when it comes to keyword research for your blog. It serves as an all-inclusive SEO tool with the keyword research tool part of its key functions. So, apart from researching keywords, this tool also helps with your blog optimization. The uniqueness of the tool lies in its in-depth evaluation of pages. The platform is page-centered in its analysis and you are able to access data on the position of several pages over time. You can check if the ranking of the pages is dropping. This is useful for observing how a page is performing for a certain keyword in between two periods. As well as monitor how algorithm updates affect such keyword.
Additionally, you can access search suggestions and questions that are popular with people. This information is sourced from real searches. This gives an entirely new viewpoint on content ideas that drive traffic. This is also a paid keyword research tool.
It is one thing knowing the keyword you are trying to target. If you are devoid of ideas for keywords to use for your content. Then this is where this keyword research tool comes in handy. It allows you to research keywords that fit in with your blog, content strategy, and marketing aims. It does this through suggestions of keywords and content ideas for a specific phrase you enter into the search box.
Ubersuggest Keyword Ideas
Therefore, you are lacking in creativity for keyword ideas; this keyword research tool can point you towards new ideas. However, you must be prepared to shift through thousands of results to get the most appropriate keyword to suit your blog.
Ubersuggest Content Ideas
Moz has four pricing plans you can choose from depending on which suit your needs and requirements.Conclusion
Ultimately, we have some factors that determine which keyword research tool you will use. It could be your budget, content strategy, blogging niche, etc. We must say your budget goes a long way in influencing your choice of keyword research tool. Depending on your budget, you could opt for the free keyword research tool or the paid version. For those on a low budget, you could opt for tools like Serpstat, AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator, and Google Keyword Planner. However, if you want a more comprehensive tool with a high budget, you could opt for tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz.
Over the past year, headlines have been flying around telling the story of “content marketing is replacing SEO” or “SEO is dead, content marketing has taken over”. In many situations, the two are made out to be total rivals – who will win: content marketing or SEO?
The reality is, there should be no showdown between the two, they should be working together seamlessly to boost your search marketing efforts and no business should be choosing one over the other.
If you choose to just create regular content without doing any SEO, you may have an incredible read that no one can actually find to share and engage with. Alternatively, if you have some great technical SEO but no content, then your audience isn’t going to be able to build a relationship with you.
As search marketers, it is important to bring the two together and blend them as part of an ongoing search marketing strategy.Create Wiki Content
Wikipedia is incredibly powerful when it comes to generating traffic and, unsurprisingly, it ranks for almost any search term on Google. Comedy Central once gave a presentation on their marketing, which showed that they receive over 100,000 visitors from Wikipedia every single month.
Wikipedia often suffers from broken links due to the amount of pages and references it has. This is a fantastic opportunity to create content for a great SEO opportunity. It is easy enough to find dead links on Wikipedia just using Google, type site:wikipedia.org [keyword] “dead link” into the search function and check out the results you get.
The key to this opportunity is creating a trusted account and making other edits first, so Wikipedia doesn’t just see you creating backlinks to your own site straight away. You can even take this strategy a step further by using Ahrefs to find the full list of sites linking to the dead link and contacting them in regards to swapping the link to your new relevant content.Utilize Search Data
There is no point creating content people aren’t going to read, so make sure you are creating content your audience wants and needs, and will therefore share and engage with. Equally, you don’t want to be creating low quality content stuffed with keywords, as Google won’t like this and neither will your audience.
Find out first what keywords and phrases you need to be and make sure you create high quality content that will be useful to your audience and will help you to rank for your key terms.
You can also use trends as a focus for your content; this applies to both search engine and social media platforms. Use trending topics on Twitter to base your content on or use Google Trends to see currently trending topics that apply to your industry.Grow Authorship
You can set this up using your Google Plus profile. Link your profile on WordPress to your G+ page and in the “contributor” section of your G+ link to your blog author page. You can also use rel=author in a line of HTML to link back to your G+ profile.
Although Google claims that Authorship does not directly affect rankings, it definitely gives authors more exposure and rich snippets allow you to capture the attention of your audience by using the micro data you want to be displayed.Publishing and Promotion
Before you publish your content make sure it is optimized for SEO. Link to it from older blog posts and other parts of your site, and make sure you have included appropriate CTAs, so the content can be shared and linked back to. Set up an embed code with a link back to your site and make sure your social sharing buttons include your username.
There are two key elements of SEO when it comes to promoting and distributing content – links and social media. Link analysis comes in handy here; check out the link profiles of your competitors and see who links to their content, if these sites are authoritative they could be useful.
With regards to social media, engagement is key. Track conversations and reach out to influencers. Research your community well and reach out to relevant people who are already talking about the subject at hand. Use the Fresh Web Explorer tool from Moz to see which sites are already talking about your topic.Analyze and Assess
Once your content has been created around relevant keywords, optimized, published and promoted, it is crucial to find out how successful it was. Without this you will have no clue if your search marketing strategy is working or whether you should be tweaking parts of your overall approach.
Use your analytics to work out how successful the content by looking at how many views it received, what the bounce rate was, how many shares it received, etc. Then determine how it ranks for the keywords it was created around and how much traffic is from organic search.
Use this analysis to tailor your next piece of content – learn what could improve your strategy and apply it.Conclusion
Although content marketing and SEO require different skill-sets, this does not mean in they stand alone. Combining the two helps you to rank better and gain higher levels of search traffic, but also to grow your audience and reach.
By combining the requirements of the search engine and the humans that use them, your business will be able to maximize your total marketing ability. When you next create a content marketing strategy, keep SEO firmly in mind when it comes to your research, production, promotion and analysis.
Image Credit: James Bell, My Social Agency
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