It’s good to have a few trusted keyword research tools under your belt. Our teams at Content Refined are currently using two in conjunction: SECockpit by SwissMadeMarketing, and Ahrefs. We started using Ahrefs a while ago when SECockpit stopped returning results in certain fields and niches (i.e. we stopped getting results for cbd oil related keywords). Ahrefs has a ton of detail in their results, and I really like the way that they suggest alternatives.
So here are the basic steps for using Ahrefs to determine whether a keyword is competitive. For our purposes, we are looking for a few key metrics:
monthly search volume over 500
keyword density under 30
most of the other top competitors have a low domain authority
These are the tried and true metrics that Content Refined usually sticks to (unless there’s a unique site that needs something slightly different). We’ve talked about this before in an article about SECockpit. For that article the monthly search volume filter was set to ‘over 1000’. We’ve since found that over 500 is a valuable metric with more opportunities for a lot of sites.
Search for the keyword. In this example, ‘ketamine infusion’.
Scroll down to ‘also rank for’ and click on the ‘view all #’.
Click on KD and put ’30’ in the “To” section. Click ‘Apply’.
Click on Volume and put ‘500’ in the “From” section. Click ‘Apply’.
Now you’ll have a list of keywords with good metrics.
Click on one that looks good, in this example, ‘ketamine infusion therapy’.
In the new page, scroll all the way down to the ‘SERP Overview’ section. There you’ll be able to see the Domain Rating (“DR”) of the top competitors’ websites. Make sure that the majority of these are under about 35. In the example ‘ketamine infusion therapy’, most of those DRs are low, which is good!
Determine whether this is a good keyword for your needs, and copy the details as needed into your keyword research plan.
Begin search again with a new keyword, as much as needed, to complete your keyword research.
I love finding new strategies and tricks for finding the best competitive keywords in any niche. For Content Refined we also go back once or twice a year and run some data analysis to see which tools are working the best. We did that last year around this time, and are currently in the process of running a new set of data analysis (I’ll be sure to share the findings for you guys).
Keep me updated about what tools and strategies you guys are currently using in the comments below!
I am excited to share a post like this… it has been awhile since I shared a detailed data driven tip on a new strategy that drives IMPRESSIVE results!
The team at ContentRefined has been doing some very impressive work lately performing what we are calling a Pareto^2 Content Upgrade and making the articles pop in terms of rankings and traffic.
This strategy is all about taking what is already working (your 20% of articles driving 80% of your sites traffic) and applying advanced tools/strategy at the right leverage points to make them perform even better!
The Pareto Principle asserts that only a “vital few” produce the majority.
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Here is the procedure ContentRefined uses to further apply this principle with content marketing and shared for you to use on your sites! As always if you want to do it yourself we show you the results and the exact steps… however, if you want to have the team at ContentRefined upgrade some of your most important articles then contact them here.
Book a call with Laura here and receive a free consultation/report to identify which of your pages are the right pages to apply the Pareto Upgrade to!
Over the past couple of years, myself and my teammates at Content Refined (the content marketing business that Madeleine Taylor and I co-founded) have really nailed down how to write killer content and optimize it for ranking.If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll remember when we analyzed some of our content’s data to find the best tools and techniques.There were a few articles about this—I’ll link at the end of the article.
Well, we actually had those results reviewed and confirmed by a real statistician with a Master of Science in Statistics from Texas A&M (so he, unlike me, actually has the piece of paper on the wall that says he knows how to analyze data).
Our experience in content creation combined with the statistician’s findings has really solidified our understanding of how to achieve awesome, rankable articles.
As always, I want to share this plethora of knowledge with you guys, so that you can implement some of this stuff into your own websites.Also as always, I hope you guys like graphs!
The Four Step Process
Refining systems and processes has absolutely been key to continued success with our content (hence the name, Content Refined).If you make a good systematic cycle, and stick to it regularly and efficiently, you’ll be heading in the right direction.
So here are the four steps for creating articles that work for us:
1. Keyword Research
The foundation of our articles is a strong primary keyword that is highly probable of ranking. We find the right keyword, and create an article title around it.
