If you think that blogging is just for telling the world about your hobby, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.
Blogging is a powerful marketing tool.
Good content drives traffic to your website, generates leads and brings in new customers. And no business can afford to miss out on an opportunity like this.
Blogging is a powerful marketing tool.
However, a lot of companies take the statement “the more content the better” literally. Content created for content’s sake became our new reality, but in an insanely competitive place such as the Internet it is a dead end.
To genuinely help your business, you need to systematically produce high-quality, super-relevant SEO-optimized materials with more value to the users than your competition.
Sounds like too much to ask? It isn’t. In 2018, bloggers should also be marketers to stand out and achieve whatever goals the business sets.
We at SEMrush want you to succeed in any online marketing activity that you take on. So, specifically for bloggers and content writers, we have made a list of 9 tools that will help you streamline content creation without any loss in quality.
Tool to use: Keyword Magic Tool
All content activity should begin with keyword research. Whether you are creating a new post or updating an old one, you should always have an updated list of your target keywords at hand. It may not be your lifelong ambition, but the ability to work with keywords is very important for successful blogging.
In Keyword Magic Tool, you can create your own keyword empire from a single seed: type in your seed keyword and you’ll get a list of thousands of related keywords broken down by groups.
By researching the related keyword groups and analysing their total volume, you can gather a lot of ideas for your future posts.
One great way of making your post popular is to make it answer a specific question. This way you directly help users solve their problem and increase your odds of getting into the Featured Snippet.
In Keyword Magic, we have a Questions filter that allows you to see all the questions related to your seed keyword.
Keyword match filters
Using the exact keywords in your text is an outdated technique. Modern searching is all about related words and semantic diversity.
In Keyword Magic, we have match filters that allow you to find keywords with the precise matching characteristics.
Broad match shows you the keywords with all the forms of the included words. In the case of “dog food” this would be “feeding dogs properly”, “how do I find the best food for my doggie” etc. It is the broadest category, so if you are just starting your research, stick to it.
Phrase match allows you to see all the keywords with the exact phrase from the seed keyword, but in a random order and with other words included; selecting it, you will see “how to choose food for a dog”, “dog doesn’t eat food what to do” etc.
Exact match will help you see the words with the exact phrase in it in the sequence that you have chosen. Use it in the later stages of your research when you’re working with a particular phrase. By selecting it, you’ll see phrases like “vegetarian dog food” and “dog food is delicious what is wrong with me”.
Some of our readers say that playing with filters in the Keyword Magic tool is one of their favorite things about SEO (except for getting backlinks from the Wall Street Journal, of course). It is a mighty feature indeed — you can find the best words to use: with high volume, low CPC cost, ones that have multiple SERP features, including or excluding certain keywords etc.
In summary, don’t skip keyword research — it is the foundation of online commercial writing.
Tool to use: Topic Research
There are many blogging woes, and one of them is that keyword lists are useless without the niche research. After you select the most perspective keywords to work with, you need to know what is already out there and pay special attention to your competitors.
To help you save hours on web surfing, we have developed the Topic Research tool. Here’s what it can do.
When you type a seed keyword, you will see the set of Cards or a Mind map containing the most popular articles about the topic from the websites that rank the highest on the SERP for this keyword.
As we listened to our users, we realized that related searches, question keywords and the most popular headlines are what interest content writers the most. It can take a lot of time to find that information for a list of keywords, even with the handiest of keyword research tools, so, we have gathered it all in one place.
Sometimes you simply need ideas for what to write about. We thought about that too. In the Mind Map view, we show related keywords and hot headlines, as well as related searches for their combination with the seed keyword. This way it stays relevant, but covers a broader set of topics - the perfect place to start when learning how to create content for your blog.
Tool to use: SEO Content Template
When I start writing a new post, I feel both apprehensive and enthusiastic. Some things can be foreseen, but I never really know how my post is going to perform and whether the readers are going to actually engage with it. Does this sound familiar?
To avoid perfectionist paralysis, I try to get as many details about the future post as possible, because the more specific the requirements, the easier the writing.
There are several parameters that help your rivals rank high on the SERP — certain text readability, expected word count, backlinks from relevant resources etc. It makes sense to start analysing those to see how to make your blog SEO friendly. If it is working for the most successful players, it might work as well for you. We gathered the most important of these parameters in our SEO Content Template tool.
As usual, it starts with typing in your seed keyword, but unlike other tools, it allows you to use a lot of various seeds at once.
The ideas that you get from it include:
The highest ranking pages for each keyword
Semantically related keywords for your combination of keywords
Potential backlink sources
Text recommendations such as average readability and content length
Meta tag requirements
Examples of keyword usage
What saves a great deal of time is the module with examples of how your rivals use certain keywords on their pages. Here you can see the actual text fragments from your rival’s content and get an idea of how you could use it yourself. A manual search would take hours in cases where you are working with a lot of keywords.
Meta tag recommendations
Apart from the post itself, there are other supporting texts that are important for rankings. For instance, page title and meta description. A lot of bloggers write them at the very last moment (if at all); however, these texts are what your organic snippet is made of, that is, they create the first impression on the user. Poorly written meta tags can draw your readers away and decrease the page’s CTR potential.
