Between my portfolio and the work that ContentRefined does we end up using LOTS of tools. In the past couple of weeks we have been in talks with Sam the CEO and founder at SECockpit reviewing the new features of SECockpit.
Learn more about Content Refined in this deep dive review of Content Refined as a business.
Maddie and I did some free training with Sam at SECockpit that I hope that will be of value to people – watch it here.
Intro: Who we are (Content Refined)
- How we use keyword research
- The way we used SECockpit in the past (including sharing our procedure!)
- New features of SECockpit
- How this will improve our systems
Final thoughts: Who benefits from the new SECockpit functions? (And more promo details)
Intro to Content Refined
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know a few things about me:
- I love data.
- I love to systematize procedures.
- I love using that data to refine systems and procedures.
- I love winning online.
At Content Refined, I think it’s pretty safe to say at this point that we’ve got content creation down to a science. We’re on top of trends, including what’s relevant in digital marketing now, what clients want, what clients don’t know that they want but actually need, and the data behind how it all works.
We’ve tested a lot of different keyword tools over the past few years even buying one and bringing it in house; we’ve used SEMRush, Ahrefs, KeywordFinder, CognitiveSEO, MarketMuse, SECockpit, LongTailPro, and more. Of those ones, we’re still using SEMRush, Ahrefs, MarketMuse, and SECockpit on a daily basis at Content Refined. They’re integral to our systems.
Today’s focus is specifically on SECockpit, because they’ve just updated a ton of features and our teams are super excited about some of them.
How We Use Keyword Research
Keyword research is the first step in our content creation process. We look for opportunities within our clients’ niche to rank for certain keyphrases. There are a few metrics we generally stick to (bear in mind that these are flexible site-to-site depending on where you’re starting from with your sites relative strength):
- Monthly search volume of over 500
- Competition score of under 30%
- Average domain authority of top competitors is under 40
If our keyword matches all of those metrics, it’s probably a good opportunity to build an article around.
Over the years, we’ve adapted additional strategies depending on our clients’ needs. Some examples of these strategies include the following:
- Leveraging MarketMuse’s new ‘Research’ and ‘Questions’ functions to build relevant article titles that can compete with the existing top results and also perform with voice search results (i.e. Siri and Alexa)
- Leveraging MarketMuse’s ‘Word Count’ functions to quickly assess how long our articles need to be in order to compete
- Leveraging SEMRush’s ‘Competitor Analysis’ to find opportunities from competitors’ ranking articles
- Leveraging Ahrefs’ ‘Also rank for’ and ‘Questions’ lists to seek new phrases that are closely related to the niche
It’s good to have all of these tools in our wheelhouse so that we can compete to the best of our abilities with any given website.
One shift in thinking about competition for keywords is to move beyond just looking at the number the KW research tool provides but also analyzing the strength of the competitions articles. If all metrics say a keyword will be easy to rank for but the top 10 current articles are all beasts written by experts and 5000+ words long…you are going to have a tough fight regardless of how “low competition” the tools saw the keyword is!
2. The Way We Used SECockpit in the Past
It’s a real process, so here’s our actual internal SOP that we’ve been using for completing keyword research with SECockpit. It involves having access to SEMRush as well, but it’s not completely necessary to have that access. You can do your research for your website with just SECockpit.
Basically, we search for a fairly general keyword, then filter the metrics to suit our needs. We go into each keyword that looks like a good option to assess the top competitors’ Domain Authority. If necessary, we’ll run an audit on a competitors’ website through SEMRush as well.
Here’s what it looks like when we search for a keyword in our client’s niche using the old version of SECockpit. In this example, I’m looking for phrases like “travel backpacks” and “suitcases”, but this of course can be custom tailored to your specific niche:
So you can see that it’s a little outdated looking. That’s okay, though. We check off all the necessary boxes and begin our search.
The results can take a while to come up, so just be prepared for that. Usually our Project Manager or Keyword Specialist (whoever is doing the keyword research) will have some other work to do in the meantime while they’re waiting for results. I’d give it a solid 5-10 minutes to fully search, update, and load.
Here’s what it looks like when the results come up:
We would also apply our specific metrics to get to the ideal monthly search volume and competition score.
From this list, we can go in keyword by keyword to see more details:
I’ve highlighted the Domain Authority list in red there. We want to see that the majority of those sites have a low-moderate domain authority. An average of about 40 or below should be a good option for us.
