With so much content to compete with on the web, it can be hard to outrank others on Google. Resist the urge to up your ranking by resorting to black hat SEO tricks. Google is a master detector of rank manipulation tactics and will penalize your website by lowering your ranking.
Instead, focus on producing high-quality content — something Google loves. But coming up with amazing content ideas every week isn’t easy. So, how can you come up with great topics that will, hopefully, rank well on Google?
1. Look At What’s Topical
Topics that are already creating a buzz stand a good chance of ranking well. Look at what’s currently making the news, what issues are trending on social media, and new events or trends happening in your industry.
2. Run a Google Search
Sounds too simple, right? But doing a quick Google search on a topic you’re thinking of covering can give you an idea of what type of angles are making the first page. You could then put a unique spin on these topics.
3. Do Keyword Research
Keyword research is an integral part of content creation. It helps you sift the higher-ranking keywords from lower-ranking keywords. Google Keyword Planner is popular but there are many other keyword tools you can also use.
While high-search volume keywords are always first prize, you should not overlook low-search volume keywords. Targeting multiple low-volume keywords in a long-form article can help you rank well for a high-volume low-competition keyword. You can use these keywords in subheadings and throughout the piece. The variations on keywords could even spark ideas for future articles.
4. Pull Topics From Your Customer Data
There’s a big pool of potential ideas coming from your customers. Dig into email inquiries, social media questions, and data from your CRM system.
For example, chatbots are popular with customers who use it to get information. During the pandemic, the number of tickets handled by AI-powered chatbots doubled from 2020 to 2021. That’s a lot of queries coming from customers. What questions are commonly coming up in chatbot conversations and your other customer service channels that you can address in blog articles?
5. Understand Search Intent
Every web search has a purpose behind it — to explore, look for information, search for products or companies, or compare pricing. To understand search intent you need to also understand how the sales funnel works.
The different stages of a sales funnel include:
As a content creator, you should create content that meets every customer’s needs as they progress through the funnel.
6. Ask Your Readers
If you want to know what your audience is interested in, just ask them. Reach out to your blog subscribers and social media followers. You can run polls to find out what type of content they would find useful. You can also gauge what type of content they prefer, e.g. long-form blog posts, infographics, or videos.
7. Republish Old Content
Every topic doesn’t have to be a new one. There’s nothing wrong with recycling previous topics. Do some research into which of your articles performed well in the past and find a way to present these topics from a different angle or with updated information.
8. Share Your Personal or Business Stories
GrooveHQ ran an A/B test to see how the same blog article, one with a story introduction and one without, performed.
The result? The blog with the story intro had nearly 300% more people read it all the way to the end than the one with no story. The average time spent on the page with the story was also five times higher.
Why do stories work so well? Because people like to read something they can relate to it or find it inspiring. So don’t be afraid to share the challenges and triumphs you have experienced in your personal life or on your business journey.
9. Investigate Community Forums
Community forums, messaging boards, and online communities, like Reddit, BuzzSumo, and Quora, are a treasure trove of potential content ideas. Even blogging platforms, like Medium, can offer some topic inspiration.
There are also industry-specific forums one can mine for topic ideas. For example, GitHub and The Stack Exchange are online communities for software developers and Discord is for gamers. If you’re in the hospitality sector, review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp can highlight customer pain points.
10. Check Out Competitor Sites
Competitor analysis isn’t just for marketing purposes. Doing a little spying on your competitors’ websites, blogs, and social media channels can be useful in your content creation.
What topics are garnering more engagement and are it positive or negative? What type of topics are they covering? More importantly, what are they not covering? Perhaps you can create content around the topics they are not writing about.
Remember, while getting the top spot on a search engine results page (SERP) is lauded as the holy grail, not every piece will land on page one. Your goal is simply to improve your rankings to get in front of as many eyeballs as you can.