SECockpit Review New Features – Reviewed by My Content Marketing Company

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)

  1. How we use keyword research
  2. The way we used SECockpit in the past (including sharing our procedure!)
  3. New features of SECockpit
  4. 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:

  1. I love data.
  2. I love to systematize procedures.
  3. I love using that data to refine systems and procedures.
  4. 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.

  1. 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):

  1. Monthly search volume of over 500
  2. Competition score of under 30%
  3. 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:

SECockpit keyword research review

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:

SECockpit keyword research review

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:

SECockpit keyword research review

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:

content strategy system content refined

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:

SECockpit keyword research review

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:

SECockpit keyword research review

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:

SECockpit keyword research review

Notice anything different?

There are a few things.

  1. You can move the metrics around based on what’s most important to you.
  2. You can get rid of any metrics that are irrelevant for your purposes.
  3. 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:

SECockpit DA avg DA max keyword research review

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!

SECockpit DA avg DA max keyword research review

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:

SECockpit DA avg DA max keyword research review

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:

SECockpit DA avg DA max keyword research review

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:

SECockpit DA avg DA max keyword research review

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:

SECockpit keyword research review google

With this information, we can make the best decisions for keyword opportunities for our clients.

However.

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:

SECockpit keyword research review

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:

SECockpit keyword research review

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.

SECockpit Offer:

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.

ContentRefined Offer:

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.

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Advanced Keyword Research Guide Including SEMRush and MarketMuse Reviews

Keyword Research is incredibly important for the creation of a profitable website. It is a fundamental skill that the better you are at it the more success you will have. 

To that end I have pulled on every resource/connection I have to create the best guide on Advanced Keyword Research.​

What You Will Learn in This Post:

  1. ​The exact 13 step procedure used by the content marketing service ContentRefined for KW research
  2. The 3 tools that are critical for advanced keyword research
  3. A free KW research option
  4. See how a DEEP expert Ewen does it in a over the shoulder video

​Learn more from Ewen by signing up for his list here!

One Big Takeaway Not Talked About Before - Keyword Competition / Keyword Difficulty is still measured by metrics such as Keyword in Title/URL and Backlink Metrics but now with tools such as MarketMuse you can analytically measure competition by the competitions content score! (I will review this in more detail below)

Ewen is the source of a LOT of the information in this post and is an absolute expert when it comes to keyword research for content sites and his Q4 earnings reflect that!

This post allows you to go beyond the Google keyword planner and dig deep to find the long-tail keyword that will help you find your target audience and win in the search engines

The SEO chat with Ewen also helps reveal how to use the best keyword research tool to develop your SEO strategy.​

Mortgage Crushing Module Learning Outcome

If you are following along on the Mortgage Crushing Competition to learn How to Make a  Website that makes money in 2017 then by the end of this module you should...

Take the top 1-3 ideas you identified using the Blue Ocean strategy in Module 1 and complete keyword research on them to validate if there are keywords that meet the metrics listed in this section​

Keyword Research Procedure:

Save Time & Money Using ContentRefined for KW Research and Content Creation

Below is the keyword process and procedure used for the content marketing service ContentRefined.com. As always you can do the exact same process yourself and I share EVERYTHING but if you want to save time/money and not buy the expensive tools you can have Content Refined create content for your site following these keyword research guidelines. 

Solid and concise Keyword research is likely the most important and crucial process for Content Refined. It’s the second point of contact that we have with our clients, and if we don’t nail it, the whole Content Refined order can feel like an uphill battle.

This is why we’ve spent a lot of time and resources trying to execute the best procedure possible to ensure that we equip our client’s with the best keywords out there for the content they’ve hired us to write for their sites. Although we are always seeking to improve this keyword research process is delivering a lot of high ranking content. Keep reading for details on how to do this yourself using our Content Refined Process!

SEcockpit

Thanks to Ewan, we started using a great tool called SECockpit.

There are quite few things that make SEcockpit different (and in my opinion better) than competing tools.

The core of what I like is that because of the ability to slice into one keyword theme deeper it provides the ability to complete deeper market research and doesn't simply focus on finding 1 great keyword. ​

  • It moves away from the “Seed Keyword” model as you can select appending and prepending words in your search criteria
  • It give you the opportunity to go after Keywords in different search engines such as Amazon and Youtube, which can be super advantageous depending on your niche
  • It provides a comprehensive keyword analysis for every keyword which will give you insight on a ton of different metrics such as
    • Top 10 URLs ranking for that keyword
    • Competition based on page-level metrics like Title/URL
    • Competition based on backlink metrics such as PA/DA/# of links etc

How SEcockpit fits into our Content Refined Procedure

To get into the nitty gritty of how Secockpit works, and how we’ve used it to systematize our keyword research, check out step by step procedure how SEcockpit works

Step 1:

Login to SEcockpit and go to the dashboard and click on the Key symbol to search for your first keyword.

