Website content and SEO go hand-in-hand. You need great online content to attract visitors to your website via search; but you can’t create the right content unless you know what people are searching for.
So how can you find inspiration for new content; and how do you know if your ideas will fly?
The good news is that there are loads of ways to find out which topics are likely to appeal to your target audience. You just need to do a bit of research.
Start with your own website
Even a cursory glance at Google Analytics will tell you what’s popular and what’s not on your own website. Look at page views (which indicates interest in the topic) and also time spent on each page (which tells you how engaging the content is). Watch out for exits and bounces that could suggest your content just isn’t up to scratch.
Don’t be afraid to revisit key topics. If a subject is popular with your audience, you should make the most of that interest to attract more website traffic. Try and find new ways to cover the same subject – turn a blog into a guide, create FAQs or an infographic, make a podcast or a video. And keep updating this content so it stays fresh.
Another way to find out what people are drawn to on your website is to sign up to Google Search Console. It tells you two invaluable things – what you are being found for and where people are landing on your site. These are both great ways to find out what people are interested in when they are searching for a business like yours.
Study social media
Another way to assess the popularity of your own content is to see how many people “like” your posts on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Social media can also provide useful insights into what’s popular in your sector – Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter all display trending topics within your community. You can also find out what’s trending on BuzzFeed.
As well as using Google Analytics, there are a couple of other ways that Google can help you get ideas for website content. Sign up for Google Alerts – you can set up alerts for topics in your niche to see what’s making the news and what’s being talked about online.
You can also follow search patterns using Google Trends which helps to show how interest in particular news stories is rising and falling.
Think about what people are asking
Many online searches are based on a question so it’s well worth thinking about the kind of questions people might ask about your products or services. Where are you located? When are you open? How do your products work? Who’s who at your company?
Of course there are many more questions your customers could be asking – go back through email and online enquiries and see if any clear patterns emerge. You can also look at Q&A sites such as Quora and Yahoo Answers to see what people are asking there. If there are questions that are relevant to your own business, then make sure the answers appear on your website.
Answering real questions is also a good way to make sure you are being found by voice searches. As intelligent robot assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Home become more popular, more of us are simply asking questions out loud in order to search for content online.
Make sure that common questions are answered on your website; and use these questions in headings to increase your chances of being found.
Keep an open mind
Inspiration can strike at unexpected times. The best way to come across great new content ideas is to stay curious, read widely and network. Subscribe to blogs and newsletters, go to local events or industry conferences, meet new people, follow discussions on social media and, above all, listen to your customers.
Rachel Miller is the editor of Marketing Donut