We gathered the basic recommendations for the meta tag texts in the last module on the SEO Content Template. Don’t leave it for your webmasters to write or Google to generate automatically — you can end up losing readers.
Tool to use: SEO Writing Assistant
What any commercial blogger knows is that you cannot rely on creativity alone if you want your content to get attention. Brilliant ideas don’t save badly promoted posts, basic search optimization is essential if you want your readers to find you.
Don’t get discouraged as there are ways to check how well optimized your text is, even if it’s not published yet. I use several SEO tools to check if my future article complies with SEO, and one of them is SEO Writing Assistant.
It’s an add-on which connects your SEO Content Template to your Google document or WordPress account. It analyzes the text you type in real time for SEO friendliness based on your target keyword and gives recommendations for optimization. You can select a location up to a city level to get more precise and relevant results.
These are the metrics that SEO Writing Assistant checks for your content:
Overall score, a live metric which shows your text’s quality.
Readability score, which demonstrates how easy your text is to understand according to the Flesch reading-ease score formula.
Number of words in your text.
But these numbers don’t give you anything in isolation from your competition. What the add-on does is that it collects data from your top 10 Google rival articles targeted for the same keywords and suggests the following:
Specific target for the above metrics — overall score, readability, number of words.
Semantically related keywords to enrich your text with.
Title reminder to include your target keywords.
These recommendations will make crawler bots friendlier to you and help your audience spot your article in an endless Google list.
Not only does the add-on help you with content optimization, but it also checks how original your text is. The plagiarism checker feature detects the total percentage of copied words in your text and identifies original sources of content from across the internet. It’s available for all languages and is extremely useful if you want to check your own content for originality or monitor the work of your freelance and in-house copywriters.
Tool to use: On Page SEO Checker
When your posts are not performing so well in search results, there are things you can do on the content side without digging too deep into SEO.
On Page SEO Checker allows you to gather Content Ideas for your posts that will help you rank higher on the SERP compared to your competitors.
Backlinks are still one of the most powerful means of promotion. High quality links from relevant resources drive traffic to your website, so knowing where your competitors get theirs is crucial for link building.
In On Page SEO Checker you can see your competitor’s referring domains and use them for outreach.
Tool to use: Content Audit
When you work with a lot of content on a blog, some tiny details tend to get overlooked. This is absolutely normal, yet sometimes annoying. A comprehensive page analysis takes time, but the results are not always representative if not compared to other pages’ performance metrics.
To help you keep track of all your published materials we created the Content Audit tool. For each page you can track:
Shares in social networks
Latest traffic data from Google Analytics
Actual search queries from Google Search Console
Page status, etc.
Comparing your articles, you can see what content works best for your audience and find out what pages are underperforming and require fixing or optimization.
Outreach and mentions tracking
Tool to use: Brand Monitoring
As a human being, you can pay no attention to what people think about you. As a blogger, you cannot. Tracking brand mentions is extremely important to maintain a good reputation and is really helpful for gathering backlink ideas.
Our Brand Monitoring tool allows you to see who and how mentions your brand name online. Having live data from Twitter anddaily web updates you can promptly react to positive and negative comments, debunk false information about your brand or find ideas for networking and link building.
If a certain domain mentions your brand name, they are obviously interested in you. And if for some reason they don’t have a backlink to your website, it makes total sense to obtain one there.
In Brand Monitoring, you can filter out all the domains that mention your brand but have no backlinks to your website, and add them to your link building list.
Tool to use: Position Tracking
Knowing that your posts perform well on the SERP is a great inspiration. However, the SERPs are volatile, and the ranks change frequently regardless of your optimization work.
To help you keep track of all your rankings for the selected keywords, we have the Position Tracking tool. It allows you to track your rankings in multiple locations and on multiple devices, so that you can see your precise performance characteristics.
SERP Features filter
If your target keywords trigger SERP features, you can drastically increase your site visibility by getting into one of them. As for blogging, it most probably will be the Featured Snippet.
To help you track those particular keywords and see how you perform for them, select Featured Snippet in the filter.
Tool to use: Marketing Calendar
Being a content strategist or a content team manager requires a lot of patience. Yes, patience, since every writer has their own pace and approaches work in a different manner. But whatever the traits of your team members, the work should be done and it should be done on time.
Managing several content campaigns is even trickier: not only does your editorial calendar become quite busy, but you can’t always dig deeply into every piece to check it personally.
We have a successful blog on semrush.com, and we know exactly what a content manager needs. We developed the Marketing Calendar, which helps us keep track of all our campaign activities in one place.
Juggling several tasks is complicated, though many writers put multitasking to their strengths list. But we're all human, and sometimes forget things.
To help you keep up with all the deadlines and assignments we added the Notifications to the calendar home page.
Google Drive integration
Oh, those Google sharing options! Sending your proofreader a read-only version of the text or accidentally granting strangers with the editing permissions — for a writer at the brink of a deadline it's always a lottery.
We took this into consideration developing our Calendar, so now you can import files directly from your Google Drive.
Commercial writing differs from writing for yourself. When a business depends on content, you can never let your standards drop or not post when you don’t feel like it.
Some writers think that commercial blogging or content writing is not ‘real’ writing, but this is not true. It is not less creative than any other type of writing, it just requires a different approach and a proper content marketing toolkit to streamline the work.
Think about it the next time you feel like this.