Step 2:

This is where it gets interesting. Type in a Keyword of your choice and look at your options.

I instruct my team to select the Google Adwords ideas that are closely related and to select Append Prepend, and Add Words in Between. This increases our chances of coming across a great related keyword

Step 3:

Then, you’ll want to figure out who your audience is. Is your client or audience based in North America? We have quite a few clients in the UK and in Europe who aren’t looking for North American Keywords because they aren’t relevant the their market. It’s really important to select the right location that will be relevant for their rankings.

Step 4:

Then we have a couple of more search options that we generally don’t use too much unless we’re looking for a keyword to rank in Youtube which hasn’t happened yet for Content Refined

Step 5:

Make sure you’ve inputted your keyword and that you’ve selected your search criteria and then click on Save and Close for the search to begin!

Step 6:

This is where my team sort of customizes things. Our metrics are pretty specific and they are based off of experience. We go after keywords that have 1000+ Monthly Searches and that are under 30% competition. SEcockpit is great for this because they have a filtering tool that will eliminate anything that doesn’t meet our metric.

This metric is simply used because we’ve seen the most success with keywords that fit within these parameters. If client’s prefer to use their own metrics, we will of course abide by that.

Monthly Search Volume Filter: > 1000

Competition Score: < 30%

Then, as you can see here below, we have our comprehensive list of keywords that meet our metrics:

Step 7:

So this is where you need to do some more digging. With this view, it looks like all of these keywords are great, but you need to click on the keyword to view a full keyword analysis which will give you more information to help you determine if it’s a viable keyword for your article.

Let’s look at the Keyword “Charcoal Pills” which has 40,500 monthly searches and only 17.25% competition score. This generally looks like a pretty golden keyword and at first glance it looks like a no-brainer to go after it.

With this comprehensive Keyword Analysis, the top 2 things that we look at is the DA ( Domain Authority and the Top 10 websites. As you can see below, the DA is really high, which means that the competing websites are ranking very well and getting a ton of traffic according to google.

If our client’s site or your site you are building is not already an authority site in it’s space (which in general, most are not ), then it would be a bad idea to go after this keyword for them because their domain will not be able to compete with the authority domain in that space. For example in this case WebMD and other very well known sites in the space

We don't know the secret sauce in the Algorithm that SECockpit uses but I believe they under-value DA and you need to do a manual check on the competition to see that a site like yours can compete in the top 10 (more on that in the next step). 

Step 8:

What we do is take a look at the two lower DA’s and have a look at their site to see if we can outrank them for this keyword.

To do this we generally use the tool MarketMuse to analyze the content score of the URL and top 10 pages we want to beat to see if its a soft market. 

In general we would like to see a keyword with...

  • SECockpit score of under 30
  • Identify several similar sites in the top 10 (usually most easily identified with low DA)
  • Market Muse score under 20​ for sites we think we can beat (in this example there are many low content scores but for sites Google is not going to rank us in front of for this type of search term). 

Based on this analysis there are only 2 URLs in the top 10 with DA scores below 70 and they are both reasonably high at approximately 50. In addition the Market Muse content quality score is definitely beatable but isn't wide open. 

Step 9:

Let’s try another keyword on the list, here I’ve chosen a Keyword that was provided to us by the tool based off of the “closely related words” function of the search criteria.

Keyword: Activated Carbon Filter- which has 5400 Monthly Searches and has a competition score of 27.39

When we click on it for the Analysis, we can see right away that this will be a more viable option to go after than the last keyword as the DA for the competing sites are lower in general.

Here, I have checked a couple of the Domains and I have determined that I can definitely compete with a few of these sites as their DA is low and ContentScore according to MarketMuse is below 20. This isn’t to say that they won’t be hard to beat, but they are not out of our reach and they are a similar site as the one we have. I’m confident that with the use of SEcockpit, I’m able to find the best keyword using its rankings, but also it’s analysis on who/how other’s are using this keyword in their niche.

Step 10:

Now that we have our Keyword (Activated Carbon Filter), we want to make sure that we create great content that is rich with other related keywords and Content Depth. The higher we can rank for related keywords and the more relevant topics we cover, the better our article is going to rank on google.

For this, we’ve invested in a tool called Marketmuse. What I like to do before I assign my content to my writers is do a Marketmuse Analysis on the Keyword and Topic.