Once the keywords and article titles are good to go, they’re sent out to some excellent writers.
Our editors are the final step before publication. A thorough quality check includes checking for plagiarism, editing the writing carefully, and running each article through a content gap analysis and keyword optimization tool.
Our publishers follow a standard protocol for nicely formatting articles with stock photography and ensuring search engine optimization.
Standards for Each Step
Now, let’s break down these steps into a set of standards to abide by.
Keyword Research Standards
There are a lot of keyword research tools and methods out there.
With our data review (checking the content we’ve created against their real results), we have verified three essential components of each chosen keyword; (1) monthly search volume, (2) competition score, and (3) domain authority of competitors. So, when performing keyword research, we target the following measurements:
A monthly search volume of over 500.
A competition score under 30%.
The majority of the top 10 competing websites with that keyword have a domain authority score under 30.
But remember, these measurements are flexible according to your content needs (eg. international location, site traffic, niche, etc.).
It’s super important to maintain a strong team of excellent writers. We hire only native English writers (freelancers) who can pass a series of grammar and content creation tests. Plus, our relationships with writers are dependent on great communication and clarity of requirements.
We also frequently review and renew our writing team.Our general rule of thumb is to keep cutting out the bottom 10% (the writers who aren’t consistently awesome or are starting to slack off) and replacing them with new great writers.
Another thing to keep in mind is writing a minimum of 1000 words per article.It’s generally recommended for search engine ranking.Depending on your niche, you might need more than that.The keyword research should help you figure out how long your content needs to be.
An Editor really has to be a master of proofreading.
For us, we make sure that first, they run each article through a program that checks for plagiarism, ensuring that each article is truly original content. The tool we’re currently using for this process is CopyScape.
Then, they carefully go through each article, editing for spelling, grammar, flow, and readability.
Lastly, they run each article through a keyword optimization program to naturally weave in more secondary keywords wherever they can. This greatly helps in filling ‘content gaps’ that the writer may have missed. The tools we’re currently using for this process are CognitiveSEO and MarketMuse. Both tools have proven to increase the probability of ranking in search engines.
*note: In the MarketMuse vs. SERPFox graph: Negative MarketMuse Score was used instead of MarketMuse Score because of the ascending nature of MarketMuse Score (higher is better) vs. the descending mature of SERPFox Ranking (lower is better).
Publishing requirements tend to be subjective.
Everyone has their own processes for formatting and optimizing an article before publishing. However, we’ve set out a set of standards that we follow, that have proven to increase the probability of ranking.
Short URL slugs that include the keyword.
H2 and H3 tags for headings and subheadings.
Stock photography related to the subject matter.
Meta description for the article.
A few inbound and outbound links to relevant pages.
If it’s an Amazon Affiliate website, we embed the affiliate tag into all product links.
Uploading a bunch of articles at least once per month and scheduling them out is the most efficient way we’ve found to stay on schedule and make sure that good content is always there.
If you hire a freelancer to do this publishing, I definitely recommend doing a quick quality check before hitting the actual ‘publish’ button.
And Then Start Again!
Across all my sites, this is the system we use.These are the core processes used at Content Refined, and we’ve had continued success in getting content to rank and organic traffic to grow and grow.Check out these results from one site that Content Refined does all the content creation for (whose name we can’t share for privacy purposes).They started with no organic traffic, and with these processes, plus a great niche, they’ve been able to scale super fast.
It’s been amazing to watch Content Refined grow, expand teams, and nail down these processes.I do encourage you to check them out and jump on a call with Laura (our acting Business Manager while Madeleine is on maternity leave) to discuss content needs if that’s something you’re looking for.
Let me know what you think and if there’s anything that works really well for you!
In this post I am going to share several strategies I have been deploying on my sites over the last few months and the results these tests/case-studies/strategies have been able to achieve.
All of the strategies listed below are being discussed from experience and not theory. Each of the example sites are from my portfolio. For the four strategies below I highlight 5 sites that are in my portfolio that represent what these strategies are capable of.
I am certain there are many many other strategies that work but these are the 5 I have been having the most success with lately… (more…)