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Eric Van Buskirk

MarketMuse Lets Websites Fly High In The Age of Google Hummingbird

Eric Van Buskirk
MarketMuse Lets Websites Fly High In The Age of Google Hummingbird

There are many ways to use data from SEMrush to research topics and semantic relationships on a website. All require significant manual processes, so if you’re doing the work on a regular basis, it’s time you look at software that complements SEMrush by offering some automation.

It’s been two years since Google implemented Hummingbird, the most sweeping algorithm in its history. Hummingbird affects 90 percent of all searches, but identifying whether your website content complies with this new algorithmic focus on semantic relationships requires techniques that are often at odds with traditional keyword research.

A plethora of tools copy what SEMrush does best: keyword research. MarketMuse is an end-to-end solution that looks at topic relationships, not “related keywords.” It’s the only tool of its kind to identify topic gaps and suggest phrases to "plug" them. The Boston-based company has free trial accounts, so give their tires a kick.  

Topic Site Audits In MarketMuse

MarketMuse was founded by Aki Balogh and Jordan Burke. Jordan once worked for Cambridge Semantics and has ten years' experience developing semantic computer systems. His work seems as complex as developing rocket science systems, but the team initially relied in part from input from PhDs in the semantic computing sector for help. Perhaps somewhere in MarketMuse’s history, work was done by one or more people who in other lives could be rocket scientists of the highest order.

To use MarketMuse, simply enter a domain and it crawls the website to find the frequency of phrases used across pages. Then, enter a topic and MarketMuse will analyze, in real-time, authoritative webpages to build the software’s version of a "knowledge graph."  The tool can return results on as many as one hundred pages from different websites.

MarketMuse is the first company to offer this kind of data in this format. They even have a provisional patent on the technique, "Systems and Methods for Semantic Keyword Analysis."

Site Audit is one of the main features of the software. It looks at content across an entire site for gaps related to a topic you choose to analyze. I compared results for two websites. MagnifyMoney.com is showing a meteoric rise in organic growth via SEMrush.  

Eyeball the content, and it’s clear it meets the Google Hummingbird "good content" criteria. GetRichSlowly.org is a top 15 competitor I found with the "organic competitor" tool in SEMrush with the biggest loss of traffic over the last year. In general, however, competitors with content overlap to MagnifyMoney.com did not lose traffic over past couple of years.

What SEMrush Tells Us About the Example Websites

SEMrush Site Audit Screenshot

From the SEMrush "Pages" report, the average page on MagnifyMoney.com ranks for 39 keyword phrases of the total 40 million in the SEMrush USA keyword universe. GetRichSlowly.org, by contrast, ranks an average 12 words per page; three times worse.  

Google now rewards sites with quality content by ranking more per page. Take a look at the "Page" tool on other websites that have comprehensive, well written pages: you can verify this yourself. So, by this metric, MarketMuse should be find a big difference in topical coverage between the two websites.

Audit and Results for Get Rich Slowly Website

GetRichSlowly.org has a broad theme, but they also have an impressive editorial team. Looking at top ranking GetRichSlowly.org keywords, their theme is "personal finance and related topics" as quoted from their site:

  • Money is more about mind than it is about math
  • Goals are important
  • Spend less than you earn

Credit cards are an entity with very definable characteristics, as compaired to "personal finance," which is what our comparison website covers.  So, in using MarketMuse, I may find more gaps for the site with the broader theme. However, the topic I chose for GetRichSlowly.org is taken straight from the top of their "about" list showing topics most important on the site.

For the topic "personal finance goals," we’d expect complete coverage. MarketMuse found the poor content quality mentioned above – in spades. The below table is from a download of most related topics.

Semantic Keyword Reseach: Identified Topics

Only half of the topics most closely identified as related were found to be supported with thorough content. Most surprising, there is a dearth of "personal finance" content on GetRichSlowly.org.

With an index of 15,700 pages, "personal finance" is only mentioned 22 times. Even though GetRichSlowly.org has a robust output of editorial content, their content fails to capitalize on a topic that they've identified as a priority on their site. That's not just a content gap, it's more like a content gulf.

Keep in mind that MarketMuse's algorithm factors in the total number of pages on the site, otherwise the smaller sites would under-perform merely because of sheer quantity of content. By comparison, GetRichSlowly.org has 15,700 pages crawled by MarketMuse, whereas MagnifyMoney.com has 592.

Audit and Results for MagnifyMoney Website

MagnifyMoney.com is about credit cards, with a particular spin on how to use them. Their narrow editorial scope helps their ability to rank significantly.

Below are the mentions for topics related to broad "credit card scores."  The site actually covered 49 of 50 topics!

Credit Card Score Comparison 

Maybe this is a low bar, and we’ve searched a broad topic that we would fully expect to have such complete coverage. However, I searched against other topics and found similarly fantastic topical coverage:

"Improve your credit score" is a more specific topic (which we know, in part, because its search volume is only 480 and it’s a four-word phrase). Again, the site had some of the best coverage I’ve seen using MarketMuse: 48 of 50 related topics were covered.

The two topics not fully covered were some of the lowest on relevance according to MarketMuse.  Both are in the bottom 15 topics by relevance:

Semantic Keywords, sorted by relevance

More About the Company

MarketMuse was founded by Aki Balogh and Richard Mallah. Richard worked for Cambridge Semantics and has ten years experience developing semantic computer systems. His work seems as complex as developing rocket science systems. The team initially relied in part from input from PhDs in the semantic computing sector for help. Perhaps somewhere in MarketMuse’s history development work was done by one or more people who in other lives could be rocket scientists of the highest order.

Conclusion

MarketMuse is filling a glaring gap (puns are just too easy with “gap analysis” discussions). A post I did in August for Search Engine Journal called 6 Free Tools to Score Comprehensive, Quality Web Pages had more comments than any other piece on the website last month according to their Senior Editor.  The writing is on the wall: smart content strategists and SEOs are knocking the doors down for tools that evaluate semantic web content. MarketMuse is the only company filling this need, and it will take others years to catch up given the complexities of developing semantic analysis algorithms.

Eric Van Buskirk is the publisher of Tweet Philadelphia, a blog about the intersection of social and SEO, and a former SEMrush Senior Account Manager. Feel free to reach out to Eric via Twitter.

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Looks like a great tool. Pretty expensive though :(
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