Here, I’ve created an Article title using my Keyword - How an Activated Carbon Filter Works

Step 11:

Next, I’m going to take my Post Title and I’m going to plug it into Marketmuse like this

  1. I’m going to plug in Post Title 
  2. I’m going to Plug in my Keyword at the Top as the Focus Topic 
  3. And then I’m going to click the button beside the focus topic box ( It will be an Analyze button before you click it- don’t click stop unless you’ve noticed that you’ve inputted an error)

Step 12:

Now we have our full analysis which will give us a good indication of what the “Market Value” of this keyword is in terms of online content. See below for the breakdown

In the screenshot:

Step 1: If you look at the circled section, these are some key indicators of what your content should be scoring. Personally, I find the “Best Content Score Target” Is pretty inaccurate because I feel as though the “Best Content” is often manipulated. This is why we try and aim above average. In this case, we want to be above 18 ( so generally between 20-25) for our content score with this article.

Step 2: Average word count target is a good indication of how long an article should be.

There are times that I will get back to a Content Refined client who has ordered 8 articles ( who by rule of thumb are 1000 words each article) and I’ve asked if they would rather make their articles longer and fewer ( for example 2 articles at 2000 words and then 4 articles at 1000 words). This is for this exact purpose - to optimize their marketmuse score so that their articles are more valuable in the eyes of google. The longer the article is, the better your article’s market value is going to be on the internet.

Step 3: Marketmuse give us a list of related topics and Keywords which will really help when it comes to assigning articles to a writer. What I do, is just click on the copy button and you can paste the related keywords into the article brief you send to your writer. I generally like to instruct my writers to use as many of the related keywords and topics as possible.

This not only increases it’s chances of getting high scores, but it also makes the article more interesting and broad. With this keyword topic for example, the writer might choose to talk about adsorption capacity as a topic in their article, which they might not have thought of by themselves. It’s just a really good way to make sure the topic is being fully covered in the article to make it a useful article.

Step 13:

That’s pretty much it! You’re done!

Now this wouldn’t be a good blog post without mentioning some of the downsides to our tools:

SEcockpit:

PROSCONS
Provides niche validationI can't copy/paste from the interface... very minor but drives me nuts! 
Appending, prepending and in between words SearchIt seems to be down for maintenance quite a bit
Amazon and Youtube searchIt’s relatively expensive ( This tool costs us about 80 dollars a month to use)
Comprehensive keyword analysis
Insight on competition factors

Marketmuse:

PROSCONS
Identifies low quality content opportunitiesIt’s REALLY expensive ( costs up to $495/MONTH and you have to sign up for 6 months)
Identifies High Quality content in a quantifiable way
Provides relevant keywords and topics to help guide your writers
Provides insight on how to improve existing content
Helps standardize quality
Helps you rank based on relevancy which is compatible with google’s Hummingbird algorithms

In conclusion, with the help of these tools, we’ve essentially been able to create a process that allows us to find the Best Keywords to go after, understand who our competition is, and equip our writers with an analysis of their topic that will allow them to create and submit useful, top quality content better then the page 1 competition.

Hopefully you feel like you understand the process and have access to the same tools that we have to crush out amazing content for your site. If the price tag of these tools looks a little scary to you, you can always save money/time with testing out our Content Refined Service!

For a very reasonable cost/article ratio while reaping the benefits of the tools we use, you won’t be losing! Check out our page here for more details or reach out to [email protected] for additional information.

Free Keyword Research Tool

If the price point of the previously mentioned tools or ContentRefined makes this process a little out of reach there is an alternative that is free! 

SEMRush's "SEO Keyword Magic" tool can be used with a free account and produces some solid results!

The challenge is SEMRush will only generate closely related keywords with the main keyword in it. However, with the filtering options available for Search Volume and KD (keyword difficulty) it can produce some great results.

Other quality tools include Long Tail Pro, Market Samurai (not recommended) and Keyword Snatcher, both can be great but I find SECockpit is the best advanced tool. 

See the 2 step process below to get some solid keywords. ​

Summary

Here are the key takeaways from this training...

  • KW research should go beyond just identifying a single keyword but validate their is a demand for your idea
  • Checking the top 10 manually to see that competitors similar to you are already ranking is still critical
  • SECockpit underestimates DA in its competition analysis
  • Looking at both content and backlink competitiveness is important (MarketMuse helps with this)
  • Advanced tools are expensive but decent free alternatives are also available

Tools mentioned (not all are affiliate links)...

  1. Keyword Research = SECockpit
  2. Keyword Research = SEMRush (decent free option as an alternative)
  3. Content Analysis = MarketMuse
  4. Done for you content marketing service with included keyword research service ContentRefined.com

Special thanks to Ewen for both his help and taking the time to share his expertise in the video above. You can learn more from him by signing up to his list here.

If we have a TON of interest and questions asked in the comments below we will setup a free webinar to answer the questions live. ​

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