How To Use Data To Create Amazing Online Content

Practical data application

Practical data application and insights have been one of the largest digital marketing trends for business, experiencing rapid growth in the past two years.

The use of data for driving content success has never been more important – this is in no small part due of the increased uptake and investment from companies, and the associated business requirement to remain competitive and bolster market share.

It is this practical application of data for creating amazing content that works, which is the focus of this post.

For the purposes of taking immediate action, this article also focuses on data points and tools which already complete the data work for you, so your role is simply accessing the insights and creating the content from them.

 

The growing data trends

The ongoing business interest in data and associated areas like machine learning is nothing new.

What has changed, however, is the increased search demand (real-world interest) and the active business needs to be in a position to practically act on data insights.

Added to this is the business need for creating a competitive advantage (or in many cases, keeping up with the competition).

There have been increasingly prominent and noticeable growth peaks within the realms of big data, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI).

You can see an example of this through search-demand increases (in this case detailing interest gains in ‘artificial intelligence’) since 2017 below:

Google Trends - AI-min

Source: Google Trends – ‘AI’.

Recommended: Why Your Business Growth Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

Data points for content creation

There are many varied data sources which businesses can take advantage of (in both free and paid-for options), and some of my favorite ones which deliver fast content ideas that can deliver results include:

  • AnswerThePublic
  • Google Search Console (GSC)
  • Google Trends
  • Ahrefs

Next, are some practical tips for each of the above so that you can get going on creating content with these data sets today.

Building content with AnswerThePublic

AnswerThePublic is fantastic for getting familiar with a new topic area and formulating new blog and FAQ content (and as an added bonus it is free to use on a daily basis).

This data source is primarily focussed on using search query data to provide segmented, easy to act on questions, prepositions, comparisons and related queries people typically request in search engines.

If you are looking at creating either blog posts, FAQ pages, or deeper evergreen value guide and research papers, there are pretty standardized

processes to follow, and an example of this in action is provided below.

The process to follow with this is:

  1. Type in the highest level query (for example ‘SEO’).
  2. Look at topical trends and identify the main audience pain points relevant to you
  3. Copy/paste the search terms into Google Keyword Planner
  4. Check the highest volume terms
  5. Review the highest-ranking Google sites on the topic – consider content types, coverage areas, social sharing and more (anything that provides a steer on successful content)
  6. Create content with deeper value and increased relevancy to your audience
  7. Promote the content on social media and in relevant niches online
  8. Refine the content with GSC query data detailing how people are finding the content
  9. Refine the content reflecting how people are engaging and interacting with it (using Google Analytics data)

Here’s an example of the questions that get returned using this tool (in my case I added the query ‘SEO’).

AnswerThePublic - SEO query-min

My preference goes into the ‘Data View’ and then pull out topics that are of interest to me the most for new content. You can do this via exporting to Excel or simply screen grabbing and highlighting potential new content areas (I often do this when sharing early stages thoughts in groups discussions etc.).

Here’s how this looks in action – in this case highlighting some potential blog posts based on known audience needs:

Content ideas example-min

Content ideation with Google Search Console

It still surprises me how many small to medium-sized businesses (and a few enterprise ones too) that overlook the need to not only have GSC installed and working effectively for data insights, but also omit to actively schedule in monthly GSC actions based on changing audience information and data-led insights.

GSC should be the go-to data point for all your existing content, data-driven improvements and in many cases immediate next actions.

GSC tells you how your audience is discovering your content (through the search terms it is being seen for), as well as the supporting metrics (for example; click-through rate (CTR), impressions and clicks) that can enable you to identify content gaps and new opportunity.

One of the first monthly actions that I would complete to look for amazing content ideas are search queries that have high impressions and low (or zero clicks) – you can do this in the new version of Google Search Console by logging into your GSC account and clicking/selecting:

  1. Performance
  2. Select date range
  3. Add filter options; query, clicks, impressions, CTR, and position
  4. Click queries (and sort by largest impressions)
  5. Export to Excel (or simply eyeball disparities between impressions and clicks)

From the above, you will have new, associated content queries which you can group into topics and create audience aware and data-driven landing pages on your website.

An example of this can be seen below (looking specifically at the high opportunity and low click metrics which are almost always present for new content creating):

GSC data opportunities-min

Using Google Trends for online content

There are many trend data sources that you can use for piggybacking onto the latest search and interest opportunities which present themselves for impression, traffic, and social PR business gains.

The most common one is Google Trends, but ahrefs, SEMRush, Twitter, Facebook, and numerous other data points exist as well, and I would recommend exploring them and each brings something of value to the table when it comes to content writing and ideation.

With Google Trends, I enjoy skimming through the trending searches section as this is the highest level creative data which you may be able to apply to your news content and blog content areas (you can access this at https://trends.google.com/trends/trendingsearches/daily).

The next stage is to explore a topic area of interest and drill down into the trends you can build content for, promote, engage with topically, and target on your website.

To do this, go to:

  1. https://trends.google.com/trends/explore
  2. Type in your search topic (top-level – e.g. ‘SEO’)
  3. Look at related topics and related queries

From this, you can look at content gaps on your site, top-ranking external sites content coverage, as well as confirm volumes of search interest (using Google Keyword Planner).

Exploring content opportunities with Ahrefs

Ahrefs content explorer is one of my favorite data-led tools for making use of referring domains, social shares, trends, and associated data metric areas, for building content that you know works.

The main focus areas for content gains using this tool tend to focus on social shares, authority building, brand awareness, and traffic.

I like to use this tool by starting off at the top level (again, ‘SEO’, or ‘business insurance’, ‘PPC’, ‘travel insurance’, etc.), and filtering by relevancy and then referring domains (as well as traffic),

You can also use this tool for tactics like checking the most successful current competitor ranking content and then filling gaps from SWOT analysis on your content.

Summary

Using data from sources including; GSC, AnswerThePublic, Google Trends and Ahrefs enable business and marketing teams to efficiently use data to create content based on a great deal more than gut feel.

The huge volume of daily data insights can become overwhelming to companies, and as such, it can be useful to build in monthly content building actions, from the data source you trust. This means that you can refine your data approach and grow it in effective ways.

From ideating content to refining what you have for greater marketing gains, there are many easy to act on opportunities, and those provided in this post are really the tip of the iceberg.

 

This is a guest written by Lee Wilson. He is the Head of SEO for Vertical Leap, a UK Search Marketing and Digital Agency helping companies maximize online visibility. Lee had his first industry book ‘Tactical SEO – The Theory and Practice of Search Marketing’ published recently, and can be seen expert commenting on digital marketing online. Lee Wilson has been heading up digital departments since the early 2000s.

 

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