Consistently churning out blog posts for your small business is time consuming. As a result there are few things more frustrating for an entrepreneur than to plough several hours into creating a blog post, only to see it get little to no views. A well executed content strategy can do wonders for your business growth, but so much is won and lost in the ideation phase.
Quite simply, for blogging to move the needle for your business you need to create posts that will get long term organic traffic. This involves both writing about topics that your audience are searching for, and making sure that there is not too much competition getting in the way of you ranking your posts.
This interest and competition essentially boils down to supply and demand. The supply and demand for any given topic needs to be assessed before you start writing your post.
The best way to assess this is through using Google itself. Here are some ways that you can use the search engine to validate your blog post ideas and ensure that there is both enough interest in a given topic to merit writing about it, and that competition is not too fierce for your post to rank.
How to use Google to verify interest in your topic
When verifying whether there is enough interest in a particular topic to merit you writing about it, Google’s autosuggest feature is invaluable.
While there are many keyword tools available, both free and paid, that claim to tell you the number of monthly searches for any given term, anyone with any experience owning websites knows that this data is wildly inaccurate.
Search engines are not willing to give away their search data, but one place that they do offer some glimpses of this information is in the autosuggest feature.
When you go onto Google’s homepage (Google.com/.co.uk) and enter a search into the search bar, Google will try to anticipate what you are searching.
These anticipations are based on what has been commonly searched by other users in recent weeks. You can therefore be confident that these suggestions have a decent amount of recent search volume and therefore have enough demand to merit spending your time writing a post.
The topics that Google anticipates when you type in a keyword core to your business can also give you inspiration for future blog ideas.
Say that you are a copywriter, and you want to write a post that gives copywriting tips to potential customers.
If you type “copywriting tips” into the Google search bar, it anticipates the following searches:
This tells us that it may well be worth our while writing guides on how to write copy for the different social platforms, as well as creating a beginners guide on the subject.
Again, the fact that all these were suggested by Google indicates that there is recent search volume for them, validating that it is indeed worth our time creating content around that topic.
How to use Google to measure the competition for a given topic
Now you have measured the demand for a potential blog topic, you can now use Google to assess the level of “supply” or competition for that topic in order to work out your chances of ranking.
When deciding what pages to rank Google looks at two key things. They are:
- How well a piece of content answers the question being searched
- How authoritative is the site that the page is on.
Let’s start with measuring authority, as that is slightly easier to cash out. Google measures a site’s authority in a few ways, but the most important two are it’s traffic and the links pointing to it.
What is important for a blogger or small business owner is that your content is far less likely to rank for a term where the first page of Google is dominated by authoritative websites such as the sites of big companies and big media sites.
You can ascertain whether this is the case by searching your proposed title and seeing what is on the front page of Google. If it is these big websites then you may want to consider narrowing down your blog topic to give yourself a chance of ranking.
That being said, given the importance of the strength of content in ranking, you can still rank a blog post against high authority sites if your blog post answers the question in a far superior way to the competition. This is particularly useful for technical content writing, as often the higher authority pages on technical topics skirt over important details
Click through to the top ranking results and ask yourself: “As a searcher, how well does this article answer my search?” If you have any insights over and above what is already there then the post is still worth writing.
You need to be honest with yourself about this however, as when competing with high authority sites, the cards are stacked against you as far as ranking is concerned.
In an ideal world, when you enter your potential blog topic into Google, the front page will be populated with websites from local companies, personal blogs, and forum or social pages. In these instances, creating high-quality content on this topic will give you a strong chance of getting long term traffic.
Photo credits: Coworking London