From there, we can create a title based around the keywords that suit our metrics. In this case it could be something like, “Best Travel Backpack with Wheels for 2019 Adventures”. We would drop all the information into our Client Dashboard. When our keyword research is complete, we send it to our client to see if they want to change anything up before it goes over to the writer.
Here’s an example of a content dashboard that you can use with your teams. It’s pretty simple:
So, now that I’ve walked you through that existing process, it’s time to share the exciting new updates that SECockpit just came out with.
We’ll have to update that SOP for the new SECockpit features, because I already know it’s going to simplify our lives a lot.
3. New Features of SECockpit
Right off the bat, it’s clear that they did a ton of updating to the overall layout of the platform.
Here’s how that main page looks when you’re searching for a keyword:
You can see it’s a lot cleaner looking. All the functions are the same on that pop up, but it doesn’t feel so overwhelming and cluttered.
The other big thing design-wise is that they’ve made it mobile-friendly. Here’s a screenshot from my phone:
For digital marketers who are constantly travelling or running to different conferences/meetings, this is huge. You can quickly pull up SECockpit on your phone and find your data that way. Really impressive.
Now, here’s the most exciting part to data nerds like me.
Here’s how it looks when those keyword results come up in the new platform:
Notice anything different?
There are a few things.
- You can move the metrics around based on what’s most important to you.
- You can get rid of any metrics that are irrelevant for your purposes.
- There are new filters that are going to change our internal systems at Content Refined.
If you click on that little gear in the top right, all of these new options come up:
For our purposes, those ‘DA Avg’ and ‘DA Max’ filters under the Off-Page options are amazing!
Now, instead of having to go into each keyword one by one, we can actually just filter the Domain Avg. to be less than 50!
Game changer. Now we have a list of keywords that meet all of our desired metrics. Monthly search volume, competition score, and low-moderate domain authority.
Some of these other filters are really exciting for us, too. Did you notice they now have Adsense Value? This is going to be huge for a lot of our clients:
I also really like some of the content specific filters like “Title Keyword”, which shows how many of those top 10 competitors have the exact keyword in their article title. This gives us an edge in content creation:
Clearly, some massive improvements have been made here. This was already a great tool for us, but now, especially with the Domain Authority and Adsense Value filters, we’re going to be able to deliver so much more relevant data to our clients.
4. How This Will Improve Our Systems
Our teams will still go in and look at each keyword individually. It provides more insight on our competitors for each keyword.
Here’s what it looks like when you go into an individual keyword in the new platform:
We see the exact information for each of our top competitors.
We can also see the Google Interest Trends for our keyword over the previous 12 months:
With this information, we can make the best decisions for keyword opportunities for our clients.
If we wanted to pull some quick data and give our clients a bigger overview of a bunch of keywords at once, it is now so much easier to do so. By adding in those extra filters, we can pull data straight from those results into a spreadsheet.
It would look something like this:
Right away, we have a list of 20+ viable keyword options. That’s just from one keyword search!
Now, keep in mind that these results will vary from site-to-site. Not every niche is going to have great keyword opportunities with one search. Sometimes you have to get creative with it. Find an angle that works for you, and/or flex the metrics until it’s more appropriate for your niche or field.
Final Thoughts: Who Benefits from the New SECockpit Functions?
Well clearly, we do. I think that was made obvious.
But seriously, these are huge improvements for anyone who really wants to more predictably rank in Google. Through using this real data, you gain so many advantages over your competitors. A lot of people will blindly produce content that they think is relevant to their audience, but they don’t actually have the real insights to show what content is necessary for their niche or field.
If you invest in consistent, quality, data-driven content marketing, you will see the results. The measures that we go to at Content Refined have proven that time and time again. It’s even working for our internal marketing efforts, as you can see here:
Consistency and quality are key when it comes to content marketing.
So, definitely check out the new features of SECockpit and let me know your thoughts. I want to hear feedback from all the data nerds like myself.
Also, insider tip: They’re actually doing an exclusive offer that’s only valid until the end of March. April 1st, prices are going up. There’s a 30 day no-risk guarantee, and once you sign up you’ll be locked in at this lower rate for life (unless you cancel at any point). Take advantage! Here’s the link they sent me.
If you have any questions about our processes or want some insights on how we can help your content strategy, reach out to our Co-Founder and CEO, Madeleine Lambert. Her email is [email protected], or you can book a quick virtual meeting with her here.