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Your Digital Strategy in 2015: Data-led Content

James Perrott
Your Digital Strategy in 2015: Data-led Content

SEMrush is the single most influential tool that will help revolutionize your content strategy. When mixed and blended with and the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, the data produced will allow you to build the foundation of an impenetrable content strategy.

For those of you who weren’t at the Content Marketing Show, I spoke about a similar topic there — you can read the transcript here.

At Zazzle Media we have conducted the same piece of work with different spins on it recently. They are:

  1. Content GAP analysis — relevant for brands that have a content strategy at present but want to highlight gaps in this to capture more organic search opportunity
  2. Full content strategy — relevant for brands/websites that don’t have a content strategy and are entering a new space
  3. Competitor content analysis — highlighting key pieces of content for competitors that are either closing the gap in regards to organic market share or expanding the gap

We know that great content is the key to success in regards to the number of links, social shares and virality it gets. However, "great content" is defined in a number of different ways.

My definition is "content that is in a format that is easy to digest, while providing the information that covers the user’s search query/intent."

To do this, content is displayed in a number of different ways. These are:

  • Lists
  • How-to
  • Top 10
  • Guides
  • FAQs
  • Infographics
  • Interactive Content
  • Webinars
  • Games

The first place to begin is with a competitor or brand that you want to emulate, and become bigger than. Run the domain through SEMrush and identify where the content hubs are located on the website to narrow your search.

The area you need to refine the SEMrush search is located under Organic research -> Positions

Once you have run the report, export the csv file that has all of the data you need. Apply filters to search for the content hubs that you identified earlier and then set Traffic % to descending.

You will be left with something similar to the table below — this shows the top traffic-driving organic positions for the Hubspot blog.


If you sort the table by Traffic %, this shows you the top organic keywords that are contributing to the website’s overall traffic percentage from keywords in the top 20 positions of Google.

This data is invaluable to your content strategy, as you KNOW these keywords and articles are driving traffic to your competitor. They are both useful and data-driven. This data can form the base of your content strategy as it’s been tried and tested.

To quantify this data even further, run the URLs you have gathered as part of this process through URL Profiler.

URL Profiler individually scans a URL you put into the software for a whole host of data you select. For this process, select from "URL Level Data" and choose Majestic and Social Shares.

The same URL may appear for a few different keywords, so remove any duplicate URLs to speed up the process.

You will be left with something like the screen below when you have successfully imported the URLs you wish to scan.


The beauty of URL Profiler is it scans every individual URL for social shares and link metrics, which gives us a strong indicator of what pieces of content have attracted both high-quality links and social shares.


From the list initially gathered from SEMrush and run through URL Profiler

The content highlighted in yellow presents great opportunities for a website in the digital marketing space to create and make their own. They have all attracted a large number of referring domains, as well as social sharing and comments from both Twitter and Facebook. Creating these pieces of content is a no-brainer.

Since the introduction of Hummingbird we’re seeing a huge change in what keywords drive traffic to our client’s websites. Executing a long-tail content strategy is important to ensure you don’t solely rely on your vanity keywords to drive traffic through organic search.

For some clients, long-tail content drives more traffic to our client’s websites than their vanity keywords. Long-tail searches often have a different search intent behind them also, with an intent closer to a purchasing decision. Vanity-related keywords, such as "content marketing" are more related to people searching for services or news based on that subject. A long-tail search such as "content marketing in the food industry" is a search with more intent behind it, as the user knows specifically what they’re looking for.

Tools such as and Ubersuggest allow you to capture the long-tail opportunity. The best way of approaching this is highlighting the keywords that have real organic search opportunity (by the method mentioned above) and then running them through the tools mentioned previously. They will provide long lists of long-tail keywords that you can write content for, to capture more traffic. One way of doing this, is to include the long-tail opportunities within the main article and to ensure you have the relevant heading tag to show Google you have a piece of content covering that specific area. The list of opportunities that these tools provide is shown below.



Through putting the long-tail keywords from into Keyword Planner (provided by Google Adwords) we have been provided with a large list of keywords that will generate traffic. If all of these content topics were to be covered by one large piece of content, you’ll capture all of that traffic.

Another great feature of SEMrush is the domain vs. domain comparison. This allows you to see what keywords your competitor ranks for, what keywords you rank for and what keywords you both rank for, and who ranks best for those keywords.

The initial comparison of rankings looks like this to show you the three ranking comparisons mentioned above.


To see the overlap of "in common" keywords, simply click on the middle overlap and click back to see the table view.


In, Hubspot ranks for 3,295 keywords in the top 20 of Google organic search and Moz ranks for 1,775. They have 234 in common. This is the data in which you would be very interested, from a competitor comparison perspective. Export this and use the formula below to highlight who ranks best for the "in common" keywords.


This is a great feature of SEMrush and one that isn’t used enough, allowing you to see how you fare against your competitors. You’re also able to manually export all of the keywords for which they rank in the top 20.

In summary, using the methods and tools listed in this blog will help you produce the following:

  1. Data-led content ideas
  2. Long tail content ideas that stem from data and user demand
  3. Competitor insight to evaluate their content strategy
  4. Content ideas from competitors that are performing well

The way we search online has massively changed over the last few years and ensuring that your content is in the right place at the right time across all devices has never been so important as it is now.

The first step of that is ensuring that you’re creating the right content to attract the potential customers; this piece will hopefully enable you to do so. The rest is ensuring you deliver a great user experience that makes them want to come back again!

Image credit: Canva & Zazzle Media

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James Perrott is the Head of Search & Data at Zazzle Media where he specializes in digital strategy fueled by data and user experience. He enjoys sharing knowledge through writing for industry websites and speaking regularly at events. A former professional gamer, digital everything and the Internet has always been an obsession!
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I'm focusing on "How to" articles that target longtail traffic right now at my blog ( ), the strategy is working but it's not always easy trying to do 1 a day.

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